food

Try not to eat your fingers while wearing these realistic sushi nails

Try not to eat your fingers while wearing these realistic sushi nails

We’ve seen a lot of cute and especially strange nail art from Japan, but we’ve never seen any that looked this delicious! Ebi, tamago, sake, and many more of our favorite sushi toppings grace the tops of this young woman’s nails, in what will probably make it even harder for chronic nail biters to kick the habit.

More up-close pictures and even more kinds of sushi nails after the jump!

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We ask an Itamae how to order sushi like a pro

We ask an Itamae how to order sushi like a pro

Japan’s sushi restaurants range from some of the finest cuisine in the world, to cheerful conveyer-belt gigs where everything is 100 yen (oh, alright then, 108 yen) and comes with a free toy. For those of us accustomed to the “sushi-go-round” that is kaiten-zushi, visiting a “proper” sushi restaurant in Japan where there’s no rotating belt of plates to choose from can be a daunting experience.

When there’s no menu, and you’re alone at the counter, quivering under the watchful eye of an intimidating chef armed with giant swishy blades, how do you order with confidence? Who better to ask than a sushi itamae, a high-end chef of Japanese cuisine. One of our intrepid Japanese reporters went to ask one of these top sushi chaps, who gave us his best three tips for sounding like you know what you’re doing at the counter.

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We visit the Hello Kitty theme park to eat an adorable Sanrio meal

We visit the Hello Kitty theme park to eat an adorable Sanrio meal

Even though it doesn’t boast the kind of attendance numbers that Tokyo Disneyland gets, Hello Kitty actually has her own theme park in Japan. Located in Tokyo’s northwestern Tama New Town district, Sanrio Puroland is dedicated to the beloved feline and her Sanrio brethren.

Puroland has the rides and shows you’d expect from an amusement park that was created to help fans spend the day with their favorite fictional characters. This being Japan, though, you also need special munchies to draw people to a destination, which Puroland has with its lineup of cute, colorful Sanrio foods.

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Creepy creatures from the seabed that you can eat!【Taste Test】

Creepy creatures from the seabed that you can eat!【Taste Test】

Although Japanese food is known the world over and Japanese restaurants can be found in almost any major city these days, many people may not be aware of a few of the finer Japanese delicacies–such as the creepy creatures from the bottom of the sea–that you can eat.

When you think of the seabed, if you think of a place that is dark, murky, and full of scary creatures such as giant squid and sea monsters, then perfect! Because today we’re going to meet some of those guys’ roommates.

Join our not-so-intrepid island reporter who prefers to pass when it comes to dining on the low-life relegated to the muck on the seabed. She skips out on the taste tests and instead grabs an unsuspecting foreign visitor to try out some of Japan’s more esoteric treats.

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Put your washing machine to better use – cook Chinese soup with it!【Video】

Put your washing machine to better use – cook Chinese soup with it!【Video】

There are all sorts of electrical household appliances designed to make cooking easier these days. Multi-functional microwave ovens, bread makers, noodle makers, you name it. Advertisements make these kitchen gadgets look so easy to use, they tend to make us forget that these machines were created to help people who actually cook. They’re probably not going to turn folks who don’t usually cook (microwaveable food doesn’t count!) into instant chefs.

This might sound crazy, but your washing machine might just be the fool-proof cooking appliance! Not convinced? We weren’t either, until we saw this Chinese guy cook soup with his washing machine!

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Fermented soybean shaved ice pushes the envelope of summertime sweets

Fermented soybean shaved ice pushes the envelope of summertime sweets

One of Japan’s favorite summertime treats is a bowl of shaved ice, or kakigori, as it’s called over here. While the most popular and common flavors are things like strawberry, melon and lemon, every now and again someplace will get really creative, like the restaurant in Kyoto that’s offering shaved ice covered with whiskey.

So now that we have nightcap-style kakigori covered, how about the opposite: a bowl of shaved ice covered with the Japanese breakfast staple natto, also known as fermented soybeans?

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Peaches packaged in pairs of panties provoke protests in PRC

Peaches packaged in pairs of panties provoke protests in PRC

It’s summer which means it’s the season for peaches! These sweet and juicy fruits are believed to have originated in China and thrive there to this day, with the Asian nation producing over half of the world’s supply. But inside the People’s Republic, this level of familiarity has locals disinterested, inspiring growers to look for ways to spice things up between consumers and peaches. And so, to reignite people’s passion for the fuzzy fruits, they slipped on pairs of sheer panties.

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Baked Kit Kats now showing up in cakes, parfaits, and crepes across Japan

Baked Kit Kats now showing up in cakes, parfaits, and crepes across Japan

In the four months since we got our first taste of baked Kit Kats, we’ve been enjoying as many of them as we can. Still, sometimes our sweet teeth are at odds with our lazier tendencies, and we can’t be bothered to cook the things ourselves. Plus. Lately we’ve started feeling a little guilty for neglecting all the other desserts we love.

So we were happy to find out that Nestle Japan is currently recruiting restaurants to combine baked Kit Kats with cakes, parfaits, and crepes, and the results are already hitting plates and bowls across Japan.

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How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】

How to make your own Pikachu Burgers!【RocketKitchen】

We recently paid a visit to the Pikachu Café in Roppongi, where we dined on, among other dishes, a hamburger shaped like the electrically charged Pokémon mascot. But while we found ourselves craving seconds, we weren’t sure we felt like waiting in the restaurant’s long line again.

So instead, we decided to make our own Pikachu Burger by reverse engineering and remixing what we ate in Roppongi, and today we’re sharing our recipe with you. So join us after the break for this easy recipe and a step-by-step guide to building your own pika-tastic burgers!

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Unlike Japan’s other expensive melons, you can use this cast-iron one to brew tea

Unlike Japan’s other expensive melons, you can use this cast-iron one to brew tea

You may have heard horror stories about melons in Japan costing 10,000 yen (US $99), but they’re really more the exception than the rule. For their personal use, most people usually choose much cheaper varieties, and the premium stuff only gets purchased as a gift to be given on special occasions.

The price those 10,000-yen melons command has as much to do with their airbrushed centerfold-like unblemished looks as it does their flavor. Sometimes, it feels like a waste to cut them open to get to the edible parts inside, almost as though you’re destroying a piece of art that just happens to look like fruit.

Maybe that’s why someone made just that, with this melon-shaped tea pot.

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Run for your rice! Nagano marathons require runners to lug a sack of grain

Run for your rice! Nagano marathons require runners to lug a sack of grain

Food always seems to taste better right after getting in some exercise. Unfortunately, sometimes a long workout leaves you feeling starving and exhausted, which is a problem when you then have to go foraging for food after you leave the gym.

While I still haven’t found a gym that’ll reward you with a protein-packed steak for breaking your bench press max, or a pool that’ll hook you up with some sashimi after 1,000 meters of backstroke, there actually is a town in Japan that’ll give you a sack of rice for completing a 5K run. The only catch is, you’ve got to carry it with you during the race.

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Titans attack Lawson convenience stores, bring tons of anime goodies with them

Titans attack Lawson convenience stores, bring tons of anime goodies with them

Pokémon fans recently got some good news when word came that Pikachu will soon be taking over the city of Yokohama. It’s not just cute and cuddly anime icons running rampant in Japan this summer, though.

Next month, Lawson convenience stores across Japan are going to be invaded by the remorseless and/or skinless cast of Attack on Titan, and they’re bringing a staggering amount of merchandise with them..

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Are you a solo dining expert? Rank yourself with this Korean “lone diner guide”!

Are you a solo dining expert? Rank yourself with this Korean “lone diner guide”!

I personally enjoy having meals with friends and family most of the time, as I think that it’s a great way to catch up face-to-face, especially in this modern era where a large portion of our daily communication relies on instant messaging and emails. Even then, there are times when I prefer to eat alone, and times when I have no choice but to.

I’m pretty sure most of us have eaten a meal alone at some point in our lives. The question is, how hardcore a lone diner are you? Korean net users came up with a nine-level lone diner guide introducing the different levels of dining loneliness. How well can you tolerate solo dining? Gauge yourself after the break!

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Whiskey shaved ice: A frozen treat for adults in Kyoto

Whiskey shaved ice: A frozen treat for adults in Kyoto

One of the most popular ways to cool yourself off during a muggy Japanese summer is with a bowl of shaved ice, known as kakigoori. However, not everyone has the sweet tooth or enduring connection to their inner child that’s necessary to enjoy the brightly colored, syrupy sweet frozen treat that’s usually flavored like strawberry, melon, or lemon.

Thankfully, if you’re looking for a chilled dessert that’s a little more adult, a restaurant in Kyoto has just the thing: shaved ice with whiskey.

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Toy Story’s Little Green Men arrive at Tokyo Disneyland in edible form, plus other new sweets

Toy Story’s Little Green Men arrive at Tokyo Disneyland in edible form, plus other new sweets

At Tokyo Disneyland, the park’s rides often get overshadowed by its other attractions. For many visitors, a day at The Happiest Place on Earth (in Japan) is more about catching parades, taking photos, or munching on the limited-time treats that are sold inside the gates.

With summer vacation just getting started, Tokyo Disneyland is rolling out a new batch of animation-inspired food, including desserts modeled after Toy Story’s Little Green Men.

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Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

Pikachu, we eat you! – A visit to Tokyo’s Pokémon restaurant

In the almost 20 years since the first Pokémon title was released for Nintendo’s Game Boy, the franchise has grown to include toys, anime, and even clothing. But while we’ve played, watched, and worn Pokémon, earlier this month we found out we’d be getting a chance to eat it as well, when we heard about a Pokémon restaurant opening in downtown Tokyo.

Curious to see if the most famous Pocket Monster tastes as good as he looks, we paid a visit to the Pikachu Cafe to see for ourselves.

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J-Pop group Tokio suspected in the sudden construction of a super-long noodle slide

J-Pop group Tokio suspected in the sudden construction of a super-long noodle slide

If you’ve ever experienced summer in Japan, you are familiar with the swampy hell-like conditions that force the entire country to be extremely creative with ways to stay cool. One of the most delicious ways to escape the temperature is to enjoy some summer Japanese treats like ice-cold somen noodles.

But why just eat your cold noodles in a little cup when you can grab them while they barrel down at high speeds down a bamboo slide? It’s called “nagashisomen” and a city in Hiroshima Prefecture recently woke up to discover a gigantic one constructed at a local temple. And rumor had it the noodle slide was built for an upcoming TV shot by the J-Pop superstar group Tokio.

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National Tanuki Cake Habitat Map aims at conserving the once-beloved but now endangered dessert

National Tanuki Cake Habitat Map aims at conserving the once-beloved but now endangered dessert

Tanuki, also known as Japanese raccoon dogs, hold a special place in Japanese culture. Often the center of folktales for their large testicles, magical abilities, and easygoing attitude, you can see them depicted in works of art all over the country.

However, now the tanuki is threatened. Not the actual animal, but a cake created in its image known as the tanuki cake. For many middle-aged Japanese people the mention of such a treat would awaken fond childhood memories. Despite this, the tanuki cake population in Japan has plummeted in recent years to the point of being critically endangered.

That’s why the website Tanuki Cake No Aru Toko Meguri has established the National Tanuki Cake Habitat Map, so that we may monitor and perhaps conserve these noble animal-shaped cakes.

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Toma Toma Sparkling: Taste-testing the tomato juice that will give you a hangover

Toma Toma Sparkling: Taste-testing the tomato juice that will give you a hangover

Last week, we brought you news that Japanese brewing company Suntory was releasing an alcoholic, summer-only tomato-juice drink called Hajikeru Tomato no Sake Toma Toma Sparkling, or just Toma Toma Sparkling for short. Some of us here at RocketNews24 apparently aren’t big fans of tomato juice, a fact which leaves the rest of us (i.e. the righteous and upstanding) baffled. Since it’s one of my top three non-alcoholic drinks, after orange juice and acerola juice, I was more than happy to take up the task of taste-testing this strange new concoction from Suntory.

So, how does Toma Toma Sparkling fare? Is it delicious, fizzy tomato juice that will give you a hangover or is it an abomination better poured down the toilet?

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“That’s normal!” – Angry waitress voluntarily munches cockroach after customer finds it in his food

“That’s normal!” – Angry waitress voluntarily munches cockroach after customer finds it in his food

What would you do if you found a cockroach in your food while dining in a restaurant?

If you said “complain to the management” or “report the place to the department of sanitation”, you’d be wrong. Well, at least according to one waitress at a restaurant in Chengdu, China who told a customer that it was “normal” for creepy-crawlies to make it into restaurant food, and promptly swallowed the cockroach he had found to prove her point…

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