Cool Sweets: Tokyo’s sweet-and-sour shaved ice is the perfect dessert after Tsukishima monjayaki

Tokyo is packed full of delightful little neighborhoods, each with their own specialties. One of our favorite little neighborhoods is Tsukishima, renowned for Monja Street, an area overflowing with monjayaki restaurants. Located not far from Tsukiji Fish Market, it’s a great place for lunch when spending the day around Tokyo Bay.

But after eating a meal of monjayaki, you may have a hankering for something sweet. Fortunately, Cool Sweets, one of the best kakigori (shaved ice) places we’ve found yet, is located right on Monja Street! We recently stopped by to grab some photos and video of their delightful treats and highly recommend that you do too!

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We try cute meals, drinks and sweets from Namja Town’s Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal menu

We recently brought you news of the enticing Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon-themed menu at Namja Town, an indoor theme park operated by Namco, in Tokyo. The themed offerings were really quite something, and after spending so much time poring over the unbelievably cute items on offer, we found ourselves itching to stop in for a visit!

And visit we did. Come with us now as we eat everything from Luna P-Ball, Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick, and even Tuxedo mask’s pocket watch. These incredible edibles are absolutely adorable and filled with so many surprising details they’re almost too cute to eat! Almost…

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The ultimate hangover cure! Hot canned miso soup, packed with the power of 70 clams

One of the most wonderful things about a Japanese winter is the abundance of hot drinks that become available at convenience stores and vending machines on street corners. There’s nothing quite like popping a coin into a machine on a freezing cold night or while making your way to work, only to have a piping hot can delivered into your frozen palms; it’s an experience that’s almost as satisfying as actually drinking the hot beverage and warming yourself from the inside out!

Stumbling across a good hot soup other than corn potage when scouring the drinks display is always a rare bonus and now that’s something we can look forward to, especially after a night of drinking, with the new canned miso soup from Nagatanien. Filled with the power of ornithine, an amino acid abundant in clams, this is a traditional hangover remedy from Japan, now packed in a can!

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Get your FREE RAMEN!! Hakata Ippudo offers complimentary ramen for one day on 30th anniversary

Ramen lovers in Japan will have something to be excited about this Friday, October 16. Popular ramen chain Hakata Ippudo is celebrating their 30th anniversary that day and will be offering complimentary bowls of ramen at 30 select locations. That’s right, we’re talking FREE RAMEN here, and come the 16th, we know there’ll be plenty of customers waiting for their bowl of steaming pork-broth noodles!

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Michelin-listed ramen restaurant will turn you into a tiger with a single bite

It wasn’t so long ago that you’d hear expats and travelers in Japan express shock over the concept of sitting down in a restaurant and paying good money for a bowl of ramen. Seriously, aren’t those the cheap, instant noodles that college students, bachelors, and other people too lazy to cook survive off of?

Things are very different today, though. Ramen is currently the hottest segment of Japanese cuisine in the international dining community, with restaurants dedicated to it opening up in cities across the U.S. The humble noodles’ stock has risen so high that this ramen restaurant in Hokkaido is listed in the esteemed Michelin guide, so we decided to see if it was deserving of the honor.

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Trick or treat? How about both with these adorable Rascal the Raccoon-themed Halloween donuts

Author Sterling North’s classic book Rascal, about North’s own adventures with his wily pet raccoon, has delighted both children and adults for generations. The story also became a huge hit in Japan with a wildly popular animated series adaptation in the 1970s, and the character is still well-known today.

Due to their intelligence and craftiness, raccoons are known mischief-makers. They are also really stinkin’ cute, which makes them- or more specifically, Rascal- the perfect match for these limited edition Halloween donuts, from donut-specialty shop Floresta.

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Dollhouse dumplings! Are these the world’s tiniest gyoza?【Video】

Every area in Japan has its own local delicacies. As a long-time resident of Shizuoka Prefecture, I can tell you one of the best things my area has to offer is Hamamatsu-style gyoza, or pot stickers.

You can find all kinds of places offering up this delicious dish inside or outside the prefecture, but this is the first time we’ve ever seen it get a miniature makeover. How do these tiny dumplings measure up to the real thing? Let’s find out!

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We ordered a box of koi-shaped sushi to see if they taste as good as they look 【Taste Test】

Last week we saw the amazing koi-shaped (carp-shaped) sushi created by one sushi shop in Japan. While they were certainly beautiful and life-like, one question was on our mind: How do they taste?

To find out, we ordered a box of the koi-shaped sushi and gave it a try. Does the fish-shaped sushi’s taste live up to its appearance? Read on to find out!

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Edible owls and cats make sweet appearance at Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro Store!

If you love cats and owls — and judging from the popularity of cat and owl cafes in Japan, we’re guessing there are a good number of people who do — then the Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro Store in Tokyo may be a place you want to check out this month. Their ongoing special event features various cat and owl-themed products including irresistibly cute sweets, and we just had to share with you the images of these expertly crafted cat and owl cakes!

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Snack time! Our team list their favorite Japanese convenience store treats

If you spend any length of time in Japan, you’ll probably find yourself at the convenience store quite a bit. While there are plenty of foods that you might not be accustomed too, there are also plenty that will delight your mouth.

But with the wide range available to you, it may be hard to pick some to start with. So to help you decide, we asked some of our very own writers, all of whom have lived in Japan for years, what their favorite snacks are and compiled this list for your shopping information and drooling pleasure!

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Nadeshico Sushi restaurant challenges gender roles with all-female staff clad in kimono

How many times has a woman made sushi for you at a sushi bar in Japan? If you answered ‘never’, you’re certainly not alone as the world of sushi is one that’s traditionally been dominated by men. While a number of female sushi chefs are working hard to change societal norms and stereotypes, there’s one special restaurant in Akihabara that’s taking things even further, with a sushi bar staffed entirely by women. From purchasing ingredients to preparing fish and making sushi, these ladies are looking to challenge the male-dominated profession, and they’re doing it all while dressed in traditional Japanese clothing.

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Why does Burger King’s black burger turn poo green in the U.S. and the U.K., but not Japan?

If you’ve gone on a few overseas trips, you may be familiar with the phenomenon of travel poo, wherein your stool takes on a different hue for a few days as you adjust to local ingredients. It’s far less common for the opposite to occur, but that’s what seems to be happening with Burger King’s black burgers, which have become a repeating success story in Japan.

Burger King is currently offering its darkly colored sandwich in the U.S. and the U.K., but many are reporting that while the company turned the burger’s bun black, the burger is turning their poo green. But what’s behind this transformation, and why didn’t it happen in Japan?

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Häagen-Dazs’ awesome mochi ice creams with black sugar syrup and sweet miso glaze are coming back

Last February, we had the opportunity to combine our loves for Japanese food and ice cream when Häagen-Dazs released a line of ice cream topped by mochi rice cakes and flavored like traditional Japanese confectionaries. We got our hands on one flavor and were blown away by how amazing it tasted, and so was the rest of Japan.

Before long, the supplies of both flavors of mochi ice cream were exhausted, and the freezer sections of convenience stores and supermarkets across Japan has always looked a little lonelier in their absence. Now, though, Häagen-Dazs has announced that its kinako kuromitsu and mitarashi kurumi mochi ice creams, featuring roasted soybean flour, black sugar syrup, sweet soy glaze, and walnuts, are making a triumphant return.

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“The sushi is swimming!” Japanese sushi-maker’s koi-shaped nigiri is a work of art

So what’s the quintessential visual representation of fish in Japanese culture? Is it a decorative koi, swimming gracefully in a garden pond? Or is it a delectable piece of sushi sitting atop an elegant piece of tableware?

Maybe it’s both, like these koi-shaped sushi morsels that combine five staples of the popular dish into a beautiful piece of edible art.

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“Pepsi Ghost” brings a mysterious new flavor for Halloween in Japan

Among brands who like to get adventurous with the flavors in Japan such as Kit Kat or Häagen- Dazs, Pepsi is certainly one of the most prolific. Past Pepsi flavors have included cucumber, strawberry milk, and salty watermelon.

This time, everyone’s favorite alternative to Coke has unleashed a new flavor called Pepsi Ghost, especially for the Halloween season. They’ve really outdone themselves too, because for this limited-edition outing the special flavor is unknown.

So unknown, in fact, that even after drinking about a litre of the stuff I still can’t quite put my finger on it.

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We check out the spooky snacks of the ghost-themed GeGeGe no Kitaro cafe

Maybe you’re familiar with the popular video game and anime franchise Yokai Watch. It’s a series that combines the addictive qualities of Pokemon with the traditional ghostly lore of Japanese yokai monster stories.

But maybe you didn’t realize the “real OG,” if you will, when it comes to cutesy renditions of traditional Japanese ghosts is the manga and anime franchise GeGeGe no KitaroGoing strong since the 1960s, Kitaro is a beloved series in Japan that tells the tale of a ghostly boy fighting for peace between humans and ghouls, like a Japanese ghost-flavored X-Men.

The series is especially cherished in the author’s hometown in Tottori, but Kitaro mania extends as far as Tokyo proper, where a Kitaro-themed cafe exists. Of course, our ghost-obsessed Japanese writer felt compelled to make a pilgrimage recently.

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How do people in Japan feel about eating whale? We asked five people for their opinions

If you hail from one of the many developed nations that comprehensively frowns on the practice of whaling, you may have the image that an appalling number of people in Japan eat whale meat. And while that may be true in relative terms compared to extremely low number of people who regularly eat whale meat in several parts of North America and Europe, whaling can be a divisive topic even within Japan. Some Japanese have no problem with dining on whale from time to time, treating it like just a meatier, gamier fish. Others think eating whale is a custom that’s long past its time and needs to be rethought.

To get a preliminary understanding of some of the many different opinions on the issue that exist in the country, we interviewed a number of Japanese people and asked them whether they were in favor of or opposed to whaling and eating whale meat.

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Baked Sweetness from London arrives in Tokyo as Lola’s Cupcakes opens shop in Harajuku!

The Harajuku/Omotesando district in Tokyo is already a mecca of sweet shops from around the world, but things in the area just got even sweeter this past weekend as another internationally loved bakery opened its very first shop in Japan. Yes, we’re delighted that London’s celebrated LOLA’S cupcakes now has a shop in Tokyo, and as you may have guessed, we weren’t about to miss out on trying the sweet creations from one of London’s best-loved baking outlets, so there we were on opening day.

We already knew from the pictures that their cupcakes look simply amazing; now we couldn’t wait to try some for ourselves, and there were even going to be four original Japanese flavors too — Yum!

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Eel-flavored catfish available for tasting at Gifu festival

Eating catfish is looked down upon by many people in Japan who regularly enjoy a plethora of ocean-raised fish. Even though the Japanese diet is no stranger to aggressively aromatic food such as natto, diners here simply cannot get past the stink of these bottom feeders.

Eel on the other hand is a much-loved freshwater fish that is a summer hit across Japan served on top of rice with a sweet sauce. But with this popularity comes a threat of overfishing and depletion of the species. Faced with this problem, Associate Professor Masahiko Ariji of Kinki University has found a way to raise catfish which taste like eel.

Since its announcement earlier this year, there has been a lot of curiosity over this flavor-modified fish. Now, attendees to the Catfish Festival in Hashima City, Gifu Prefecture will get to try a very limited supply before it gets released for public consumption.

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Mermaids and Fried Wikipedia: the art of translating menu items into English

Traveling in a country where you aren’t super confident with the lingo can be extremely daunting, and simple acts like ordering food become a bit of a nightmare. If you don’t speak the language, you won’t know what foods are on the menu or how they are prepared. Dictionaries, both paper and electronic, are definitely helpful tools when deciphering a menu and many restaurants also try to provide at least some English—one of the most used languages in the world—on their menus.

But sometimes, for all their good intentions, restaurants fail. While this may make ordering lunch a little bit trickier, it is at times like these that we are blessed with some wonderfully bad translated food names.

Today’s special dishes come compliments of restaurants in Taiwan and China that just couldn’t quite find the right words to describe their respective delicacies. Look forward to dishes including mermaids, fried Wikipedia and confused pizzas after the jump.

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