Kay

Writer / Translator

Kay is a native Japanese who has lived in Honolulu, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California. She currently resides in Tokyo and enjoys writing about a wide range of topics, including all things cute and glamorous. She also loves stories about any type of food, from gourmet cuisine to junk food. Her favorite pastimes include reading, going to the movies, watching American T.V. dramas and shopping. (Yes, she is painfully aware that she owns too many bags and shoes.) She also loves to travel and has visited over 25 different countries. Her favorite place to go on vacation is New York, an amazing city where you can enjoy the best of shopping, dining, art and theater.

All Stories by Kay

We follow Twitter recipe to cook “coffee rice”! 【RocketKitchen】

As many of our readers are undoubtedly aware, white rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet, a food that we Japanese treat with reverence. It so happens that we also enjoy various flavored rice dishes known as takikomi gohan, in which rice is cooked with different ingredients to give it a distinct taste. Some of the  common takikomi gohan flavors that we like to have include kuri gohan made with chestnut and  matsutake gohan made with matsutake mushrooms. But a particularly unique kind of flavored rice causing a buzz on the Japanese Internet has come to our attention recently, and as unconventional and unexpected as it sounded, we decided we had to cook and try it for ourselves. The ingredient used in this unusual flavored rice?  It’s something you would ordinarily never associate with rice: coffee!

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Mini bakeable Kit Kats return — this time in cheesecake flavor! 【Taste Test】

Some of our readers are undoubtedly aware that we here at RocketNews24 are quite fond of Kit Kats. And while we’re used to seeing the popular chocolate snack in an array of interesting flavors, we have to say we were genuinely intrigued when we heard about “bakeable” Kit Kats last year, as were many other Kit Kat fans across Japan, judging from the fact that the unique sweet attracted enough attention to be turned into pizzas.  Now, the bakeabke Kit Kats have returned, and in a new flavor to boot! Of course, we weren’t about to be kept away from such sweetness.  Join us as we try the new “Bake ‘N Tasty Mini Kit Kats Cheesecake Flavor” (Kit Kat Mini Yaite Oishi Cheesecake Aji)!

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Sailor Moon meets high fashion! Gorgeous collaboration with Samantha Vega to come out from Isetan

As popular as the comic and anime series Sailor Moon is, it’s no surprise that the lovely lady warriors have been turned into myriad collaborative items over the years ranging from lingerie to mobile phones. But regardless of how many Sailor Moon items we’ve seen on the market, we’re pretty sure that it’s still very exciting for fans to see their favorite heroines featured in beautiful high-fashion products. Well, that’s what fans can actually look forward to next month, when Isetan Department Store comes out with their new range of limited edition Sailor Moon and fashion brand Samantha Vega collaborative products. Let’s take a look at the moon prism-powered fashion accessories that should delight Sailor Moon fans and fashionistas alike!

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Have the “best coffee in Paris” in Tokyo! We visit new Coutume shop in Futakotamagawa

Paris is certainly a city with no shortage of cafes, and when the coffee you’re serving is good enough to be highly praised by discerning Parisians, you’re bound to get noticed — even half way around the world in Tokyo! That’s exactly what’s happened with the cafe Coutume, which opened its third location in Japan earlier this month. The new shop, located in Tokyo’s Futakotamagawa neighborhood, provides a slightly different service style from the first two branches in Japan that opened last year in Aoyama (also in Tokyo) and Osaka.

And of course, we were more than eager to go and check the new shop out on opening day to taste what some people are saying is Paris’ best coffee!

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Tokyo Chocolate Round-up: 2015 Valentine’s Day! 【Photos】

If you love sweets — chocolate in particular — Japan in the weeks before Valentine’s Day is definitely a great place to be. Ever since chocolate makers in Japan managed to make it a widespread tradition for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, it’s become an annual event to see chocolates being sold at shops everywhere starting in late January, with numerous special promotions and appearances by “celebrity chocolatiers”  to heighten the excitement leading up to the big V-day.

Yes, for chocolate lovers, it’s a blissful time of year — there’s nothing quite like stepping into a department store and seeing a huge space filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes while being surrounded by the rich, earthy scent of cacao. But now that Valentine’s Day is over, we may be developing a case of the post-Valentine’s blues, so to console ourselves, we’ve put together a collection of photos showcasing some of the most memorable chocolate items we saw this Valentine’s season in Japan.

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Tokyo Disneyland Hotel set to enchant guests with new character themed rooms!

We all know that the people at Disney are masters of enchantment and magic. Well, it seems they’ve done it again, this time putting their formidable powers of imagination to full use to renovate part of their rooms at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. For the first time since its opening in 2008, rooms at the iconic hotel have been redone and were opened to the public this week. As you might expect, the new rooms indeed look magical, worthy of the Disney reputation for turning fantasy into reality. So, let’s take a look at the lovely rooms designed to make guests feel like they’ve stepped into a Disney story!

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What’s next after green tea ramen? Why, chocolate ramen, of course! 【Taste Test】

Ramen, understandably, is one of the Japanese foods that foreign visitors (and locals too, for that matter) find hugely appealing, and there’s certainly no shortage of ramen shops or unique ramen flavors to be tried in Japan. Now, you may recall that back in November last year, we brought you news of the very interesting matcha green tea ramen from Menya Musashi. Well, this month, it looked like it was time to make a repeat visit to Menya Musashi, to have some… chocolate ramen!

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day week and everything is chocolate themed in Japan at the moment, so why not ramen too, right? We definitely weren’t about to miss this dish that combined two of our favorite foods!

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Disney Girls turned into beautiful bite-sized cakes with sweet collection from Cozy Corner!

Over the years, we’ve already seen some lovely creations by Japanese confection maker Ginza Cozy Corner with Disney themes, including sumptuous mini-cakes inspired by Disney villains and characters from the mega-hit film Frozen. This time, to celebrate the “Girl’s Day” festival called Hina Matsuri coming up in Japan next month on March 3, the folks at Cozy Corner have once again come up with some sweet magic, this time in the form of small cakes symbolizing some of Disney’s best known gals. It’s the “Petit Gateau Disney Girl’s Collection” featuring nine of  Disney’s female stars, from Minnie Mouse to Elsa, transformed into bite-sized treats that should be both sweet to taste and a delight to look at!

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The amazing papercraft model from the Ghibli Museum — see the museum in intricate miniature detail!

For Ghibli fans, the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo could be considered a holy Mecca of sorts,  a place to make a pilgrimage to. The museum offers delightful entertainment filled with creative fun, which we guess is something you would expect from Ghibli, and it’s bound to be a hugely enjoyable place to visit, even if you’re not a die-hard Ghibli fan.

And one of the attractions at the museum has to be its gift shop, full of original Ghibli goods that can only be purchased there. In fact, we think that the shop alone could be reason enough to visit the museum, and we’ve even brought to you a previous article featuring 10 cools items from the shop that we thoroughly recommend. And now, we have another special item to share with you, also from the museum shop, that one of our Japanese reporters Yoshio found absolutely fascinating. It’s the Ghibli Museum original “Minituart”, a detailed miniature replica of the museum, and we just had to see for ourselves how exact a replica it was!

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Love Ghibli? Here’s our pick of 10 souvenir items you should buy when you visit the Ghibli Museum

If you’re a Ghibli fan, the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s Mitaka is probably high on your bucket list of places to visit. Sadly, you won’t find any Ghibli-themed roller coasters there, but various attractions are housed in the museum, where you can also learn about how Ghibli animation is made, meet the giant robot from Castle in the Sky, and do much more. Adults can even enjoy unique “Valley of the Wind” beer, so it’s a place that visitors of all ages can enjoy.

One thing you’ll definitely want to do if you go to the museum is to check out the gift items and souvenirs sold at the  museum shop MAMMA AIUTO. That’s exactly what one of our Japanese reporters Daiichiro Tashiro did, and  he was quite impressed with what he saw — so impressed, in fact, that he’s come up with a list of 10 items only available at the Ghibli Museum shop that he would definitely recommend.

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Happy Fastlagen! IKEA brings a sweet piece of Sweden to Japan with all-you-can-eat dessert buffet

Swedish home furnishing company IKEA, as many of you are undoubtedly aware, has a huge presence around the world, and Japan is no exception. Thousands of us enjoy wandering around their gargantuan stores on the weekends, gazing at their pop furniture displays and homeware or wolfing down a serving of their Swedish meatballs at their cafeteria.

Well now, IKEA Japan has news that’s sure to please sweets lovers in particular — for a limited time, they’re be offering an all-you-can-eat “Sweets Buffet”, which includes some delightful-looking Swedish treats that we’re dying to try, for the very reasonable price of 499 yen (US$4.25)! Who wouldn’t be excited about sweet news like that?

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Meet WHISPERED — the heavy metal band from Finland with a samurai spirit!

Sure, we know that Japanese samurai warriors, with their bushido code of honor and their sharp katana swords, are seriously cool, right? Well, such warriors may be an existence of the past, but we can understand how they continue to hold a strong fascination for people not just in Japan, but abroad as well.  To our delight, we’ve found a group of such samurai fans, in far away Finland no less, and they’re making their fondness for samurai and Japanese culture heard very loudly indeed!

Meet WHISPERED, the Finnish heavy metal band whose look and work have a decidedly Japanese and samurai theme. And judging from comments online, Internet users who’ve heard the band’s music seem to have good things to say in this case of Japan meets Scandinavia!

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Lindt Japan brings spring to their shops with beautiful pink sakura drinks and macarons!

We may be in the middle of a cold winter in Japan, with Tokyo even seeing some light snow last Friday, but things are definitely starting to look bright and spring-like at Lindt stores here! Yes, early spring for us is the time for cherry blossoms, or sakura, and while spring hasn’t quite yet arrived, international chocolate maker Lindt has announced two new sakura-themed items to be sold at their cafes here in Japan. And as you might well expect,  the sakura treats look pink, sweet and utterly gorgeous!

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Blast your own Kamehameha at the “Let’s fire a Kamehamaha Martial Arts Tournament” event!

Even if you’re not a Dragon Ball fan, many of you probably have heard of the awesome power of the Kamehameha, the trademark attack technique used by some of the characters in the series, including our beloved hero, Goku. Well, if you’ve ever fantasized about being able to blast a Kamehameha of your own, you may get your chance this month, right in Tokyo!

We’re talking about the special promotion “Let’s Fire a Kamehameha Martial Arts Tournament (Utoze! Kamehameha! Budokai)” that will take place in Shibuya for four days starting later this week. Yes, you’ll get to blast a Kamehameha, and even see a video of  yourself firing the legendary energy attack online!

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We try Lotteria’s new shrimp burger with unique crust, end up seriously impressed【Taste Test】

Alongside tuna (maguro), shrimp is also another ingredient that we love here in Japan. From fried shrimp, called ebi furai, to Chinese-style stir-fried shrimp cooked in sweet and spicy chilli sauce, affectionately referred to as ebi chilli in Japan, there are a host of shrimp dishes widely loved by the Japanese public. The tasty crustaceans also have a presence in the Japanese fast food scene, and Lotteria’s long-selling fried shrimp burger (Ebi Burger) is just one example. Now, Lotteria has just this week released a special version of their popular shrimp burger, in collaboration with another well-loved Japanese snack that also contains shrimp — the Kappa Ebisen shrimp chips from snack maker Calbee. Well, we certainly had to see how this collaboration turned out, and we had our very own Mr. Sato take on the task!

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First Kit Kat Chocolatery shop with cafe opens in Kyoto! New Chocolatery items released too

Chocolate lovers around Japan were understandably thrilled when the Kit Kat Chocolatery, the world’s first Kit Kat specialty store, opened in the Seibu Ikebukuro Department Store about a year ago. Of course, we were pretty excited too, and when we visited the shop on opening day, we could see from the crowd that plenty of people felt the same way.

After a year, it seems the Kit Kat Chocolatery has been a success so far, as they’ve just opened their fourth shop in Japan, this time in Kyoto. And what’s even better, this Kit Kat Chocolatery comes with a cafe attached! Plus, they’ve released some new Chocolatery products as well, so we thought we’d share the news with all our sweets-loving readers!

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Hello Kitty keeping as busy as ever — this time she collaborates with…money itself!

We all know that Hello Kitty is one busy and extremely capable, well, business…cat, shall we say? And yes, we love her for it, too. So, what new adorable form has she taken this time?

Well, it seems she’s now gotten close and personal with money — Japanese coins, to be exact. But not to worry, she hasn’t gotten involved in the counterfeiting business. She’s come up with magnets on which she appears attached to different Japanese coins, and as always, she manages to look cool and cute in the process!

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Sailor Moon sweetness arrives as Babbi chocolates for Valentines, and with extra goodies too!

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, stores across Japan are sure to be painted chocolate-brown in the coming weeks. Yes, chocolate makers here can count on doing brisk business in the days leading up to February 14, as Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day in Japan when women give gifts of chocolate to men, and shops will typically have whole areas devoted to chocolates of every shape, flavor and price range imaginable. Isetan Department Store is no exception, and one of the chocolates they’ll have on offer this year is … a beautiful creation from popular Italian chocolate manufacturer BABBI that features Sailor Moon and her guardian soldiers!

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Sailor Soldiers assemble! Pullip’s line of Sailor Guardian dolls is now complete

Okay, we know there are plenty of Sailor Moon goods out there, but for those of you who can’t get enough of the pretty soldiers, we have some more moon prism power studded goodies to share with you! This time, they’re additions to the line of precious looking Sailor Moon Pullip dolls that we’ve previously introduced, and we think the dolls may captivate you with their charm even if you’re not a Sailor Moon fan!

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Calling Sailor Moon fans! Heart-shaped custom decorated Sailor Moon phones now available

Okay, we admit we never thought we would be genuinely impressed with how “cute” a mobile phone is, but there’s no denying it — toy maker Bandai and telecommunications companies Y!mobile and Willlcom Okinawa have collaborated to come up with what can only be described as an utterly adorable cell phone. Yes, it’s an eye-catching, bright red, heart-shaped phone called the Heart 401AB model, and what’s more, it comes in a special Sailor Moon edition that you can custom decorate!

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