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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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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This is what a Tokyo crepe with every dessert topping they’d let us order looks like 【Photos】

Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood means different things to different people. The beautiful people living the Japanese high life are drawn by the brand-name jewelers on the tree-lined Omotesando boulevard. Teens, meanwhile, flock to the narrow Takeshitadori shopping street to score up-to-date fashions that leave their parents scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And for those with a sweet tooth, Harajuku is all about the crepes.

Our intrepid Japanese-language correspondent P.K. recently took a break from seeing how many slices of roast pork or boiled eggs he could cram in his stomach and instead decided to see how much dessert he could consume in a single serving, as he decided to max out a Tokyo crepe by ordering one with every available dessert topping.

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Japanese restaurant makes awesome anime and game character pancake art, takes requests 【Videos】

Even if you’re not ordinarily a very artistic person, we bet you get a spark of inspiration when you’ve got a pancake on your plate. Who hasn’t drawn a doodle or sketched a smiley face in maple syrup, or at least initialed their flapjacks with the sticky, tasty condiment?

After all, tasty as they may be, pancakes look pretty dull if you don’t add any decoration…unless you’re dining at this restaurant in Japan where the pancakes come pre-decorated with images of Pikachu, Mario, and dozens of other anime and video game characters.

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We check out Sushi Bar Yoshihachi, a taste of American sushi in Okinawa

As a nearly 10-year resident of Japan, whenever I’m back to visit the States I love taking friends and acquaintances out to a nearby sushi bar and being easily the most knowledgeable sushi snob in the whole place. While my buddies are pouring over the weird fusion sushi – inevitably featuring fried shrimp sticking out at crazy angles like that spider-head monster in The Thing – I’m busy cramming the more delicately-flavored and exotic nigiri cuts into my gullet, rolling my eyes around in the back of my head and making exaggerated, mmmm, ohhh man, noises and sometimes giving the side-eye to the guy reluctantly prodding his uni nigiri like it’s going to come to life and slither off the table.

I’ve developed a taste for Japanese style-sushi, in other words, and I’m not afraid to be a jerk about it. But, back here in Japan, I’ll be damned if I don’t sometimes get intense cravings for a good ol’ California roll. Luckily, there’s a great place serving authentic American California rolls and other “Americanized” sushi in Okinawa, just a (relatively) short hop from Tokyo, and you can bet we went to try it out!

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Korean “restaurant” just for singles has a romantic surprise 【Video】

Eating out by yourself can feel a little awkward and embarrassing, but a restaurant in Korea billing itself as being just for single diners caught the attention of plenty of passersby. And that’s “single” diners in both senses of the word: unaccompanied and also without a boyfriend or girlfriend.

But while all of the diners walked in lacking a romantic partner, some of them significantly improved their dating prospects while they filled their stomachs, thanks to a special surprise that was waiting for them.

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Conveyor belt sushi chain taking the bold, eco-friendly step of getting rid of all its conveyors

Kaitenzushi restaurants have come a long way. In the beginning, their system of having diners grab their own plates of sushi from a revolving conveyor belt was seen as a quirky technological novelty, or by more severe critics as a sub-par tarnishing of the proper sushi-eating experience.

Since then, though, kaitenzushi has become one of the most broadly beloved sectors of the Japanese restaurant industry, having grown so popular that certain operators are experimenting with unique new kaitenzushi niches. Now, one company is planning to take its revolving sushi restaurants into a bold new direction by revamping them so that the sushi doesn’t revolve.

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We try vegetarian sushi at Tokyo’s newest sushi train restaurant 【Pics & Taste Test】

If you’re vegetarian or simply not a fan of raw fish, a visit to a sushi train restaurant with friends isn’t exactly going to fill you with joy. While the touch panel screens and the treat of watching your orders arrive on a conveyor belt is always entertaining, wouldn’t it be nicer if there were a few more fish-phobic options on the menu?

That’s exactly what a new chain of restaurants in Japan is offering, with vegetarian sushi, made with fresh, seasonal vegetables, and a host of other meat-based dishes, including ham and pork-topped sushi options, available for customers.

We paid a visit to Sushi Nova at their brand new location, the first of a hundred to hit Japan by 2019, and were incredibly impressed with what they had to offer.

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Restaurant raises the bar for customer service in Japan, will help you name your baby

In Japan, customer service tends to pretty amazing across the board, but perhaps nowhere more so than in the restaurant industry. Some restaurants may be boisterously friendly and others may be quietly courteous, but you can just about always be assured that everyone on the staff, from your server to the owner, is working hard to ensure an enjoyable dining experience.

But even by those standards, this yakiniku restaurant goes above and beyond the call of duty, with an extensive list of extra special services they’re willing to provide. Of course, courteousness is a two-way street, so the restaurant also has 10 unique requests it in turn makes to its customers.

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Tired of cat cafes? It turns out Japan has reptile cafes too!

With cat, rabbit, and owl cafes, Japan has you pretty well-covered as far as furry, fluffy, or feathered companionship goes. But what if you prefer your animals with scales?

Then you’ll want to stop by the reptile cafe, where you can sip tea and nibble on sweets in the company of iguanas, snakes, and tortoises.

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Official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunches being served now at Tokyo anime-themed cafe 【Photos】

Maybe we’re just predisposed to thinking with our stomachs, but even with all the brightly colored pleated skirts and magical monster battles in Sailor Moon, we always find our attention drawn to the food that shows up in the hit anime series. So when we heard that the official Sailor Jupiter bento boxed lunch is now being offered by a Tokyo cafe, took a break from marathoning episodes of the magical girl saga to go and try it for ourselves.

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Come home to a new wife at Ore no Yome, the cafe where maids pretend to be your spouse

You arrive home after a long day at the office to your beautiful wife, smiling as she greets you at the door. Inside, a delicious home-cooked meal is ready on the table…oh, and she’s wearing a bikini!

There’s a new cafe in Tokyo where you can have all this and more, because the staff there are ready and waiting to be your bikini-and-apron-clad new wife (or husband!).

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This mouth-watering Japanese breakfast is from…a restaurant in New York?!?

Japanese breakfasts, just like Japanese lunches and dinners, can be extremely tasty. Granted, miso soup and grilled fish might not be as filling as bacon and eggs, but they make for a palate-pleasingly healthy alternative that will give you energy for the rest of the day without a bloated feeling for the rest of the morning.

But depending on where you live, a Japanese breakfast can be hard to come by, as most overseas Japanese restaurants specialize in heavier fare for lunch and dinner crowds. If you live in New York, though, you’re in luck, as the restaurant Okonomi is giving local diners a chance to make their most important meal of the day a traditional Japanese one.

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We search for the best sushi in Kenya

Tuna is a powerhouse of a fish which swims all over the world’s waters, and the Indian Ocean is no exception. Countless fishing boats settle at major ports such as the one in Mombasa, Kenya, providing a breeding ground for commerce, cultural exchange, and of course fresh fish.

Our reporter Go Hatori, after getting voluntarily beaten by Maasai warriors, postulated that with Mombasa’s capacity to get fresh fish, there may very well be some great sushi in Kenya as well. Go didn’t really put any research into this, but what adventure starts with careful thought and census taking?

So he hit the streets of Nairobi and started asking people “Do you know any sushi restaurants around here?” Thinking he may have found a hidden oasis of sushi tucked away on the African continent, Go was able to compile a list of three Kenyan restaurants for his sushi safari.

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Round 2 of the ramen ice cream rumble – This time with real ramen! 【Taste test】

Last week, I stopped by the Cup Noodles Museum in Yokohama to try its just-released Cup Noodle Ice Cream, with its chives, shrimp, and all the other fixings of instant ramen. It was definitely an interesting experience, but I did have one complaint, which is that Cup Noodle Ice Cream doesn’t actually have any noodles in it. Technically, it should be called “Cup Noodle Topping Ice Cream.”

Thankfully, it turns out there actually is a place in Japan where you can get ice cream with ramen noodles mixed in. Since I suddenly found myself with the unlikely title of RocketNews24’s resident ramen ice cream expert, I figured it was time to go another round with this unorthodox class of dessert, and to crown a winner in this battle of the ramen ice creams.

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Tokyo restaurant’s crazy huge rice omelet has 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of rice

It’s not uncommon to describe a meaty dish by listing how much beef it contains. McDonald’s has had plenty of success with the Quarter Pounder, and some American restaurants will tout their steaks as being 10 ounces or more.

But have you ever stopped to think about how much rice is on your plate? We recently sent one of our reporters to a restaurant in Tokyo to take on a rice omelet, one of Japan’s favorite comfort foods, made with a staggering 600 grams (1.3 pounds) of rice.

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Kawaii Monster Cafe opens in Harajuku with a pop of color and, you guessed it, cute monster girls

Japan’s newest concept restaurant held its grand opening on August 1 in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, which is well-known as Japan’s mecca for zany subculture fashions and youth culture.

We haven’t had a chance to go to the Kawaii Monster Cafe yet, but based on the pictures of its lavish decorations positively bursting with color and Alice in Wonderland-esque bizarreness, we’d say it looks well worth the trip!

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Documentary about sushi chef in NYC will make you laugh, cry, suddenly want to eat lots of sushi

Sukibayashi Jiro is probably the most well-known sushi restaurant in the world, thanks to the popular documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. In it we see the passion and hard work of Jiro, the restaurant’s owner, in his constant quest to create the perfect sushi for his customers.

But Jiro isn’t the only one who is passionate about sushi. YouTube channel Munchies recently put out a great short documentary about a sushi chef closer to home for many of us: Toshio Oguma in New York City. Be forewarned though: after watching, you may feel an intense urge to immediately purchase a bus or plane ticket to get to Manhattan as quickly as possible for a taste of what he and his apprentices are serving up.

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No humans allowed at Japan’s first cafe exclusively for stuffed animals

There’s a new cafe that just opened up in Tokyo. Like many such establishments in Japan, it prides itself on its sumptuous sweets and delicious drinks.

Its main selling point, though, is the warm hospitality the staff provides. Really, you’d probably be tempted to say Yawarakan’s Cafe truly understands the human aspect of the restaurant business, if it wasn’t for the fact that all of the cafe’s customers are stuffed animals.

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Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant serving up dishes of cuteness in Hong Kong

For diehard Hello Kitty fans, no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to the Hello Kitty dim sum restaurant. On a recent trip there, I had to go and check it out for myself. So it was that on a Saturday night I dined alone on some ridiculously cute Hello Kitty Chinese cuisine.

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