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

The amazing world of 3-D coffee art!

We’ve fallen in love with some gorgeous latte art in Japan but these new designs take the cake! Coffee craft is rapidly evolving to new heights, with cute, frothy characters now making the escape from 2-D and rising up to greet us from our cups. Kazuki Yamamoto, a pioneer of the trend known as 3-D cappuccinos, works on a new creation every day and has amassed a gorgeous portfolio of cute coffee friends. People in Japan and abroad can’t get enough of these amazing designs!

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Japanese duo support Lady Gaga with a unique cover of Telephone

The worldwide hit single, “Telephone”, by Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce, is doing the rounds again on the Internet. Only this time,  it’s a Japanese version, featuring two traditional instruments: the koto (Japanese harp) and the shakuhachi (Japanese flute). The duo behind the cool cover are a couple of little monsters who go by the name of Team Kozan. Not only have they created an awesome rendition of the pop single, they’ve made a cool video clip too; filmed at Suga Shrine in Shinjuku, it mixes up Gaga dance moves with the sights and sounds of traditional Japan. See why the world is raving about it after the jump.

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Wanted! Good smartphones for cute dogs to sit on

Smartphones have a lot of great features to keep us entertained during long train rides and solo cafe visits. One of their most surprising benefits though, has to be the tiny hole at the top of the phone. We all know it’s a port for your earphones, but what do you do for the other twenty three hours of the day when it’s just a boring black hole? You stuff it with cuteness of course! And these playful pups are here to keep you company so you’ll never be alone again.

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Cute sleepy animals captivate Japan, teach us some new vocabulary at the same time!【GIF Gallery】

People in Japan have an uncanny ability to nod off in broad daylight. Take a ride on any train here, and you’ll see people falling asleep just like the cute pup above. While the long working hours and commitments of the obligation-based society send people to slumber, we’re not sure what’s overworking them in the animal world. The overwhelming desire for some shut-eye has struck a chord with Japanese net users, who have fallen in love with these animated GIFs of dozing animals. Let’s take a look at this unbearably cute collection and learn a few new interesting Japanese words from native commenters along the way.

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Japanese men have spoken: they don’t like your nail art

Nail art is booming in Japan, and sometimes the designs are simply jaw-dropping. From small gems to unique anime designs to nightmarish talons from a horror movie, women everywhere are keeping nail salons in business with the seemingly unstoppable trend. But if you’re thinking about surprising your man with a set of designer nails, you might want to think again, as a recent survey reveals that an overwhelming majority of men just don’t like nail art. The reasons they gave all point to the fact that the state of your nails can reveal a lot about who you are.

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The Starbucks tumbler limited to one place in the world: Haneda Airport

People in Japan love Starbucks coffee and their cute, branded drinking tumblers. In big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka you can even buy limited edition tumblers with different local designs. The regional travelling cups are sold at a number of stores though, so they’re actually not that difficult to come across. For die-hard fans looking to get their hands on the Holy Grail of Starbucks drinking vessels, you’d be better off heading to a store at Haneda airport, the one place in the world that sells this very exclusive tumbler.

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Star Wars Characters Journey to the West as Classical Chinese Warriors

With the next Star Wars movie due for release sometime in 2015, it’s an anxious wait before fans get to see their favourite characters once again. And who knows what will happen to Yoda and the gang now they’re owned by the house that made Mickey? For now, though, you can put those worries aside because we’ve found something to take your mind off things. It’s part Death Star, part Chinese warrior and 100 percent totally awesome. Check out six famous Star Wars characters who look like they’ve stepped back into the Six Dynasties of ancient China!

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Fast Cars, Tree Houses, Anime, and Secret Rooms: Crazy Beautiful Cafes in Tokyo and Yokohama

As regular readers will no doubt be aware, Japan is home to more than a handful of peculiar bars and restaurants. From a robot eatery to a restaurant that serves up dirt, there’s no end to the exciting dining experiences available here. But did you know there’s a wealth of strange and intriguing cafes around as well? Come with us as we take you to Tokyo and neighbouring Yokohama to visit some of the most unusual, crazy, beautiful cafes in Japan.

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Japan’s Top 10 Favourite Cat Breeds for 2013: Who will be Top Cat?

There’s no doubt that Japanese people are fond of their cats. After all, many of them have grown up with a furry friend companion, even if it was only a virtual cat like Doraemon or Hello Kitty. Now, there are cat cafes where people can pay to pass the time with some feline company, and owners can enhance their relationships with a spot of cat massage. With all this feline love, though, we have to wonder which breeds would be the nation’s most beloved? To find out, we toyed with the idea of putting puss against puss in an old-fashioned beauty pageant. But then, after thinking about the inevitable cat-fights, we decided to take a look at a survey of 10,000 respondents instead. Surprisingly, the top ten breeds remain unchanged again this year, as they have for several years. Read More

Lotteria Mega Ramen Burger Challenge: Mr Sato Takes on a Tower of Carb Power

Mr. Sato’s love of hamburgers and ramen noodles is perhaps known by thousands of people across the world. But what if we put bun and noodle together and served them up in an enticing tower of excess? We decided to put his love to the test by pimping out the new Lotteria Ramen Burger with an extra 10 servings of noodles. Because we’re nice like that.

So who will win, man or beastly carbohydrate? Will the burger ultimately contribute to its own demise by giving Mr. Sato the carbs he needs to complete the challenge? Or will they tire him out with a good old-fashioned belly bloat? We’ve got the photos and video of their tryst inside.

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There’s a Sailor Moon in my Coffee! Photos and Tips From a Japanese Manga Latte Artist

Latte art, created with a skilled pour of steamed milk and some clever manoeuvres, has been mesmerising coffee lovers for well over a decade. While the most common creations are heart and leaf designs in different shades of mocha, here in Japan we’ve spotted 10 hot, candy-coloured manga characters, of the Sailor Moon variety! We fell in love with these designs and needed to know how the pretty guardians and their pals came to life in coffee form. And, more importantly, whether it’s something we can do at home. Mouths watering and hearts fluttering, we asked the artist directly to find out.

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‘So Glad I Went!’ 2013 Ranking: The Places In Japan That Made an Impact on Foreign Visitors

Every year, seven to eight million foreigners make the trip to Japan. But where do they go sightseeing? And, more importantly, do these places come up to scratch? A list of the most impressive sightseeing spots for the year to date, as ranked by foreign tourists, has been released by the popular travel site TripAdvisor. And while you’d think the top spot might go to a beloved and well-known destination like Kyoto or Tokyo, it actually goes to a simple-looking, modern building in the south-west of the country, in Hiroshima Prefecture.

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Meet the Buildings Used by Millionaires, Statesmen … and Naked Bathers and a Ghibli Movie

This collection of culturally important buildings, moved from their original locations in Japan and preserved in a park in Tokyo, gives us a glimpse into time periods from the Edo era (1603-1868) through to the early Showa era (1926-1945). Thirty buildings have taken up residence here over the past two decades, and each one is like a giant treasure box, filled with trinkets, memories and undiscovered gems. If their walls could talk, we can only imagine the stories they would tell. Come with us as we take you through the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Musuem and stop by some of the most interesting buildings Japan has ever seen.

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Shiba Inu or Pomeranian? A Haircut Reveals a New Cute Dog: the Shibaranian

It’s amazing what a good haircut can do. It can change the way people see you and bring out features you never knew you had. That’s certainly what happened to Moru the Pomeranian, who went in for a short cut and came out looking like a whole new breed. Now he’s the Shibaranian, fooling us all with his cute Shiba Inu disguise. And it seems we’ll be seeing more pups like Moru soon, with many owners giving the cut to their Pomeranians to help them cope with the summer heat.

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Update Your iPhone With a Kissing Case!

Forget showing your love with matching tattoos and his ‘n hers pendants; romance in the digital age is all about texts, video calls and saucy photos. So it makes all kinds of sense to show the world your devotion with a set of kissing covers for the iPhone 5. Couples, it’s time to throw those matching T-shirts away and save your friends the embarrassment with – wait, possibly more embarrassment than ever before.

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J-World Tokyo: One Piece, Naruto and Dragon Ball Attractions at Shonen Jump Manga Theme Park!

Fans of the iconic manga periodical Weekly Shonen Jump should be clearing their schedules and marking down July 11 on their calendars. For on this day, the clouds will part and a shaft of light will appear as the doors to a new manga paradise will open, offering five Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball attractions, along with stacks of merchandise and themed food to save us all.

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Vintage Travel Snaps from 1960s Korea and Japan Evoke Strong Emotions

This beautiful photo collection, sourced from a Korean website, takes us back to Tokyo and Seoul in the ’60s, when both cities were undergoing a period of renewal, redefining themselves after years of war. But with Japan’s reconstruction efforts beginning in 1945, after World War II, and Korea’s reconstruction starting almost a decade later, in 1953, after the Korean War, the photos depict two very different levels of progress. While equally beautiful to us, these photos have inevitably become another point of debate between net users from the two countries.

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Video of Russian Kindness Affecting People in Japan

There’s a new video from Russia that’s moving the world to tears, just with its simple content: random acts of human kindness. Using the same car dashboard cameras that brought images of a falling meteor to the world, it shows Russian drivers helping out animals, pedestrians and fellow drivers in a manner that defies traditional stereotypes and puts many of us to shame.

We’re happy to report that the video has reached Japan, and it’s wielding its magic over viewers here as well. Given the tense relationship between Russia and Japan, locked in a territorial dispute and still technically at war, having never signed a peace treaty after World War II, it’s nice to see that people in Japan are responding to the kindness in the video and rethinking the old stereotypes. View the full video and see what the Japanese have to say about it, after the break.

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The Five Japanese Streets That People of Japan Most Want to Visit

If you’ve ever longed to go back to an old Japan, where samurai stayed at old ramshackle inns and merchants filled the air with the scent of food, then some of these traditional streets will be right up your alley. We take you to five of Japan’s most-loved streets, from well-worn paths in secluded valleys to bustling pilgrimage routes in scenic villages, all with an amazing history and atmosphere. Let’s take a stroll together and see what they have to offer.

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Step Out of the Vegie Patch in a Pair of Onion Tights

There’s a theory that says cultures see colours differently. So what happens when you put green and white together on a pair of tights? Most of us would throw colour theories out the window and just see a pair of awesome legs. But when you’re in Japan, some people say, “Green onion!” and others shout “No! White radish!”

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