- Casey Baseel
May 21, 2014
A lot of people in Japan start to feel down in the dumps in May, as the excitement of the new jobs and school years they started in April gives way to a daily drudgery with the next public holiday months away. For us, though, May has suddenly become the happiest month of the year so far, with the return of McDonald’s Japan’s massive four-patty Mega Mac on May 19.
Here at RocketNews24, we try to stay one step ahead of the latest burger trends, however. Sure, everyone’s excited about having extra meat now, but what if the next big thing is less meat? Could we order our Mega Mac with no meat, or anything else, for that matter?
As it turned out, not only was McDonald’s willing to indulging us in our minimalistic burger experiment, they even got in on the process by offering us some advice.
Japan loves cheering on its sports teams in international competitions, and with the World Cup just a few weeks away, soccer is set to dominate TV programming, advertising, and the national consciousness in general.
If you’re not personally a fan of the Beautiful Game, you might feel a little left out of the conversation for the next couple weeks. So since you won’t be using your mouth for talking, why not stuff it with some of the 14 new World Cup-themed menu items McDonald’s is rolling out in Japan?
- Casey Baseel
May 20, 2014
As someone who grew up playing video games that let you throw fireballs, suplex trains, and slay dragons, I’m a little confused by the appeal of some of today’s simple, low-key smartphone games. In particular, any game where you run around having to harvest food baffles me, since I always assumed the best part of farming and agricultural distribution was actually getting to eat something when it was all done.
Thankfully, the makers of the upcoming title Gochipon seem to agree with me, and are rewarding the best players with honest-to-goodness fruit.
- Oona McGee
May 20, 2014
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the bustling, beautiful megalopolis of Tokyo, then the city really is yours – you just have to know where to look. And if you want to get away from the tourist trail and get down close to the beating heart of the capital, a journey into the back streets of the 23 wards is where you’ll wind up.
Come with us as we take you into different neighbourhoods and spend an afternoon exploring some of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. Today we’ll take you around some of Shibuya’s lesser known backstreets, where you can chow down on falafels, pick up some of the best coffee and soak up a hip, laid-back atmosphere.
I was born a lefty, but apparently somewhere along the way I decided that there must be something to this right-handedness thing, since 90 percent of the world was doing it. I made the switch to using my right hand for most things around the time I started kindergarten, and ever since, the unusual transition has been my go to excuse for never excelling at sports that favor precise dexterity over running into people as hard as you can.
Had I stuck with the cards life had dealt me, though, my daily life might have been different in a number of ways, as shown by this list of troubles left-handed people in Japan run into.
- Scott R Dixon
May 19, 2014
Ehime Prefecture on the western coast of Shikoku is known all through Japan for its tasty mikan, or satsuma oranges. Although the fruit is delicious enough on its own, the people of Ehime love to think up new ways to enjoy the fresh taste of a local orange. In the past, we have seen funny-shaped oranges and even citrus-flavored fish, but now there’s a new way to get some vitamin C in your life: orange-flavored rice balls.
We dropped by a shop near the hot springs that inspired Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away which sells the rice balls. But these little delicacies are only available for a limited time, so click below to find out more about this surprisingly delicious culinary creation!
- Scott R Dixon
May 19, 2014
Bonsai and sushi are two of Japan’s most well-known cultural exports with fans all over the world. But while Japan may cling to the traditional presentation of these two icons, globalization has taken these Japanese icons and turned them into something new. Not just happy with tiny trees and raw fish on top of vinegar rice, these cultural hybrids have evolved into something far beyond their origins in the Japanese archipelago. Click below to see some very creative bonsai as well as some food that really stretches the definition of “sushi.”
It seems the Chinese countryside isn’t exactly a friendly place for people who are afraid of heights. We already talked about the horrifying Huashan path that winds up a cliff side and sometimes narrows to barely perceptible wooden planks hovering out of the fog, but it turns out life-endangering attractions involving great heights are all the rage in China.
This is the cliff-side Fangweng Restaurant, located just north of Yichang City.
- Fran Wrigley
May 18, 2014
We’ve all been there. You excitedly tear off the wrapper on the new snack you’ve been waiting to try, only to find that it’s half the size of the picture on the box, or doesn’t contain the mint leaf daintily arranged on the image on the packaging. That’s why packaging runs the line “serving suggestion”, anyway – to let the manufacturer show the food at its best without being accused of, erm, lying.
A project from the delightfully named German website PUNDO3000, werbung gegen realität (“Adverts versus reality”) attempts to stab back at food manufacturers with painfully real photos of food items. We’re always on the look out for the gap between jazzed-up photos and the real deal, so join us after the jump for 31 of the best!
Up until a few years ago, ramen joints were more or less the bottom rung of the Japanese dining scenes. Sure, the food might have tasted great, but they tended to be so crowded and dirty that many women refused to set foot inside one.
Recently, though, ramen restaurants have been cleaning up their act, sprucing up their interiors, and attracting more and more female customers. With more and more women appreciating a steaming bowl of Japan’s favorite noodles, some couples are even heading out on ramen dates.
But just as ramen restaurants had to meet certain criteria before they could win over the fairer sex, so too are there missteps a ramen-loving boyfriend has to avoid to keep from spoiling the mood.
Recently, our Japanese-language reporter Hotaru has been a little down in the dumps. She’s not sure if she’s come down with a cold or is just feeling the doldrums of the dreaded Gogatsu-byou, but either way, she needed a boost.
Realizing that good health and a good mood starts with good food, she headed into the kitchen to whip up a batch of porridge. But not just any old porridge would do for helping Hotaru shake off her funk, she needed to recreate the porridge that picks up the heroine of classic anime Kiki’s Delivery Service.
There’s quite a lot to be said for green tea. It has no calorific content of its own to speak of, and doesn’t need sugar or cream to taste great. A steaming cup can warm you up in winter, or you can drop a couple of ice cubes in and cool off with a glass in midsummer.
Now, new research suggests that aside from keeping your body trim and your palate pleased, a daily cup of green tea can help keep your mind sharp by warding off the onset of dementia.
If you’re looking for a fun way to eat your dessert, look no further than Zou-No-Hana Cafe in Yokohama, Japan. The house specialty, the zou no hana (elephant nose) ice cream has been enticing regular visitors and tourists alike with its cute, albeit strange, face and oversized waffle cone ears.
Aside from tasting great, ice cream conjures up all sorts of happy mental images. While it’s pleasing your taste buds, the frozen treat can bring back reminiscences of childhood family outings or innocent high school dates in the park.
Or, in the case of one brand of ice cream from Shikoku, sucking on some boobs.
Given that there were no murders, Abe gaffs, North Korean human rights violations or major Attack on Titan events today, we decided we’d do something a little fluffier and… saltier with our reporting today. After hearing that professional chefs claim pasta should be boiled in a combination of water and salt that closely resembles seawater, we wondered: Why not just use, you know, actual seawater?
Since it’s essentially an unlimited and free resource, it seems like a waste to go out and buy pure water and sea salt and combine the two when you can just head on over to Odaiba on Tokyo Bay and fill up an empty bottle with real seawater.
One of our Japanese reporters did just this, with… somewhat mixed results.
- Casey Baseel
May 15, 2014
Even though it doesn’t have anything close to the number of sightseeing options in Tokyo or Kyoto, should you find yourself in Nagoya, consider yourself lucky. The city is one of Japan’s underappreciated gastronomic gems, and if you have the chance, you owe it to yourself to try the chicken wings made from the regional fowl, called kochin.
This being Japan, though, if there’s the opportunity to make food cute, someone’s going to do it, which is where this adorable chick-shaped custard pudding, made with kochin eggs, comes in.
Churros are especially popular in Spain and Portugal, but those in Japan have encountered the delicious deep-fried snack at Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Japan, and more recently, Mister Donut. Because of Japan’s familiarity with churros, the new McChurro from, you guessed, McDonald’s, has caught consumers off guard as it looks more like a flaky pastry. And so we headed to McDonald’s to check it out ourselves. Read More
From May 27 you will apparently be able to eat ‘the most delicious food in the world’ at family restaurant chain Denny’s! Are they just blowing their own horn here? Well, not exactly.
- Casey Baseel
May 13, 2014
If we’re speaking honestly, we don’t really need much of an added incentive to eat a donut. Really, a sweet, inexpensive indulgence that we can eat with our hands is pretty much a laser-guided strike on our willpower.
Still, we can usually muster enough self-control that we don’t plow through a half-dozen in one sitting. But when you take donuts’ numerous preexisting merits and add the visual appeal of shaping them like cats, penguins, alpacas, and even killer whales, that’s when we stop even trying to resist them.
- Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】1
- Middle-aged Chinese man’s “stomach pains” turn out to be his first period as a woman2
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker3
- Man kidnaps, imprisons 11-year-old girl to raise her to be his “ideal girl”4
- Man questioned by police after building “girl” out of plastic bottles, taking her out on a date5
- Inconsiderate commuter behavior in Korea – A photo guide6
- Our take on Studio Ghibli’s newest anime, When Marnie Was There【Impressions】7
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!8
- Beautiful 400-year-old garden in Okayama about to be replaced with condominium complex9
- More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs10
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- This man’s face left Chinese internet users in amazement, agony and confusion 【Photos】3
- Creative pet “haircuts”: Funky or funny? You decide.4
- Emotional anime short celebrates Tokyo Station’s 100th birthday【Video】5
- Internet reacts to Taiwanese yoga instructor’s wildly unnecessary opening pitch striptease6
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!7
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】8
- 5 amazingly cute cosplayers who you’ll run into at anime conventions9
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic10
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!1
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker2
- Life’s not perfect? Says who? This woman’s life is too perfect to be true!3
- Japanese politician screams and cries at press conference as he defends expenses claims【Video】4
- Japan’s Glico lets snackers turn their empty boxes into augmented reality sets for Doraemon!5
- 16 photos that show why Singapore has the world’s best airline6
- “Retweet if you thought I was a girl”: This beautiful young man, in his own words【Photos】7
- Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land8
- German team hero Mario Gotze wins World Cup, later loses dignity thanks to gross pic9
- These anime mascots are just what the World Cup has been missing!10
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker1
- Nailed it! The shape of your nails may reveal the type of person you are!2
- Samurai in Brazil shows off incredible freestyle football skills ahead of World Cup3
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days4
- Russian crocodile hospitalized after woman falls on it5
- Internet falls in love with Chinese cosplaying beauty, disappointed to hear she’s a guy 【Updated】6
- Not your average Bulbasaur: Mayan-style Pokemon7
- Chinese student asks for cooked sushi at Sukibayashi Jiro, gets flamed by Chinese netizens8
- What if Sailor Moon characters were lingerie models? They’d look stunning like this 【Photos】9
- The official Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist trailer just made our day【Video】10
- Inconsiderate commuter behavior in Korea – A photo guide
- Our take on Studio Ghibli’s newest anime, When Marnie Was There【Impressions】
- Is Attack on Titan a documentary? Mikasa spotted in Russia!
- Beautiful 400-year-old garden in Okayama about to be replaced with condominium complex
- More than one way to skin a cat? Japanese YouTuber shows how to “open” a cat with belly rubs
- Making a “fart cannon” is simple and cheap, says Japanese comedy site
- Lawyer accidentally supports the armament of Japan with flawed cartoon reference
- Doggy gets upset over his new haircut, walks around on hind legs like a boss for two days
- The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!
- Grandpa makes Totoro for grandkids after move
- Creative pet “haircuts”: Funky or funny? You decide.
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea
- Emotional anime short celebrates Tokyo Station’s 100th birthday【Video】