Are blue foods as cool as the color implies? We try blue curry, ramen, and beer

Are blue foods as cool as the color implies? We try blue curry, ramen, and beer

Under normal circumstances, Japanese people have an open aversion to unnaturally colored foods, especially blue. This is true even of sports drinks and birthday cakes. Without even addressing the never-ending debates over artificial food colorings and health, something about the color blue appears unappetizing to their taste buds.

However, in the overwhelming heat of summer, the color blue also carries with it the connotation of something cool and calm. Could the implicative promise of a refreshing counter to the summer sun override this instinctual revulsion against imbibing something blue? After hearing about a certain Thai food restaurant that serves bright blue dishes, we decided to send one of our more adventurous culinary reporters to check it out.

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Twitter user finds something fishy in convenience store toilet

Twitter user finds something fishy in convenience store toilet

I love Japanese convenience store bathrooms. They are almost unfailingly clean and tidy, and the staff don’t mind whether you actually buy something or not. Of course, as with any public restroom, there’s a risk of finding something a little strange, but you definitely wouldn’t expect what one Twitter user recently found swimming in the bowl. (It’s not poop. We promise.)

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Burger King has answer to summer heat: copious amounts of meat and garlic

Burger King has answer to summer heat: copious amounts of meat and garlic

We’re still searching for that perfect way to survive summer, whether it be by eating cow tongue ice cream or tossing water onto the street. However, Burger King claims they have the answer we’ve all been looking for: grilled meat, fried garlic, and lots of both.

Starting on 26 July they will be releasing two sandwiches as part of their Summer Stamina series dubbed the Garlic Meat Monster and Garlic Double Cheese.

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Japanese police smack down on prostitution ring employing overweight women

Japanese police smack down on prostitution ring employing overweight women

On Wednesday, July 16, reports came from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announcing that two women had been arrested on suspicion of violating the Japanese Anti-Prostitution Law of 1956. Those apprehended are thought to have been running a prostitution ring for men with a fetish for fleshy females. The average weight of the women they dispatched to paying customers was a good 100 kg (220 pounds)!

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Travel across Japan in under an hour without leaving the comfort of your home!

Travel across Japan in under an hour without leaving the comfort of your home!

I’m sure taking a trip across Japan is a thought that has crossed the minds of many, whether they’ve already visited the country or not. However, unless you’re enjoying a gap year or have an extremely understanding boss, taking enough time off to see it all in one go isn’t easy. Experiencing the change in climates as you travel between the different regions of the country or admiring the scenery particular to a specific area carries an undeniable charm. If only there were a way to experience Japan in its full glory without being restricted by the factor of time.

Well, we might have just the solution for all you busy people out there. It comes in the form of a special Google Street View movie which boasts footage of the whole journey across the country, from the northernmost tip of mainland Japan right down to the south.

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25 photos of ‘weird Japan’, and Japanese reactions to them

25 photos of ‘weird Japan’, and Japanese reactions to them

Weird Japan. Where humans and Telenoids embrace. Where everyone pilots giant robot power suits to work. Where crazy toilet situations, extreme cosplay, and adult men taking their pillow “girlfriends” out on the town are par for everyone’s course. Or are they? One thing I love about this country is the great variety on the menu.

Recently a bunch of weird pictures found on the internet, allegedly from Japan, were posted on an English-language website, which claimed that the wackiest pics always come from Japan. We have the bizarre images below, along with some genuine Japanese reactions!

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National Highway 339: The only staircase highway in Japan

National Highway 339: The only staircase highway in Japan

In Japan, there are roughly 450 national highways wandering their way through the country, connecting the various cities and prefectures.

Their sizes and conditions obviously vary widely depending on location and usage, but for the most-part they all share one thing in common: cars can drive on them. But on 338.2 meters (about 425 yards) of National Highway 339 in Aomori Prefecture, not a single car, truck, scooter, or motorcycle is allowed.

Why? Because it’s actually a staircase!

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Japan sets new world record for largest mailbox, now ready for your puny mail

Japan sets new world record for largest mailbox, now ready for your puny mail

A lot of world records are inherently silly. Sure, you could set a record for the most mascot characters dancing in sync, but why would you? Because you are Japan, that’s why! And now Nippon has grabbed another who-even-thinks-of-that world record: largest mailbox.

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Japan’s Asahi News shut down on China’s version of Twitter

Japan’s Asahi News shut down on China’s version of Twitter

Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s oldest and largest national newspapers appears to have run into problems with China’s censorship. For two days straight the company’s accounts on China’s microbloggling sites such as Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo have been frozen. As of last night no reason has been given for this action.

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【Update】Ghibli’s new movie not a big hit with the kids? Mixed reviews for ‘The Wind Rises’

【Update】Ghibli’s new movie not a big hit with the kids? Mixed reviews for ‘The Wind Rises’

While the official release date of Ghibli’s new feature anime film, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), is still a few short days away, numerous preview screenings have already taken place across Japan. We too, went to a screening earlier this month and offered you our impressions after seeing the movie, and now, with all the reviews from luckier members off the public trickling in, it seems that not everyone is happy with Ghibli’s new creation, especially the younger audience.

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Insect repellant advertisement wins award, men everywhere unanimously agree

Insect repellant advertisement wins award, men everywhere unanimously agree

On 16 July, Asahi Shimbun declared the winner of the 61st Asahi Advertising Award to be the ad seen above. Chosen from 1,200 entries this ad not only perfectly explains the product and how it’s used but also entices the viewer with its finely woven blankets and well painted walls.

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Attack this titan if you must, but please don’t scratch his mid-engined Italian sports car

Attack this titan if you must, but please don’t scratch his mid-engined Italian sports car

Life is hard being one of the giants from the anime series Attack on Titan. Sure, there’s a certain cachet to playing an antagonist in this year’s breakout hit. But at the same time those delicious humans have put up three gargantuan protective walls to keep you out of their cities. And even if you do find a way to get inside, the town’s defenders will swarm on you using their 3-D Maneuver Gear, an awesome system of hip-mounted grapples and wires that let them zip through the air.

But one lucky titan has caught a break and now has his own cool mode of transportation.

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List of ‘most perverted countries’ revealed, Japan somehow doesn’t make the cut

List of ‘most perverted countries’ revealed, Japan somehow doesn’t make the cut

The online men’s magazine AskMen recently announced the world’s horniest countries, with Greece proudly taking the top spot, China coming in at number four, and Japan – against all odds – mysteriously absent from the list altogether.

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‘Say hello to my little friend!’ Irritated umbrella owner surprises thief with cockroach

‘Say hello to my little friend!’ Irritated umbrella owner surprises thief with cockroach

We’re sure many of you readers are as sick of hearing about the Japan heat as we are suffering it, so let’s talk about some different weather! In specific: Rainy days and umbrellas!

Posting on Japanese news and community site My Navi News, a university student has asked the online community for its take on his somewhat unique predicament he found himself in after using everyone’s most hated insect to prevent his umbrella from being stolen.

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This ice cream’s special Okinawan ingredient will do more to keep away the heat

This ice cream’s special Okinawan ingredient will do more to keep away the heat

Regular readers may be aware that we’ve done a fair amount of reporting recently on the unrelenting heat here in Japan and on ways to battle the sweltering temperatures. Naturally, eating cold or frozen snacks is one way to cool down, but now major Japanese dairy manufacturer Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd. has now come out with an ice cream with a special ingredient that does more than keep you cool. The secret is a special ingredient that, although commonly used in cooking, is not what you would typically expect to find in an ice cream!

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Love Nissin’s Chicken Ramen? The Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel has a room just for you!

Love Nissin’s Chicken Ramen? The Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel has a room just for you!

Teaming up in a collaborative effort for the first time, the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel and the nearby Nissin Cup Noodles Museum have created two Chicken Ramen-themed rooms for connoisseurs who just can’t get enough of those tantalizingly delicious instant noodles and their irritating lovable chicken mascot Hiyoko.

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Dozens of new Nintendo games available to play for free at Comic-Con 2013!

Dozens of new Nintendo games available to play for free at Comic-Con 2013!

Nintendo has announced that it will be giving visitors to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con event the chance to get their hands on a number of as-yet-unreleased Nintendo games for Wii U and 3DS.

Being based in Japan, the spiritual home of video games, we’re used to feeling smug about getting our sticky fingers on most of Nintendo’s titles before many in the West, so you can be sure this news has left us greener than Luigi’s cap with envy!

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Video Games Live music concert to be streamed via Twitch from San Diego Comic Con

Video Games Live music concert to be streamed via Twitch from San Diego Comic Con

Just because playing video games is the preferred hobby of many nerds and otaku-types (like us!) doesn’t mean they lack class. Game music in particular has improved in leaps and bounds over the years, almost as much as the graphics themselves. These days, many big-budget games contain fully orchestrated scores by famous movie composers, and even those that don’t can be arranged to fit a symphony.

This weekend at San Diego Comic Con, a performance of symphonic video game music called Video Games Live will be taking place. And, for the first time ever, this highly anticipated show will be broadcast around the world, thanks to the live streaming web services at Twitch.

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It’s lunch time in the Valley of the Wind with this Nausicaa-themed rice omelet 【Recipe】

It’s lunch time in the Valley of the Wind with this Nausicaa-themed rice omelet 【Recipe】

Japan’s got kind of a thing for making its food look like other living things. Take for example the kids’ boxed lunch staple the tako wiener, a length of sausage sliced to look like a cute little octopus. Curry and rice shaped like teddy bears soaking in a bathtub are a mainstay of maid café menus.

At the same time, famed anime house Studio Ghibli’s fans also have a habit of artistically expressing their enthusiasm through food. Droves of chefs tweet pictures of their “Laputa toast” (basically a fried egg on a thick slice of bread) whenever the film is shown on TV, and we tried our hand at reproducing the herring and pumpkin pie from Kiki’s Delivery Service a few months back.

But the bar for Ghibli-themed food was just raised several notches by one lover of Nausicaa of the Valey of the Wind who created an edible version of the movie’s monstrous ohmu.

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Worldwide best seller The Zombie Survival Guide finally gets a Japanese release

Worldwide best seller The Zombie Survival Guide finally gets a Japanese release

Japan is facing a potential crisis. While the rest of the world has been readying itself for the zombie apocalypse for years now thanks to the likes of author Max Brooks and his The Zombie Survival Guide, the inhabitants of the land of the rising sun have been given precious little to prepare them for life after society has been torn to shreds by the flesh-hungry living dead.

Thankfully, with World War Z–a movie loosely based on Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name–finally hitting Japanese cinemas on August 10, the powers that be have decided it is time to arm the nation with the knowledge it’ll need to survive. Arriving in bookstores next month, a Japanese language version of The Zombie Survival Guide might just keep the country going until we can start rebuilding society.

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