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

The Zenyaren restaurant in Otemachi offers water jelly for the summer … with chicken inside it!

In the mood for some cool, refreshing jelly to beat the summer heat? Well, that’s certainly what the clear, Jell-O-like item in the picture here looks like, right? But you won’t find this delicate-looking item in a cafe, or any regular restaurant for that matter, as a dessert.  From the same folks at Zenyaren who brought us “cool yakitori” last year, which were basically chilled chicken skewers in collagen blocks, we now have the “water jelly yakitori“, another visually interesting dish that involves grilled chicken encased in a transparent jelly!

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Hayao Miyazaki speaks out against relocation of Okinawa U.S. base, criticizes Prime Minister Abe

Internationally renowned Studio Ghibli co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement from feature films in September of 2013 but is now reported to be working on a computer generated animated short, pretty much attracts attention for whatever he does or says. And while it’s nothing new, this time, it’s Miyazaki’s anti-war and anti-military statements, and not his animated works, that have recently been making headlines on the Japanese internet, especially as he referred to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his statements, and not in a positive light.

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Who knew chipmunks eating corn could be so heart-meltingly cute? 【Video】

Sweet corn is now in season in Japan! Grilled or boiled, it’s juicy, sweet and delightful — and guess what? Humans aren’t the only ones crazy about the golden yellow vegetable.

Yes, some of our furry little friends are also passionate corn lovers, at least from what we can see in this video we found which we hope will satisfy your cute quota for the day, or even the week! Seriously, who would have thought that a simple video of a chipmunk eating corn could be so devastatingly adorable?

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Goku’s new adventures begin! Dragon Ball Super begins airing amidst huge anticipation from fans

Back in April, we brought to you the news that an all new Dragon Ball anime series was going to start airing on TV in July. Well, the day Dragon Ball fans have eagerly been waiting for finally arrived.

The very first episode of the new series, titled Dragon Ball Super, was broadcast last Sunday, and of course, we checked it out to witness the start of Goku’s new adventures. Dragon Ball fans, get ready for a brand new chapter in the timeless saga that has become a manga and anime classic around the world!

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Wait, just what exactly have they done with the new Death Note drama? 【Impressions】

We think Death Note is a pretty cool manga and anime series. The delicate artwork is beautiful to look at (you have to admit, the protagonist Light is one fine-looking character, even if he turns out to be, well … seriously psychotic), the Death Gods look creepy in an awesome way and the story expertly combines a fierce battle of the minds with elements of the supernatural to create an engaging and entertaining plot.

Judging from the hit the franchise has become, including two successful live action movies, we’re apparently not the only ones who feel this way, and it’s understandable that  fans were excited when it was announced back in April that Death Note was going to become a TV drama. However, just last week, newly released information about the drama caused concern among fans about what exactly the creators of the TV version were doing with the well-loved series. And so, when the drama’s very first episode aired this past Sunday, we checked it out to see for ourselves whether fans’ worries were unfounded or not.

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Celebrate your love in style with Disney’s “Tangled”-inspired engagement and wedding rings!

Disney’s beautiful animated creation Tangled is a film that is still much-loved by fans, despite almost five years having passed since its release. Well, if you’re one such fan, you’ll be delighted to know that you can express the bond you share with your special loved one with a line of jewelry that’s just as golden and radiant as Rapunzel’s luxuriant hair. Yes, we think you’ll love the gorgeous line of wedding and engagement rings inspired by the film!

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Keep clean with awesome Mickey-shaped soap foam at Tokyo Disney Resort’s new Hand Washing Areas!

It’s a well-established fact that Disney theme parks are places of dream and magic. Well, visitors to Tokyo Disney Resort can now feel the magic even while washing their hands — courtesy of the special “Hand Washing Areas” that officially opened today July 1 at both parks in the Resort.

Yes, guests at Tokyo Disney Resort can now wash their hands with adorable Mickey-shaped soap foam, and parents just may have to deal with their children wanting to wash their hands too many times instead of not enough!

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Disney’s lovable mascot flies high — Duffy takes to the air on JAL Happy Journey Express planes!

Duffy, Disney’s lovable stuffed bear character, has a huge following in Japan. Just step inside Tokyo Disney Resort, and the bear’s popularity is abundantly clear as you see the large number of guests carrying their own Duffy toy in adorable and sometimes exquisitely hand-made costumes.

Well, we’ve already seen the well-loved bear tuned into an amazing furry bus that made a special tour from Tokyo to Shizuoka Prefecture a little over a year ago, and now it seems the mascot will be embarking on a whole new journey — into the big blue sky!   Read More

Going, going … gone! Starbucks x Alice+Olivia mugs sell out across most of Japan in a single day!

If you’re into fashion, coffee, or both, you may remember the collaborative items that Starbucks and New York-based fashion brand Alice + Olivia came up with, the first of which were released in North America about a year and a half ago. Not surprisingly, the items apparently caused a bit of a craze among fashionistas at the time (seriously, who thinks of something like a tumbler dressed up with a tutu?), with everyone clamoring to get their hands on the limited edition goods.

Well, it turns out the collaboration recently made its way to Japan, but one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch ended up finding out the hard way that the goods were in just as much demand here in Japan as they were in the U.S.!

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Studio Ghibli animators’ West Japan Railway ad has us ready for summer! 【Video】

The hot summer months of July and August are almost upon us, and for families with young children, you know what that means…SUMMER VACATION! That’s right, like in many other parts of the world, families in Japan will be thinking about how and where to spend their summer holidays, including plans for travel. It seems quite fitting, then, that West Japan Railway Company, or JR West Japan as it’s commonly called, has recently announced the launch of the “JR West Japan SUMMER TRAIN!” campaign to showcase the appeal of traveling in western Japan by rail.

And it so happens that there’s something unique about this campaign that makes it hugely appealing to anime fans in particular — the commercial for the campaign features animation created by members of the Studio Ghibli team, and their beautiful artwork is immediately recognizable.

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Hello cronuts! Tokyo welcomes arrival of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Japan

It so happens that this past Saturday was kind of a big day for sweets lovers in Japan (well, at least for this writer). That’s right, June 20 was the much-anticipated grand opening of the Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the original cronuts, in Tokyo’s Omotesando district.

For those of you who may not be into sweets, the cronut is a hugely popular baked creation the bakery is known for which can be described as a hybrid between a croissant and donut. Not surprisingly, stories of people forming long lines every morning at the New York City-based bakery for the cronuts and other delightful baked treats have reached Japan, and many sweets fans were ecstatic when it was announced that the shop would be opening in Tokyo. Not to miss out on the sugar-filled excitement, we were there bright and early on opening day, all psyched up to try the cronuts we had heard so much about!

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Toy or cake? These mochi-like seal and bird figures are so soft and cute, you’ll want to eat them

Mochi rice cakes, made from glutinous rice, come in all shapes and sizes. They’re soft and filling, and they can be enjoyed as a dessert or a meal, depending on how they’re prepared. What’s not to like, right?

And now it looks like someone’s created these insanely adorable animal-shaped cakes out of mochi…but wait, is that what they really are? Would you believe us if we told you these are actually soft toy figures that look and feel like mochi? Well, whatever they are, these little critters are sure to elicit delighted squeals of “kawaii!”

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Disney meets classic Japan — see your favorite characters reborn as traditional Japanese crafts!

It’s no secret that Disney has been hugely successful in Japan. The Japanese anime industry may have cultivated a unique style over the years that’s quite different from that of the international entertainment giant, but the public here in Japan definitely seems to love all things Disney, from beautiful lingerie to adorable mini-cakes.

So we guess it’s not too surprising that Disney characters have now been recreated using traditional Japanese crafts, which is the concept behind the Disney Japan Classic Series of merchandise. Join us for a look at what delightful forms the familiar Disney characters have taken at the hands of traditional Japanese artisans!  Read More

Wear Pikachu or a Poké Ball on your arm and be fashionably on time with Pokémon × BEAMS watches!

There’s no denying that Pokémon and the series’ adorable Pikachu are loved around the world. The international franchise has been around long enough that there are now several generations of former kids who grew up infatuated with the fantastic monsters but who may feel they can no longer openly show their affection for Pokémon, on account of supposedly being all “grown up”.

Well, you may be a grown-up in age, but if you still have a tiny bit of that Pokémon Master left in you, you might be delighted by the newest collaborative item being offered by fashion and culture brand BEAMS and the Pokémon Company. Check out these Pokémon×BEAMS watches that combine fashionable design and accurate time-keeping with your love of the Pokémon world!

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Hello Kitty secures deal with Universal Orlando Resort, to open shop in Florida theme park!

Hello Kitty may be as cute as a button, and there’s no denying she’s one of the most popular and successful character franchises ever created. And while our beloved Ms. Kitty may have almost single-handedly repaid her parent company Sanrio’s debts, it seems she’s still keeping herself as busy as ever, as it was announced recently that she’ll be opening her very first shop in the Universal Orlando Resort later this year. Yes, while the international feline celebrity may have turned 40 last November, she’s showing no signs of slowing down —  but then again, somehow we didn’t think Ms.Kitty would be the type to enjoy early retirement!

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The magic is back! Adorable Sailor Moon gashapon transformation toys to be re-released this year

Yes, we love our gashapon toys here in Japan. They’re inexpensive, readily available, and we can’t seem to get enough of them… especially if they’re cute, sparkly miniature Sailor Moon transformation toys!

That’s right — back by popular demand, toy manufacturer (and apparently all-round good guys) Bandai will be re-releasing the “Sailor Moon Transformation Compact Mirror” and the “Sailor Moon Stick and Rod” series of miniature toys, and with the intricate details and bright colors that are sure to capture fans’ hearts, they’re every bit as magically charming as they were before!

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It’s Luffy Galore! Feast your eyes on these One Piece drawings by ten different manga artists!

Any remotely popular manga or anime is bound to have its share of fan art, and with a mega-hit comic like One Piece, the amount of artwork created in homage to it has to be staggering. But the illustrations we’re sharing with you today bring the concept of fan art to a whole new level — check out these super cool drawings of Luffy by 10 prominent manga artists that are an absolute delight to look at, even if you’re not a hard-core One Piece fan!

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We thought robots didn’t die! The demise of the AIBO robot dogs and the fight to keep them alive

Remember AIBO, the futuristic pet robot from Sony that amazed us with its dog-like appearance and behavior when it came out in 1999? It was probably one of the first examples of artificial intelligence the general public got a taste of, and we were quite duly fascinated with the antics of the robotic dogs, as evidenced by the fact that the first batch of 3,000 AIBOs sold out in just 20 minutes despite its 250,000 yen (about US$2,100 according to the exchange rate back then) price tag.

But now, more than 15 years down the line, AIBO owners who have become attached to their cybernetic pets, are facing a grave situation — an aging and ailing (or breaking down, in this case) population of AIBOs.

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Awesome Dragon Ball illustrated opinion sheet at university co-op gets equally artistic answer

Universities in Japan typically have a co-op (seikyo) system offering various services to students, including on-campus stores where a wide range of products, from box lunches to everyday stationery items and even electronic appliances in some cases, can be purchased.

It so happens that at these shops, communication between students and the shop staff is encouraged, in particular through opinion sheets which students can fill in with requests or questions. These sheets are usually posted on a message board in the shop with the staff’s response, and one particular opinion sheet containing a very artistically presented request and an equally visually impressive reply has recently been shared on Twitter to the amusement of many internet users.

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Playing with water: Japanese Twitter user shares how to create jiggly water jelly!

Remember those mizu shingen mochi water cakes that we got all excited about last summer? Well, a recent tweet showing how you can create something that at least looks very much like the fleeting, gone-in-30-minutes cakes offered by the Kinseiken shop in Yamanashi Prefecture has been making the rounds on the Japanese Twitterverse.

If you want to try having a bit of fun playing with water, all you apparently need, besides the water of course, is two ingredients you can get at a drug store!

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