food

White Cola is back! And it brought penguins for the Sochi Olympics

White Cola is back! And it brought penguins for the Sochi Olympics

For decades Japan has had fleeting affairs with concoctions known as “White Cola” which is meant to be a twist on the age old formula that brings us the brown colas we all know and love. Now, it’s back again to celebrate the Sochi Olympics. From 4 February you can purchase a bottle of Pokka Sapporo White Cola for 147 yen (US$1.45).

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We try Häagen-Dazs Rose and Sakura: It’s like there’s a toilet in my mouth and everyone’s invited

We try Häagen-Dazs Rose and Sakura: It’s like there’s a toilet in my mouth and everyone’s invited

On 3 February, Häagen-Dazs Japan released two new flavors to celebrate their 30th anniversary: Rose and Sakura (cherry blossom). Although they were unusual flavors in the realm of ice cream, in the more than capable hands of Häagen-Dazs they’re sure to be great… right?

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Maker of new “Ninja Snack” promises chips that “move like a ninja”, vanish without a trace

Maker of new “Ninja Snack” promises chips that “move like a ninja”, vanish without a trace

Heads up, snack fans! Japan’s Tohato foods has just announced a new brand that will hit shelves later this month. Called “Ninja Snack Fuwamaru“, they’re purported to melt away like a ninja into the night. Hmmm…

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Beautiful Korean woman earns a living with Internet videos of herself…eating dinner? 【Video】

Beautiful Korean woman earns a living with Internet videos of herself…eating dinner? 【Video】

Today, we’d like to talk to you about Seo-yeon Park, a young woman living in South Korea. Ms. Park used to have a respectable position at a business consulting firm, but being an attractive young woman, she discovered that she could attract a large audience by posting videos of herself online. Many of the people watching can’t do the things she does, others can but feel they shouldn’t. Deep down inside, though, everyone who watches Park’s videos, in which she gives herself the pleasure and satisfaction most can only dream of, secretly longs to follow her unbridled example.

Eventually, Park’s online activities, which started out as a hobby, became so encompassing that she quit her job. Her online exhibitionism is now a full-time gig for which she has adopted the stage name The Diva.

As we’re sure you’ve already guessed, Park has crossed over completely into the world of producing Internet videos of herself eating piles of delicious food, and is making a comfortable living from it.

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Pot Noodles prove too much for Japanese taste buds

Pot Noodles prove too much for Japanese taste buds

The world’s worst cup noodles are to be found in none other than the fair land of England, home of delicacies such as fish ‘n’ chips, bread and butter pudding, and spotted dick. At least that’s according to one Japanese exchange student to the UK, brought up on a diet of real cup ramen back in his home country. But surely ‘worst ever’ is a bit of an overstatement?! We sent one of our Japanese reporters to find out, and weren’t quite prepared for his epic reaction (we don’t think he was either).

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Onigiri in Paris: Small lunch shop brings traditional Japanese rice balls to France

Onigiri in Paris: Small lunch shop brings traditional Japanese rice balls to France

Though extremely simple, Japanese onigiri, those handheld balls of rice and seasoning, are simply delicious and addicting. Dating back over 1,200 years to the Nara Period, onigiri were created as a portable snack. Now, not only have rice balls transcended the humble kitchens of old-timey Japan and nestled their way into convenience stores across the nation, they’ve also made their way abroad. Mussubi is a delightful lunch shop in Paris that has brought onigiri and bento to the people of France. With elegant and fresh ingredients tiptoeing throughout the menu, this quaint shop has earn high praise from local residents.

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Toast with fermented soybeans and honey may not be good-looking, but it is good eating

Toast with fermented soybeans and honey may not be good-looking, but it is good eating

There are plenty of Japanese foods that meet little to no resistance on the Western palate. Soba noodles and beef bowls tend to go down easily for new arrivals, and while the weirdness factor may take some time to get over, not too many people have complaints about the flavor of things like raw fish and cod roe.

There is, however, one hurdle in Japanese gastronomic assimilation that is so high that some people never clear it: natto, or fermented soybeans. Recently, we took on the notoriously challenging (and smelly) natto with the help of a powerful ally, honey.

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Starbucks Japan’s sakura drinks: One more reason we’re ready for winter to be over

Starbucks Japan’s sakura drinks: One more reason we’re ready for winter to be over

Is it spring yet? I know my southern Californian upbringing means I whine whenever the temperature is cold enough that I have to put on a jacket to go out, but I could seriously do with some warmer weather right about now. There’s all sorts of things to look forward to in the coming season, such as longer days, being able to spend more time outdoors, and the blooming of the sakura, or cherry blossoms.

And just in case the deal needs any more sweetening, there’s also Starbucks’ springtime sakura beverage lineup.

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Foreign residents pick their favorite snacks to pair with Japanese beer

Foreign residents pick their favorite snacks to pair with Japanese beer

A few years ago, I was hanging out with a friend in Tokyo. Being recently married meant that for the first time in several years I was living in an apartment more spacious and comfortable than a bunker, and I invited my buddy back to my place for a beer.

I called my wife to give her a heads-up that I was bringing home a guest, and when we arrived, I was surprised to see she’d gone down the block to the store and picked up a selection of snacks for our impromptu drinking session. In hindsight, this really shouldn’t have been so unexpected, as beer is almost always accompanied by food in Japan.

Our memories are a little hazy, but we seem to remember being taught, “When in Rome, drink as the Romans.” Taking this to heart, recently a group of foreign residents in Japan shared their favorite munchies to pair with Japanese beer.

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【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

【Thursday Throwback】We Cook a Big Mac Value Meal in a Rice Cooker, Triumphant Results

The rice cooker. Not only does this convenient little machine prepare a pot of rice with just the push of a button, but it can also be used to steam vegetables, bake cakes, and much more! Our researchers here at RocketNews24 have been working around the clock to uncover the true potential of the rice cooker by testing a number of bold, innovative recipes. Today, we’d like to share what is perhaps the most exciting find of our research thus far: a Big Mac, french fries and chicken nuggets taste amazing when cooked in a rice cooker.

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Burger King has apple burgers (and cocktails) in Japan, and we’ve got them in our bellies

Burger King has apple burgers (and cocktails) in Japan, and we’ve got them in our bellies

Even as someone who can always appreciate a tasty hamburger, there’s a quandary I face whenever I go out to satisfy my beef-based sandwich needs. Your standard burger gives you plenty of protein from the meat, some nice carbs from the bread, and even a scattering of veggies between the buns, but it’s hard to get your fruit fix at a burger emporium.

Or, more accurately, it was, until Burger King Japan started offering two hamburgers with slices of grilled apple. We traveled to one of Burger King’s branches in Yokohama to try both on the day of their release, but they weren’t the only discoveries waiting for us. So come along with us as we present the ABCs (apples, booze, and couches) that make Burger King different in Japan.

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What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

What’s the secret to Coco Ichi’s reign of the curry kingdom?

Curry is pretty much the ultimate Japanese comfort food loved by children, adults and picky eaters alike. And with data showing that Japanese people eat curry more than once a week, it has definitely become one of the country’s national foods despite its Indian-British origins. And one curry restaurant in particular, Curry House Coco Ichibanya or “Coco Ichi” to its patrons, is reaping the benefits of this curry craze, claiming about 80% of the market share! With more than 1,200 shops in Japan and 116 overseas franchises, it seems like nothing can stop this curry giant.

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Japanese Twitter user stumbles across legendary deep-sea fish, cooks and eats it four different ways

Japanese Twitter user stumbles across legendary deep-sea fish, cooks and eats it four different ways

Every once in a while the Japanese media picks up on the story of an extremely long deep sea fish that washes up on its shores. Called an “oarfish,” it is long believed to be a harbinger of earthquakes.

But for one Twitter user it was a harbinger of an impressive four course meal. While out before sunrise, he stumbled along one of these allegedly supernatural fish washed up on shore. After contacting several marine institutes and finding none to claim the large fish, he tossed superstitions aside and acted on the belief that when life hands you an oarfish, you make oarfish fillets.

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Japanese baseball players’ freedom to chew gum is going, going, gone!

Japanese baseball players’ freedom to chew gum is going, going, gone!

The Yomiuri Giants, one of two professional teams playing in Tokyo, are without question Japanese baseball’s version of the New York Yankees. With huge coffers from which to pay the kind of salaries to attract and retain the talent to be competitive year after year, the Giants are loved at home, admired in markets that don’t have a team of their own, and reviled in those that do.

However, the Giants most recent season ended in bitter disappointment with a game seven loss in the championship Japan series. Adding insult to injury was the fact that the defeat came at the hands of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, an upstart expansion team formed in 2005 that until recently was the league’s doormat.

Clearly, a shakeup is necessary to get the Giants back on the path to glory. Something extreme, like banning chewing gum during games.

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Scalding your subordinate with tofu – definitely not proper police procedure

Scalding your subordinate with tofu – definitely not proper police procedure

When you think about it, there really aren’t that many situations in which it’s OK to smash food into someone else’s face. I racked my brain, and could only come up with the following two:

1. You’re a pie-throwing extra in a Three Stooges movie.

2. You and your spouse share the same slapstick sense of humor, and want to smush a slice of wedding cake into each other’s’ faces at your reception.

You know what doesn’t make the list? Scalding someone’s mug with piping-hot tofu, especially if you’re a high-ranking police officer.

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We try french fries and chocolate sauce at Lotteria Japan

We try french fries and chocolate sauce at Lotteria Japan

We all know that there are few combinations that are better than dipping your french fries in a vanilla shake. The hot, salty fries mixed with cold, sweet ice cream…it’s a match made in cheeseburger paradise. But fries and chocolate? Japanese fast food chain, Lotteria, is betting you’ll make the jump from shakes to chocolate syrup with their new menu item. We knew we had to send Mr. Sato out to give this crazy combo a try.

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Suicide cakes – Sweets to die for

Suicide cakes – Sweets to die for

Among the many kinds of tasty sweets indigenous to Japan, you’ll find the monaka. Monaka consist of two wafers, traditionally sandwiched around a dollop of the sweet red bean paste called anko.

Different confectioners put their own unique spin on monaka, such as infusing it with citrus or mixing ice cream in the filling. But while we’ve eaten plenty of variations on the tasty treat, our intrepid reporter Mr. Sato recently brought back one we’d never heard of before: suicide monaka.

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Seamen in Hokkaido shocked to discover bright lavender crab

Seamen in Hokkaido shocked to discover bright lavender crab

On 18 January, a shipment of crabs from Russia arrived at a port in Japan, some of which were bought up by wholesaler Marusan Mikami Shoten. After opening up their haul of red king crabs (an expensive favorite of Japanese seafood lovers) workers were surprised to see one of the large arthropods was shaded a rich lavender color all over.

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Awesome Japanese expressway rest stop lets you travel back in time, dine like a samurai

Awesome Japanese expressway rest stop lets you travel back in time, dine like a samurai

Growing up in Southern California, I was no stranger to long road trips, whether up the coast to visit relatives, or out to Las Vegas to visit the craps tables. Along the way I’d pass many freeway rest areas, with amenities whose quality ranged from “a good place to use the bathroom as long as you cover your nose” to “a good place to use the bathroom, as long as you have a friend with you to make sure you don’t get shanked by a hobo.”

So imagine my surprise when I moved to Japan to find that its highway rest stops (called “parking areas” by Japanese motorists) are spotless. Plus, they’re often great spots to munch on regional specialties or pick up local souvenirs. And if you happen to visit one particular parking area, you can even go back in time.

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Japan’s top souvenir recommendations for foreigners, from sweets to swords

Japan’s top souvenir recommendations for foreigners, from sweets to swords

Japanese culture is filled with gift giving, and no gift is more common than the omiyage. Usually translated as “souvenir,” omiyage is a bit broader in usage, encompassing all sorts of travel gift situations. Taking a trip somewhere? Make sure to bring back omiyage for your coworkers. Have friends coming from overseas? You might want to give them some omiyage to remember their trip by. And of course, if those same friends offer to show you around their country, it’s only polite to bring them an omiyage as a show of thanks, if you take them up on their offer.

But what kind of Japanese omiyage from Japan is most likely to be a hit with foreigners? Japanese Internet users offered the following suggestions.

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