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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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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Japanese company creates ball-balancing cheerleader robots

Japanese company creates ball-balancing cheerleader robots

Japan has an infatuation with robots; after all, you don’t see beautiful cyborg women hanging out in restaurants in the US or 24-fingered hair washing bots in the UK. That’s why we weren’t surprised at all to find that Japan has just produced a gang of cheerleading robots that dance in sync while balancing on a ball.

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Holes in your paper door? Use colorful cloth to brighten up your shoji!

Holes in your paper door? Use colorful cloth to brighten up your shoji!

Sliding paper doors give a subtle elegance to any room, but unfortunately for homeowners in Japan who like to keep things nice, are extremely fragile. Even the slightest finger poke can damage the thin paper, leaving you with the task of trying to cover up the imperfections. But those with shoji are in luck! Crafty netizens have come up with an easy and eye-catching way to fix those holes, using their favorite patterned fabric to add a splash of color to the traditionally white doors.

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We troll a scammer online, make him wish he’d never tried to take our money

We troll a scammer online, make him wish he’d never tried to take our money

When the son of the deposed king of Nigeria emails you directly, asking for help, you help, right? Well if you’ve got a good head on your shoulders, you know emails from a far away member of any royal family will obviously lead to some kind of scam. Unfortunately, those types of emails seem to pop up in our inboxes every other month. Don’t you just wish there was a way to get back at these people for trying to leech off of us honest, hard working folks?

Well, we’re happy to report that our Japanese reporter, GO, found a way to get sweet, sweet revenge on one scammer he encountered online, trolling so hard that the scammer gave up in a fit of rage. This is his story.

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Japanese Salaryman vs. American Salesman: Are they really this different?

Japanese Salaryman vs. American Salesman: Are they really this different?

With many different unwritten rules and an emphasis on customer service, it can sometimes be difficult for foreigners to assimilate into Japanese work culture. Steve over at YouTube channel Steve’s POV スティーブ的視点 put together a video that showcases just how different Japanese and American workers can be. But is it accurate to depict the Japanese salaryman as hardworking, diligent and impossibly polite and the American salesman as comparatively rude, rushed, and sloppy? Take a look at the video and decide for yourself.

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Mr. Sato shows up in costume, is the first to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, meets Ken Watanabe AGAIN

Mr. Sato shows up in costume, is the first to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, meets Ken Watanabe AGAIN

With the goal of being the first in line to purchase an iPhone 6 Plus, Mr. Sato, our most outlandish reporter, parked himself in front of the Marunouchi Docomo store on September 15. After several nights living on the streets, finally the day had come! On the morning of September 19 at 8am, Mr. Sato, blue slime costume and all, purchased his coveted Apple gadget, but not before meeting famous actors and taking center stage in an interview. Here is his story.

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Taking indoor shoes out: Elementary student style now trending among women in Japan

Taking indoor shoes out: Elementary student style now trending among women in Japan

As many of you know, Japan maintains a strong sense of uchi and soto, or inside/in-group and outside/out-group. As part of that culture, all people, young and old, are made to change their shoes upon entering most buildings and homes. Students, especially elementary school students, get a special pair of indoor shoes called uwabaki, often called “hallway slippers,” for use while inside the school building. Much like the trendiness of Japanese elementary school backpacksuwabaki are being seen out on the streets on the feet of fashion-forward women. But are elementary school indoor shoes really that fashionable? You’d be surprised!

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Twitter users report large groups of Chinese buyers in line at Apple Store in Ginza

Twitter users report large groups of Chinese buyers in line at Apple Store in Ginza

With the release date of Apple Inc’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus still unconfirmed in China, buyers from the world’s largest smartphone market have been finding other means of procuring the much anticipated devices. It’s reported that Chinese resellers snatched up pre-order iPhones within hours on Apple’s Hong Kong website, hoping to sell the phones in China for as much as four times the retail price.

According to reports by Twitter users, buyers from China have also made their way to Japan with the goal of smuggling the iPhones back into China for resale. At the Ginza Apple Store, it’s estimated that as much as 90 percent of the more than 400 people waiting in line to buy an iPhone 6 are Chinese.

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Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular mascot can now be found on your floor

Kumamoto Prefecture’s popular mascot can now be found on your floor

If recent reports are to be believed, tatami, the traditional Japanese flooring made of soft rush straw, may soon be a thing of the past as people begin to favor easier-to-clean western style flooring. It’s really a shame because there’s nothing quite like the smell and natural feel of tatami under your toes. We’ve already seen novel attempts at spicing up the traditional mats with LED lights, but we’re hoping they’ll have more success with these cute decorative tatami featuring Kumamoto Prefecture’s official bear mascot, Kumamon.

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Japanese tennis player Nishikori Kei lands himself on a cup of instant noodles

Japanese tennis player Nishikori Kei lands himself on a cup of instant noodles

Runner up in this year’s US Open, Kei Nishikori, is Japan’s golden boy at the moment. As the first male player from an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final, Nishikori is not only a hero in the eyes of Japan as a whole, but of his hometown of Shimane, “Japan’s least popular prefecture.”

Much like successful athletes in the US can look forward to seeing their face on a box of Wheaties cereal, Kei Nishikori can now smile knowing that he’s reached the top of his career as a Japanese athlete by landing his likeness on a styrofoam container of Cup Noodle.

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M5.6 earthquake in Tokyo brings some weird photos to Twitter

M5.6 earthquake in Tokyo brings some weird photos to Twitter

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes, meaning every time one occurs, the Japanese Twittersphere is bombarded with photos of the aftermath. There have been some major quakes that were no laughing matter, but usually, the tremors that occur result in nothing more than otaku griping about their toy…sorry, action figure collections getting knocked off the shelves. Japan’s most recent earthquake was centered around Ibaraki Prefecture and came in at a somewhat calm M5.6, delivering a few more photos of fallen treasures. From toppled heads to teetering TP, let’s take a look at some of the most popular photos taken after the earthquake. 

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A look inside the “Ghost Tower” of Bangkok, Thailand’s abandoned skyscraper

A look inside the “Ghost Tower” of Bangkok, Thailand’s abandoned skyscraper

What is now known as the “Ghost Tower” was dreamed up once upon a time in the 1990s when Thailand’s economy was rapidly expanding. Originally meant to be called the Sathorn Unique, the skyscraper was envisioned as one of many luxury apartments that were to populate the bustling Bangkok cityscape. However, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis had other plans, halting construction and causing developers to abandon the project altogether. Now the Sathorn Unique stands as a ghostly reminder of what could have been and a perilous playground for intrepid travelers.

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Japanese MLB player gains even more fans because of his silly (and totally awesome) dancing【Video】

Japanese MLB player gains even more fans because of his silly (and totally awesome) dancing【Video】

Munenori Kawasaki currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays as a shortstop. Originally from Japan, Kawasaki is a pretty good player who bats left, throws right, and has a .294 batting average. However, it’s not his baseball skills that have gotten him a lot of attention around the world and online recently. No, Kawasaki’s willingness to bust a move on and off the field are what everyone’s talking about right now.

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16 fancy eggs from Japanese bento lunch boxes

16 fancy eggs from Japanese bento lunch boxes

Eggs are greatly underrated in the bento world. It’s usually rice and all the fun forms it can be molded into or seaweed and its ability to be cut into any shape that takes center stage in lunch boxes across Japan. But the humble egg can be quite fancy in the hands of a highly skilled and creative cook. Let’s take a look at 16 fancy eggs from Japanese kitchens!

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