As we recently reported, McDonald’s has made the crushing decision to end the sale of its medium and large size fries. The controversial decision was made due to fears of a potato shortage, meaning that the days of gleefully ordering obnoxiously large amounts of fries with reckless abandon are now well and truly over. The potato cull prompted several Twitter users to head to McDonald’s for one last order of M and L size greasy, salty fries, in order to document their “last meal” for posterity.
6 days ago
I’m heading back to the U.S. for a couple of days at the end of the year, and as much as I love Japan, it’ll be nice to spend some time doing things I can’t here. Aside from seeing family and friends, I’m looking forward to watching a college bowl game or two, plus soaking up some warm January sunshine, which tends to be much more plentiful in California than Kanagawa Prefecture.
And as long as I’m making a list of things you can’t do in Japan, I should probably add getting a large batch of French fries at McDonald’s, since, for the time being, the chain will only be selling small sizes of spuds in Japan.
Nov 30, 2014
We all know that KFC is a big, big deal in Japan around Christmas-time. Families order huge Christmas platters for the holiday and singles celebrate by inviting friends over and bringing home a bucket of Special Recipe.
While it may strike Westerners as a delightfully quirky example of holidays getting lost in translation this side of the Pacific, to the Japanese, it’s a cherished tradition. And, of course, a multi-million dollar cash cow for KFC; one that convenience store chains are always eager to get a piece of.
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.
Last month, Becker’s, Japan Railway East’s hamburger chain, announced its venison burger, which put us in a bit of a quandary. It’s part of our life’s mission to try every intriguing bun-based sandwich we come across, but could we really bring ourselves to eat something as cute as a deer?
Sure we could!
Nov 11, 2014
It’s been a pretty rough year for McDonald’s in Japan, in the same way that getting hit by a bus on your way to work would make for a rough morning. Following a widely reported scandal in which the chain had been supplied with expired chicken by a meat processing facility in China, McDonald’s has been trying everything it can think of to lure diners back, such as giving away Chicken McNuggets for free, replacing the meat with tofu, and trying to take our mind off the incident entirely by pulling our attention towards pork cutlets instead.
After all, a restaurant chain can’t survive without customers, right? There’s one other thing you need to run a business though: employees, and these days McDonald’s is finding itself losing those, too.
Although slightly paradoxical, there’s kind of nothing more American than the good ol’ Chinese buffet.
The Chinese buffet is an American fixture that takes an imported cuisine (basically the only thing America really has) and twists it to suit American tastes. Over the years, it’s become a classic staple of the American diet, fortune cookies and all. Also there’s probably something to be said about the American dream – “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,” and all that – beneath all the MSG and faux duck meat. Whatever.
So American expats, nostalgic for their weekly family fix of spicy staples like General Tso’s chicken and other incongruous Asian fusion dishes, must be rejoicing at the news that there’s now a Chinese buffet in Tokyo serving all-you-can-eat Chinese classics for a measly 600 yen (US$5.50).
Oct 25, 2014
Back in May, McDonald’s Japan unleashed the Tonkatsu McBurger highlighting Japan’s ubiquitous piece of breaded meat, the tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet). Although it didn’t entirely win us over against Mos Burger’s tonkatsu burger when it first came out, the masses were pleased and cleaned out the burger chain of supplies before the Tonkatsu McBurger was scheduled to finish.
Due to that success McDonald’s will bring back the Tonkatsu McBurger but planned an added feature for its inauguration into the regular menu across Japan – a truly special moment in any sandwich’s life. This addition is an elaborately created sauce promising to heighten its flavor to a whole new level. But is it enough to win back customers lost after this summer’s chicken scandal?
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Oct 25, 2014
The last time we saw the Double Down, KFC’s burger that swaps buns for fried chicken patties, was in the form of KFC Japan’s Kentucky Chicken Rice, which eliminated the burger patty in favor of a disc of rice. Now Korea is taking a stab at the popular chain’s meat monstrosity with the Zinger Double Down King. Get ready for some photos of this burger of fried chicken, bacon, and beef!
The plot thickens: Pizza Hut Japan’s feline employees disappear overnight, forcing store closure 【Video】
Oct 24, 2014
Back in August we brought you the news that Pizza Hut in Japan was now under the control of four bossy cats. Along with millions of other pizza and cat fans, we couldn’t get enough of the adorable antics of Tenchō, Hime, Dora and Detch as they manned (catted?) the phones, were startled by the sound of the cash register, and rode a rumba around the store.
This week, the chain announced the emergency closure of its Pizza Cat store, citing the mysterious disappearance of the four plucky feline workers. Where could they have gone? And why? We did some detective work to try and find out.
Oct 24, 2014
While it doesn’t have nearly as many outlets as McDonald’s, MOS Burger, or Lotteria, Japan’s Becker’s hamburger chain provides a more upscale dining experience. Sure, it’s still fast food, but Becker’s prides itself on high quality ingredients, such as its fresh-baked bread, and relaxing ambiance.
Still, without the huge advertising budget of its larger rivals, Becker’s often flies under the radar of burger fans. They’ve got our undivided attention right now, though, as the chain is about to start selling venison burgers.
Oct 22, 2014
This Monday marked the return of the gigantic, five-patty Tower Cheeseburger to fast food chain Lotteria. Unfortunately, it was only back for a day, but hey, we figured this limited availability was actually a blessing in disguise. After all, you feel a lot less guilty eating that much meat in a single sitting when you know it’s the sort of rare opportunity you won’t have the chance to make a habit of.
But with just one day to get their Tower Cheeseburgers, no doubt a lot of fans weren’t able to clear out their schedules for a run to their local Lotteria. We’re guessing the blow was softened a bit, though, when they saw that the reality of their burger dream didn’t look anywhere near as mouth-watering as it did in Lotteria’s ads.
Good news for those of you in Japan who’ve always wanted to see more MEAT in your hamburgers. Yes, the humongous tower of a burger we’ve mentioned several times on our site is back! It’s the Tower Cheeseburger from fast food chain Lotteria! But if you want to get your hands on one of them, you may need to get ready for some quick action, because this time, they’ll be available for just one day!
Fast food chains are always on the lookout for ways to steer us into their open arms, with limited edition burgers, unusual collaborations and exclusive accessories all weakening our will at some point, despite quiet pleas from our inner selves to look the other way.
Lotteria is one of the unabashed leaders in the field, offering us burger towers of mammoth proportions that have us handing over money just to lay eyes on the meaty beasts. Now they’ve unveiled two life-size versions of their famous multi-patty behemoths. But this time, they’re adorable USB memory sticks.
Recently, Japanese branches of McDonald’s and Burger King have been getting into the Halloween spirit with spooky black burgers infused with squid ink and bamboo charcoal. This is a problem for KFC, though, since both of those ingredients are a little too exotic to mix with the Colonel’s traditional set of 11 herbs and spices.
Since KFC can’t celebrate Halloween by embracing its dark side, the most popular fried chicken outlet in Japan is instead turning to the holiday’s other icon by offering pumpkin biscuits.
Scott R Dixon
Oct 6, 2014
If you’re a fan of the wildly popular manga and anime series Attack on Titan, then you’ll be more than familiar with the violent and jarring scenes of gigantic monsters biting off and chewing human heads, arms and various other body parts. But while you might expect such gruesome images in your comic books, commuters riding the Tokyo subway might not appreciate seeing such gory poster images on their way to work every morning.
So when advertising a new Attack on Titan exhibit opening next month at a Tokyo museum, the poster designers decided to creatively self-censor their own work with some very cleverly placed food items.
Living in Japan, we realize we’re pretty blessed when it comes to special burgers and cool comic book fast food tie-ins. But while we’re deeply grateful for our black burgers and giant-sized Attack on Titan French fry buckets, today, we’re not hiding our envy of Hong Kong’s fast food scene, since right now, that’s the only place where you can get a Batman Burger.
Have you ever wondered what the equivalent of the phrase, “as American as apple pie,” would be in other countries? For other nations, what widely loved dessert produces that same mixture of traditional comfort and nostalgia?
For Japan, you could make a strong case for anko, or sweet red beans, which show up in all manner of snacks and sweets. As we’ve talked about before, anko makes everything better, and it’s about to do the same for the Golden Arches, as McDonald’s Japan is about to start selling anko pies.
Sep 27, 2014
In our modern digital age, it can be somewhat jarring to see Japan clinging so doggedly to its analogue roots. Despite being considered by many to be the home of technology, Japan is also a place where the fax machine is still considered a vital piece of office equipment, flip-phones are holding their own against smartphones, and without actual, physical cash, it is sometimes impossible to make a payment in a store or restaurant.
Like so many people these days, on the rare occasion that I order food in, I’m far more inclined to reach for my laptop than my phone, and a kitchen drawer stuffed with fast food menus is now something that I associate only with my childhood and university days. Even so, I receive anywhere between 10 and 15 fast food delivery menus through my door each week living here in Tokyo, with Pizza Hut and pals feeling the need to constantly remind me of their existence by showing me brightly coloured pictures of their food and telling me that they’re just a phone call away.
And now, it would seem, McDonald’s Japan has joined the ranks of companies employing shifty-looking dudes on scooters to push junk mail through my mail slot.
Sep 23, 2014
Burger King recently launched two new hamburgers in Japan that feature black buns and cheese with matching squid ink black sauce. Ads, like the one above, made the burgers look pretty unappetizing. But the burgers, known as the Kuro Diamond and Kuro Pearl, look even worse in reality.
Here are some examples:
- 11 never-ending hypnotic GIFs that just made a portion of our weekend disappear mysteriously1
- Ready to tie the anime knot? Company offers marriage certificate for you and your 2D waifu2
- Latest evolution of Pokémon cafe to open in Shibuya this January3
- Sick of BABYMETAL? How about some sumo metal!4
- Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】5
- New Evangelion short film now streaming on animation studio’s website6
- Love dolls, strippers, jacuzzis and drugs: The Philippines’ largest prison gets raided by police7
- Rock band KISS collaborating with Sailor Moon Crystal’s Momoiro Clover Z8
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】9
- Tips from Japan to make your skin extra beautiful! It begins with a bath and…10
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】1
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood2
- Life imitates (Sword) Art (Online) as Japanese gamers find they can’t log out of online RPG3
- Character images of new Digimon Adventure series released, expected to air in spring 20154
- Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women5
- Ready to tie the anime knot? Company offers marriage certificate for you and your 2D waifu6
- Japan’s cutest rodent commuters take the high-road【Video】7
- Our hero Ladybeard shows us and the world how to properly wear the much-talked about boob shirt8
- Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】9
- How humanity ends: Virtual reality headset hooked up to Tenga love cup for men 【Video】10
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood1
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin2
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】3
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】4
- Japanese man proposes to girlfriend with Guinness World Record-winning GPS drawing5
- Historic Kyoto temple first in Japan to offer gay weddings6
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!7
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】8
- Hayao Miyazaki comments on Chihiro’s final test scene in Spirited Away9
- Fashion gone wrong? Boob shirts take Twitter by storm10
- “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
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】3
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China4
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood5
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin6
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked7
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours8
- 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
- New Evangelion short film now streaming on animation studio’s website
- Love dolls, strippers, jacuzzis and drugs: The Philippines’ largest prison gets raided by police
- Rock band KISS collaborating with Sailor Moon Crystal’s Momoiro Clover Z
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】
- Tips from Japan to make your skin extra beautiful! It begins with a bath and…
- One more time! Anime fans choose the series they’d most like to see rerun on TV
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- Blogger offers four pieces of advice for foreign women looking for love with a Japanese guy
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】
- 10 things Japan gets horribly wrong
- “2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka
- Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women
- Piccolo saves Christmas when he’s not saving Namekians