sweets

Special limited-edition watermelon dango look amazing, sell out immediately after release

Although watermelon has always been traditionally associated with summertime in Japan, we’ve seen many more interesting watermelon-flavored summer gifts, or ochuugen, pop up compared to previous years, like this amazing watermelon-shaped mousse cake we taste-tested and raved about just last week.

Ochuugen, which were traditionally gifts presented as a token of gratitude to one’s parents and close family during the summer, are now given to anyone the giver feels indebted to around this time of year. As we’ve mentioned before, Japanese living spaces are sometimes smaller and more cramped than their western counterparts, especially in bigger cities, so the most popular gifts to give and receive are daily necessities, such as laundry detergent or cooking oil, and things that can be quickly consumed, like snacks or sweets. This year, Japanese traditional sweet company Yagumo Dango decided to hop on the watermelon bandwagon and release a limited run of watermelon dango as part of their summer gift set.

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Chill out with a tasty shaved ice treat from Mercedes-Benz’s ICE MONSTER tie-in shop

We’re not even halfway through summer here in Japan yet, and already we’ve seen a number of strange collaboration combinations, including barley and eel soda and soft-serve sushi.

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.

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Sweet frog hat-wearing pup is a totally edible yuru-kyara available from one place in Japan only

Yuru-kyara, or regional promotional mascots, are so ubiquitous in Japan it can sometimes be hard to recall which one’s which, where they’re from, or even what type of brand or product they’re promoting.

Over 1,000 mascots represent different regions in Japan, which means the need to leave a lasting impression is a constant driving force in the creation of cute products like the sweet puppy above. Can you guess which region he represents and the even more unusual place where he can be found?

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Japanese woman arrested after drugging dates with chocolate, robbing them blind

Although online dating services allow you to peruse profiles of potential paramours from the comfort of your home, they can also be a prime opportunity for fraudsters who pray on the lonely. Last month, for example, we took a look at a ring of dating sites which claimed 2.7 million “users,” only one of whom turned out to be an actual female.

Thankfully, a man from northeastern Japan who joined a dating site actually got to go out with a real girl, and probably thought she was quite the catch, seeing as how she’s decades younger than him and a medical student. Regardless of whether he was looking for something serious or just a fun dinner out, we imagine he was having a great time right up until she drugged him right there in the restaurant and robbed him blind.

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Watermelon mousse cake sounds too good to be true, but it’s real and in our office 【Taste-test】

When we heard about a special dessert called the suika baumkuchen being offered through online retailer Rakuten, we were pretty psyched, since it combines two of the greatest things on the planet: watermelon and cake. As a matter of fact, we were so excited that at first we thought it was only going to be available for one hour on August 1.

But as we spent hours drooling over the watermelon cake’s webpage, which had us so captivated we barely had time to use the Internet to look at pictures of cats and swimsuit models, we noticed something: the suika baumkuchen is actually available right now! We put in our order right away, and now we’re here to bring you our report on this incredible culinary crossover.

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Amazing watermelon cake to be available on Rakuten… for just one hour

Few things are more refreshing on a hot summer day than a nice big slice of a juicy, red watermelon, whether served plain, salted or drizzled with lemon juice. Internet marketplace, Rakuten, however, thinks they have a match for fresh watermelon, and it’s available to order for a discounted price on one day, for one hour.

Welcome back to the scene, Suika (Watermelon) Baumkuchen!

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Star Wars and classic Japanese things aren’t done mashing yet! 【Photos】

Those who’ve tried Lotte’s Bikkuriman love it for two reasons: beacuase it’s a cheap but delicious waffle peanut and chocolate snack, and, more importantly, because of the sweet stickers that come with it. These collectible stickers featured devils, angels and protectors that kids could trade and swap to assemble the whole set. What made them unique at the time was that there were also rare stickers that had a sparkly holographic design which made them more valuable to collectors.

This new collaboration between Star Wars and Bikkuriman is definitely desirable, but is it something that is worth your money? Which characters show up and which ones are shiny? No need to worry because we bought the whole set and we are definitely impressed.

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Does the way you eat ice cream say something about you? Japanese Twitter users compare styles

In Japan, it’s common to try to pinpoint a person’s personality type based on a variety of factors, from the more traditional blood type theory and looking at first names to analyzing nail shape.

In a new trend, Japanese Twitter users have been comparing the way they eat ice cream with one another and musing what that says about them as people. Sadly, while no one has created an infographic yet depicting what the different types mean, it’s still fun to marvel at all the eating styles out there. Where do you fit in with them all?

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Book by Tokyo patissier uses Japanese sweets to represent all of the country’s 72 seasons

One of the many delights about living in Japan is, as many Japanese people will be willing to tell you, the country’s four distinct seasons. Imagine our surprise then when we learnt that there are actually 72 seasons in Japan! An ambitious new project by a Japanese patissier aims to showcase all 72 seasons with traditional Japanese sweets, one sweet per season. The results are stunning and will be sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth or an eye for the visually aesthetic.

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We tried making edible jewels: One recipe gives you three delicious versions!

Remember those beautiful edible “jewels” that we shared with you a couple of weeks ago? Made simply from sugar, agar-agar, and a beverage of your choice, the jewels are both pretty to look at and make a cool – in both senses of the word – summer treat.

They’re still all the rage right now on Japanese social media, so our Japanese reporter Shimazu decided to try making some jewel flavor combinations for herself. She even experimented with three different manners of preparation–serving them right away, freezing them, and letting them sit for a few days to harden.

Which method of making them do you think she enjoyed the most?

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We substitute mirin for sugar in pudding and then taste it ourselves 【Rocket Kitchen】

If you’re in the mood to cook but running short on ingredients, there’s always the old tactic of asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar. If you are in Japan though, why don’t you ask your neighbor for a cup of mirin, or sweet sake used for cooking, instead?

The Sanshu Mikawa Mirin Distillery has recently been promoting sweets made with mirin. This notion is bound to turn some heads as there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between mirin and sweets in Japanese cooking, where it’s instead often used to add a flavorful touch to grilled fish or sushi. So how is it that this seemingly savory flavor can be substituted for the sweetness of sugar? The RocketKitchen is going to get to the bottom of this and eat some pudding too!

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We try Japanese desserts made with bits of tuna. What could go wrong? 【Taste test】

Okay, Japan, I’m trusting you on this one. There have been a lot of times in the past when I was skeptical about your foods, and repeatedly you’ve proven me wrong.

You hit a home run with the raw fish thing. Pasta with spicy cod roe and seaweed? Now one of my go-to choices for a quick, hot meal. Grilled chicken cartilage? Stuff is delicious.

And now you want me to try desserts made with tuna? Sure, let’s do this.

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A beautiful and glittering Kyoto confection perfect for enjoying a starry summer’s night

If you’ve never tried traditional Japanese sweets, you will find that they are certainly very different from those in the west. They are not as sweet and are often made of mochi, azuki bean paste, nuts and fruits. Known as wagashi in Japanese, there are thousands of shops in cities all over Japan that sell these kinds of desserts. One such shop in the old capital, Kyoto, is showing off its history and creativity with a limited-edition summer sweet: “A night full of stars”.

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Hello cronuts! Tokyo welcomes arrival of Dominique Ansel Bakery in Japan

It so happens that this past Saturday was kind of a big day for sweets lovers in Japan (well, at least for this writer). That’s right, June 20 was the much-anticipated grand opening of the Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the original cronuts, in Tokyo’s Omotesando district.

For those of you who may not be into sweets, the cronut is a hugely popular baked creation the bakery is known for which can be described as a hybrid between a croissant and donut. Not surprisingly, stories of people forming long lines every morning at the New York City-based bakery for the cronuts and other delightful baked treats have reached Japan, and many sweets fans were ecstatic when it was announced that the shop would be opening in Tokyo. Not to miss out on the sugar-filled excitement, we were there bright and early on opening day, all psyched up to try the cronuts we had heard so much about!

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Lotte answers all the ice cream questions you always wanted to know but never knew who to ask

Summer is here! Finally, we can eat gallons of ice cream without looking like weirdos again! We might be sweating and smellier than a gym sock in Tokyo, but at least we have ice cream and that makes it all worth it.

But how much do you really know about your ice cream? We recently discovered that Lotte, a producer of numerous delicious treats in Japan, has a FAQ purporting to answer all your burning (melting?) ice cream questions. See if yours is on the list below!

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Sailor Moon birthday cakes come with chocolate Senshi, are fun for kids from 1 to 987,654,322,110

The Sailor Moon manga began serialization in 1991, and the anime debuted soon after in 1992, so it’s safe to say many people have grown up following the adventures of the Sailor Senshi. If you’re getting ready to celebrate having completed another year of your life as a fan of the perennially popular magical girl franchise, why not do it with these soon-to-be-released Sailor Moon birthday cakes, topped with chocolate versions of the series’ characters?

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You won’t believe your eyes! Old opthalmologist’s shop in Taiwan is now an ice cream shop

One of the best things about taking a holiday abroad is basking in the glory of all the historical architecture of the area. Another amazing thing about it is eating delicious food and buying tons of yummy goodies to bring home. So if you’re thinking of visiting Taiwan any time soon, you’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to visit this olde-world opthalmologist’s shop that’s been turned into a swanky ice cream, cake and sweets shop!

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Japanese sweets lovers soon to be in their blue heaven with beautiful aqua-color Ramune dorayaki

Earlier this week, we took a look at some very gourmet blue chocolate ice cream. But what if you like your snacks sweet, blue, and Japanese in origin? Then you, adventurous/hard-to-please eater, need to get your hands on one of these aqua-colored sweet bean dorayaki cakes, with a flavor as unique as their vibrant hue.

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Beautiful “Blue Chocolate of Happiness” turned into ice cream, available by advance order only!

So, chocolate and ice cream —  a delightful combination any way you look at it, right? And nowhere in the world can you expect the combination to be appreciated more than in Japan, the land of the Valentines’ Day chocolate craze and unbelievable ice cream flavors.

As a matter of fact, the Japanese love both foods so much that we couldn’t be satisfied with just regular chocolate ice cream. We had to create an extra-special version of the combination, and you only have to take one look at the picture of the ice cream to see how unique it is. Available only by advance order, it’s ice cream made from the Quernon d’Ardoise chocolate from France … and it comes in a bright, eye-popping blue!

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These beautiful flower arrangements are actually desserts from Tokyo Station

Whether you call it Bavarian cream or Bavarois, the classic dessert generally isn’t much to look at. Since traditional Bavarian cream itself is just a beige lump (being cream, after all), many chefs choose to drizzle a brightly colored fruit sauce on top of it. And while that definitively adds some much needed visual pizzazz, if you’re after a dessert that’s as captivatingly beautiful as it is mouth-wateringly tempting, this Tokyo pastry shop’s Bavarian cream that includes edible flowers is basically a work of art that you can eat.

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