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.

Posted by Oona McGee

Neko Font: Let Cats Do the Talking for You!

If it’s taking up residence on beds of sushi, winning hearts with adorable poses or curling up on your face while you sleep, the cats of the world seem to be inching closer to world domination with each passing day. They’ve certainly got a hold of the netisphere, and now they’re writing their names all over it, turning their noses up at the alphabet of boring humans and replacing it with a much cuter one of their own. It’s a free font generator called neko font (cat font), and you can play with it too. It makes even the most boring of words absolutely adorable!

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When Two Amazing Worlds Collide: Welcome to the World of Cat Sushi!

There’s a new breed of sushi in town, and it’s called nekozushi (cat sushi). These unusual creatures live in an alternate reality, travelling between worlds on colourful sushi train plates, stopping to stare at passers-by for just long enough to get them thinking, “Did I really see that?” before zooming off again. Rare sightings have been reported over the years but no-one’s ever been able to really prove the existence of a sushi cat. Until now.

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47 Prefectures, 47 Unique Japanese Souvenirs: Which One Will Win?

Omiyage, local, often food-based souvenirs, are a big thing in Japan. Each of the country’s 47 prefectures takes pride in producing a well-known representative that speaks for their area and reflects their unique terroir. But which region and what delicacy would come out on top if put to the test in a general election? A recent television programme in Japan thought to do just that, conducting a national tournament of omiyage vs omiyage, sifting through the delegates to bring us the top 20 areas and their delicious representatives.

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Gyu-Kaku Philippines Now Open, Serving Up Excellent Seafood

Mariah Carey’s done it. Lindsay Lohan did it too. Megan Fox even does it with her husband. And in Japan, practically everyone’s doing it. It’s yakiniku, barbecuing meat on a charcoal flame, and the hottest place to do it is at the popular Japanese restaurant chain Gyu-Kaku.

Now people in the Philippines are getting a taste of the celebrity-endorsed outlet, with the April 5 opening of their first branch in metropolitan Manila. Already, it’s proving to be very popular with the locals. But when we heard that the star of this Gyu-Kaku (“Bull’s Horn”) wasn’t the meat but the seafood, we had to pay them a visit to see what was going on.

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No Kisses For You! Cute Shiba Inu Refuses Owner’s Persistent Advances【Video】

Meet Mari, the cute Shiba Inu who likes to play hard-to-get. If Mari looks familiar, it may be because she’s a bit of a movie star on the Internet. She’s appeared in dozens of short films with her owner, playing the roles of train passenger, religious sect founder and even tambourine player in her master’s two-piece band. She’s also spent time as a strict homework supervisor.  Now Mari seems to be showing her true colours, refusing her owner’s requests to pucker up for a smooch, with all the scorn and indignation of a displeased cat. This clip is one of their cutest and most hilarious pet-owner collaborations to date! Check out their video after the jump.

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Photos of Japanese People Accidently Used on Korean Textbook Covers

State-sponsored textbooks issued to 870,000 first and second grade elementary school students in Korea this year have mistakenly used photos featuring Japanese people on their covers. The mishap was confirmed after much speculation about the nationality of the subjects in the photos. They were said to have different features to Koreans, namely more defined double-creased eyelids and less-defined cheekbones.

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Cute Kyoto! We Taste Hidden Delights From a Traditional Sweet House in Pontocho

Pontocho is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful geisha districts. With traditional tea houses, restaurants and bars all crowded together along atmospheric, stone-paved narrow lanes, this area breathes the air of an old, timeless Kyoto. Within its maze of weaving, intersecting alleyways, there are plenty of secrets to discover and hidden areas to explore. Walking through Pontocho, you might notice one of its many mysteries: the area is dotted with Japanese paper lanterns, all bearing the mark of the chidori, the plover bird. They’re incredibly beautiful, but why would a cute chidori design come to be on such traditional products?

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Virtual Reality: Taste the Sound Effects From Your Favourite Comic Book Moments

Your drink’s icy cold but the manga ice cubes in your glass are h-h-hot! Now taste the palpitating sound effects from your favourite comic books thanks to these new Manga Kōri, Comic Ice silicone molds from Runa Corporation.

Coming in three designs, ゴゴゴ (go-go-go, the sound effect for rumbling), ドドド (do-do-do, the sound of running, galloping and whirring machinery), and あ゛あ゛あ゛ (a-a-a, best translated as “Arrgh”), all appear in your glass in the same font that’s often scrawled over tense moments in a manga character’s storyline.

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Park Your Car in a Serpent: a Proposal by Hong Kong

From office buildings to towers to hotels, urban environments across the world have seen huge improvements in vertical design over the years. But in amongst all this creativity and innovation, there was always one building left waiting for a look-in: the humble multi-storey car park.

Now, thanks to an international architectural competition, there’s a futuristic new proposal set to revolutionise the way we park our cars. It’s called the “CarPARK”, and it aims to provide a great day out parking for the whole family.

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China Shocks the World with 27 (Awesome) Look-Alike Movie Posters

A collection of Chinese movie posters has been wowing netizens of the world recently. From Black Swan to Ocean’s Twelve to The Pianist, each movie has inspired a look-alike design in China. The 27 posters aren’t used for the domestic release of the original movies though; they’re used for totally different titles, many of which aren’t well-known outside of China.

Some say the similarities are pure coincidence, others say it’s an homage to a great work. Take a look for yourself and decide!

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Sumo Wrestlers Greet the World From Tokyo on Google Maps

On April 23, the Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo hall in Tokyo underwent a massive makeover on Google Maps. Now, the street view reveals a line-up of smiling sumo wrestlers. Once you get past them, you’re free to explore the entire building inside, from the seating area, to the food and souvenir stands and even the sacred dohyō, the ring where the bouts are held. We bring you all the best parts to explore, in easy to navigate clips straight from our page, after the jump.

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Schick Brings us Limited Edition Evangelion Goods For Rei-zor Sharp Enjoyment

It’s a good time to be an Eva fan in Japan right now. With Lotteria campaigns and Sega giveaways to coincide with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Evangelion 3.33, we’ve been running around town with some serious Eva fever. And the only cure… is more Eva!

Coming to the rescue is Schick, joining the tie-in celebrations with four different razor holder figurine sets, seven earphone jack accessories, and a chance to win an Eva clock. Plus, an animated interview with Gendo, to get his take on the razor series.

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Tsukiji Fish Market Vendor Releases Tuna For Home Assembly

If you’ve ever been to Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo (the largest seafood market in the world), then you’ve probably dodged speeding forklifts, gotten lost in a maze of stalls, and seen professionals wielding metre-long knives, filleting expensive tuna according to traditional methods that go back centuries.

Well now you can take the Tsukiji experience home with you (minus those pesky forklifts) thanks to a special bluefin tuna designed and manufactured by Yamawa, a third generation fish wholesaler from the markets.

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Grumpy Cat is Not Pleased After Japanese Wool Felt Artist Shaves The Furry Bits

Wool felt crafting is fast becoming a popular hobby these days. With new techniques and innovative designs, more and more people are taking out their needles and dusting off their glue guns to test the boundaries of the craft. The results are wide and varied; some crafters choose to create cute, brightly coloured toys and accessories, and others prefer to sculpt half-shaved animals with pissed off faces.

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We Take the McDonald’s Potato Holder For a Test Ride

After our recent report on the April 24 release of the McDonald’s hands-free “potato holder,” we headed out and grabbed one for a test run.  Available for free with all large-size value sets, these plastic holders are only around for a limited time! But, with no car, how could we possibly do justice to the hands-free design, good for eating-on-the-go? That’s when we spotted our pink mama-chari (mama-chariot, a style of bicycle popular with mums in Japan) leaning against the wall of our driveway. With no shame whatsoever, Minoru, our test rider for the day, popped the plastic potato packet into the drink holder on the bicycle, inserted the large serving of fries and set off for a culinary trip around the block. Would they survive? Or would they fall? And how would our rider hold up?

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Suicide Prevention Month: Depressing Posters Cause Controversy in Kobe

As part of efforts by Kobe City to prevent suicides, a number of huge posters (each measuring 2.1  by 1.35 metres), have been set up on local subway platforms at Sannomiya Station, in Kobe’s Central Ward. While some have commended the effort, it seems that the crowds of commuters aren’t all on board with the somewhat depressing content, as the move has been generating a lot of criticism from the public.

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Akihabara Inspires a Rare Picture Jockey Performance

If you have an eye for detail, you might just recognize the place in the image above. It’s an awesome rendering of Tokyo’s Akihabara. And it’s from the skilled hand of a former quantum physics researcher turned picture jockey. 

John Hathway (pseudonym), the Japanese artist who created the picture, is known as a picture jockey (PJ) because he builds images the same way a disc jockey mixes tracks; by improvising with new patterns and arrangements and blending backgrounds to create totally unique and exciting works of art.

Now he’s teamed up with Tokyo Otaku Mode, a popular site for all things otaku, to celebrate their 10 million-plus likes on Facebook. They thanked fans in a unique way, with the release of this gorgeous image, and a rare picture jockey performance.

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Is that Soy Sauce you’re Chugging? No, It’s Nanchatte Orange!

Hot on the heels of our incredibly successful cola transformation test, we couldn’t resist another weird and wonderful drink challenge. This time, we decided to try a drink called Nanchatte Orange (literally fake orange). It’s an orange juice sold by “Cheerio Japan” but with one catch: it looks exactly like soy sauce.

Saying it looks like soy sauce doesn’t really do justice to how much this looks like real soy sauce. This is practically identical to the real thing; in fact, the reason we came across this drink was because we walked by the drinks fridge at the convenience store and it caught our eye. Our first thought was, “What is soy sauce doing in the drinks fridge? And why is it sitting next to the apple juice?”

Needless to say, we were on it in a flash and out the door, taking it back to the office with salty thoughts and expectations. So what would black orange juice from a soy sauce bottle taste like? Well, allow us to introduce you to this very unique drink…

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Sparrow Becomes a Life-Size Earphone Jack Cover!

In Japan’s Twitter world, this bird is causing quite a flurry. The Java sparrow in these photos is so adorable and righteously perched that at first glance, it looks real. But alas, no real sparrow would pose for photos so sweetly and demurely. At least that’s what twitter user “Bado” found when he tried to take photos of his real pet sparrow on top of his smartphone.

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We Try One of the World’s Most Unique Boiled Eggs

Surely, this has to be one of the most unique boiled eggs in the world. In case you can’t make it out properly, we ought to explain that this is a duck egg. With a duck embryo inside. And that strip of black there is indeed baby duck fur. It’s an image so frightful to some that eating it became a featured challenge on TV shows like Survivor and Fear Factor. To others, however, this is simply a delicious Filipino street delicacy.

Keeping an open mind, we plucked up the courage to try one of these babies (pun very much intended) while on a recent trip to the Philippines with one of our Filipino friends. But what did it taste like? And what does a whole baby duck feel like inside your mouth? We give you everything you need to know, complete with mouth-watering photos.

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