KK Miller

Writer After falling in love with Totoro and always thinking how delicious Satsuki’s bento looked, KK Miller continued to study about Japan all the way through university. Frequent time was spent between learning about Japanese history and rereading Harry Potter for the bajillionth time. A year abroad in Japan only cemented her decision to live in Japan, so she moved here right after completing her degree. Dressing up as a Harry Potter character every Halloween since being in Japan, KK continues to spread the magic and her love of Totoro and Harry Potter to everyone around her. While Satsuki’s bento turned out to consist of all the Japanese foods she doesn’t like (umeboshi, dembu, and whole grilled fish), she continues to enjoy Japan through traveling, photography and writing.

All Stories by KK Miller

You beautiful fatty! — Doraemon character teaches us to speak nicely with new smartphone app

There are days you wake up and just want to table-flip the entire world. You want to scream at the top of a mountain about how people are such dumbasses! You’re just so irritated with everything that the next person you come in contact with will feel your wrath. Your conscience kicks in (usually before anything terrible happens) and whispers that Golden Rule in your ear: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” However, sometimes the lack of face to face contact during text message conversations allows us to forget that there is a real person on the other side. Just because you can’t see the reaction of the other person, it doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want.

For Japanese speakers, the solution is here. And it comes in the form of Shizuka-chan, our favorite character from Doraemon, and a smartphone app.

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Bluebeard!?!? Oh, blue BEER? Yeah, that’s still weird…

Green beer is a staple of St. Patrick’s Day, much to the chagrin of the Irish. White beers, amber beers and dark beers are all pretty common, but blue beer? Thought that was just a one-off kind of thing. We’ve got blueberries, blue fins, bluegills, bluegrass, blue balls, blueprints and blue men. Blue beer is not all that common, and unless you live in Hokkaido (or are a curious internet shopper) you probably haven’t tried it either. Fear not! While the Ryuhyo Draft reviews were not all that positive, a Kirin beer garden in Tokyo wants you to sample their blue beer until the end of July!

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“Do you have anything to declare?” Here are 15 things banned in certain countries

Does your country have everything you need? If it doesn’t, usually the internet can provide for you. But in some specific cases, there are certain products or contraband that just aren’t allowed in a particular country. Here’s a list of 15 things that are currently not allowed, or weren’t allowed at some point!

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Detailed explanation of Japanese armor?!? Show me!

An extremely exciting part of Japanese culture that can be felt even in the recesses of modern Tokyo is its history with bushido: the way of the samurai. There were morals and rules and a strict code of honor that samurai followed and are even in this day still referred to for answers and strength.

But bushido is only a part of what makes a samurai a samurai, with another huge aspect being the look. A man in armor said as much about being a samurai as the practice of Bushido did. The name and place of every piece of armor is certainly daunting, but a very easy-to-understand illustration has surfaced on the Internet, and we are happy to report it’s in English!

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New video shows the link between the Force and Akira Kurosawa’s masterpieces

Anyone who is a serious Star Wars fan knows that George Lucas drew heavily on old Japanese Samurai movies, mainly Akira Kurosawa, when making his space opera. Even if you aren’t that into Star Wars, just from watching the movies you can see the samurai imagery screaming out at you. Just take one look at Darth Vader and his stormtroopers and you can see it. But it isn’t simply that Lucas drew his inspiration from those movies, the whole story behind it actually has a few more moving parts then that. A new video from the YouTube channel Film School’d has illustrated that connection with some pretty sweet white board art to boot!

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Noodle maker does everything you can’t: make noodles!

The other day we brought you news about Brazilian style cup noodles and as the saying goes, you eat with your eyes before your mouth and we’re sure many of you became suddenly hungry after looking at the picture. Even though you knew it was Cup Noodle, that didn’t stop you from salivating at the words “BBQ” and “Brazilian spices”. Seeing instant ramen undoubtedly brings the thoughts of, “I wonder if I could make my own ramen noodles myself, instead of whatever is in this Styrofoam cup.” Starting from July, you can and this new product from Waganse is just as easy as “making” a Cup Noodle and probably a whole lot healthier too.

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Nissin hopes to score a World Cup GOOOOAAAALLLL! with Brazilian flavored noodles

Japan loves limited time offers. There must be a department in every company in Japan with people whose purpose is to think of items they can sell for a limited time. Don’t believe us? Walk into a convenience store weekly and see the multitude of new drinks and new foods that appear and suddenly disappear when their time is up. The limited time offer, is nothing new, but it seems that Japan embraces the concept more than anyone else. It’s a handy way to get customers to continue to visit your store, or buy your products if every month or few months your products change.

With the World Cup just around the corner, companies in Japan are rolling out their limited time World Cup products and today we have a few that try to capture the flavor of Brazilian food.

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Big Hero 6 gives Japan its first Disney hero 【Video】

After the huge success of Frozen, Disney fans are eagerly awaiting the next Disney project! Well, Japanese fans have a really good reason to rejoice! Walt Disney’s Animation Studio’s new movie, Big Hero 6, will feature the first Japanese protagonist!

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Japanese netizens are ready to visit a Final Fantasy world, and you can go too!

RPGs like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy take us to faraway worlds with extraordinarily picturesque locations; places that couldn’t possibly exist on this planet. Mother Earth would have to be a scenery designer to create locales as visually stunning as RPGs do.

But Earth is a much stranger place than we can imagine, and some of the craziest “must be photoshopped” places turn out to be just the simple strangeness of our planet. Luckily for us, if you ever wanted to visit a place that would fit perfectly into a Final Fantasy world, Earth has you covered. Watch yourself when you stand up, because your jaws are about to be all over the floor.

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Samurai Blue fans putting their best foot forward with cute girls in uniform!【Photos】

With the World Cup just around the corner, participating nations are getting ready to cheer on their country’s team. Japan is no different with both the men and women getting behind “Samurai Blue” and small country flags and plastic megaphones have been purchased by the Kei-truck loads.

Parked in front of the TV at home or out with friends, we fret about what the final score will be, and who the next match will be against. But what we fret about more is deciding the most fashionable way to adorn ourselves in team colors. How best to wear our team jerseys and show support but also, work it! But just how do you make the men’s style jersey look good on a woman’s body? What to do!!! Worry not ladies, fashion magazines and the internet to the rescue!

Besides, nothing says “GO TEAM!” more than a horde of cute girls in the team’s uniform!

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“If only I could get that on a t-shirt…” – Now you can thanks to Uniqlo!

How many times have you been at a friend’s house, or eating out with someone and you see a really fantastic T-shirt but thought, “if only it was a little different?” You’re jealous, to say the least, because that’s the kind of T-shirt you’ve always wanted to own, with a few changes. The colors, the graphics, the way it looks like it was randomly splattered with other things, it all rocks. Of course, you could go to a T-shirt design shop and work with them to make your own, but it’s too time-consuming and let’s face it, you’re lazy.

Uniqlo, the store that seems to be expanding to more parts of the globe every day, has your back. And it’s really as simple as swiping your finger across the screen of your smart phone. Oh, and of course, shaking it.

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These cats have a new favorite pastime: Getting their ears cleaned【Video】

A very common scene in Asian dramas and movies is where the doting parent or significant other fetches an ear pick and starts poking away in the other person’s ears. This event is commonplace in Asian families for reasons ranging from “it’s a lover’s ritual” to simply “I need to get that earwax out of your ear” (BTW: The earwax of Europeans and Africans is apparently different to the earwax of Asians and Native Americans).

Typically, the person getting their ears cleaned has their head in the other person’s lap, their eyes closed, enjoying the ear pick getting to places a finger can never reach. And it turns out that our ever-curious furry feline friends have taken notice of this relaxing event and have decided that they too want their ears cleaned.

And what’s even stranger is, they seem to like it!

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Alice in Wonderland shop in Nagoya, another opening in Osaka this week!  

What if we told you to follow the white rabbit? Would you have the knee-jerk reaction of “hell no!” or would you pull a Neo and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes? If you find yourself in Nagoya or Osaka, following the white rabbit might actually lead you to Wonderland! Tons of shoppers have been doing just that and have been arriving at a store called Alice on Wednesday. The store has been so popular that on the weekends, long lines form in front of the shop, letting you know exactly where the rabbit hole is.

What will you find in Alice’s Wonderland? What makes the store so popular that they are opening a new location in Osaka? You won’t have to take the red pill to find out, just click on through!

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The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】

We bring good news and bad news. Remember back in February when we brought you a collection of gorgeous Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist production stills? Well, Machinima, Assassin’s Fist Limited, and Capcom U.S.A. have stepped it up with an official trailer and release date, and the trailer is as awesome as we hoped it would be.

The bad news is, the release date isn’t until May 23! That’s…too many sleeps away!

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Pandas as pets?!? That’s impawsible!!!

Fads come and go, changing “what’s cool” every few years, sometimes even as quickly as a few months. As far as pets go, we’ve gone everywhere from ant farms and sea monkeys to pet rocks and tamagotchi. It’s also become acceptable to dress up our pets in clothing and costumes; even turning your animal another shade isn’t that unusual either.

But this next fashion that is all the rage in China right now is creating quite a panda-mic!

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The tiniest, most detailed Kamen Rider you have ever seen!

In the US, some of the most common roadside attractions are the “World’s Largest Whatever”: World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle, World’s Largest Ball of Rubber Bands, World’s Largest Rocking Chair, World’s Largest Golf Ball, World’s Largest Ball of Twine, all real and all in the United States.

But why go big, when you can go small…like, really small. How about a 1.5cm (0.6 inch) tall Kamen Rider figure? What’s more, you’ll be able to get one of them in Japan really soon!

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Godzilla’s favorite food is in, and it’s not Japanese!

Opening in the US on May 16 and July 25 in Japan, Godzilla is making waves as one of this summer’s big blockbusters. But even before Godzilla’s gargantuan presence will grace the silver screen, he’s already making his rounds on the little screen. This latest commercial sees Italian car maker FIAT teaming up with Godzilla to answer the age-old question: “What’s your favorite food?”

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Food by Fujitsu: Rise of the super veggie!

With Vermont becoming the first state in the US to require labels for genetically modified organisms, more and more people are turning towards natural, organically grown food. People want to know where their food comes from and they want to have the choice to choose foods that don’t use pesticides. But genetically modified food has been paramount to feeding every mouth on this planet. What if there was a way to combine the benefits that science provides but still ensure a natural growing environment with no pesticides used? Fujitsu is taking great strides towards that goal and their first product has been making its way to consumers.

And yes, we really are taking about food by Fujitsu.

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Import immediately! The top 3 Japanese chain restaurants

The first McDonald’s opened in 1940 and since that time it has grown to 35,000+ locations worldwide. Its popularity is international with people craving their “Mackers” or “McDs” or “Maccas”, so it’s no surprise how popular McDonald’s is in Japan. Would it work in reverse? What chain restaurants from Japan would be popular in the States? Our famous friend Ike, from the comedy group Choshinjuku tells us which three chain restaurants he loves the most in Japan.

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Return of the 3-D figure! It’s cheaper and easier than ever before!

Back in 2012, we brought you news about Omote 3D Shashin Kan creating extremely detailed figures of yourself! We brought you the story from the store opening, to our intrepid Mr. Sato’s visit, and the final unveiling of the mini-Sato! For those who were interested in getting their own figure, but didn’t live in Japan, or couldn’t book a reservation in time, or thought it was too expensive, we’ve got some great news for you! And believe us when we say, it might be your wildest dreams come true!

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