Traditional hospitality mixes with modern otaku culture at mountainside ryokan.
Japan never ceases to be the country of making something taste exactly like something it shouldn’t. In the land where you can get kimchi-flavored soft drinks and spaghetti-flavored ice candy, it would seem food companies are really just drunk with power when it comes to what they can and will make stuff taste like.
And now we have “the perfect snack cake for any meat-lover,” Momotan Aged Meat Flavored snacks. It’s in the form of a typical Japanese confection called manju with a cake-like outer coating and sweet been paste filling. However, these Momotan manju are heavily seasoned to make you swear you were eating a morsel of month-old meat instead!
If you’re thinking that one “would have to be out of their ever-lovin’ mind to mix sushi and soft serve ice cream,” then you’re not alone; that’s exactly what our reporter Nakano thought when he spotted an item called “Soft Susheam” on the menu of an Iwasaka sushi train restaurant in Okayama City. And yet, like a moth to a flame, he found himself unable to resist its lure.
Could something which sounded like a cross between soft-serve ice cream and sushi – two foods which, when served alone, have always been true crowd-pleasers – really work? Nakano simply had to find out.
About three hours from Tokyo on the bullet train is a beautifully preserved area in Okayama Prefecture’s Kurashiki known as the Kurashiki Bikan historical quarter. Set alongside a picturesque canal, the district has long been known for its traditional storehouses and shops, but now it’s looking to celebrate one of its most profitable exports – denim.
With more than 100 family-run indigo and dyeing factories operating throughout the prefecture, denim has long been an important part of area’s economy. And what better way to celebrate the locally made textile than with a selection of special foods? Come with us as we show you what burgers, ice cream and steamed buns look like when crafted in a denim blue hue.
Since the Japanese school year starts in April, graduation ceremonies usually happen around mid-March. There are tearful speeches, young adults dressing up in traditional graduation outfits, and of course only the most heartfelt thanks and gratitude given to teachers, parents, and everyone else in the community.
But not in Okayama City. For the past few years there’s been an unofficial tradition of the recent middle school graduates gathering outside Okayama Station and wearing *gasp!* long jackets. And not just that, but they’re wearing them in different colors! The horror was so much that police officers were immediately dispatched to keep an eye on all the horrible delinquents.
If you’ve been in Japan over the last week, you’ve no doubt heard about the young girl in Okayama Prefecture who disappeared on her way home from school on the 14th. While a story like this all too often ends in tragedy, in this case, the girl was found unharmed five days later, confined at the home of a 49-year-old local man, Takeshi Fujiwara.
Fujiwara was arrested on charges of kidnapping and illegal confinement and now details are beginning to emerge from the questioning about his creepy, creepy motives.
In an unprecedented piece of school lunch policy for Japan, four schools in Mimasaka, Okayama are serving soups containing wild boar and deer as a part of their lunch program. It would seem the scheme is intended to both teach children about local food sources and decrease a “nuisance” to the local environment.
A tragic scene unfolded in a supermarket in Kurashiki, Okayama last Thursday as 32-year-old Shinji Kuroki went on a mass poking and squishing rage inside. Details of the total damage are sketchy but we received reports that packs of meat had holes poked in them with a finger and loaves of bread have been seen lying on the ground, smashed in cold blood.