Oona McGee

All Stories by Oona McGee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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

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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Japanese Frozen fan transforms herself into Anna with amazing results

While people around the world are still in love with Disney’s Frozen, in Japan it’s all about Anna and the Snow Queen. The Japanese title for the animated movie puts the focus firmly on the two heroines at the centre of the story, and whether you’re a fan of Elsa, the Snow Queen with the X-Men-like ability to create snow, frost and ice, or Anna, the younger, darker-haired sister, you’ll be in awe of the dedication this Japanese netizen shows to her favourite Disney princess. With some clever hairstyling and awesome makeup, it’s like Anna stepped out of the frozen kingdom and into the real world!

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Keep kitty cool this summer with the nyanko nabe cooling pot

It’s not easy being covered in fur. Especially when you have to endure the stifling heat of a Japanese summer! Now hot kitties are sure to get some respite, thanks to a new product that’s already selling out online. While it may look like an everyday bowl, this is actually a whole lot more, with a special ergonomic design that’s especially effective at supporting and cooling a cat’s body. It’s called the Cooling Aluminium Kitty-Cat Pot, and it’s sure to be your cat’s favourite piece of furniture this summer.

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20 bizarre fast food items from Japan

Japan has always had a knack for taking Western ideas and turning them on their head, churning out some weird and wonderful gems in the process. So it’s not surprising that the fast food world in Japan is an absolute goldmine of unusual creations and bizarre taste sensations. From towering burgers to chocolate sauces, we take a look at some of the most mind-boggling limited edition releases we’ve seen in Japan over recent years.

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Fat cat takes over the art world with an amazing online mew-seum

While most cats would be content with plain and simple internet domination, there’s one chubby tabby who craves something more. Meet Zarathustra, the Russian cat who’s sinking his paws into a different pie, taking over the world of fine art and starring in his very own exhibition. From Da Vinci to Rembrandt, no artwork is safe from this feline’s sultry poses and exquisite expressions.

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Tropfest: The world’s largest short-film festival comes to Japan for one day only

Have you heard of Tropfest? For thousands of Australians, the name conjures up images of picnics, green grass and long, warm days that turn into night, bringing out stars like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

It’s the biggest short-film festival in the world, born in a small café in Sydney in 1993 and growing every year, travelling to places like New York, Abu Dhabi and Cape York. This year the outdoor film festival is making its debut in Japan, bringing with it Aussie food stalls and a great selection of film shorts.

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Sushi train restaurant serves up caramel banana sushi and caramel mayonnaise corn sushi!

Starting from today, sushi train chain restaurant Kura-zushi will be serving up two incredibly unique, limited-edition delicacies. Thanks to a sweet collaboration with Morinaga Milk Caramels, customers will now be able to order caramel banana sushi. And that’s not all – caramel corn mayonnaise sushi will be on the menu too.

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Five places to get awesome limited-edition matcha sweets right now

For many in Japan, the bright green hues and bitter tones of powdered green tea partners perfectly with all things sweet, making for an irresistible dessert flavour. Now, as springtime brings the first tea of the new season, convenience stores and sweet purveyors are releasing limited-edition matcha, or powdered green tea, desserts. We take a look at five of the most popular finds that Twitter users in Japan can’t wait to get their hands on. Read More

Falafel, beer, and water wheels: Shibuya and Harajuku’s tucked-away treasures 【Hidden Tokyo】

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the bustling, beautiful megalopolis of Tokyo, then the city really is yours – you just have to know where to look. And if you want to get away from the tourist trail and get down close to the beating heart of the capital, a journey into the back streets of the 23 wards is where you’ll wind up.

Come with us as we take you into different neighbourhoods and spend an afternoon exploring some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Today we’ll take you around some of Shibuya’s lesser known backstreets, where you can chow down on falafels, pick up some of the best coffee and soak up a hip, laid-back atmosphere.

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People in Japan are going crazy for straw art

A lot of unusual art trends have been popping up in Japan lately. From lattes to nails, dextrous Japanese artists are continuing to impress us with creative touches that take things to a whole new level. Now drinking straws are taking centre stage, with their colours and curves twisted into lifelike animals, mythical beasts and cute animated characters.

We take a look at some amazing designs and see how it’s done with an easy-to-follow video tutorial.

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Makers of bizarre new “My Dome” sleep hoods stress health and beauty benefits

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll have probably seen first-hand just how well the people here manage to make any time nap time. Whether it’s on public transport, in the office, or even in the classroom, there’s certainly no holding back when it comes to getting in a bit of shut-eye.

Mitsubishi Paper Mills Ltd. is tapping into the huge market of public sleepers with a new product for those who want to save face while shutting out the rest of the world at the same time. While it’s an efficient way to hide your gaping mouth and nap-time dribble, the company is actually claiming there are many unique beauty and health benefits to wearing this dome on your head.

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