Part of the excitement of traveling is trying foods that you have never seen, heard of, or even contemplated before. So when our lodging in the wilds of Nikko offered roasted salamander for dinner, I had to give it a try. Not just to satisfy my curiosity and my pride, but to report back to you, dear reader, about what amphibi-lizard on a stick tastes like.
Nov 5, 2014
China has become one of the world’s fastest growing car markets. On a macroeconomic scale, this is due largely to demand rising as Chinese consumers enjoy greater prosperity, coupled with more and more automakers putting an effort into building and selling their products in China.
On a microeconomic scale, though, we think at least a few car sales in the city of Foshan are from people who lost their nerve about using public transportation after spending too long waiting at a bus stop that has a demolished building going down around, and even on top of, it.
Nov 5, 2014
This year, Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood made a major push to establish itself as the place to celebrate Halloween in Japan’s capital. Things got off to a pretty low-key but still impressively creative start with a costume contest on one of the local train lines, but that was nothing compared to how jumping Shibuya was on the night of October 31.
Unfortunately, when you funnel that many people into one place, some of them are going to exhibit some pretty poor manners, as evidenced by the mounds of litter some revelers left behind. In response, volunteers sprang into action cleaning up the trash, but instead of a pat on the back for their hard work, some Twitter users decided to take them to task for what they felt was a shameless play for attention.
Okay, so first off, I just want to start by saying I promise to avoid any “In Mother Russia, xxxx eat you!” jokes in this article, as tempting (and as easy) as it may be to do so.
But, that said: come on, Russia! You’re jockeying with China for worst food-art fails of all time here. While Japan has been busy cranking out new and innovative ways to create beautiful and sometimes seemingly impossible food-art masterpieces, other regions are definitely falling behind with, at best hilarious fails and, at worst, nightmare-inducing food abominations.
Let’s take a look at a few food-art fails from Russia:
Six men and women were bitten by a wild boar in Akiruno and Fussa cities in Tokyo on Friday morning.
So we might be a little late to the party on this one – on account of being at other parties that involved a lot of drinking – but we’re still taken with the Halloween spirit, and it looks like Thailand is too, because we managed to scrounge up a bunch of spooky, possibly “haunted” photos from the area recently.
Let’s say you’re designing a menu for a restaurant, and you want to serve parfaits. More precisely, you want to serve as many different kinds of parfaits as you can think up. How far do you think you could make it towards that goal before things got completely crazy?
Apparently the tipping point to culinary weirdness is about 195 varieties. How did we calculate that? Well, on a recent visit to Kyoto, we found a café that has about 200 different types of parfaits, including five that’re topped with things like corn dogs and deep-fried prawns.
Oct 31, 2014
Villagers in a rural Chinese village have stumbled upon a drink which they believe to be effective against cancer, with dozens of households now partaking in the special brew on a twice-daily basis.
We’re sure that anyone would be prepared to make time in their daily routine for a warm drink every morning and night if it potentially meant staying fit and healthy well into retirement, but we doubt many would be so keen once they heard that said drink was little more than cow dung and sheep’s droppings mixed with warm water.
Oct 30, 2014
Every couple of months, a situation will crop up where the legal rights holder to an anime comes in and quashes some sort of unauthorized derivative work. Fans don’t always let the letter of the law stand in the way of how they express their passion for their favorite shows, though, and defenders often assert that no harm is actually being done, so long as the rights holder wasn’t already producing the same product. There’s no need to shut down an unlicensed T-shirt operation, the argument goes, if the company isn’t actively producing shirts itself.
Maybe that was going through the head of one Nagoya resident when he noticed a glaring oversight in the marketing machine behind hit anime One Piece, and decided to start selling one-dollar bills with copied stickers of the series’ band of pirates.
Oct 30, 2014
A while back, we took a look at an odd online retailing episode when a Japanese customer ordered a single persimmon from Amazon Japan. Sure, it was weird enough to find out that Amazon sells produce, not to mention that you can purchase it in individual pieces. What really got our attention, though, was the comically oversized box it shipped in.
But just when we thought the company’s packaging couldn’t get any crazier, we received our most recent order from Amazon. What’d we order? Cardboard boxes. How’d they ship it? Inside six more cardboard boxes!
It’s hard to think of a more Japanese condiment than wasabi, but even among diners born and raised in Japan, you can find people who order their sushi wasabi nuki, or without wasabi. We can see why, since not everyone who loves the flavor of raw fish also enjoys the sensation of simultaneously having their sinuses cleared and their tongue set on fire.
What’s a little harder to understand, though, is why the makers of wasabi-beef flavored potato chips have decided to offer a wasabi-free version of their salty snacks.
If there’s one unwritten, universal rule of the Internet (other than Rule 34), it’s that you can’t purposefully make something “go viral.” As you read this, there is almost certainly a team of marketing people in a boardroom somewhere trying to figure out a way to leverage that crazy “Shibe Doge” into an ad campaign that will almost certainly never succeed.
But one former Microsoft employee apparently thinks she can buck the trend with her new invention, the “Donut Selfie.”
We’ve talked before about all the cool Kit Kats Japan gets, but the chocolate-covered wafers aren’t the only sweet indulgence with exclusive-to-Japan versions. Once a year or so, Pepsi releases a special flavor for the Japanese market, too.
This winter the soft drink maker is bringing back a popular hit from a few years ago, with the return of strawberry milk Pepsi.
It looks like wasabi, feels like wasabi, and tastes like wasabi, but this small green tube is actually filled with toothpaste. Wasabi flavored toothpaste. Yes, the popular Japanese condiment that accompanies sushi can now be enjoyed while brushing your teeth – as long as you don’t mind a few extra tears in the morning.
Oct 29, 2014
In perhaps the one case in which broadly dismissing an entire group of exotic-looking people by saying, “Eh, they all look the same to me,” maybe isn’t all that offensive, the 2014 Miss Korea contestant lineup once again looks eerily like a lineup of I, Robot-style doppelgangers.
This year saw around 50 finalists, whom the agency holding the competition saw fit to line up in a photo roster for our viewing pleasure:
Oct 26, 2014
Having trouble finding love? Have a bunch of money you just don’t know what to do with? Are you Chinese, over 1.75 meters tall, under 30, rich and generous?
Then congratulations! You fulfill all the requirements to earn yourself the privilege of spending a fortune for a night together with this Taiwanese girl who is recruiting “temporary boyfriends” to fund her travels across China.
Oct 25, 2014
Niconico is Japan’s biggest video sharing website – apart from that other one - and this week sees their unique café and creative space re-open in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
The new nicocafe aims to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds with its online interactive ordering system, which allows viewers watching at home to order items to be delivered to the guests at the bar!
We’re not sure how happy you’d be to actually receive some of these menu items, though…
Hayashi 'Fang' Hougi
Oct 24, 2014
When I first chanced upon these soft toys, I was really confused. By the word tetrapod, I thought the oddly shaped plushies were meant to resemble an entire classification of animals including myself and my neighbor’s cat. However, after doing some research, I discovered that tetrapods are actually concrete structures used in coastal water irrigation. And some genius decided that these should be made into limited-edition soft toys that belong in your room instead of next to the ocean.
These peculiar plushies are available for pre-order between October 18 to 26 only, so if you’re a fan of these huge solid blocks of concrete that cover a worryingly large amount of Japan’s coastline, hurry and grab them whilst stocks last!
As awesome as smartphones are, do they really help us to better communicate with one another? Sure, it’s nice to be able to instantly talk with anyone, regardless of whether you’re at home or out and about, but there are certain things we lose by doing it with the help of technology. Even as mobile phones’ audio and video capabilities continue to improve, they’re still not perfect. Without talking face-to-face, you can’t pick up on every facial expression, hear each subtle change in inflection, or reach out and hold someone’s hand should the conversation turn emotional or romantic.
Unless you’re using this iPhone case that’s an eerily detailed replica of a human hand.
Oct 23, 2014
On October 20 in Taizhou City, Jiangsu Province, a bus driver on his usual route made a sudden, unscheduled stop. The reason? To purchase some tasty-looking fish from a street vendor. According to passenger and eyewitness reports, the driver suddenly pulled to a stop by the roadside (no bus stop in sight!) and hopped down from his bus to purchase “several” fish, before hopping back into his driver’s seat and resuming his route. But was this a sudden impulse buy, or did the driver just really, really need some fish?
- Yamanashi zoo’s roly-poly resident raccoon is ridiculously round, remarkably cute1
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours2
- Canada-based artist stuns with new realistic take on Naruto characters3
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world4
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer5
- Who knew frozen apples could taste so good!: Simple dessert recipe for the diet-conscious6
- “Common habits of Japan’s low earners”: What this survey tells us, and what it doesn’t7
- The top 10 spots in Tokyo to make an anime pilgrimage8
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?9
- Beautiful faces and floors – Five great ways to reuse the water from rinsing rice10
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours1
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make2
- Ghibli background artist Naohisa Inoue’s painting technique is out of this world3
- Budding Japanese student artists impress us with chalkboard works of art4
- Japanese sleep experts say we’ve been using our blankets wrong, help us hate winter a little less5
- Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer6
- Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence7
- Controversial pick-up artist breaks silence as campaign against him continues8
- Cat got your tongue? 10 unusual Japanese phrases that use the word ‘cat’9
- The familiar looks of “once-in-four-thousand-year” Chinese idol have Japanese netizens talking10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school3
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours4
- Sorry guys! Video of “sexy ice cream girl” in Taipei only delivers on half its milky promises5
- Oysters’ amazing cleaning skills shock Japanese netizens who question their shellfish habit6
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make7
- One Piece manga sends off Naruto with a classy secret message8
- Clever Japanese pet owners find perfect cat beds…at IKEA! 【Photos】9
- Man revives woman with AED, branded a “pervert” for removing her clothes to apply electrode pads10
- School textbook is withdrawn after “teacher” on the front is recognized as Japanese adult video star1
- Artist turns innocent Disney princesses into flirty pin-up girls2
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher3
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”4
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】5
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China6
- 6-year-old boy vowed to marry his childhood sweetheart, really marries her 18 years later7
- Ten-year-old boy cuts construction worker’s lifeline because noise was interrupting his cartoons8
- 61 more images of cosmetic surgery from South Korea9
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked10
- Who knew frozen apples could taste so good!: Simple dessert recipe for the diet-conscious
- “Common habits of Japan’s low earners”: What this survey tells us, and what it doesn’t
- The top 10 spots in Tokyo to make an anime pilgrimage
- Can you spot the problem that led to the recall of this otherwise cute Japanese New Year’s card?
- Beautiful faces and floors – Five great ways to reuse the water from rinsing rice
- Live-action Attack on Titan posters show new characters and weapons, plus one huge absence
- Deal of the day – Give this hamster’s Vine video six seconds, and he’ll give you a huge smile
- Japanese dictionary removes heteronormative definitions of love and sex
- 12 gender-bent Disney and Ghibli characters that are utter perfection
- Check out these cool ways to enjoy hot springs in Oita, including eating and breathing them
- Japan discovers awesome cheese snack that takes just one ingredient and two minutes to make
- Nissin Cup Noodle is offering a promotional life-size water-dispensing cow
- Japan serves up yet another weird pizza, this time topped with cookie-filled chocolate bars!