Nov 13, 2014
The vagaries of reading in Japanese mean that often the same text or numbers can be said a variety of ways. For example, some of the many readings for 2 and 9 and “ni” and “ku,” which combine to form niku, the Japanese word for “meat,” which is how November 29 became known in some circles as Meat Day. Going from the carnivorous to the carnal, 8 can be read as “hai,” making both November 28 and February 8 observed as Knee-High Socks Days.
Sometimes, though, you don’t need pun-filled pronunciations for an excuse to start a pseudo-holiday. Writing November 11 all in numerals gets you 11-11, and all those vertical lines look to some like a handful of enticing Pocky sticks. And so, this week Japan celebrated Pocky Day by not only devouring boxes of the stuff, but by turning the chocolate-covered treats into works of physical and photographic art.
The Japanese fruit-chew candy, Hi-Chew, is getting more and more popular these days and it can be found all over the world, even in the Boston Red Socks’ locker room. Some Japanese consumers, however, seem to be sick of the same-old rectangle shape and chewiness and are starting to find new ways to eat it.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Nov 6, 2014
Tabasco, with its spicy and tangy flavors, is a popular condiment to put on pizza or pasta in Japan. The writers in our Japanese office love the hot sauce brand so much that they jumped at the chance to taste them in bean form…jelly bean form. That’s right, the Jelly Belly Factory has created Tabasco flavored jelly beans and they’re available in Japan!
But unfortunately, the flavor of Tabasco jelly beans can be summed up in one word: disgusting. At least that’s what our reporter told us after biting into one. He claimed that the flavor was just too close to the original, making for a terrible candy…which got us thinking. If Tabasco Jelly Beans taste too much like the real thing, maybe they’d taste delicious if used as a condiment…on pizza. And so our taste test experiment began.
Oct 22, 2014
We recently took a look at a new batch of Sailor Moon aprons, but if you’ve been following the celestial-themed magical girls for very long, you knew that wasn’t going to be the end of cool and quirky tie-ins for the franchise. The product planning team of merchandiser Bandai apparently never sleeps, and those aprons were just the opening salvo of another round of Sailor Moon goodies, including one that’ll help fans with the first part of their quest to eat, sleep, and breathe the hit anime.
Oct 20, 2014
For the most part, we tend to think of candy as being something for kids. Sweet flavors just seem to go with the sweet era of youthful innocence.
But what if you’re an adult who craves a sugar rush, but you still want the world to know that you’re a stone-cold badass? Then you carry your candy inside a skull-shaped lollipop case.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Oct 1, 2014
We’re sure you’ve seen those little bumpy balls of colorful sugar in Japanese candy stores. They’re called konpeito and were one of the first candies to be produced in Japan. They’re so popular that the little sugary spheres make guest appearances in several high-profile Japanese productions including Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda, and Spirited Away (remember the little stars fed to the soot sprites?). But what is really just a blob of hardened sweet stuff that can be bought for less than 100 yen (US$1) starts to get really expensive when you add luxury flavors. Let’s take a look at some of the high-class konpeito you can buy in Japan, some of which costs as much as 8,500 yen ($78)!
May 22, 2014
The Boston Red Sox have consistently had Japanese players since 2007, when they signed Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. There’s one thing Japanese players bring to the team that’s been overlooked until now, though: delicious imported Japanese candy.
People around the world love Japanese candy, be it endless varieties of Kit Kat flavours, or do-it-yourself candy sushi. There are even companies that will mail it to you monthly for a small fee (or a hefty fee – choose wisely, readers!). And it seems that recently, Red Sox players and staff have been going crazy over Japan’s long-standing fruit chew top-sellers, Hi-Chew.
I have a minor confession to make: I’m really not a fan of udon noodles. When asked to rank the big three – namely ramen, soba and udon – I’ll give my answer from most to least liked in that exact order. Ramen is quite frankly the man and hard to go wrong with, and soba is, although far simpler, nearly always delicious even hot or cold. But udon I just can’t seem to make friends with. Far heavier than its other noodle brethren, I find myself tiring of udon’s flavour even halfway through a meal, and those thick, heavy wheat-flour noodles slip from my chopsticks and splash into my soup. Every. Single. Time.
But these awesome new gelatinous “gummy” udon noodles, I think I could handle.
Jan 18, 2014
Children in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture currently have good reason to celebrate, as a huge new sweets shop officially opened in their town on December 7. But the news gets even sweeter: only kids in sixth grade or younger are allowed inside! Sounds like any child’s wildest fantasy come true, right? Parents must wait outside (and no doubt prepare themselves for the inevitable sugar-high antics to come) while their children explore the hidden wonders within.
Join us after the jump for a rare glimpse inside the shop and read what inspired the owner to open it in the first place.
Exam season in Japan is brutal. Not only do college hopefuls have to study in order to get into the university of their dreams, those hoping to go to high school also have to endure a rigorous examination process as compulsory education in Japan ends with junior high. As thousands of anxious students slave away at their desks until late at night, only to wake up, go to school, then study all over again, many companies in Japan have released special edition examination season versions of popular snacks in order to ease the torture of studying, if not for a brief moment. Let’s take a look at —- new packages, flavors, and designs of these exam season snacks.
Nov 13, 2013
Along with having a pleasing smell, one of the essential requirements of being part of the RocketNews24 team is a certain measure of eloquence. I can proudly say that the rest of the crew writes really, really good (they also help me out a lot, quite obviously).
But sometimes, words aren’t quite enough. How can mere prose do justice to the subtle hues of a cherry blossom, or the reverberations of a temple bell? Sometimes, in order to properly carry out our mission of spreading the simple joys of Japanese culture, we have to carry it with us and head out into the world, which is just what we did recently while traveling Africa.
Unfortunately cherry blossom season is still about five months away, and we couldn’t fit our cast-iron bell in the overhead bin, so we settled for the next best thing: bringing boxes of the chocolaty snack Pocky to share with the Maasai people of Kenya.
Every year, new products and special creations are announced in honor of Halloween and Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, black cats, and a number of other spooky symbols can be seen on familiar products. Even in Japan, Halloween is celebrated (although sometimes misunderstood), giving rise to cute and scary limited edition items. Let’s take a look at the sweeter side of Halloween in Japan with menu items from Baskin Robbins, Krispy Kreme, Cold Stone, and Mister Donut.
Jun 12, 2013
The Japanese are crazy for all things limited edition. This often manifests in seasonal specialties, like McDonalds’ fall Tsukimi burger, pre-summer unagi-don grilled eel rice bowls and deep summer cold noodle dishes like hiyashi chuuka. Last summer – amidst a notoriously hot year – Nestlé found they’d hit a home run with its “Delicious Cold Chocolate” series of chocolate goodies designed to be frozen before consumption.
Love lollipops? Love ice-cream? You can now make your own Chupa Chups flavored ice candy! Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will be releasing an ice candy making kit this coming 18 April.With the candy kit, making the lollipop flavored ice candy is simple and fun.
Dec 9, 2012
Japan gets all the cool Kit Kats. Since 2000, Nestlé has introduced over 200 flavors and varieties of the chocolate bar to Japan, from chestnut and espresso to baked corn and soy sauce.
Some flavors come and go with the seasons and others are exclusive to certain regions; at the souvenir shops of my home prefecture Nagano you can find the tasty Shinshu Apple flavor and the questionable Ichimi Ground Red Pepper flavor.
One of our Japanese reporters recently came across a new variety of Kit Kat at Nagoya Station that we thought was pretty cool. While the Kit Kat bars themselves are the regular milk chocolate flavor—which, mind you, differs from country to country—the box art is inspired by the Tokaido Shinkansen line and should be familiar to anyone who has ridden the bullet train in Japan.
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】1
- Japanese model builder wins at Gundam, makes a 3D model look like a flat drawing2
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!3
- Love curry? Why not wear it around your neck? Plastic food neckpieces get netizens talking4
- This old Nintendo game quadrupled in price in just a week5
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping6
- Scope out which love hotel to take your next date to right now in Google Street View7
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”8
- Super generous Japanese megastore keeps boxes of change at register for you to use9
- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber10
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】2
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer3
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!4
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute5
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters6
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick7
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world8
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so9
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】9
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked9
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea10
- The newer, cheaper Kakureya II: The perfect secret fort/box for studying, drinking, or napping
- Scope out which love hotel to take your next date to right now in Google Street View
- Japanese mothers react to being called by their first names after years of just being “Mama”
- Super generous Japanese megastore keeps boxes of change at register for you to use
- Store employee uses barcode scanner to defeat knife-wielding robber
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so
- Shimotsuki Matsuri: The extraordinary winter festival that inspired Ghibli’s ‘Spirited Away’
- Tokyo adding free Wi-Fi to 143 subway stations for foreign travelers
- Artist creates “PokeMonstrosities” that are the stuff of nightmares
- Mr. Hanko is here! Bringing life to your name stamp and joy to your office
- Creepy or cute? Feel the Panda Train’s intense gaze before sightseeing in resort town Shirahama
- “Hello Kitty Park” in China is set to open on New Year’s Day!
- Doting owner builds cosy kotatsu for cats, faces the sting of feline rejection【Photos】