drinks

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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How to make the perfect cup of drip coffee

Coffee. It’s the morning drop that most of us like to wake up to. But there’s more to the beloved beverage than just beans and hot water, as there’s a science and art to making good drip coffee, and once you’ve mastered the proper brewing technique for the perfect cup, you’ll never be able to put up with a bad one again.

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All-you-can-drink sake in the park as 23 brewers come to Tokyo for the Shibuya Sake Festival

Late spring is one of the few universally pleasant times to spend outdoors in Japan. The cold of winter and the heavy pollen counts of early spring are gone, and the heat and humidity of summer are yet to make their appearance.

Of course, some would say that no matter how nice the weather is outdoors, it’s even more comfortable to have a drink in hand. Next month, you’ll be able to scratch both those itches at once with the Shibuya Sake Festival in Tokyo’s Miyashita Park, where you can spend a day drinking as much as you’d like of more than 100 different kinds of sake.

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Master glass craftsmen creating 500 handmade Spears of Longinus for Evangelion giveaway

With its crowdfunding project falling short of its goal, Evangelion’s Spear of Longinus won’t be hitching a ride to the moon after all. That doesn’t mean the iconic weapon isn’t still going places, though.

As part of the influential anime’s 20th anniversary celebration, 500 lucky fans will be receiving handmade glass replicas of the spear, just the right size for equipping their Eva models with. The talented craftsman responsible for the high-class anime goodies recently spoke about the experience of making them, and one of them could be yours as long as you remember that you mustn’t run away from your daily glass of vegetable juice.

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Yogurt-flavored water?!? We try Suntory’s new beverage straight, mix it with booze 【Taste test】

Recently, it seems like Japanese beverage makers are all about helping us with our multitasking. First there was the sakura beer that let you enjoy a cold one and contemplate the cherry blossoms at the same time, and earlier this week it was time for a taste test of alcoholic matcha green tea.

Now, it’s time for another double-dose of drinkables, with Suntory’s just-released bottled water with the flavor of…yogurt?!?

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Alcoholic tea ceremony? We try Suntory’s new matcha green tea liquor 【Taste test】

Every now and then, after a nice, satisfying dinner, I’ll find myself with both a thirst and a quandary. Do I feel like capping the meal with a relaxing cup of tea, or something stronger?

Thanks to a new drink that just hit stores in Japan, though, I don’t necessarily have to choose one or the other, because this alcoholic beverage is made with matcha green tea powder.

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Glassware for dining at the V? Panty-clad cups selling fast 【Photos】

Sometimes a story comes across your desk that is so wacko, you just sit and stare at it for ages trying to wrap your brain around it. That happened to me this morning when I saw that an unusual item at the built-to-order site Dwango.jp was selling fast. That item? Hand-blown panty-wearing drinking glasses at a whopping 8,640 yen (US$72.12) a pop.

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Would you care for a sip of my “Princess Urine” energy drink?

April Fools’ Day has really taken off in Japan over the past few years, with major companies getting in on the action too. One of our Japanese writers, the one and only Mr. Sato, sifted through the Internet to find products worthy of his time. That is how he came across the “Princess Urine” drink. You better believe that he bought it, examined it and took some hearty gulps, all for our entertainment, of course.

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Model Miranda Kerr is hungry for tonkatsu in her new Japanese commercial, but what’s she selling?

While a certain amount of God-given natural good looks are generally necessary to get your foot in the door of professional modeling, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into making a successful career out of it. Having your whole livelihood tied up in being physically attractive means sticking to beauty, diet, and fitness regimens, and we’re sure Miranda Kerr’s are stricter than most of ours.

Of course, Kerr is only human, and apparently she too feels the pull of a filling, fortifying meal of tonkatsu pork cutlet, as shown in this new Japanese commercial starring the Australian fashion icon. In a twist ending, though, the item Kerr’s pitching isn’t clothing, cosmetics, or even the delicious Japanese food she’s seen chowing down on.

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Drinkers’ paradise found at Tokyo restaurant-100 types of sake, all-you-can-drink, no time limit

A lot of bars and restaurants in Japan offer special deals where you can drink as much as you like for a certain amount of time, usually about two hours. The downside is these packages often don’t give you access to the full beverage menu. While beer and basic cocktails are generally included, if you’re in the mood for sake, you’re generally restricted to whatever the house brand is.

So we were excited when we heard about a new watering hole opening up in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro neighborhood that lets you pick from 100 different types of sake for its all-you-can-drink plan, and even better, there’s no time limit.

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Abashiri: Home of Japan’s Prison Museum, Prison Cafeteria, and Prison Beer

Hokkaido, Japan’s rural, northernmost island, has a wealth of tourist attractions. But while most travelers spend their time enjoying the natural beauty of the region’s mountains, forests, and oceans, visitors to the city of Abashiri often spend their time in a very different way.

That’s because in contrast to the sense of freedom Hokkaido’s wide-open vistas are so evocative of, Abashiri is home to the Abashiri Prison Museum. Aside from exhibits on the history of incarceration, the museum also has a cafeteria, where diners can eat a recreation of modern Japanese prison food, and even knock back a bottle of Abashiri Prison Stout beer.

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After a post-meal cup of green tea, now you can brush your teeth with some green tea toothpaste

After a nice dinner, it’s hard to top a cup of green tea. But as you sit there, sipping and digesting, it’s important to remember not to linger too long, because while a relaxing beverage is a pleasant way to close out the meal, you really should be brushing your teeth sooner rather than later after eating.

Thankfully, there’s now a way to satisfy both your love of green tea and your responsibilities to your pearly whites with a new toothpaste made from green tea.

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At last, the solution to a warm can of beer: A cup that chills its contents instantly

With all it does for us, it’s hard to find fault with beer. If you wanted to be nitpicky, though, you could point to the opinion held by many that its flavor rapidly worsens as the beverage gets warmer.

At the same time, most beer drinkers are averse to dilute their beer by tossing ice cubes into it. So what do you do when you’ve got a rogue can of beer you forgot to stick in the fridge or cooler? Simple, you pour it into this new cup that instantly chills any liquid inside of it.

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Sonic Hour series returns with new portable device to make your beer foamy no matter where you go

Remember Takara Tomy A.R.T.S’ punnily-named product, the Sonic Hour (“hour” sounds similar to awa, or “bubbles” in Japanese) that we introduced you to two years ago? That device created a foamy head on a glass of beer in seconds, making it the perfect present for any beer lover in Japan.

Those same beer lovers now have cause to rejoice again because this time around, the Sonic Hour is back with a handy new portable version! 

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Goku vs. Frieza! Dragon Ball Z’s heroes and villains star in epic dance-off/soda commercials

Action movie stars have often commented that performing fight scenes has more in common with dancing than actually trying to knock a dude out. So if live-action on-camera martial arts is all about rhythm, footwork, and cool poses, does that mean that anime’s bareknuckle fighters are also talented dancers?

That’s certainly the conclusion we’ve come to after watching these slick soda ads featuring the cast of Dragon Ball Z.

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Cherry blossom beer. Taste test. Need we say more?

After three months of cold weather, I’m ready for spring. Coincidentally, after a long week of work, I’m ready for a beer.

Lucky me, these two desires have dovetailed perfectly in the form of Kanagawa Prefecture microbrewer Sankt Gallen’s newest offering, made with the petals of the harbinger of Japanese spring, cherry blossoms. So strap on your drinking caps, because it’s time for the sakura beer taste test!

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Starbucks sakura series 2015: Caramel, chocolate and a flowery chiffon cake

With Valentine’s Day out of the way, and plum blossoms still in bloom, it’s time for early spring marketing to burst onto the scene in Japan. Leading the pack, as it does every year, is popular coffee chain Starbucks, with the nation’s other favourite flower, the cherry blossom, taking centre stage in their annual line-up of sakura menu items and merchandise.

This year, the humble cherry blossom meets caramel and chocolate in latte and Frappucino forms, and also finds itself in a beautiful pink and white chiffon cake. Curious to know what sakura tastes like when blended with such sweet partners? Join us as we bring you all the photos and flavours from our recent visit.

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Craft brewer releases beer made with cherry blossoms, just in time for sakura season

Japan’s cherry blossoms are beautiful enough to enjoy without any alcoholic accompaniments, but it’s a fact of life that for many people the drinks are the real draw of a sakura-viewing party. Yet while there’s definitely a certain charm to knocking back a few cold ones in the park with a group of good friends, it does seem like a waste to take the focus off the flowers, since they bloom for such a short time.

That doesn’t mean you need to slow down your drinking to maximize your appreciation of the cherry blossoms, though. It just means you’ll need to pick up a few bottles of this special beer that’s made with sakura petals.

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Awesome wooden Dragon Ball mugs let you knock back a soda like Goku (or a beer like Master Roshi)

Training to be the mightiest martial artist in the galaxy is thirsty work. But when you’re feeling parched after a hard day of kicking through solid rock and firing kamehameha energy blasts from your hands, doesn’t it seem just a bit below your station in life to drink from the same sort of glass as people who haven’t forged their bodies into a weapon on par with the finest blades of tempered steel?

The solution to that dilemma is one of these awesome wooden Dragon Ball mugs.

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Attack on sobriety! Attack on Titan teams up with plum wine maker for new anime alcohol

Along with its naked giants and high-flying fight scenes, anime and manga mega hit Attack on Titan is defined by its oppressively bleak atmosphere. Its world is one in which not only do rampaging monsters want to eat you, the ruling aristocracy is ready to kick you out of the walled city if you’re too big a drain on its resources.

Compelling as its story may be, after spending enough time in that setting, even fans of the series could find themselves needing a stiff drink. If so, they might want to reach for a glass of the soon-to-be-released Attack on Titan plum wine.

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