Hey, you guys in the southern hemisphere, can we trade seasons with you yet? I don’t know about everyone else here in Japan, but I’m done with this heat and humidity. With highs around 36 degrees Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit) across the country and the smothering humidity, everyone and everything seems to be at their limits, from USB cords to plastic cups. Even the poor little hamsters look like they’re melting away in this madness!
So, mint is an extraordinarily versatile, exceedingly summer-appropriate ingredient. It can add a refreshing bite to savory dishes, is the essential main ingredient in basically all of the world’s best ice cream flavors, and is the star of the show in that most refreshing of summer beverages, the mojito (without which would basically just be watery rum).
Mint is the miracle substance that makes Asia’s hellish, your-buddy-just-spontaneously-combusted-hot summers just the slightest bit tolerable; a fact that beverage and snack makers in Japan are finally catching onto, with each passing year seeing better and more diverse mint-infused offerings.
But lemon and mint? That’s the new flavor combo Pepsi is banking on to be the next big thing with its new “Pepsi Special Lemon Mint” drink offering, and we’re just the slightest bit wary.
Right now kids across Japan are rejoicing that their school summer break has finally arrived, despite the fact that, like other students in many other parts of Asia, they’re given stacks of homework to complete during their month off.
This homework is often piled on top of other summer cram-school study sessions, camps, and other activities their parents may have already signed their children up for up, and over the years mothers and fathers have found it increasingly hard to keep their kids from putting their summer homework off until the last minute, especially once they reach that “rebellious stage” children usually go through. In fact, summer homework leaves some parents so stressed out that they even seek out homework completion services than spend endless days nagging at their kids.
Fortunately that won’t be the case this year for one Japanese father, who had the ingenious idea of using reverse psychology on his kids in order to get them to finish their assignments quickly.
The summer is seriously no time to be in any part of Asia, really. While you might exaggeratedly fan yourself with your hand and joke about frying eggs on the sidewalk when thermometers in your hometown start creeping past the upper-20s (Celsius) come late July, society in Asia is basically devolving into Lord of the Flies, with people in China retreating into caves, those in Japan sweating buckets and people in Vietnam desperately scrambling for whatever random object they can find to fend off the violent rays of the sun, lest they literally burst into flames.
That last one, we suppose, is good for us, as at least it’s resulted in a few photos for us to chuckle over as we write this from our ice-filled summer cave bunker.
There’s been a lot of hoo-haa recently over nip-nips, hasn’t there? On the western internets, ladies are in a huff that their female nubbins are being covered up by the online censors, but in Japan it’s male nurples that are getting on everyone’s nerves.
Turns out that Japanese ladies can’t stand the sight of male chesty-buds, and in this hot weather, lots of businessmen are going out and about without undershirts on. The result? A barrage of constant eye-trauma for the ladies who say that the men who are flaunting their areolas at them are committing sexual harassment! Oh my!
Are Japan’s strict trash collection days getting you down this summer? Are you plugging your nose and counting down the days until the next burnables collection because your garbage is rotting away in the summer heat?
If you’re like me, you hate Japanese summers for a slew of reasons, one of which being all the putrid smells that come with the increased heat and humidity of the sticky summer months. You may also often rush out the door on the morning of burnables collection day and forget to take out your bag of raw and rotting garbage, leaving you to deal with the stench until the next trash collection day rolls around.
But there is a really simple solution to this problem, as well as quick tricks for dealing with other stinky situations like funky-shoe smells and unpleasant, grimy sinks. Find out how after the jump!
This time we’d like to introduce another curious combination, in the form of a new Mercedes-Benz x Ice Monster shop that recently popped up in Roppongi, Tokyo. But what do luxury car makers know about making the perfect frozen ice treat? Our ever-popular reporter Mr. Sato heads out to investigate.
Japan may have an image as an all-work and no-play sort of place, but you’ve got to give the country credit for coming up with Umi no Hi. Observed on the third Monday of July, Umi no Hi literally means “Ocean Day,” but “Marine Day” and “Beach Day” would also be acceptable translations. It’s a national holiday expressly created to give everyone a day off to go have fun at the beach, and it just might be the greatest socially accepted reason ever for blowing off work.
This year, Japan got so into the spirit of the holiday that even people in prefectures with no coastline swore they could smell the sea. But was this just a summery olfactory hallucination, or a legitimate Umi no Hi miracle?
Calpis is a Japanese soft drink that has been around for almost 100 years. Despite how well-loved it is not only in Japan, but all over South East Asia, most foreigners are only familiar with its name, which sounds like “cow piss”, rather than its actual taste (which is why it’s renamed “Calpico” in the U.S.).
But as you can probably tell by its popularity, Calpis doesn’t taste anything like what it sounds like, and for summer the brand has introduced a limited line of thirst-quenching flavors to help you beat the heat. Ajiwai Cola Float, the second flavor of their limited ajiwai” series, will be hitting shelves from the end of this month, and we’ve got the scoop on what the final product will look like once it does.
Kids in Japan only have about one more week left of school until summer vacation starts, while working adults are counting down the days until Obon vacation. It’s also the season where many Japanese snack makers start putting out limited summer edition flavors of your favorite snacks.
In fact, just today Glico launched a limited edition summer line of their popular Pretz series in Japan, so for those with no time or no money to travel abroad this summer vacation, you still have a chance to experience some exotic and not-so-exotic food flavors from across the ocean in the comfort of your very own home.
Soaring summer temperatures can bring more dangers than sunburn and heatstroke. In Zhuzhou City, Hunan Province, TVs, computers and fans simultaneously caught on fire in 50 apartments when the voltage of the electrical supply suddenly surged above the standard level.
Anyone who’s had to endure a summer in Japan knows just how awful the muggy heat can be. With the rainy season coming to an end and the temperatures steadily rising, there’s no denying summer is finally here. If you’re at all like me and are already having a hard time dealing with the heat, these adorable photos of pet budgies, cockatiels and parakeets trying to keep cool in front of the fan are just what you need to help prepare you for summer.
Although some data suggests Japan’s breasts are becoming bigger than ever, it’s not like every woman in the country has a large chest. As a matter of fact, last year we saw lingerie brand Feast enter the market, with a catalogue specifically tailored towards women with more compact busts.
Feast was founded last August, which means this is really the brand’s first full summer. Appropriately, the company has no expanded its offerings from just underwear to swimwear, too, with this playfully feminine bathing suit.
Mmm, marshmellers (as I like to call ’em.) Those squidgy little puffs of delicious goo. Bad for your teeth, bad for your waistline, but oh-so-yummy, especially when toasted. The outside goes all crispy and the inside melts juuuuust a little bit. In fact, they’re the perfect treat for toasting around the campfire.
But in Japan, they prefer to toast their marshmallows in a slightly more “Japanese” way – by which we mean they toast them over a takoyaki grilling machine!
Summer is almost here! For most of us on the north side of the equator, that usually means grabbing your towel, swimsuit, and maybe your swim ring for a trip to the beach. What better way to spent the season than lazily floating along the shore in a rubber tube to stay cool and beat the heat?
The only catch is that sometimes blowing up one of those swim rings can be a serious pain. Not for Tian Pan, a 39-year-old man from Fujian, China, though. Choosing to forgo the traditional method of blowing into the hole on the ring with your mouth, he decided to accomplish the task by blowing it up with his ears instead!
The cicadas are chirping, the sun is shining, and we’re starting to get sweaty – it can only mean one thing: summer is coming! And with it all kinds of delicious treats like ice cream, ice cream, and, oh yes, ice cream.
But when you only really want to cool down and don’t want to consume too many calories, shaved ice is a much lighter alternative source of summer snack. But why rely on others to do your shaving for you? Why not shave it yourself in style with this awesome retro shaved ice maker?
Japan has recently seen an increase in merchandise like “men’s bras” and “men’s panties” with designs that are practically the same as women’s versions. Which is all well and good, but it’s left us with one question: Why are we still separating men’s and women’s swimsuits?
While we suppose women probably can’t wear men’s swimsuits without Johnny Law giving them a citation or two, there’s nothing really stopping men from throwing on something like, say, a bikini. And that’s exactly what a writer from our Japanese site did! Take a trip to the beach with us and see how he liked his new swimwear!
Who’s ready for the hot and humid summer? We’re approaching the second half of spring here in Japan, so that means it’s almost time to get out those Cool Biz clothes and your sweat towels, because this summer is bound to be as uncomfortably muggy as always.
Starbucks has your back this year though. Later this month they’ll be releasing the “Starbucks Frozen Drink Maker” – a reusable mug that doubles as a super simple frozen coffee mixer. It’s easy, it’s cold and it’s delicious. Let’s take a look!
One of the more disturbing stereotypes propagated about Japan is that of the “sexy geisha,” which can often be found around Halloween time in the form of unrealistically skimpy (and blatantly racist) outfits. Normally, we’d decry any version of these get-ups, but when they’re manufactured and sold in Japan, we find ourselves left scratching our heads.
Fortunately, Japanese Internet users also gave us something to smile about with their amused–and confused–comments.
During the summer in Japan, it’s a constant battle between trying to save energy and keeping yourself from melting in the hot, humid weather. Some choose to use deodorizing wipes to keep the stink and sweat away, others simply indulge in Japan’s irresistible ice cream for some eco-friendly relief. But what if you’re a pet bird with an energy-conscious owner who refuses to keep the house cool? This little parakeet has found the solution: a cool dip in someone’s glass of iced tea!