Michelle Lynn Dinh

Editor/ Writer

Michelle always seems to find her way back to Japan, having been there for vacation, study abroad, and work. During her time on the JET Programme, she lived on the island of Chiburi in Shimane, Japan’s “least popular prefecture.” In her heart, she will always be a member of that sleepy little fishing village she once called home. When she’s not swearing like a sailor while playing video games, Michelle enjoys playing soccer and “studying” Japanese.

All Stories by Michelle Lynn Dinh

Denny’s Japan now offering all-you-can-eat pancakes! We’ll take 30!

It’s a fact: the world loves pancakes. That’s why we’re sure those of you who live outside of Japan will be jealous to hear that Denny’s Japan is offering an all-you-can-eat pancake deal that includes a variety of fruit, syrup, and ice cream toppings! The only thing better than this pancake buffet is the Japanese word for pancake: pankeiki. How cute is that?!

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Potato Chip Rice may be our easiest rice cooker recipe yet!

We’re suckers for a good rice cooker recipe and get even more excited when all you have to do is plop a few ingredients into the machine. So we were really happy when we found this super easy rice cooker recipe for “potato chip rice” from successful Japanese chef, Masahiro Kasahara, in his self-titled book, Masahiro Kasahara’s 30-minute Japanese Meals. With only three ingredients (four if you count the water), we were equally parts intrigued and wary as we set out to recreate his bizarre dish.

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23 “postcard photos” of Japan from the late 1800s

Postcards and commemorative photos at modern souvenir shops in Japan usually feature full-color high-res images of Tokyo Tower or Mount Fuji framed by cherry blossoms. At around 50 yen (US$0.50) a piece, they’re an inexpensive way to show off your recent trip or give someone a gift. Flashback nearly 150 years and those same souvenir photos start to look a little different. Let’s take a look at 23 hand-colored albumen silver prints of Meiji Era Japan that were sold abroad and to foreigners visiting Japan.

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You can buy this huge sunfish at a supermarket in Japan

What looks like an alien laid out for experimentation is actually a sunfish up for sale at a supermarket in Japan. The sign next to it reads, “OK to touch, OK to photograph,” which gives us the impression that dozens of grubby little fingers have been run all up and down the body of that sunfish. That gray blob of a fish needed all the help it could get to appeal to people’s empty stomachs, and the addition of finger germs isn’t doing it any favors.

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Tokyo Skytree gets some extra decoration thanks to the Blood Moon Eclipse【Photos】

We realize there are as many photos of the Blood Moon Eclipse online as there were people who looked up in the sky and exclaimed, “Cooooool!” but we just had to share these ones featuring Tokyo Skytree, the newest icon of Japan’s capital city. As the tallest tower in the world, Tokyo Skytree is often photographed, but the addition of the huge scarlet moon made for breathtaking views. Check them out after the jump!

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We take a luxurious trip to Aomori in the first class section of the bullet train

For most people, getting to fly first class in an airplane to some far off destination is a fleeting dream, too expensive to actually accomplish. So for those of you wishing you could enjoy free slippers and a dedicated cabin attendant but don’t want to shell out half a year’s salary to do it, look to the first class section of the shinkansen, Japan’s high speed bullet train.

One of our Japanese reporters took a ride on the Hayabusa E3 Shinkansen in “Gran Class” from Tokyo all the way up north to Aomori and documented his luxurious trip. Take a look inside his first class cabin experience!

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We can’t stop watching this dog eat corn on the cob

Eating corn on the cob is a daunting task for some. Whether you have braces, wear dentures, or just don’t like getting dozens of tiny pieces of food stuck in your teeth, nibbling on those yellow kernels seemingly glued to a single core is not something you enjoy. However, if you’re this adorable golden retriever in Japan, then eating corn straight off the cob is one of your favorite things to do. And it’s not just corn that this doggy loves; she’s happy to chomp on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including an entire head of cabbage, a slice of watermelon, and a raw cucumber.

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This is the best day to visit Tokyo Disneyland if you don’t want to wait in 2-hour lines

Tokyo Disneyland is just as magical as its American counterpart, but with the addition of adult cosplay and some seriously delicious food. It also has notoriously long lines – it’s not unheard of to wait over two hours to get on Pirates of the Caribbean or over three hours just to ride Space Mountain during holiday weekends.

We’ve already revealed the eight least crowded weekends and holidays at Tokyo Disneyland and found out that scorching hot temperatures are enough to keep the crowds at bay. Just this past weekend we discovered another day of short lines at Tokyo Disneyland for those who don’t mind being a little uncomfortable if it means not having to stand around all day.

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Halloween lashes from the 100 yen store will add a bit of spook to your eyes

It’s already October, which means Halloween is right around the corner. Have you picked out your costume yet? Trick-or-treaters in Japan were treated to some extra inspiration by Daiso, a discount store where everything is 100 yen (US$1), in the form of an impressive variety of Halloween lashes featuring cobwebs, haunted houses, and swirly stars. Early wearers of these accessories have been praising them for their high quality (but really, would you expect any less from Daiso?). Let’s take a closer look at these outrageous falsies!

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Discover your inner Japanese warrior with this samurai name generator

On the road to becoming a modern-day samurai, you’ll have to go through many trials. While learning to speak, dress, drink and decorate like a samurai is of utmost importance, your journey will begin with finding your samurai name. That’s where this handy website comes in!

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A funny thing happened at the conveyor belt sushi shop…

Conveyor belt sushi shops are a cheap way to grab some raw fish or fried food on rice. They are widely known for being clean, efficient, and the perfect way to get exactly the amount of food you want. However, as a few surprised Twitter users have shown us, when you combine speedy food with revolving belts, sometimes things go wrong. From oddly shaped eggs to food that’s not even on a plate, take a look at these conveyor belt sushi disasters and mishaps.

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【Exploring Unfamilar Japan】We have dessert and meet a cow named Julia at an organic island café

La Cigale is a family-run cafe located in the heart of the largest of the Oki Islands, but it’s much more than a place to get a thoughtful cup of coffee. La Cigale is a hub for the community that supports local events and hosts field trips to teach children about sustainable farming. It’s also a place where neighbor kids gather to help pick vegetables or collect shiitake mushrooms in the nearby mountains. So while we thoroughly enjoyed the coffee parfait we indulged in at La Cigale, we were completely taken with the cafe’s farm-to-table philosophy and the intriguing history of its proprietors.

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Eat a red-nosed reindeer and Santa Penguin this Christmas at Baskin Robbins Japan

Baskin Robbins Japan is known for their quirky ice cream creations centered around major foreign holidays, and this year they’ve rolled out a half dozen smiley face frozen treats for Christmas. Featuring familiar characters and adorable animals, these special sundaes in festive cups will get anyone into the holiday spirit. Let’s take a closer look at this cute Christmas lineup:

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Sushi Wine doesn’t pair well with raw fish, but we’re still going to buy another bottle

A few companies in Japan have been trying to pair wine, a traditionally non-Japanese beverage, with favorite foods from around the country. First, we saw Okonomiyaki Wine, meant to be enjoyed with Osaka and Hiroshima’s favorite savory pancake. Recently, one of the staff members over at our sister site YouPouch discovered a bottle of Sushi Wine that is said to go perfectly with the flavors of raw fish. Nihonshu, what is commonly referred to as “sake” outside of Japan is the usual sushi standby, so we were excited to give this new competitor a try.

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The ultimate spork that’s just for eating ramen

Love ramen but can’t quite get the hang of chopsticks? Wish you had a way to have your noodles and slurp your broth too? Well you’re in luck! There’s a spoon/fork combo that was specifically created for your ramen-eating enjoyment. Check out all the stainless steel, long-prong action after the jump!

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Traditional Japanese candy gets fancy: Konpeito comes in wine, chocolate, and green tea varieties

We’re sure you’ve seen those little bumpy balls of colorful sugar in Japanese candy stores. They’re called konpeito and were one of the first candies to be produced in Japan. They’re so popular that the little sugary spheres make guest appearances in several high-profile Japanese productions including Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda, and Spirited Away (remember the little stars fed to the soot sprites?). But what is really just a blob of hardened sweet stuff that can be bought for less than 100 yen (US$1) starts to get really expensive when you add luxury flavors. Let’s take a look at some of the high-class konpeito you can buy in Japan, some of which costs as much as 8,500 yen ($78)!

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12 fabulous tights from Japan

Now that the summer shikke (humidity) has died down, it’s time to bust out your tights! Squeezing our legs into sheer pantaloons was the last thing any of us wanted to do in August, but now that September is nearly over and fall is right around the corner, we’re starting to like the idea of extra warmth. What better way to welcome in autumn than with a legging shopping spree? Check out these 12 fabulously crazy, colorful tights from Japanese artists and designers to add to your cool-weather wardrobe!

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Okonomiyaki Wine: Japan’s savory pancakes just got a new sidekick

Fans of all things delicious, rejoice! Japan has been blessed with a bottle of wine to pair with delectable rounds of grilled whatever-you-want goodness. We’re of course talking about okonomiyaki, the Osaka/Hiroshima specialty that consists of batter mixed with a variety of seafood and savory mix-ins. And although the dish traditionally goes down best with an icy cold beer (with just the right amount of foam), we’re already getting really excited for this new combination.

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It’s the simple things in life: Kitty chooses cardboard box over expensive cat furniture

This photo of a beautiful blue-eyed cat makes us realize that good things don’t always come in fancy packages…and sometimes the package is actually the best gift. But isn’t that always the case when it comes to cats? No matter how many fancy toys and luxury cat trees you buy them, they always seem to prefer the things they already have…including the sofa, curtains, and chairs.

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We just gotta have this 1/1 scale plush Pikachu!

There is no one – we repeat, no one – who has called themselves a Pokemon fan and hasn’t wished they could have their own Pikachu; his cute quotient is just too high. Well, Pocket Monster devotees, you’re in luck, because this 1/1 scale Pikachu plush is the closest you’re ever going to come to actually catching the franchise’s most popular character. BEAMS, the creators of almost-real-life-Pikachu, have even made him true-to-weight. Coming in at a hefty 6 kg (13 lbs), this cuddly Pikachu weighs more than the average cat!

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