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

10 things foreigners do that Japanese people find amusing

Ah, the wonders of learning a second language. There’s much to be said for the sense of satisfaction and achievement that comes from communicating effectively in another tongue. There’s also much to be said about the head-scratching and sense of humility that comes from tripping up and sounding like a buffoon.

We’ve found 10 tweeted tales of confusion from Japanese people who’ve had amusing encounters with foreigners in Japan. Some strike such a chord with Japanese that they’ve been retweeted and shared hundreds, sometimes even thousands of times.

So what is it that we foreigners do that’s so amusing?

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Use your rice cooker to bake delicious cinnamon honey apples

Life can be tough in Japan when the weather starts getting cooler and cravings for baked comfort foods start taking hold of our thoughts. With full-size western ovens an absolute rarity in the common Japanese home, roast dinners and home-baked pies become more like lost friends from a bygone era; somewhere else but still etched in our hearts and never quite forgotten.

If the Japanese kitchen is lacking in the stove department, it makes up for it in volumes with a marvellous piece of wizardry known as the rice cooker. Its mettle has only recently been put to the test with some surprising recipes like fast food dinners and enormous pancakes of epic proportions. And now as the weather cools, there’s another easy recipe to try – soft baked cinnamon honey apples.

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Artistic éclairs featuring Japanese woodblock print by Hokusai available for a limited time only

Fauchon, the long-established luxury food brand from Paris, is well-known throughout Japan as a purveyor of high quality teas and cakes, but it’s their famous éclairs that are considered the créme de la créme of the sweet world.

To celebrate Éclair Week, Fauchon has opened a pop-up café for a limited time in Shibuya, Tokyo. Pictured are two of the éclairs on offer, one celebrating the deep pink colour that’s come to be associated with the French brand, and one that’s a jaw-dropping edible rendition of a traditional woodblock piece by famous Japanese artist Hokusai.

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Ghibli, Star Wars, Breaking Bad: artist carves crayons into amazing characters

As a kid, playing with crayons always guaranteed hours of fun. The array of exciting colours, combined with an ergonomic design perfect for young hands meant endless artistic possibilities on paper, walls, compliant siblings…

Now Crayolas are providing hours of fun for adults too, thanks to a dedicated artist who’s created dozens of unique crayons that are so adorable and true-to-life you have to see them to believe.

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Japanese vending machine dispenses ultra-rare gold Coca Cola can prize

Japan is well-known around the world for its enormous variety of vending machines, dispensing everything from eggs to flowers to batteries at the touch of a button. But did you know there’s a machine that dispenses gold Coke cans?

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Boys love manga pork: BL anime characters now in the chilled meat section

We’ve been bringing you news of the BL craze in Japan, with cafés, books and even university courses featuring homoromantic male relationships, commonly referred to as Boys Love. With more and more people becoming exposed to the trend, what began as an underground sub-culture is becoming more well-known and popular, with men and women alike.

Now it seems the boys have gone mainstream, as stars of a major campaign for supermarket chain Ito Yokado. Only they’re not advertising beauty products or clothing lines. They’re advertising meat.

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Latest souvenirs from Japan: Wear the city with adorable Japanese road sign jewelry

From Paris to New York to Tokyo, a city is nothing without its street signs. Leave a place for too long and the special little signifiers we take for granted everyday will make a beeline for our hearts and strike nostalgia in even the most hardened city dweller when we see them again.

If you’ve walked the streets, been on a road trip or taken a license test in Japan, you’ll love this special collection of earrings from the land of the rising sun.

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Watch Hello Kitty shape-shift before your very eyes with this insanely cute Rubik’s Cube

Now that she’s hit the big 4-0, Hello Kitty has been getting up to all sorts of mischief. She’s posed for the god of manga, been caught in hotel rooms and even joined the mile-high club.

However, Ms Kitty once had more cerebral pursuits in mind, having conquered the Rubik’s Cube by becoming one with it…literally. We take a look at the unique Hello Kitty puzzle – an awesomely cute mind-bender that offers a great sense of accomplishment to those who want to reconstruct the deconstructed cat.

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Fans go crazy for 7-Eleven’s exclusive range of adorable Disney Princess umbrellas

From a genie in a bottle to a city at the bottom of the sea, if you’re a fan of Disney, then you’ll know the sweetest things can be found in the most unlikely places.

So it’s no surprise that Disney princess parasols are now waiting patiently for new owners down at the local 7-Eleven. On sale from the beginning of September, fans are heaping praise on the seven designs available and falling in love with all the gorgeous details from their favourite Disney films.

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Stray dogs head to convenience stores in Thailand, receive free rabies shots and flea care

If you’ve ever experienced an Asian summer, you’ll know how unbearably hot and humid it can be. In Thailand, where summer temperatures often stay above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees F) and can reach 100% humidity, keeping body temperatures down becomes a priority not only for people, but for our furry friends as well.

Clever canines know to beat the heat by hanging outside local convenience stores, where there’s shade, a cold surface to lie on, and best of all, a steady flow of traffic to open the automatic doors, releasing precious, steady gusts of cool, conditioned air. But there’s more…

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New Sony Cyber-shot: a perfume bottle camera specifically designed for selfies

Recently, a weekend stroll around Tokyo took me to Roppongi, where I stumbled upon a giant replica of Godzilla, emerging waist-up from the grass next to a busy road. What ended up stopping me in my tracks was not the menacing monster with fluorescent blue spikes but the gaggle of girls running around his waist, holding up strange-looking perfume bottles as if to calm the beast with a spray of Chanel No. 5.

What the fashionable young ladies were actually doing came as a bit of a surprise; they were taking photos of Godzilla with iPhones in cases that resembled perfume bottles. It’s the hot new trend in China at the moment, and from the looks of things, we all might be following them soon as Sony has just released a perfume bottle that’s more than a case – it’s an actual Cyber-shot camera.

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Badass cats blow up the internet, leave adoring humans in their wake

Since the dawn of social media, cute cats and adorable kittens have been getting all the attention online. But what about the cool cats of the feline world? The rebels who walk their own walk and do things their own way, with no regard for consequences?

Finally, there’s a collection that pays homage to the badass cat – the one that tears up your stuff, hangs out with a weird crowd of animals, and gives you the finger while sitting in your favourite chair. These hilarious pictures prove that naughty cats can be just as cute as their goody-two-shoes counterparts.

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New ad from Thailand about a mother’s love will inspire you and bring you to tears【Video】

Life insurance commercials from Thailand have been doing the rounds on social media lately, impressing everybody with their beautiful images and moving storylines. Now there’s a new ad from Thailand pulling at our heartstrings, but this time it has nothing to do with life insurance – this is a touching message from the makers of a fibre food beverage.

The short clip shows us the benefits of weight loss, by focusing on the true story of a mother who was determined to lose weight – not for herself but for her son. Why? Make sure you’ve got some tissues handy because the reason will touch your heart.

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Say goodbye to carved pumpkins because fruit faces will scare your socks off this Halloween

What do you think the face above is made from? It might look like a carefully carved wooden sculpture but the truth is, it’s not made from wood at all. It’s made from something a lot greener and sweeter; something that once fell to the ground and inspired a man called Isaac. And got two people banished from the Garden of Eden.

Yes, it’s the humble apple, and this year it’s more scary than sweet. Soon you’ll be swapping your pumpkins for apples because this easy-to-create work of art will be the best way to keep people off your porch this Halloween!

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Enjoy a holiday at your desk with a hammock for your feet

When crazy ideas work, they can be genius. And if that little spark of genius makes our working day just that little bit easier to get through, it’s got to be applauded and shared.

So, without further ado, we bring you the foot hammock. With benefits for your physical and emotional well-being, there’s never been an easier way to rest your body and your mind while at work.

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Gene Kelly inspires short anime from Japan, captures hearts around the world

If you’re feeling under the weather or just wanting to relax after a hard day, there are two things that can certainly pick you up and remind you of the bright side of life again: a Hollywood musical from the golden era, and a good animated cartoon from Japan. It’s amazing how warm, animated tones and catchy tunes can capture your senses and hug you like an old friend just when you need it the most.

Now, a Japanese animator has melded the two feel-good genres with a short, two and a half-minute animation that pays homage to a Gene Kelly tap dance routine from the 1952 american musical Singin’ in the Rain. It’s proving to be so cute that it’s attracting attention from around the world. We take a look at the video and see why this cute girl is gathering so many admirers.

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Silicon cyber cats take over the gaming world, one Nintendo 3DS at a time

Cats, in all their various colours and sizes, are continuing on their path to world domination. Not content with the hours that owners spend lavishing attention on Nintendo 3DS consoles, their latest exercise in shape-shifting has them appearing as soft silicon sheaths designed to hug and protect your handheld system.

Not only will they keep your console scratch-free, these cats promise to keep your friends pleasantly amused, especially if you just have to take time out once in a while to reach that next level in the game. Best of all, anytime is playtime, as these feline companions will travel with you anywhere you go!

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Become an anime babe with amazing DIY jeans from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Have you seen Nisha the Lawbringer? She’s tall and lean and rocks an awesome pair of skinny jeans. Only problem is, she lives in an alternate reality called Borderlands and spends most of her days fighting on the moon.

Your chances of meeting the animated babe just got exponentially better, as one dedicated cosplayer has revealed a technique to replicate the character’s trademark jeans. That’s right – the jeans above might look illustrated, but they’re absolutely real. Take a look at how they’re made after the jump.

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What’s better than sushi? Ramen sushi!

If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see that inside this sushi roll there’s no rice. Instead, it’s filled with the goodness of instant noodles!

The lifeblood of students, singles and people who just don’t have time to cook, the humble noodle has been used in many ways over the years and now it’s seeing a new dawn, wrapped in a roll and plated up as sushi. And did I mention this baby is wrapped in bacon?

We’ll give you the easy, step-by-step recipe after the jump, but purists be warned: the following images may disturb. Everybody else: come on in and take a seat!

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Godzilla fights around the world in these rare vintage European posters

Ever since he attacked his first village in Japan in 1954, Godzilla has been broadening his horizons. Seeking out mightier foes and playing to bigger audiences, the giant monster has done what other beasts could only dream of – garnered a following as huge as himself, with fans still spreading across decades and continents around the globe. An impressive feat for a beast.

One continent certainly went above and beyond when welcoming the giant to their corner of the world, as these vintage posters show. From Poland to France, we take a look at some of the most amazing Godzilla artwork from Europe. We’ve never seen Godzilla look so different!

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