Suntory comes out with sweet Lipton tea drink for Halloween — the Pumpkin Tea Latte!

With Halloween just around the corner, we seem to be virtually surrounded by pumpkins here in Japan. Not surprisingly, in addition to the usual pumpkin ornaments and decorations on display, we’re seeing a sudden increase in pumpkin flavored foods and sweets as well.

Japan has gotten into the Halloween spirit to such an extent this year that you can buy limited edition pumpkin-flavored tea in a bottle at supermarkets and convenience stores. And when a beverage involves not only pumpkin but tea from Lipton and a cute Halloween label to boot, well, let’s just say it gives us a lot to be happy about!

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Japan’s finest green tea, now available in bottled form at an eye-popping price

Japan may have invented the tea ceremony, but that doesn’t mean that every occasion to drink the beverage is considered a solemn cultural experience. Modern residents of Japan don’t generally have the time for a highly ritualized brewing and sipping of a cup of tea, and are instead far more likely to satisfy their cravings with an inexpensive bottle of green tea bought from a vending machine or convenience store.

But swinging the pendulum back the other way is beverage company Ito En, which is releasing a super-premium bottled green tea made with Japan’s highest quality leaves, and an eye-popping price to match.

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This compilation of teas from around the world is making us thirsty! 【Video】

While coffee may be the world’s favorite caffeinated beverage, tea has a much longer history, and is still deeply ingrained in many cultures. How people in each country take their tea is as varied is the types of tea available, and even personal preferences within each country.

Whether you like your tea black, green, white, hot, iced, served straight or with yak butter, take a look at this video compilation of teas around the world and see how many you have tried!

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Red Bull unveils new Japan-exclusive grape flavor

Red Bull has long been the official drink of all things EXTREME!™

But, if you’re anything like us, you’ve occasionally found yourself in the middle of a sick skydiving 360-degree kickflip while firing an assault rifle and been underwhelmed by the ability of the chemical, vaguely fruit-like taste of standard Red Bull to whet your whistle.

“If only there was grape-flavored Red Bull so I could be EXTREME without compromising taste,” you maybe thought to yourself. Luckily, in Japan anyway, Red Bull’s got your covered.

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McDonald’s Japan’s straws are designed to mimic the experience of drinking breast milk

Even if you’re not a fan of McDonald’s burgers, fries, or food offerings of any kind, you have to admit the fast food chain knows how to make a pretty tasty shake. Thick and creamy, sipping on a McDonald’s shake can instantly bring back those feelings of happy contentedness you felt as a child, and in Japan part of the reason might be that the experience is designed to make you feel like a baby sucking down a meal of breast milk.

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Italians taste test Japanese canned coffee and tell us what they think【Video】

You can find canned coffee almost anywhere in Japan. First invented and introduced to the Japanese market in 1969, canned coffee sales really started taking off in the 1980s. Admittedly my first canned coffee experience left me wondering what all the hype was about, but now, perhaps as a result of better production methods or acquiring a taste for it after living here so long, I have to admit nothing beats the satisfaction you feel sipping on a warm can of coffee from the vending machine just as the weather starts getting chilly.

Of course, when it comes to coffee, many people think of Italy. Along with pasta and pizza, coffee is a huge part of Italian food culture. In fact, the country has over 160,000 small cafes serving coffee, drinks, and light eats from morning to evening. So how exactly would Japanese canned coffee fare with Italian locals with a refined taste for excellent coffee? RocketNews24 decided it was worth making the trip over to ask.

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Does the new Space Tea from Japan’s Village Vanguard actually taste like space?【Taste Test】

Village Vanguard is one of Japan’s more unique stores, selling everything from inappropriate T-shirts to Attack on Titan curry to more inappropriate T-shirts to whatever this is. Some of the food products they stock sit squarely on the border between delicious and “gag gift,” but perhaps the most intriguing of those items is the new Space Tea.

But does it really taste like space? Naturally, we were skeptical…but also curious enough to run out and buy a can. So, come along with us on a journey into the depths of spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace!

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Foreign otaku stars in How to Survive Comiket instructional video

If you’re the outdoors type or athletically minded, summer might bring to mind trips to the beach or ballpark. But for anime and manga fans, summer means heading to Comic Market, also known as Comiket.

The country’s largest dojinshi (independently produced comics) convention will run from August 14 to 16 at Tokyo’s Big Sight. And while fun and passion are what draw the half-million-plus attendees, with so many people in one place it’s important for everyone to follow some basic rules of conduct, as explained in this English-subtitled video titled How to Survive Comic Market that follows one foreign otaku on his trek to the dojinshi paradise.

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Will whiskey aged in space taste smoother? Suntory is set to experiment this month

Japanese brewing and distilling company Suntory Holdings Limited recently announced their plans to send samples of whiskey to the International Space Station in order to investigate the effects of zero gravity on the aging process.

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Is the world ready for Japan’s new Lemon & Mint Pepsi? 【Taste test】

So, mint is an extraordinarily versatile, exceedingly summer-appropriate ingredient. It can add a refreshing bite to savory dishes, is the essential main ingredient in basically all of the world’s best ice cream flavors, and is the star of the show in that most refreshing of summer beverages, the mojito (without which would basically just be watery rum).

Mint is the miracle substance that makes Asia’s hellish, your-buddy-just-spontaneously-combusted-hot summers just the slightest bit tolerable; a fact that beverage and snack makers in Japan are finally catching onto, with each passing year seeing better and more diverse mint-infused offerings.

But lemon and mint? That’s the new flavor combo Pepsi is banking on to be the next big thing with its new “Pepsi Special Lemon Mint” drink offering, and we’re just the slightest bit wary.

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Calpis releasing refreshing new cola float flavor just for summer

Calpis is a Japanese soft drink that has been around for almost 100 years. Despite how well-loved it is not only in Japan, but all over South East Asia, most foreigners are only familiar with its name, which sounds like “cow piss”, rather than its actual taste (which is why it’s renamed “Calpico” in the U.S.).

But as you can probably tell by its popularity, Calpis doesn’t taste anything like what it sounds like, and for summer the brand has introduced a limited line of thirst-quenching flavors to help you beat the heat. Ajiwai Cola Float, the second flavor of their limited ajiwai” series, will be hitting shelves from the end of this month, and we’ve got the scoop on what the final product will look like once it does.

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Pro: Six idols fighting over you! Con: They’re all super-powered and violent!! Soda ad: Crazy!!!

There’s a pretty common male fantasy in Japan that goes like this: You’re sitting alone in your classroom at lunchtime, when suddenly, a cute female classmate walks up to you. With your heart fluttering and your stomach growling, you find out she’s ready to satisfy both, as she pulls out a bento lunch box filled with homemade goodies and, while smiling sweetly, asks if you’d eat lunch with her.

Now take that same scenario, but expand the cast from one girl to six. Even better, right?

Sure, at least until you find out that all six of your lady suitors have superpowers and violent streaks, like what happens to this unsuspecting guy in the craziest soda ad we’ve seen in quite a while.

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Japan’s barley soda is so weird in so many ways, yet so right in one 【Taste test】

So this morning, my boss asked me if I wanted to do a taste test of a new drink that just went on sale in Japan. I figured this was a pretty sweet assignment to snag for the day, and not just because at that same moment my boss was having some of the other RocketNews24 writers strip down to their underwear and pose for pictures as part of another project, which I would then have an excuse to sidestep.

See, the taste test was of a new carbonated barley-based beverage, and since beer is one of the wells I go to as a writer, I assumed my boss was talking about the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage. But nope, it turns out that there’s now barley soda in Japan, so I was off to the store to try some of this drink that’s devoid of alcohol but surprisingly full of mystery.

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More lifehacks! The easiest way to keep champagne from going flat, tested

There are all kinds of urban legends and so-called old wives’ tales that proclaim the health benefits, or time-saving benefits, borderline magical properties, or terrifying dangers of doing X or Y. We’ve heard them all: Don’t eat within thirty minutes of swimming or you’ll get a cramp and literally die, bundle up when it’s cold outside or you’ll get a cold (by the way, oh my god, people, stop it with this; a cold is a virus, you don’t get it from the weather), an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a watched pot never boils, etc.

It’s almost like these old sayings and legends are the pre-Internet era equivalent of lifehacks! And since we’ve sort of been on a lifehacking streak recently, we decided to give one of these a test for ourselves: Specifically, the rumor that sticking a spoon into the neck of a champagne bottle will keep it from going flat.

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Pepsi’s awesome Peach Boy reboot continues with new episode, fire-breathing giants【Video】

About half a year ago, we took a look at a unique retelling of the Japanese folk tale of Momotaro, also known as the Peach Boy. Not only was it presented as a series of live-action commercials for Pepsi’s zero-calorie cola, it reimagined Momotaro and his animal companions (a dog, pheasant, and monkey) as gritty action heroes in a desperate fight against the ogre-like oni.

The commercials were so cool that they left many people begging for a full-length theatrical feature, and while a Momotaro movie is yet to be greenlit, the fourth video in the amazing series has been released, with an extra-long runtime and more awesome pyrotechnics than you’re likely to see in any other soda commercial.

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Western products some Japanese people love: Diet Dr. Pepper, the rare unicorn of drinks in Japan

Do you like Japanese snacks and drinks? Can you never get enough of some sweet, sweet Pocky washed down with a nice cold C.C. Lemon?

Well guess what? It goes the other way too! Some Japanese people love certain Western products that are super rare in Japan. Case in point, two of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers have an unhealthy obsession with Diet Dr. Pepper. Both of them have tried to track it down in Japan for years to no avail, finally giving in to lesser drinks.

But not anymore. Something rare and beautiful has been found in Japan, and its name is Diet Dr. Pepper.

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Transform your bottle of tea into Sailor Senshi with these cool Sailor Moon covers from Mini Stop

Heat and humidity are as much a part of a Japanese summer as festivals and fireworks. With the threat of dehydration always looming, it’s a smart idea to always carry a cool, rehydrating beverage with you, but if you’re sweating profusely, you can bet the plastic bottle your drink is in is doing likewise.

To keep the rest of the contents of your bag from getting damp, you could wrap the bottle in a hand towel. A more effective alternative, though, is to slip a specially designed cover over it, and if you’re going that route, why not use one of these cool Sailor Moon costume covers that you can get for free with a bottle of Japanese tea at Mini Stop convenience stores?

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Beautiful anime series about twin princesses and mother’s legacy is also probiotic beverage ad

Twin princesses are born into this world just as the queen’s life ends. Inseparable in childhood, their relationship will be ruptured when one girl’s destiny leads her to take up their mother’s legacy, leaving her sister filled with resentment at being denied the opportunity to serve as savior to her subjects, a role which she had believed a claim to was her birthright.

It sounds like the beginning of an exquisitely produced anime, and in fact, it is. But it’s also part of a startlingly compelling and continuing series of probiotic beverage ads.

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Kirin Beer to begin service delivering kegs directly to your door, kegstands discouraged

Kirin Beer, the Kirin Beverage Company subsidiary unsurprisingly in charge of manufacturing and selling the company’s signature lines of beer, announced yesterday that it will begin offering a service starting from August that will see a beer server and kegs delivered to individual households in the Tokyo area on demand. 

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Starbucks comes to Tottori, local coffee chain’s poster compares it to Perry arriving in Japan

With Starbucks having won the loyalty of so many customers in so many countries, sometimes it seems like the Seattle-based coffee giant has a location in every corner of the world. There’s still at least one place that’s Starbucks-free, though, and that’s Tottori, the last prefecture in Japan without a branch of its own.

The situation is about to change, though, as Starbucks is set to open its first Tottori location this week. Local coffeehouse chain Sunaba Coffee, whose name is almost an exact copy of Starbucks’ Japanese nickname, is bracing for the impact of its new competitor by guaranteeing its product tastes just as good as Starbucks’, while making the humble request that customers get one out of every three coffee fixes at Sunaba.

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