Oona McGee

Half-Japanese Oona McGee hails from Sydney, Australia, where she worked as a journalist and copywriter before making the move to Japan over a decade ago. Now she spends her days exploring the streets of Tokyo with her laptop and camera, always in search of new cafes, restaurants, events and stories to share with our readers. As an experienced food and travel reporter, Oona has travelled extensively through all 47 prefectures of Japan, and is constantly researching new destinations and drawing up itineraries for her next adventure.

All Stories by Oona McGee

Don’t like drinking with the boss? No Promotion For You!

In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.

According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.

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Increasing Demand for Anime-Inspired Japanese Nail Art: Ita Nail Boom!

Ita (痛), meaning pain, is the latest buzzword doing the rounds in cool Japan. It’s used to describe something emblazoned with an anime or manga design, so bright and out-there that it’s painful to the eye. A suit with a cute anime girl pattern inside? That would be the itasuit. A car completely covered in graffiti-style tags and wide-eyed characters? The itasha. And what about nails with different character designs on each nail? That’s itanail. And according to a recent online survey, itanail is becoming more and more popular by the day.

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Studio Ghibli Denies Live Action Adaptation of Kiki’s Delivery Service, We Dream Up Other Possible Ghibli Adaptations

There were rumours recently about a live action version of Ghibli’s Kiki’s Delivery Service. What’s more, these reports claimed that Takashi Shimizu, the horror film director who brought us nightmare-inducing classics like The Grudge, would be sitting at the helm of the project. A horror take on the story of a cute 13-year-old witch? It  seemed too good to be true! Well, it was a sad day when Studio Ghibli released an official statement quashing the salacious rumours, saying, “We have no involvement in the matter.”

But live action versions of Ghibli films aren’t just the stuff of dreams; Princess Mononoke has a stage version that just premiered in London and is coming to Japan in a matter of days! What we would give to meet just one of our favourite Ghibli heroines in person! Inspired by all this talk of adaptations, we took a look at some of the Ghibli films we thought deserved to exist in the real world.

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Amazeballs! Real-Life One Piece Characters Discovered!

One Piece is the hugely successful comic book and animation series about a team of friends who go in search of the famous treasure of the same name. When the writer and illustrator, Eichiro Oda, recently revealed that many of the One Piece characters are based on real-life public figures and celebrities, he created a different type of treasure hunt for his legions of fans. Who was which character? Where did he draw inspiration from? After what must’ve been hours of research, one fan came up with this concise gallery.

But some of these pictures show way more than a passing resemblance. It’s almost as if he sketched every detail of the real-life figure into his One-Piece character, from their pose to their jewellery and accessories. The inspiration for Paulie is even wearing an identical shirt and jacket! Twitter users are now arguing over the fine line between homage and rip-off. What do you think? Check out the characters in more detail below… Read More

The Five Most Popular Snacks in Japan

Have you ever opened a pre-packaged snack and then, before realising it, found you devoured the whole thing?

This was the question put to 906 readers of an online news site in Japan. Out of the 906 people in the survey, 618 said they had unwittingly scoffed the lot. But what are Japan’s most irresistible snacks? And what makes them so impossible to resist? Take a look at some of the comments from respondents as we bring you an inside look at the top five…

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Mister Donut and Hello Kitty Now Serving up Cute Doughnuts!

When we heard that Mister Donut was teaming up with Hello Kitty to celebrate the opening of a new Hello Kitty cupcake ride at Universal Studios Japan, we knew there would be a sweet surprise. The result? An insanely cute doughnut range featuring Ms Kitty’s signature bow and a few unique mini cupcake-inspired creations. Plus, a Hello Kitty ribbon headphone jack charm for purchases over 600 yen (US$6)!

But what would a Hello Kitty-approved doughnut taste like? We were seduced by the cute kitten and headed down to our local store to try out her wares. Join us as we take you through the range, bite by delicious bite…

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How to Use an Ingenious Cloth Bag

China seems to be a country filled to the brim with absolutely everything. From girls living in bubbles to electric pink drinking water to foot-wide walking trails on the side of cliffs. Chances are, if you can think of it, China probably has it. And everything in between. When we were in this land of possibility, we came across an ordinary looking girl on a sunny street.  But when we got closer we could see that this girl had a unique special skill: the skill to disappear in an instant. And how does she do it? With a simple but ingenious cloth bag.

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The Top 5 Ghibli Heroines as Chosen by Men Aged 20-40

It’s not an easy question to answer, but of all the strong, cute and mysterious ladies from Studio Ghibli’s beautiful animated feature films, who is your favourite? This was the question put to 230 men aged 20-40 in a recent on-line poll.

With so many Ghibli girls to choose from, there had to be at least one that tugged on the hearts of men. So who came out on top?  We bring you the top five below:

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Cute Animals Enjoy Hot Water Massage Therapy in Japan 【Video】

Have you ever seen a capybara? Originally from South America, and immensely popular in Japan, capybaras are actually the world’s largest rodents. They can weigh as much as a person, can run as fast as a young horse, and they can bark and purr. But that’s not all. These cute little animals love to bathe in Japanese-style hot springs. And when they do, they do it with such blissful expressions that you can’t help but smile.

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Sonic Hour: A Perfect Head of Beer at the Touch of a Button!

On April 25, Takara Tomy A.R.T.S will release the “Sonic Hour”, the latest addition to their “Beer Hour” series of foaming products. Hour is a play on the Japanese word awa, meaning foam, or head of beer, and that’s exactly what this gadget delivers to the top of your glass. Retailing for 3,990 yen (US$40), this little portable device creates superfine bubbles in any type of beer, guaranteeing a smooth, creamy head every time. Even if the Japanese do prefer their beer with an enormous amount of head sometimes…

The secret to the sonic foam is ultrasonic oscillation. Simply put your glass of beer on the tray, press the button and the ultrasonic vibrations disperse evenly at the bottom of the beer glass, creating a gush of bubbles that rise and form the perfect head in an instant. And if that’s not entertaining enough, it also comes equipped with an eight-colour LED light-up display. To see it in action, check out the video after the jump.

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Customers’ Behaviour Changing Sushi Culture in Japan

Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi restaurants, are one of Japan’s most famous contributions to the dining world. The concept is simple: customers sit around a revolving conveyor belt packed with different sushi dishes, and take the plates they like as they roll by. But now in Japan there’s a new trend that’s threatening to put the brakes on the traditional conveyor belt system. It seems that Japanese customers no longer want to take any dishes off the conveyor belt, instead opting to use it as a giant, revolving display case. Customers are now pointing at the perfectly edible sushi as if they are plastic sushi replicas and ordering them with the wait staff.

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Let’s try a Japanese Home Cooked Meal…in a Sandwich!

Have you ever had a bowl of rice and wondered what to eat with it? Have you ever had two slices of plain bread and wished for a new and exciting sandwich idea? Well, yearn no longer, folks! We have a quick and tasty 2-in-1 Japanese recipe that will see you through dinner and leave you with a delicious, packed sandwich lunch the next day!

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