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

Introducing…instant Matcha Green Tea Curry (and yes, it’s green)! 【Taste Test】

It’s well-known that people in Japan are fond of green tea, especially the precious matcha green tea made from tea leaves grown in the shade. Matcha flavored Kit Kats have grown popular in Japan as well as overseas, and celebrity pastry chefs like Sadaharu Aoki have turned matcha confection making into an art. We’ve even tasted matcha-flavored ramen, so it’s not just sweets we’re talking about either.

Well, we recently found another fascinating matcha product that once again shows how much the Japanese love the green stuff…matcha green tea curry! What’s more, it’s instant curry that comes in a heatable pouch, so you can have it right at home in less than 10 minutes. A quick and easy, green-colored curry? Of course we had to try it ourselves!

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Members of idol Group Momoiro Clover Z turn into Frieza! But wait, what exactly happened here?

Dragon Ball’s über cool villain Frieza has been in the news quite a bit lately, owing to the upcoming release of the new Dragon Ball movie Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, in which he plays the lead antagonist. But then, Frieza has always had a bit of a following with his quirky personality and ruthless yet polite ways, and we’re sure plenty of fans are thrilled that he will be making a huge come back in a feature-length film.

So, it wouldn’t really be surprising if popular idol group Momoiro Clover Z, who performs the theme song for Resurrection ‘F’, was involved in a promotional tie-in with the movie, and one with Frieza in particular. And that’s exactly what seems to have happened earlier this week when  the group’s official site was filled with … images of the idols as Frieza!

It looks like they’ve really gone all out with their promotion. But wait, is that what really happened here? We’ll give you a hint — the Frieza collaboration image was released this past Wednesday.

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Here’s what we got when we ordered the chef’s recommendation…at McDonald’s!

If you’re a foodie who dreams of eating at Michelin and Zagat rated establishments, perhaps you’ve also fantasized about saying to the Maitre d’ at a fancy restaurant, “Can I speak with the chef? I’d like to thank him/her for a superb meal.”  Granted, such a dining situation may not come up very often, but what you may be able to do more easily instead is to order “whatever the chef’ recommends.

And that’s exactly what our RocketNews24 Japan staff decided to do at a series of restaurants, the first one being  none other than…McDonald’s! Now, we’d like to think that all people working in a kitchen, whatever the type of restaurant, actually want to serve tasty food, and to that end would likely have a definite opinion on what they would most like customers to try.  So, asking for the chef’s recommendation should result in a more than satisfying meal, right? Well, we were certainly excited to find out what the recommendation would be at one of the world’s best-known fast food chains!

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New Sailor Moon cafe in Tokyo has live public anime viewing and themed food and drinks

Last year, we brought to you all the excitement surrounding the broadcast of the Sailor Moon Crystal anime, coming some 22 years after the original series it rebooted was released. The new anime has so far been streaming on Japanese video sharing site Niconico, but starting April 6, Sailor Moon Crystal will finally air on Japanese TV.

To commemorate the TV broadcast of the new anime, a Sailor Moon themed cafe will appear for a limited time at the Anion Station, a unique cafe and bar located in Shinjuku that caters to fans of anime songs. For one month, the Sailor Moon cafe will be offering special treats and drinks inspired by the anime, as well as  live public viewing of the TV broadcast. Now, that’s bound to attract some ardent Sailor Moon devotees!

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How to perfectly recreate the death of Dragon Ball’s Yamcha using baked goods

With the release of the new Dragon Ball movie now less than a month away, the popular manga/anime series has had quite bit of exposure on the Japanese Internet recently. One related product that’s getting a lot of attention is a figure of Yamcha, one of Goku’s rivals- turned-friends.

But this particular figure doesn’t have the look of your typical toy. As a matter of fact, it shows Yamcha in quite a pitiful state. Nonetheless, fans seems to be getting a huge kick out of it, and one fan has even tweeted an easy way to create a realistic diorama scene with the figure using quite an unexpected item — apple pie!

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Oh… yummy! New snack to hit Japan: giant isopod senbei rice crackers!

We’ve already mentioned how fond we are of deep sea creatures here in Japan, in particular the giant isopod that has been turned into various products from phone cases to gachapon toys. Well, now it seems that Yamaki Honpo, a maker of traditional Japanese senbei (rice crackers), has taken the Japanese love of isopods to new heights. They’ve come up with … yes, you guessed it, Giant Isopod senbei crackers! And while we can certainly understand how people might find these creatures fascinating, we have to say, we’re honestly not sure how to react to this new snack. Bug crackers, seriously?

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We love wagyu! We spend an evening learning about (and eating) Japanese beef

Japanese beef, or wagyu, as it’s also known, is certainly something the people of Japan delight in and cherish. Quality wagyu is a special (and pricey) treat, even for those of us living in Japan. WAGYU DIRECT,  an online service operated by retail company VIVA JAPAN and dedicated to exporting wagyu and bringing its lovely taste to the rest of the world, held a seminar and cooking/tasting session on wagyu earlier this month at the Shinjuku Isetan Department Store.

The seminar was open to just 10 people, and as fond of beef as we are, we promptly entered the draw to participate in the session, which promised to be both informative and delicious. Well, we were in luck, as we were one of the fortunate ten selected to attend the seminar. Join us as we spend an evening learning a little about wagyu and enjoy a feast as well!

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See, hear and taste at the L’art de Rosanjin exhibit, where projection mapping meets fine cuisine

If you have an interest in modern Japanese art, you may be familiar with the name Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883 – 1959). As it happens, the versatile Japanese artist is currently the subject of a an innovative and unique exhibit being held at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in the Coredo Muromachi shopping, dining and entertainment complex.

Rosanjin, who was known not only as an artist, but as a very discerning food connoisseur and a man well ahead of his time, is considered to have had a huge influence on modern Japanese art and cuisine. He has even been the inspiration behind one of the central characters in the popular gourmet comic Oishinbo, so when we heard that the exhibit combined digital technology with elements of both his art and love of food, we knew we had to go and experience it ourselves. And from what we’d already heard,  this was going to be an exhibit that you not only see, but hear and taste as well!

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McDonald’s hopes to make kids happy — by teaming up with Japan’s favorite blue friend Doraemon!

It’s no secret that McDonald’s Japan has been enthusiastic about collaborating with various anime and character franchises to come up with goodies for children. In the past we’ve seen toys featuring Pokémon and Yokai Watch, as well as Pretty Cure, Super Mario and Transformers, among others, being offered with their Happy Meals, and kids certainly seem to be, well, happy with their Happy Meals, since almost 100 million of these sets are apparently sold in Japan each year.

This month, none other than Doraemon, the time-travelling blue cat robot, makes an appearance as six different Happy Meal toys, and they definitely look ready to delight children across Japan!

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Mixing anime with travel — the ultimate girls’ Evangelion trip is happening in May!

If you have even a passing interest in Japanese pop culture, you’re probably aware that Neon Genesis Evangelion has been a long-standing hit anime series with a huge fan base. It’s been 18 years since it originally finished airing on TV, but the anime still has a strong following, with many female fans. Now, Japanese travel agency Musee Travel has come up with the perfect break from reality for such female Evangelion lovers — the “Evangelion Hakone Trip for Girls“!

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Since chocolate ramen was so good, we went back for … strawberry ramen! 【Taste Test】

Readers who saw our story about the chocolate ramen we tried last month were probably able to tell that we were quite impressed with the unusual noodle creation. So when we heard that the very same ramen shop Menya Musashi had come out with yet another singular ramen dish, you can bet our interest was piqued. This time, the ramen involved fruit — yes, we were ready to make another visit to their shop in Shinjuku to try their … strawberry ramen!

But do berries and ramen mix well? We were about to find out!

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Blue Bottle Coffee opening [Round 2]: We wait an hour and a half, but this time we get in!!

Last month, we brought to you the story of how our very own Mr. Sato went to the opening of the very first Blue Bottle Coffee shop in Japan … only to give up on the idea of having coffee there as the huge crowd turnout meant a two-hour wait, which was just too long for our busy reporter. Well, we weren’t about to give up on trying the coffee from the popular American coffee roaster and cafe chain that easily! As it happens, Blue Bottle Coffee opened their second shop in Aoyama this past Saturday, and this time, we were determined to get a taste of their famous coffee, even if it meant waiting outside for an hour and a half in freezing weather!

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Creepy or cute? Come face to face with deep sea creatures as gachapon sushi toys!!

Perhaps befitting an island nation surrounded by the ocean, Japan seems to have a fascination with deep sea creatures. One of our favorite deep ocean dwelling critters, the giant isopod, has made regular appearances on the Japanese Internet in various forms from toys to sausage snacks, and even as actual cooked food.

Other creatures of the deep such as the oarfish and the giant squid are also relatively popular here in Japan, possibly because much about them remains an elusive mystery. So it’s not entirely surprising that someone should come up with a series of gachapon toys featuring deep sea creatures. But these particular vending machine-dispensed trinkets that have recently been released from Japanese toy manufacturer Re-ment come with a  twist — they’re sushi-shaped and seriously bizarre-looking!

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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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