Adding yet another almost-too-cute-to-eat bread treat to the already long list, a bakery called “Cafe Blue Jean” located in the Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, brings us “Snowman-pan.” These seasonal treats are breads, shaped and decorated to look like darling, little snowmen.
Kodomo Eiga Plus, an entertainment web portal that specializes in children’s films and children’s film events, asked 132 film industry pros which movies they’d recommend the most for children to watch before they turn 13. Unsurprisingly, Ghibli movies took the top three spots, as well as many positions on the Top 15.
Japan may not be that big on a world map, but there’s a surprising number of distinct regional cultures you’ll find as you make your way from one end of the country to another. Sometimes, taking the train just a few hours in one direction will put you in a spot where people eat different foods, celebrate holidays on different days, or even talk differently from where you just came from.
So, just to be prepared to communicate as effectively as possible with the locals, you might want to take a few minutes to review these videos of women saying “I love you” in the dialects of each of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
Daikon is one of the cornerstones of Japanese cuisine. It has a firm yet yielding texture and ability to meld with any flavors it comes in contact with such as oden broth. However, most ways of eating daikon involve cooking which largely squanders the precious vitamin C that it contains.
You could eat it raw, but on its own daikon has a bitter and bland flavor suitable for no one. At least, it did until now thanks to a recipe posted on Cookpad, Japan’s premier recipe site, by a user with the handle of ayureo. This recipe is certifiably delicious, cheap, and so simple that anyone can do it — even us!
In Japan, the act of getting married isn’t really all that exciting. I don’t mean that weddings here aren’t memorable affairs, as they’re packed with all the joy and emotion you’d expect (and sometimes the video game references and crazy cakes you wouldn’t). The ceremonies held at churches, shrines, and wedding halls in Japan don’t constitute a legal union, though.
The only way to be officially hitched is to turn in a marriage application, called a konintodoke, to your local ward office or city hall, where you and your beloved will be pronounced husband and wife with all the stirring pageantry that goes along with a clerk stamping his authorization on the paperwork. When my wife and I submitted ours, the clerk offhandedly told us “Otsukaresama,” more or less “Thanks for stopping by,” instead of “Congratulations.”
Thankfully, there’s now a way to add a little color to the otherwise bland proceedings, with a new line of artistic marriage applications that’re not only approved for official use across Japan, but also free!
We love a good rescue story, especially when it involves cute kitties! Find out who this rescuer is and why the kitten found himself stuck in a ditch after the jump!
They’re often overshadowed by the sakura, but Japan’s fall colors make the country a beautiful place to be at this time of year. Maples and gingkos even have a few advantages over cherry trees. They tend to hold their color a little longer, and the cooler weather is less conducive to large outdoor parties, meaning your appreciation of the beauty of nature is less likely to be disturbed by the carousing of drunks.
In contrast to Tokyo’s many cherry tree-lined parks and boulevards, though, getting a good view of crimson and yellow leaves often means having to head out of the city and up into the mountains. That’s not always the case, though. Historic Rikugien Garden has plenty of fall color, is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and right now is so beautiful it’s staying open after dark.
Earlier this year we introduced our readers to Japan’s fox village, an open-range zoo home to dozens of adorable foxes so tame that they’ll walk right up to you to say hi. This year, too, Japanese sightseers have stopped by to see the foxes playing in the autumn leaves, and one Twitter user uploaded a pair of simply adorable photos that we just had to share with you.
During the year of college I spent doing homestay in Tokyo, for New Year’s, my host family and I ate a traditional osechi meal. Served in a multi-layered box, almost each of the dozen or so dishes had some sort of auspicious meaning behind it, and the presentation and cultural significance of the whole affair was a memorable experience.
That said, I’ve never found myself craving osechi again, and it turns out my lack of enthusiasm isn’t a result of my foreign background. More and more young people born and raised in Japan are deciding they can do without osechi at New Year’s, and they’ve actually got some pretty sound reasons why.
I like Christmas. I get that some people feel it’s over-commercialized, but for me, I’m happy to see some nice decorations and have an excuse to get together with family and friends. Really, the only complaint I’ve got is the cake.
See, in Japan, you can’t celebrate Christmas without a cake. Ordinarily, adding cake to just about anything makes it better, with “a mug of beer” being the sole exception I’ve found so far. But almost every Christmas party here features the exact same “Christmas cake.” It’s basically a strawberry shortcake, which, by my criteria, is sorely lacking in the three most important ingredients of a really good cake, which are, in no particular order, chocolate frosting, chocolate sponge, and chocolate filling.
So if you’ve also got a beef with the standard Christmas cake, maybe you’d prefer one that’s made out of chicken.
With the recent release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, people around the world are settling in for long gaming sessions of collecting and trading their favorite Pokémon. Playing the game on the Nintendo 3DS sometimes isn’t enough though, you want to live and breathe it wherever you are. But with Halloween and most of the convention circuit closing down for the year, how else do we cosplay our favorite characters and Pokémon?
Introducing casual cosplay!
Café Latino sits in the quiet residential area of Asakusa, and seems to be your average urban curry restaurant with cozy, modern decor. Certainly, one wouldn’t expect to find something like ‘Strawberry Curry’ on the menu.
Part of Café Latino’s spring-only menu, Strawberry Curry is available from late December to mid-March and requires a reservation for customers who wish to order it. We put in ours, and made our way to the restaurant to see how this unlikely combination holds up.
The various Disney-operated theme parks scattered throughout the world have brought joy to children (and grown-ups!) for decades. Disney’s major character contribution is none other than Mickey Mouse, who has grown to become one of the most recognizable cultural icons on the world scene. But how about a famous cultural export from Japan? Why, that would be Hello Kitty, of course!
Sanrio’s darling may be celebrating her 40th birthday this month, but she’s showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, her birthday celebration comes along with a recent announcement that a new “Hello Kitty Park” will open in China early next year! Along with plans for the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland, China sure seems to be on a roll these days making children’s dreams come true. More details about the park after the jump.
Being a big city, Osaka falls victim to criminal activity more frequently than the rest of the sleepy countryside surrounding it. But still, the criminals they do have in this “big bad” city, seem to be lacking in… experience? Guts? Commitment?
Back in May we saw the convenience store robber who got outsmarted by a clerk after a series of unfortunate decisions on his part. The other day, another wannabe convenience store robber started his raid out well, but gave up pretty easily after some quick thinking and scolding by the store attendant.
The hobby of building plastic models of mobile suits from the various Gundam series is huge in Japan. With countless sizes and difficulties to choose from any Gundam plastic model (Gunpla) enthusiast can stay busy for a long, long time.
And for aspiring model builders, there may be no better hero than a Japanese artist using the handle Mumumuno53. Don’t just take our word for it though, and take another look at the image above. As indicated, this is not a drawing, animation cel, or computer-generated image; it’s a three-dimensional plastic model that was built and painted by Mumumuno.
You may still not believe it, which is understandable, so here are some making-of shots they posted on their blog.
Hanko are little name stamps used in Japan in place of a signature when receiving a parcel, authorising a document or filling in just about any kind of form. Being official identity markers, most hanko stamps are pretty boring – just your last name written in kanji.
These new Hanko-san (Mr. Hanko) stamps are designed to be used together with your existing hanko, allowing you to turn your seal into a little message that will bring a bit of spark to the drudgery of your working day. And they’re coming soon to a gashapon machine near you!
Earlier this month, a hacker discovered that an old Nintendo game from 2011, called “Cubic Ninja,” could be used to hack into the company’s 3DS handheld game system.
Using the game, hackers could install “homebrew” software onto the 3DS. Nintendo quickly pulled it from the digital download store, according to VentureBeat. That made the game hard — but not impossible — to find.
Japan sure loves its plastic replica food. It’s a handy way for restaurants to demonstrate the dishes on offer, and it’s an absolute godsend for tourists who don’t read Japanese. Instead of grappling with menus written in complicated characters, they can simply point at the tasty plastic versions. In recent years, however, plastic food has found its way toward decorating all sorts of objects, from phone cases to accessories. We think that things might have gotten a bit out of hand, however, because now you can apparently wear a serving of plastic food around your neck. Join us after the jump to see the whole range!
I’ve never really understood the rationale behind the name of the Japanese discount megastore chain Don Quijote. Tweaked spelling aside, it’s clearly supposed to be a reference to the character from the 16th century Miguel de Cervantes novel, but what does a mentally imbalanced would-be knight errant have to do with rock bottom prices, chaotic store layouts with hand-drawn signs everywhere, and a corporate mascot who’s a penguin wearing a Santa cap?
Maybe it’s got something to do with the word “quixotic,” which describes a humorously strong commitment to lofty ideals and helpfulness. Actually, that would be a pretty apt description of one of the store’s most unique policies: keeping a box of change at the register for customers to grab coins out of and use when paying for their purchases.