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

Catch the Star Wars Chill: We check out the amazing R2-D2™ Moving Refrigerator in person!【Video】

Remember the awesome, super-expensive R2­-D2™ Moving Refrigerator we reported on last month? Well, we recently went to see an actual model on display!

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Enjoy NISHIKIGOI — the sake that comes in a stunning bottle that looks like a colored carp!

Can you tell what this eye-catching white bottle decorated with bright red patterns is supped to be? While the look isn’t exactly conventional, this is actually a sake product called NISHIKIGOI, and the bottle is artfully designed to look like a beautiful colored carp.

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Create your own Millennium Falcon with this incredible weekly build-it-yourself model kit!

A little while ago, we reported on the moving, life-size R2-D2 refrigerator, which we thought was pretty darn cool. And now, it looks like we’ve found another amazing Star Wars item that’s sure to make fans’ mouths water. It’s a 1/43-scale model of the iconic Millennium Falcon, and the detail is unbelievable!

This impressive Star Wars collector’s item is actually a huge project to undertake, as you’ll be building it yourself with the parts made available in weekly installments from Japanese publisher DeAGOSTINI, known for their wide range of serial collectible magazines.  And just how big an undertaking is this Millennium Falcon series meant to be? Well, you’ll want to be prepared for some long-term commitment, because it’ll take you about two years to complete!

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A $2,350 sleeping bag/bear? Japanese artist’s wild creation hits Japanese Twitter with a roar!

So, what do you look for in a sleeping bag? Most people would probably say not much, except that it’s soft and warm. But once you take a look at this unique creation by Amsterdam-based Japanese artist Eiko Ishizawa, you might say that an interesting design also counts for something as well. It’s the “Great Sleeping Bear“, which began as one of Ishizawa’s art projects and is now getting a whole lot of attentionfor its amazing life-like detail and also its hefty price tag!

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Move over pumpkin, it’s time for some frothy apple cinnamon goodness … in a bottle!

It was only a short while ago that we were being inundated with all manner of pumpkin flavored foods and drinks in honor of Halloween. But now that October 31—and all the wild partying surrounding it—has come and gone, people in Japan seem eager to rush into Holiday Season mode, with Christmas displays and illuminations already popping up across town.

Alcoholic beverages are no exception to the trend, and today we thought we’d share with you a beer with a distinctly Christmassy flavor that sounds absolutely delightful. It’s the Apple Cinnamon Ale from Japanese brewery Sankt Gallen, and, for a limited time, the drink even comes in a special bottle with a beautiful Christmas label!

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Pirate action ahoy! New feature-length One Piece anime to air in December!

Eighteen years after making its serial debut in the Weekly Shōnen Jump Magazine, Eiichiro Oda’s internationally popular manga/anime franchise One Piece is still going strong, even being turned into a Kabuki performance this year.

Well, with the Holiday Season approaching, it seems One Piece fans will have a huge treat to look forward to just in time for Christmas. Yes, a brand new feature-length One Piece anime will air on TV next month, and details have just recently been released. The anime, titled One Piece — Adventure of Nebulandia, will be broadcast on Japanese national TV on December 19, and fans should be thrilled to see some familiar enemies from the past!

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Like good-looking men? Now you can get your own ikemen hot guy in a bag…of chips!

Who isn’t fond of a little eye candy, right? Yup, we all like to take a look at good-looking guys (and gals) from time to time. But now, Japanese brand and product promotion company ESSPRIDE is giving us the chance to enjoy ikemen (hot guys) in a completely unexpected way…by pulling one out of a bag of chips!

That’s right, we present to you Ikemen Chips, a unique snack that comes with a special “hot guy card“, each featuring a picture and profile of an ikemen. And what makes the product especially interesting is that they’re actually regular guys working at various Japanese companies who have submitted their pictures and information to be made into the ikemen cards!

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Drink Green! We check out the amazing “Green Tea Party” presented by Isetan and Ito En! 【Pics】

Green tea has always been a popular drink in Japan and is widely consumed here even in plastic bottles. Visitors to Japan are sure to have seen a variety of green tea drinks at convenience stores or vending machines, including those from major tea and beverage maker Ito En.

Now, Ito En and department store Isetan have teamed up to put on a delightful promotional event which they’re calling the “Green Tea Party“, and the event is exactly that – one big tea party, where you can have so many different types of green tea and tea-based beverage creations that you’ll feel like you stepped into a wonderland of Japanese tea. Naturally, we weren’t about to stay away from a good tea party, so we made our way to the branch of Isetan in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood.  Let’s take a look at what we saw and tasted at the event, shall we?

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The Ghibli that no one knows: former animator’s book offers inside look into famed anime studio

Studio Ghibli’s animated works have won acclaim around the world, and we’re sure many of our readers are familiar with their hit films like Spirited Away and Castle in the Sky. But have you ever wondered what it may be like to actually work in the famous studio? Well, now it looks like we can get a glimpse of what goes on in the studio, as one of Ghibli’s former animators, Hitomi Tateno, will be coming out later this month with a book titled “The Pencil War Chronicles: The Studio Ghibli that Nobody Knew“!

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It’s that time of year again… when we get to see giant rodents soak blissfully in a hot bath!

In Japan, as many of our readers will no doubt be aware, we love to soak in relaxing hot springs. What we also love to do is to see giant rodents taking a hot bath!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when the capybaras at the Izu Shaboten Park get to enjoy their very own hot spring onsen. It’s been a tradition at the park now for over 30 years, and as far as we can tell, the public hasn’t tired of seeing the rodents looking blissful and relaxed in the warm water.

This year, the bathing ritual of the furry creatures will once again be delighting park visitors as the “Original Capybara Outdoor Hot Bath (Ganso Capybara no Roten-buro)” season begins November 21. Read More

Anime meets traditional Japanese porcelain in this beautiful Gundam themed Kutani ware!

Kutani porcelain ware, which has its origins in Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan, is a craft with a history of nearly four centuries. In recent years, we’ve seen makers of the traditional ware produce more modern and pop looking items in efforts to broaden their appeal to the public, with some beautiful results.

Now, we have another example of Kutani ware with a modern twist and it comes from a someway unexpected source — toy maker Bandai. Yes, in a brilliant case of pop culture meeting traditional craft, Bandai will be coming out with a line of Gundam Kutani ware!

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May the Chill be with you — with the $10,000 moving, life-size R2-D2 refrigerator!

With the release of Star Wars Episode VII less than two months away, fans (and merchandise manufacturers) are naturally hyper-excited about the myriad Star Wars related gadgets, as well as foods and drinks, that are hitting the market around the world.

Now, it looks like we may have found the ultimate collector’s item for Star Wars fans. It’s cute, it beeps, it’s a limited edition made-to-order item and best of all, it can bring you a cold can of beer—it’s the life-size, moving R2-D2 refrigerator, and it can be yours for a cool US$9,000!

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Ramen chain Ippudo to launch first shop in France, teaming up with famous fashion designer

Ramen, which despite its origins many now consider to be one of the national dishes of Japan, seems to have steadily grown in popularity and recognition outside the country as well, with an increasing number of ramen establishments opening in locations such as Singapore, London, New York, Los Angeles and even the Netherlands in recent years.

Now, one of the most successful ramen chains in Japan, Hakata Ippudo—often simply referred to simply as “Ippudo”—will be venturing into a brave new culinary frontier as they open their very first shop in Paris, France, this December. We can imagine it has to be pretty exciting and challenging for a foreign-based restaurant to open shop in the country that gave us the Michelin Guide, and it also looks like we can look forward to some fashionable collaborations to commemorate Ippudo’s foray into one of the gourmet capitals of the world!

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Check out these white balls of cuteness — irresistible java sparrow coin purses!!

It appears these white little critters have recently been creating a bit of a”flutter” in the Japanese Twitterverse, and we guess that should come as no surprise, considering how utterly cute they look. But what exactly are these fluffy white balls? They’re actually coin purses made by craft artist Piyoyama, and people who have fallen in love with the little birds are asking where they can get their hands on one of them!

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Get your Christmas caramel toffee fix with sweet Starbucks Japan holiday drinks and goodies

It’s that time of year again! Starbucks Japan has announced their line of holiday beverages and goodies! Yes, it’s amazing how quickly a year seems to go by, isn’t it?

This year, the coffee chain will be offering their customers seasonal goodness featuring caramel and toffee (and plenty of whipped cream), and if that’s how they’re expressing their holiday spirit, well, we have to say, “Bring the holiday sweetness on!!!”

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Gudetama the lazy egg is adorable … even as he poops and vomits! 【Video】

Sanrio’s Gudetama, the anthropomorphic egg character that hates to do anything other than sleep, has somehow managed to win a place in our hearts—at least among fans of kawaii in Japan. He’s now one of Sanrio’s most popular characters and has been turned into products of various shapes and sizes, including some in edible form, so we already knew that he looks adorable being served as food.

But what we didn’t know, as these videos from a dim sum cafe in Hong Kong show, is how cute Gudetama looks even when he’s, well … pooping and vomiting!

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Tokyo Kawaii Musée in Harajuku lets you dress up for Halloween…in a kimono!

Here in Japan, Halloween may be a relatively new tradition, and we haven’t gotten to the point of dressing in costume at school or work (at least not at normal jobs), but there’s no denying we’re quickly embracing the seasonal event, especially with special sweets and beverages. With Halloween-themed parades and parties becoming more and more common, finding an attractive and appropriately playful costume is something an increasing number of people are thinking about this time of year.

Well, if you want something original and eye-catching, then how about renting a Japanese kimono as a Halloween costume? Of corse, you won’t be wearing it like a regular kimono, though!

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McDonald’s Japan to give new burgers away for free—provided you have the right name

There’s no denying McDonald’s Japan has had rough time these past few years, with incidents like the spoiled meat scandal contributing to declining sales. To complicate matters further, some of the fast food chain’s campaigns and initiatives, like the sudden removal of menus from its counters (which have since been reinstated), have been met with confusion if not outright anger from Japanese customers. Now, it seems McDonald’s has captured the Japanese Internet’s attention again with what could well be their strangest campaign ever.

McDonald’s Japan will be releasing a new line of “affordably priced” burgers on October 26. And while that’s all fine and well, it’s their special one-day promotion in which they’ll be giving away these new burgers for free that has been raising eyebrows due to its bizarre catch.

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Kirin tea drinks now available in adorable and artistic mix and match Disney labels!

Step into a convenience store in Japan, and you’ll find no shortage of tea drinks—and not just Japanese green tea either. You’ll have a wide variety to choose from, including oolong tea, barley tea, jasmine tea and English-style straight, lemon or milk tea. And one of the most well-known tea drinks in Japan has to be the Gogo no Kocha (Afternoon Tea) line of products from major beverage manufacturer Kirin.

Well, the folks at Kirin have apparently decided to make their popular “Gogo-tea” drinks, as they’re sometimes called in Japan, into something artistic and playful as well. It’s the “Disney Design Label” line of their Gogo no Kocha drinks, and with these, you’ll actually be able to mix, match and play with the bottles!

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Get your FREE RAMEN!! Hakata Ippudo offers complimentary ramen for one day on 30th anniversary

Ramen lovers in Japan will have something to be excited about this Friday, October 16. Popular ramen chain Hakata Ippudo is celebrating their 30th anniversary that day and will be offering complimentary bowls of ramen at 30 select locations. That’s right, we’re talking FREE RAMEN here, and come the 16th, we know there’ll be plenty of customers waiting for their bowl of steaming pork-broth noodles!

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