Oona McGee

All Stories by Oona McGee

Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!

Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!

Famous Japanese confectioner Glico has been bringing us iconic Japanese sweets like Pretz and Pocky for decades. Now they have a real treat in store for us, thanks to an extra-special line-up to celebrate the upcoming 3-D movie, Stand By Me Doraemon.

The new specially marked packs include a hidden secret: 3-D moving images of Doraemon that come to life in your home. But these aren’t just any images. They’re created by you, with your very own colours and designs transformed into unbelievable, moving images, each with Doraemon acting out a fun scene before your very eyes! Check out all the different designs after the jump.

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An afternoon in Kagurazaka, Tokyo’s French Quarter 【Hidden Tokyo】

An afternoon in Kagurazaka, Tokyo’s French Quarter 【Hidden Tokyo】

Kagurazaka is one of the most attractive and interesting enclaves in all of Tokyo. Its name in kanji, 神楽坂, literally translates to “God Music Slope”, referring to kagura, the spiritual music traditionally dedicated to Shinto gods. Located at what used to be the outer edge of Edo Castle, the gentle slope that still runs through Kagurazaka today was once filled with the sounds of music emanating from the Imperial Court.

Today, this is one of the few remaining areas of Tokyo where you’ll find exclusive geisha houses hidden off the main street and kimono-clad women shuffling through narrow cobblestone alleyways. It’s also the best place to experience a taste of France, as it has the largest concentration of French restaurants in Tokyo, and a vibrant French expat community. You’ll even hear the strains of accordions as they pipe Parisian music through speakers on the street!

Join us after the jump as we take a stroll through the area and reveal why a visit to Kagurazaka should be on your list of places to see in Tokyo.

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Ninja restaurant designer creates tiny villages in bonsai trees

Ninja restaurant designer creates tiny villages in bonsai trees

If you’ve ever wanted to see villages and merchant markets from your favourite role-playing games come to life, then we’ve got quite the collection for you. These are the amazing three-dimensional artworks of Takanori Aiba, a Japanese artist who also designed Ninja Akasaka, the famous ninja restaurant in Tokyo and the 1958-themed Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum.

Aiba is now drawing on his experience in architecture and combining it with his origins as a maze illustrator to produce stunning worlds within the tiny branches of bonsai trees and out of the crevices of unique rocks. From Ghibli-style seaside towns to a bustling hotel built inside the body of the Michelin man, these elaborate designs will simply take your breath away.

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Hundreds of fish take over abandoned shopping mall in Bangkok

Hundreds of fish take over abandoned shopping mall in Bangkok

In a dark, dilapidated building in Bangkok’s concrete jungle there’s a secret wildlife haven not many people know about. Though the place has been abandoned by people, it’s now embraced by nature in the most spectacular way, with hundreds of fish swimming peacefully around pylons and under escalators in what was once a bustling, four storey shopping mall.

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Princest Diaries: Artist uses Disney Princesses in Rape Awareness posters

Princest Diaries: Artist uses Disney Princesses in Rape Awareness posters

An artist has been causing controversy online recently with a set of posters featuring Disney princesses in incestual embraces with their fathers. Entitled “The Princest Diaries”, the three posters in the series are designed to raise incest and rape awareness using simple imagery and characters well-known to people of all ages and nationalities. Disney fans may find the following pictures disturbing but according to the artist, this is exactly the point.

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Turn the baggage claim carousel into a sushi train with these new sushi luggage covers!

Turn the baggage claim carousel into a sushi train with these new sushi luggage covers!

Sushi was once a strange delicacy confined to the shores of Japan. Thanks to its health benefits, the humble sushi has since travelled the world, popping up in all sorts of remote and obscure locations from Iceland to the Middle East.

Now sushi is on the move again, this time coming with you on your travels and hugging your luggage in the form of clever suitcase covers. With four designs to choose from, baggage claim carousels are set to look like giant sushi train conveyor belts this summer!

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Stay cool with somen ice Cup Noodles this summer

Stay cool with somen ice Cup Noodles this summer

Nissin Cup Noodles are outrageously popular in Japan and have a firm following worldwide. Now, to keep the love flowing throughout the hot summer months, they’ve released a new special version designed to be eaten icy cold. For the first time, the company will be releasing somen, the thinnest of traditional Japanese noodles, for a meal so light and tasty you’ll be wanting to eat them all year!

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Fried Godzilla with a side of Mothra: a plate of epic proportions

Fried Godzilla with a side of Mothra: a plate of epic proportions

Since his first appearance back in 1954, Godzilla has cut his teeth on dozens of films and taken down a number of enemies in the process. When it comes to the battle of the batter, however, it seems Godzilla and his mate Mothra have walked away defeated, as there’s no shaking off a coat of oil and Japanese breadcrumbs.

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15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer

15 beautiful Japanese sweets to cool you down this summer

Japanese summers are hard to bear. With high humidity levels, the energy-sapping heat has such an overwhelming effect on the body there’s even a word for summer lethargy in the Japanese lexicon: natsubate.

Luckily for us, Japan has developed a number of unique ways to fight the summer heat. One of the best ways to cool down is in the sensory pleasure of traditional Japanese sweets featuring watery wonderlands, night skies and gorgeous hues of blue. We’ve found 15 of the best summer sweets that are so amazing they’re more like edible works of art.

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Keep your skin purr-fect with a feline face pack featuring characters from Cats the musical

Keep your skin purr-fect with a feline face pack featuring characters from Cats the musical

Once upon a time, face packs were plain. They were white, wet and definitely something you wouldn’t want to be seen wearing. Now, beauty masks are finally becoming beautiful, with newly released endangered animal designs and even prints featuring dramatic kabuki makeup.

From the end of this month, the cats will come out to play. And not just any cats. These are the famous felines from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats. With four cat face packs to choose from, now you can look after your skin and play out your feline fantasies at the same time!

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Japanese soccer fans celebrate the World Cup with Samurai Blue curry

Japanese soccer fans celebrate the World Cup with Samurai Blue curry

Now that the World Cup is well and truly underway, fans in Japan have found themselves in the full-blown throes of soccer fever. While some would remedy the malady with a set of earplugs and a good lie-down, others look to the food world, with World Cup menus popping up all over the country offering all sorts of surprises. One place in Osaka has put together a creative curry and cocktail set that represents the Japanese soccer team, Samurai Blue, and the host country of Brazil. Can you see the two countries in the image above?

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New Bourbon water features Frozen girls and Disney princesses

New Bourbon water features Frozen girls and Disney princesses

In Japan there’s a company called Bourbon. Rather than specialising in alcoholic spirits though, Bourbon in Japan is famous for sweets, chocolate and natural mineral water. This summer, they’ll be adding something really sweet to the water: bottles adorned with Disney Princesses in ethereal watercolour designs. In addition to the series, they’ll be releasing Anna and the Snow Queen from Frozen too. You know these girls will want to live in your freezer this summer because, well the cold never bothered them anyway.

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New Attack on Titan souvenir straps feature Colossal Titan at famous Japanese landmarks

New Attack on Titan souvenir straps feature Colossal Titan at famous Japanese landmarks

Attack on Titan has such a worldwide following that many visitors to Japan can’t help but keep an eye out for possible sightings of the Colossal Titan as they travel around the country. Chance encounters with the steaming giant are now more real than ever, thanks to a new series of souvenir straps featuring the hungry beast at famous locations throughout Japan. Now you can see him dressed up as a samurai, devouring Tokyo Tower or reincarnated in the form of a giant gold Buddha. If you want the whole collection, you’ll have to do some travelling as each souvenir is limited for sale only at the local tourist hotspot it features. From Tokyo to Osaka, check out the Colossal Titan posing like you’ve never seen him before!

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KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

KFC now selling bento lunchboxes from exclusive chain of Japanese-style outlets

People in Japan love fried chicken. It’s so popular it’s become one of the staple ingredients in Japanese bento lunches, where it’s served in small, boneless pieces known as kara-age, and it’s in such high demand that you’ll find queues outside specialist kara-age joints around the country.

World-famous fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has finally picked up on the popularity of the chicken piece with a new line-up of Japanese-style hole-in-the-wall outlets dedicated to serving up kara-age in a variety of KFC flavours. And that’s not all. They’ll even serve it up in a bento lunchbox too.

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Seven unbelievable jobs that actually exist in Japan

Seven unbelievable jobs that actually exist in Japan

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you achieve your dream? If that’s got you thinking about a career change, you may want to look to the Land of the Rising Sun because in Japan there are some unusual employment opportunities available. From human dog food testers to bad smell specialists, we’ve found seven surprising jobs for you to consider. And they’re all ready and waiting for you in Japan.

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Smell like your favourite sailor with the Sailor Moon Miracle Romance Eau de Toilette

Smell like your favourite sailor with the Sailor Moon Miracle Romance Eau de Toilette

Sailor Moon’s ever-growing Miracle Romance cosmetics range is continuing the 20th anniversary celebrations with news of their most coveted release to date: the Eau de Toilette. Designed for adults, the fragrance features a delightful blend of fruity florals and earthy tones while the packaging includes adorable details fans will love.

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Sit up! Japanese toymaker releases hunchbacked cat collection to stop office workers slouching

Sit up! Japanese toymaker releases hunchbacked cat collection to stop office workers slouching

In Japan, a hunched back is called neko-ze, which literally means cat’s back. These days, one of the most common places to see neko-ze is not actually in the feline world but in the office, where workers hunch over computers, inadvertently ruining their backs and causing all sorts of problems in the process.

In an attempt to remind workers not to slouch, Japanese toymaker Bandai is releasing a series of hunchbacked cats designed to sit next to your computer. One look at these during the workday and you’ll stop the office neko-ze.

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Olaf from Disney’s Frozen is cute enough to eat!

Olaf from Disney’s Frozen is cute enough to eat!

It’s par for the course that an animated Disney film will include a loveable sidekick providing lighter moments throughout the narrative. But it’s not often that these secondary characters can be replicated so well in edible form. Olaf from Disney’s Frozen though, is an absolute treat for cooks who want to add some cute flair to their meals and sweets. His round, white snowman figure is easily created from rice, potatoes, Japanese radish and even sweet icing. Take a look at some of these gorgeous incarnations of Olaf in the food world.

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Put out the flames with a Hello Kitty fire extinguisher!

Put out the flames with a Hello Kitty fire extinguisher!

In the market for a fire extinguisher? Neither were we, until we saw these at the Sanrio online store! With three gorgeous designs, there’s never been a better time to decorate and protect your home at the same time.

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What Sailor Moon characters would look like if they were born in the Western world

What Sailor Moon characters would look like if they were born in the Western world

Have you ever wondered what Sailor Moon soldiers would look like if they travelled to an alternate reality and were drawn by a western hand? Well, thank goodness for fan art because one clever artist has delivered the fantasy. This unique collection of Sailor Moon pictures has the scouts looking more like Disney stars rather than sparkly-eyed anime characters, and with heartbreaking back-stories in each beautiful portrait, you’ll be seeing the girls in a totally new light.

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