On November 18, Asahi released its new Fuji-san Vanadium Natural Water Hot, apparently banking on the idea that regular convenience store-going human beings would both a) know what Vanadium is, and b) actually want to consume just plain hot water out of a bottle.
Nov 21, 2014
Last year, we talked about seasoning maker Ajigen’s Magic Powder that Makes Ramen More Delicious. Weird as the idea seemed initially, the more we thought about it, we realized it could be just the thing for people with a desire for a tasty meal but no time or motivation to cook for themselves.
That said, if your schedule is so packed you need to prepare dinner in three minutes, we’re guessing you also can’t spare the time for a trip to the bar and a pour of some flavorful and unique craft brew. Thankfully, Ajigen is back again with more magic powder, this time for your beer.
Nov 14, 2014
Although I never met the man, Colonel Sanders doesn’t strike me as a hurried individual. Anybody who’s willing to add 11 different seasonings to his fried chicken can see the value in taking the time to appreciate the finer things in life. I like to imagine that rather than rush through his meals, the KFC founder would linger at the table, at least for a few minutes, and when his schedule allowed, for periods extending to “a spell.”
That’s why I think he’d approve of KFC opening its first full-fledged café this month in Japan.
Nov 12, 2014
With its startling name, it’s taking time for the yogurt-like beverage Calpis to catch on with non-Japanese consumers, who sometimes know it better by its alternate name, Calpico. For people in Japan, though, Calpis is old hat, so much so that its makers occasionally feel the need to mix up the product line with new versions and special flavors.
This year, that means strawberry Calpis. We just got our hands on a bottle, and if you can get past any hang-ups about the name, here are four ways to enjoy this delicious limited time treat.
Just like how everyone gets excited about superhero crossover projects, two different companies combining forces is a sure way to get junk food fans in Japan fired up. We’ve seen this before with Kentucky Fried Chicken potato chips, and now spud lovers have a new flavor many people are used to getting amped by: coffee.
Since we’re always ready to add to our extensive resume of potato chip sampling, we picked up a bag to try some for ourselves, and they turned out to be even more surprising than we’d imagined.
Nov 6, 2014
We like latte art, and its frothy 3-D variant, as much as the next group of visually stimulated coffee sippers. But as nice as it is to have a trained barista decorate your drink with a kitty or smiley face, most of us don’t have the time, equipment, or manual dexterity to add illustrations to drinks we make for ourselves.
But now those artistic flourishes don’t have to be something you can only have when you go out and pay five bucks for a cup of coffee, with new products that’ll let you enjoy latte art at home for about as much effort as tossing a cube of sugar into your mug.
We’ve talked before about all the cool Kit Kats Japan gets, but the chocolate-covered wafers aren’t the only sweet indulgence with exclusive-to-Japan versions. Once a year or so, Pepsi releases a special flavor for the Japanese market, too.
This winter the soft drink maker is bringing back a popular hit from a few years ago, with the return of strawberry milk Pepsi.
Oct 28, 2014
Disney has a pretty long-standing endorsement deal with Kirin Beverage in Japan, in which the studio’s animated characters appear on bottles of Gogo no Koucha tea. Right now, the two companies are taking their partnership one step further, by offering a special Disney mug to anyone who buys four bottles from Kirin’s popular tea line.
Unfortunately, Kirin has had to issue a recall of the cups, which have been found prone to cracking. We’re sure it’s an unpleasant surprise for the beverage company, but Disney fans are pointing out that Kirin should have seen this coming for one simple reason: the decision to put Frozen’s Elsa on one of the mugs.
Even though you can find Coca-Cola in every convenience store in Japan, for the most part the country isn’t all that into carbonated soft drinks. So if you’re selling a fizzy, non-alcoholic beverage, you need some kind of unique hook.
Pepsi has made a habit of periodically releasing unusual flavors such as chestnut or cucumber-flavored sodas, but we’ve also seen smaller, regional producers put out some creative concoctions such as cider that tastes like tomatoes, tea, or olives. Even still, beverage makers haven’t exhausted every possible taste, as right now in Yokohama and Osaka you can get your hands on cider made with silver vine, or Japanese catnip.
Japan is well-known around the world for its enormous variety of vending machines, dispensing everything from eggs to flowers to batteries at the touch of a button. But did you know there’s a machine that dispenses gold Coke cans?
Sep 5, 2014
When I walk into Starbucks and order a drink, I accept that I’m paying for more than just a beverage. Embedded in the price are the costs and economic premiums of a central location, comfy couches, and a relaxing atmosphere, and as a consumer, I’m generally satisfied with what I get for my money.
Still, every now and again the chain rolls out some new type of coffee that seems exorbitantly expensive, and this month’s new addition is a doozy, at 1,850 yen (US$18.30) for a single cup! But hold on, it’s called Geisha coffee? Well in that case, it sounds like a bargain! Time with Japan’s traditional entertainers usually isn’t anywhere near that cheap.
Actually, we’ve got some bad news for hardcore Japanophiles, but it’s also good news for coffee lovers. Geisha refers to the type of beans used, which are some of the rarest in the world.
Sep 4, 2014
Whenever I fly back to L.A., I have a standard ritual I go through. I make sure to get to Narita Airport well ahead of my departure time, check in for my flight, and have a beer or two before take-off. This gets me nice and sleepy, and I usually doze off shortly after we reach our cruising altitude, waking up several hours closer to home.
Since I fly coach, there’s a convenience store inside the terminal where I procure my supplies in canned form. Should I ever find myself with a Qantas business class ticket, though, it’s good to know that the Australian carrier’s business longue not only has draft Asahi, but that it’s perfectly poured by an awesome beer-dispensing machine.
Sep 2, 2014
With the calendar now flipped to September, we’ve got to sadly admit that summer is winding down. Japanese society is always in tune with the changing of the seasons, and as autumn starts you’ll see fashionable Tokyoites sporting their fall coats, nature lovers heading for the mountains to appreciate the changing leaves, and Starbucks rolling out seasonal drinks like its new Caramel and Pudding Frappuccino and Shaken Caramel Custard and Espresso.
Aug 27, 2014
In some ways, the huge amount of vending machines in Japan seems like a win-win situation. In a country that gets incredibly hot and sticky in the summer, it’s nice to never be more than a few minutes’ walk from a cold drink, and for beverage companies like Coca-Cola, the machines are a huge source of income.
That said, all of those vending machines are essentially coin-operated refrigerators, collectively sucking up a huge amount of electricity. In an effort to cut down on their energy consumption, Coca-Cola has developed a new type of unit that spends as much as 16 hours a day not using any electricity at all to keep its products nice and cool.
Aug 23, 2014
In Japanese cuisine, one of the easiest dishes to prepare is ochazuke, or a bowl of rice mixed with tea. While you can spruce it up with things such as plum, salmon, or spicy cod roe, the rice and tea are really all you need.
But while almost all Japanese people enjoy an occasional ochazuke session, some foreigners find it a little unnatural to pour what’s generally a beverage over their food. The whole thing becomes even less attractive if you’re not a particularly big fan of the Japanese green tea that’s normally used.
So if you’re interested in gradually easing yourself into ochazuke, maybe you’d prefer to start with a less astringent beverage, like cola.
Jul 27, 2014
With the rainy season over and done, we’ve been seeing day after day of scorching sunshine here in the Tokyo area. If you’re spending much time outdoors, whether sightseeing or just commuting to and from work or school, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, since it’s the best way to ward off dehydration.
Thankfully, Japan is covered in vending machines, so you’re never too far away from a cold, refreshing beverage. Of course, you can only knock back so many bottles of Coca-Cola before getting bored with the flavor, so we’ve scoured the streets of Tokyo and came back with no fewer than 10 vending machine drinks that fly under the radar in Japan.
Jul 26, 2014
There are some things that are nice to have in your drink, such as those little paper umbrellas, or a shot of bourbon. On the other end of the spectrum, there are things no one’s happy about having slipped into their beverage, like a mickey, whether it be the mouse or the incapacitating drug.
Ordinarily, slimes would fall into the latter category. But what if the slime were actually an ice-cube, and shaped like the beloved mascot monsters from role-playing game series Dragon Quest?
Jul 23, 2014
Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to take taxis everywhere or the ample patience necessary for a bus tour, sightseeing in Japan means a lot of walking. As exciting and fascinating as the country can be, hour after hour on your feet is enough to leave anyone looking for a place to sit down and have a drink, which is part of the reasons why you can always find a Starbucks near Japan’s major travel destinations.
Still, vacation only lasts so long, and many tourists don’t want to waste their time in a new city sitting in a boring old coffee house that looks just like the one in their hometown. Thankfully, the world’s most popular coffee house has gone all out with the design of these five Japanese Starbucks locations, making them sightseeing attractions in and of themselves.
Jul 17, 2014
We’ve no doubt all experienced that feeling of frustration when, right when things are getting good, our favorite TV show is interrupted by an ad break. We kick ourselves for getting suckered in, knowing full well that both the show’s makers and the networks that host it put the ads in where they did for good reason – to keep us glued to our sets that little bit longer.
But there are times when even the ads are so well made that they’re as entertaining as the shows we were watching. This new commercial for a Japanese soft drink, for example, is so cleverly shot that for the first few seconds we genuinely thought it was footage taken by a couple of high school girls tooling around in their classroom. Until, of course, they started back-flipping off buildings, sprinting across roofs and pulling every trick in the ninja book.
Sure, it has almost nothing to do with the product, but we think you’ll agree this is one of the coolest ads around.
Jul 4, 2014
Two of the simplest, most effective ways to craft a marketing campaign in Japan is to cram your promotions full of either anime characters or girls in bikinis. But what if you’re rolling out a particularly important product? Is there a way to make absolutely sure you grab the attention of potential customers?
Sure there is. All you have to do is double your efforts by combining the two eye-catching methods mentioned above by dressing up a bunch of spokesmodels in skimpy anime cosplay outfits, like when we spotted Lum from classic anime Urusei Yatsura passing out samples of a new energy drink.
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】1
- Guy asks Twitter to decode late uncle’s encrypted message, gets results in matter of hours2
- Japan’s 10 best ryokan inns and top 10 hotels, as chosen by foreign visitors3
- Japanese film pros ranked their top movies to show kids, with Ghibli titles sweeping the top 34
- Timpani drummer’s crazy finale is startling, funny, more metal than you’d expect from a symphony5
- More adorable photos from Japan’s fox village6
- Foreigner cyclist pulls a Gandalf, stands up to driver using bike lane in Beijing7
- Japan’s pet kitties are reportedly spellbound by recent NHK wildlife documentary 【Photos】8
- Super-hot female member of real life superhero group captures Japanese hearts9
- We test the mayonnaise hair pack, plus give vegetable and olive oil a shot, and the winner is…10
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】1
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!2
- Turn an ordinary balloon into a smartphone case in seconds with this neat trick3
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】4
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so5
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours6
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute7
- 10 ways shopping at Wal-Mart in China is completely different from how it is in the US8
- Yokohama restaurant serves fried axolotl, along with giant isopod, camel, and crocodile9
- Our Japanese reporter visits an American sushi restaurant in Japan10
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”1
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】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
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher5
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises6
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit7
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make8
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message9
- 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
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher2
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls3
- 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
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked7
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea8
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】9
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school10
- More adorable photos from Japan’s fox village
- Foreigner cyclist pulls a Gandalf, stands up to driver using bike lane in Beijing
- Japan’s pet kitties are reportedly spellbound by recent NHK wildlife documentary 【Photos】
- Super-hot female member of real life superhero group captures Japanese hearts
- We test the mayonnaise hair pack, plus give vegetable and olive oil a shot, and the winner is…
- Free to download Japanese marriage applications are cute, stylish, and legally binding
- Japanese model builder wins at Gundam, makes a 3D model look like a flat drawing
- Taiwanese subway’s anime mascot wants you to mind your manners, watch out for the Hamburglar
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!
- Does the way you cross your arms say anything about your personality? Japan thinks so
- There’s a Doraemon Christmas tree in Singapore
- Zao Fox Village: Where all your cutes are belong to us
- Hadoken! The LINE stickers we’ve all been waiting for: Street Fighter II