With certain varieties of sakura trees already covered in pink blossoms, Japan has got cherry trees on the brain. Everyone is looking forward to go out and see the flowers that’ll only be here for a short time, but why settle for one Japanese tradition when you can have two by combining it with limited-availability fast food, in the form of cherry mochas and frappes from McDonald’s.
- Casey Baseel
Mar 12, 2014
As part of a society where industriousness is prized above just about anything else, many people in Japan feel like they could use a boost in the middle of the day. Austrian Red Bull and American Monster have booth made headways into the Japanese market, but this month sees a new entry to the energy drink battleground with the indigenous Samuride, which promises to invigorate you with ingredients used by Japan’s famed warriors.
A while back, food conglomerate Kibun and soy giant Kikkoman announced a couple new flavors for their popular Tonyu Inryo line of soy milk. In and of itself, this wasn’t too surprising, as new varieties are regularly swapped in and out of the Tonyu Inryo lineup.
One of the new flavors caught the eye of our junk food loving team, though: healthy cola. Ordinarily, the words “healthy” and “cola” are in such direct opposition that we expected the package to be contain a paradox-induced black hole, or to at least be completely empty inside. To our surprise, though, Kibun was indeed able to develop its healthy cola soy milk, and we wasted no time in trying it.
- Casey Baseel
Feb 27, 2014
Just like it does in other markets, Starbucks offers special limited edition merchandise for specific locations in Japan. But even if you’ve already got special tumblers from Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, you collection won’t be entirely complete without this special Starbucks bottle that you can only purchase onboard ANA flights inside or connecting to Japan.
- Casey Baseel
Feb 1, 2014
Is it spring yet? I know my southern Californian upbringing means I whine whenever the temperature is cold enough that I have to put on a jacket to go out, but I could seriously do with some warmer weather right about now. There’s all sorts of things to look forward to in the coming season, such as longer days, being able to spend more time outdoors, and the blooming of the sakura, or cherry blossoms.
And just in case the deal needs any more sweetening, there’s also Starbucks’ springtime sakura beverage lineup.
Living in Japan has done a lot to broaden my palate. For example, over the last 10 years my take on tofu has gone from “jello’s boring cousin” to “actually pretty good, especially with a little bit of sesame or spicy sauce.”
That said, I’m still not sold on soy milk. While the idea of popping open a soybean pod and finding delicious morsels of beef sounds like some sort of wonderful dreamland, the potential magic of bovine/bean cross-over doesn’t do much for me in reverse, and in general I’ll happily pass on drinkable soy.
Hoping to change my mind are two upcoming additions to soy giant Kikkoman’s line of flavored soy beverages: pear and cola.
While attending college in Tokyo, I spent the year living with a Japanese family in order to more fully immerse myself in the language and culture. But aside from being a budding linguist, I was also someone whose culinary skills weren’t quite up to even the challenge of preparing those fancy instant ramens with multiple flavoring packets, so the living arrangement including two home-cooked meals a day was gravy.
Of course, there wasn’t much actual gravy, as most of our meals were traditional Japanese fare. Dinner was always followed by a cup of freshly brewed green tea, served piping hot. Every night though, by the time I could start drinking my tea, my host parents had already finished theirs. Was there some special technique for drinking hot tea? Was I doing something wrong?
As has so often been the case in my life, yes, I was.
- Rachel Tackett
Jun 19, 2013
Whenever I’m forced to suffer the humid heat of Tokyo’s hot and rainy summers, I’m grateful for the large number of vending machines and convenience stores, all ready to sell me a nice, cold drink. It seems that not everyone shares my excitement, however, as a large percentage of Japan’s residents have shown distaste for chilled beverages. Some quote health reasons, while others just don’t like cold drinks. Lucky for them, the convenience store, Daily Yamazaki, is ready to meet their call.
In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.
According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably had a happoshu (発泡酒）or “low-malt beer-like beverage” if you’ve ever had a night out in Japan.
The taste of a typical happoshu can vary from “pretty close to the real thing” to “yes, this is definitely weasel urine.” Going into a convenience store and blindly grabbing a beer can is thus a bit of a gamble in Japan, so, ever the masculine, barrel-chested and dashingly handsome role model father to our readers, we’ve done the work for you and chosen the five happoshu brands that are worth your time:
- Japanese women dish about being betrayed by their female friends1
- Poster for Ghibli’s new movie under fire … from the big guru himself!2
- Japanese high school student becomes Twitter sensation showing difference between time with boyfriend and friends3
- Photos of women with and without make-up show that reality is what you make it4
- Visit Kiki’s Bakery at a unique fairytale village in Japan5
- Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site6
- Japanese Twitter users and the tale of the broken battery7
- Five foods you should never feed to your cat8
- “How many freakin’ CDs do I have to buy?” Fans displeased with idol group’s debut single9
- Chinese “porn identification officer” has seen over 600,000 adult videos, threw up after watching some10
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly1
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong2
- 12 gender-bent Disney and Ghibli characters that are utter perfection3
- 10 Japanese expressions that sound delightfully strange and funny when translated4
- So, the Dalai Lama walks into a convenience store in rural Japan… 【Photos】5
- Lady Gaga goes gaga for Hatsune Miku, makes virtual idol her opening act6
- Real-life barbie bares real-life face in minimal makeup selfies【Photos】7
- “Racist” Air France geisha poster prompts satirical home-made fixes8
- Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend9
- Taiwanese student creates incredible art with materials others would throw away【Photos】10
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)1
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos2
- Daughter of Osamu Tezuka, God of Manga, discovers his stash of hand-drawn sexy mouse artwork3
- Little store managers take over FamilyMart in Taiwan, hilarity and tons of cute in store【Video】4
- 【TBT】China’s Photoshop experts will fix your bad photos, but be careful what you wish for5
- The extreme lengths Samsung must go to make sure your Galaxy phone works perfectly6
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea7
- 10 incredible tiny houses in Japan: a photo tour8
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success9
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong10
- Korean high schools allow “anything goes” yearbook photos, with hilarious results1
- Taiwan’s Gravity Max – Quite possibly the scariest roller coaster in the world2
- Don’t call them fat, call them Marshmallow Girls!3
- Beautiful gym babe impresses Chinese netizens with her incredible fitness!【Pics & GIFs】4
- Japanese netizens put reality on hold for a moment, fall in love with new attorney general of Crimea5
- Picture perfect siblings of 18 years apart melt the hearts of Chinese netizens【Photos】6
- Attack on Titan’s studio head talks sequels, keys to the hit anime’s success7
- Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos8
- Chinese Photoshop Trolls and the Half-Blood Prisoner of the Deathly Phoenix Goblet (Part 6)9
- Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki says the anime industry’s problem is that it’s full of anime fans10
- Here are the weirdest things you can buy on Alibaba’s English site
- Japanese Twitter users and the tale of the broken battery
- Five foods you should never feed to your cat
- “How many freakin’ CDs do I have to buy?” Fans displeased with idol group’s debut single
- Chinese “porn identification officer” has seen over 600,000 adult videos, threw up after watching some
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong
- Advice from Japanese women on dealing with your boyfriend’s anime girlfriend
- Japanese driver fails to stop at a yellow light, turns herself in to the police
- Healthy ice cream? Well, these new Häagen-Dazs vegetable flavors at least sound healthy!
- Japan continues to invent items it thinks you want!
- Japan’s king of curry restaurants enters the instant noodle market, we taste the results
- Cat greets its returning owner with so much warmth we’d swear it was puppy love
- 12 gender-bent Disney and Ghibli characters that are utter perfection