Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make

It’s amazingly easy to find good food in Japan, which is largely due to how hard many food industry professionals work when choosing ingredients are and preparing their dishes. Every now and then, though, the country stumbles across some new delectable that, by any logical standard, has no right tasting as good as it does while being so quick and simple to make.

For example, this week Japan discovered a delicious cheese snack with just one ingredient that you could be enjoying in literally two minutes.

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Anime apparently dictating reality as police round up gang members, make them form sports team

Over the last decade, anime has seen a steady rise in the number of slice-of-life series with mundane settings. Still, even when set in the real world, anime tends to operate under very different rules from reality.

Or does it? In a story that sounds like something out of a manga for teen boys (or girls, provided you draw everyone with wavy, pastel-colored hair), police in Tokyo are forcing members from two rival, frequently rumbling gangs to get along by forming a sports team together.

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Police stop Chibatman from taking part in marathon

It seems that regardless of the place, age, or circumstance, vigilantes will always be met with some sort of resistance from the officials. That was the case this week when the Chiba Prefectural Police Department announced that they would not be allowing the mysterious masked citizen, known as “Chibatman,” to participate in next year’s Chiba Kenmin Marathon.

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O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how amphibian-like are thy branches

Being an imported holiday, Christmas in Japan is special. They don’t do things quite the same way that many of us do when celebrating the secular side of the holiday. And while Christmas trees are a common sight Japan nowadays, sometimes they skirt a bit below the line of normal.

The Kyoto Aquarium’s annual Christmas tree is right on the edge, and we’re not sure if it’s awesome or just plain weird.

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Spooky “radiation fog” turns Saitama cityscape into Silent Hill overnight

Halloween may be over for this year, but the weather gods in Saitama clearly hadn’t got the message on Wednesday morning this week, as the city was shrouded in a mysterious thick fog – with an even more mysterious name!

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Spritz soy on your sushi with handy and delicious Sushi Spray

When eating sushi, it’s customary to dip each morsel into a small dish of soy sauce before popping it into your mouth. True connoisseurs hold that the proper way to do this is to first turn each piece over so that just the fish, and not the rice, comes into contact with the soy.

However, gripping the piece firmly enough to pick it up, yet gently as to not crush the rice, rotating it 180 degrees for the dip, then spinning it back again to eat can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to chopsticks (or if you’re not used to the sake you’ve paired with your sushi). So if you’ve got a cultured palate but lack manual dexterity, this special sushi soy sauce spray is seemingly the solution.

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3 unusual gyoza creations from Tochigi Prefecture, the Japanese capital of dumplings 【Taste Test】

Every place in Japan wants to be famous for something or other; to have one specific dish or product that nowhere else has as much of or does quite as well. And while the port city of Yokohama might be known for its vast and varied Chinese cuisine, when it comes to gyoza – those bitesized Chinese dumplings that have been so tweaked by the Japanese that they’re often considered home-grown – Tochigi Prefeture’s Utsunomiya City is undoubtedly the place to be, with its residents proud to call their prefecture the Japanese capital of gyoza.

After taking a trip to the prefecture, we think they might just be right. Along with the dozens of delicious gyoza stalls and restaurants we encountered, we quickly stumbled upon a number of unusual gyoza-infused offerings, three of which we just had to try for ourselves. Join us after the jump for our taste test of Tochigi Prefecutre’s Gyoza Burger, Gyoza Chips and Gyoza Bread!

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Gross ramen topping: somewhere between a spit-take and not being able to look away

Ramen is an amazing food, and nothing beats traveling around Japan and eating all the different kinds. Some are certainly better than other (tonkotsu FTW!) but they all are fighting for the top spot of “best bowl of ramen ever eaten“. Some bowls of ramen you can’t wait to go back and eat again, others are categorized as “one time is enough“. But there are some bowls of ramen that you shouldn’t even taste…let alone look at. Beware; these next pictures are not for the faint of heart.

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Scandal in Los Angeles over child’s unconventional undies sparks anger online

Take a look at this picture – what’s your first impression? Personally (and perhaps due to my prior experiences as a kindergarten teacher in Japan) my first thought was: “How convenient that must be when it comes to potty-training!”

These Chinese “split pants” are considered completely normal for children to wear in China, so when a Chinese-American parent took their little boy out to play in Monterey Park in Los Angeles, they surely  weren’t expecting a concerned citizen to call the police on them.

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Japan Post to give stamps cute animal makeovers including chipmunks, foxes, and an old man

Earlier this year as the Japanese government enacted a sales tax hike, the cost of mailing a letter also increased. As a result a new 2 yen stamp had to be issued to fill the price hike, and in an effort to quell public anger, Japan Post put a picture of a cute fluffy bunny on it. Surely that’d do the trick, right?

Of course it did! In Japan, cuteness is a rock-solid commodity and the bunny stamp was a huge success. It was so popular that people came out to buy some even though they had no mail to send. And so, Japan Post set a mandate to make all of their stamps pretty before fiscal 2015.

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Man arrested for breaking into woman’s hotel room, spanking her with shoehorn

Here’s one you don’t hear every day – a man was arrested in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture last weekend on charges of  entering the hotel room of a female acquaintance through the window before proceeding to strike her about the buttocks with a shoehorn that he found in the room. But just what could prompt such behavior?

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Who needs scissors? Stylist in Vietnam slices customers’ hair with samurai sword

About a month after I moved to Japan in college, my hair was getting pretty shaggy, so I asked my host dad where I could get a trim. The place he took me to was an old-school barbershop, and I remember being surprised when instead of using electric clippers on the back of my neck, the barber used a straight razor.

Still, that wasn’t nearly as big as the shock some customers get when they walk into this hairdresser’s in Vietnam and see the stylist slicing people’s hair with a Japanese sword.

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Taiwan Rugby Union’s naked calendar: Because men have butts too【Photos】

As the internet implodes with the news that Kim Kardashian’s naked posterior is on the front of Paper magazine, we thought we’d jump right on the nudity bandwagon and bring you this exciting missive from the clothes-free front line.

That’s right, Taiwan’s rugby union players are releasing a naked calendar, and we’ve got the pics to prove it!

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Celebrating washoku and rice — an evening with master chefs and sushi roll creators (Part 1)

All of Japan was thrilled when traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku in Japanese, became a registered UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in December last year. And one thing that is for certain when it comes to Japanese food is that we Japanese love our rice with a passion. We have various brands and classes of rice, with differing flavors and prices depending on where it’s grown, much like what you might expect with fine wine, and we all have our favorites. It’s simply an irrefutable fact that rice holds a very central place in Japanese cuisine and in the hearts of the Japanese as well.

Yes, there’s nothing quite like the sensation of inhaling the scent of steaming hot freshly cooked rice when you open the rice cooker, and as fond as we are of rice, we were delighted to have the opportunity this week to attend a reception for foreign media titled “Celebrating Worldwide Recognition of Washoku and Rice“. And when we heard that it included being served a traditional Japanese meal by a master chef from a renowned Japanese restaurant and also a chance to try making some unique sushi rolls ourselves, we knew this was definitely a reception we couldn’t miss!

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Anime’s Tetsuwan Atom/Astro Boy shows up on a pedestrian walk signal in Japan

For many newcomers to anime and manga, it can be hard to tell characters drawn by the same artist apart. In general, Japanese designs use fewer lines, especially in the faces, than those of Western comic books, and even some artists themselves, such as Touch creator Mitsuru Adachi, have been known to get their own cast members mixed up.

That’s not a problem with Atom, though. Also known as Astro Boy, Osamu Tezuka’s beloved mighty robot is instantly recognizable, whether in the pages of the manga where he debuted, onscreen in one of his many anime adaptations, or, in his most recent appearance, a pedestrian walk signal in Kanagawa Prefecture.

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Sailor Moon tortilla chips come in three flavors and a whopping 18 different bags

There are a number of upsides to Sailor Moon Crystal, the recent reboot of the smash hit anime from the 1990s. Aside from benefitting from 20 years of advancement in animation technology and technique, the franchise’s proven record of success means that Crystal has a higher budget and sticks closer to creator Naoko Takeuchi’s manga than the previous adaptation did.

Still, a reboot is a reboot, and if you’ve already watched all 200 episodes of the original Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S, and Sailor Moon Sailor Stars, then you’ve got a pretty big head start on many of the places Crystal’s plot is going. So if you’re the kind of person who snacks when you get bored, maybe some Sailor Moon tortilla chips will help you pass the time.

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Kentucky Fried Café – New KFC in Japan to offer upscale coffee, tea, and sweets

Although I never met the man, Colonel Sanders doesn’t strike me as a hurried individual. Anybody who’s willing to add 11 different seasonings to his fried chicken can see the value in taking the time to appreciate the finer things in life. I like to imagine that rather than rush through his meals, the KFC founder would linger at the table, at least for a few minutes, and when his schedule allowed, for periods extending to “a spell.”

That’s why I think he’d approve of KFC opening its first full-fledged café this month in Japan.

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30 hours of pumpkin carving! The making of my anime fan art jack-o’-lantern【Photos & video】

Every year for Halloween I carve a pumpkin for myself and for the trick-or-treaters to enjoy, usually based on a popular Hollywood movie with costume potential. To commemorate my post at RocketNews24, however, for this year’s jack-o’-lantern I chose my first ever anime theme! I went with one of my favorites from this fall’s line-up, Gugure! Kokkuri-san (繰繰れ!コックリさん), available on Crunchyroll.

Both heartwarming and twisted (for the non-anime-initiated), the series is an outrageously wacky, slice-of-life comedy adapted from a four-panel comic strip by Midori Endō. The large cast is led by Kokkuri-san and the young girl Kohina; the former is a motherly, lonely fox spirit (originally from J­apanese folklore) with both human and animal forms, and the latter is a hardcore bocchi (loner) with a cup noodle addiction who claims to be an emotionless doll.

Read on to learn a little more about the show and the design process, as well as to get a nicer view of the lit-up pumpkin. There’s also a time lapse video that condenses 30 hours of carving into just over 11 minutes!

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Cute cat warms harbles, achieves Nirvana in front of heater

We posted earlier this week about how Japanese cats survive the cold winter months by bogarting the sweet, sweet warmth of the space heater, but this cold little fellow is lucky enough not to have to share his oasis of warmth with any other felines or even a pesky human. How happy does that make him? Photos of kitty bliss after the jump.

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Akiba Stealth: Assassin’s Creed brought to Akihabara in “real-life” prior to game release【Video】

Imagine yourself walking through the busy streets of Akihabara (or Akiba), Tokyo’s electronics and gaming haven (a.k.a. otaku central), when suddenly, a nerdy guy busts his way out of a dark alley and does a flip over a passer-by, with guards tailing him by only inches. Surprised? Welcome to “Akiba Stealth.”

In preparation for the November 20 Japanese release of the newest game in the Assassin’s Creed series, “Unity,” the creators, Ubisoft, came out with a promotional video, entitled “Akiba Stealth,” to get the attention of the Japanese fan base. The video is supposed to be a “real-life” Assassin’s Creed in Akihabara, lovingly dubbed “Ota-ssin’s Creed.” (Get it? Otaku + assassinotassin. No?)

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