Steven Simonitch

Writer / Translator

Though a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Steven currently resides in Nagano, Japan, where he is known by the old lady at the supermarket as "the white guy who always buys 2 packs of natto." Having finished a 2 year stint teaching English with the JET program, Steven now spends his days writing silly things about Japan while vainly insisting to his parents that he's a "journalist" working for an established "newspaper."

Aside from writing banal stories about hot Asian women and cheeseburgers, Steven is also working with dojin circle Creative Freaks to localize their fitness app/ Japanese dating sim series, Burn your fat with me!! (known as Nensho! in Japan).

Posted by Steven

America! Our Japanese Reporter Approves of Julian Apple Pies, and You Should Too

When travelling to America, most Japanese people usually have one or two “must-eat” foods on their itinerary, the most popular of which are probably hamburger and apple pie.

When our Japanese reporter, Yoshio, visited America last month, he wasted no time in seeking out the former. His haste and curiosity led him to something called the Donut Burger, which, as you might imagine, didn’t go over so well.

Determined not to commit the same mistake with his apple pie, Yoshio had his American acquaintances point him in the direction of the best damn all-American apple pie the country has to offer.

Where did that take him? Check his report below to find out!

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Adorable Evangelion x Hello Kitty Crossover Comes to Crotches Everywhere

Longtime readers of our site, or anyone who follows Japanese pop culture at all, has probably noticed that two of the country’s most heavily exploited media franchises are Evangelion and Hello Kitty.

In May, the inevitable finally happened when respective branding companies Groundworks and Sanrio teamed up to launch a line of crossover products to commemorate this fall’s release of the newest Evangelion movie, Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. 

Now, with the long-awaited film only a few weeks away, Japanese underwear maker 3RDWARE has joined the fray to outfit your First Child with adorable Eva x Hello Kitty boxer briefs.

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Sadako 3D Box Set Offers a Glimpse at the Daily Life of a Japanese Horror Icon

The special edition DVD/Blu-Ray box set of Sadako 3D, the fifth in the series of Japanese horror films originating from Ring, went on sale in Japan on October 31. The film brings back the series antagonist, Sadako Yamamura, for another round of video-induced murder.

While a creepy, supernatural killer in the movies and books, Sadako has become popular as a sort of quirky character in Japan, even making a clumsy appearance at a baseball game to throw the ceremonial first pitch earlier this year.

The Sadako 3D special edition box set, also known as “Sadako’s Cursed Box,” indulges in this goofy parallel with the inclusion of a sizable cut of Sadako’s iconic black hair and 32-page photo book titled Sadako’s Holiday.Sadako’s Holiday offers a closer look at what the long-haired ghost girl does on her days off:

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Kyoto Noodle House Serves One Big, Long Noodle

Udon is one of Japan’s most well-loved noodles dishes, ranking in line with soba and ramen. Everyone has an opinion over which is the tastiest, but those who like a bit of girth in their noodles will probably go for udon, which are traditionally rolled thicker than other Japanese noodles.

If you really want something to chew on, Tawaraya, an established noodle house in Kyoto, makes udon noodles so thick that only one fits inside the bowl.

Our resident foodie, Kuzo, recently took a train out to the ancient capital to try Tawaraya’s udon for himself. Check out his report below!

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Cute Anime Girls Driving Sales of Windows 8 in Japan

On October 29, Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said that since its release on Friday, Windows 8 has been selling at a higher rate than Windows 7, the best-selling version of Windows to date.

Despite confusion over alleged magic touch screen-imbuing capabilities, Windows 8 seems to be doing well in Japan as well— so well, in fact, that limited-quantity DSP editions of the operating system, which feature two unofficial Windows 8-themed “moe” mascots, are already beginning to sell out, proving once again that the Japanese will buy anything with a cute anime girl on it (not that there was a lack evidence).

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Japan’s New Pepsi White is Flavored Orange

Winter is approaching fast and it looks like Japan’s romance with the color black is finally fading away into softer shades with Pepsi’s newest seasonal flavor, Pepsi White.

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Paradise is Lunch at the Foot of a Beautiful Waterfall in a Coconut Plantation in the Philippines

Villa Escudero is a beautiful hacienda-style resort built inside a working coconut plantation located in the Quezon province of the Phillipines. The resort has become a prime tourist destination for both locals and overseas visitors, who are drawn by the cozy rooms, natural beauty, and unique cultural activities such as bamboo rafting and rural village tours.

Perhaps most unique of all is the Waterfalls Restaurant, where guests can enjoy a meal on bamboo dining tables set at the foot of a small waterfall.

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Top 9 Anime Situations That Seem Likely to Happen, but Never Do

How many times have you ever been running to school late in the morning, rushing to get to class before the bell rings, only to turn the corner and bump into someone of the opposite sex, who you consequently fall in love with?

If your answer is more than “none,” chances are you’re either an anime character or an extremely well-organized stalker. Let’s face it: while there are plenty of situations found in anime or manga that seem like they could play out in real life, most are unlikely to ever naturally occur unless by some bizarre fluke.

Niconico News recently asked 500 of their readers to brainstorm some of the most common examples of such situations. Check what they came up with below!

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Despite their irrepressible desire to rip off and devour our flesh, people love zombies. Zombie movies, zombie books, zombie games, zombie theme park events… people are just as obsessed with “consuming” zombies as they are with consuming us.

And now, with Halloween just around the corner, there are more ways than ever to get your zombie fix. In Japan, for example, you can even sit down and have cute zombie maids serve you coffee at the zombie maid café, Maid of the Dead.

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Our Japanese Reporter Eats Donut Burger in Search of “Real” American Hamburger, “I never want to eat that again”

Before departing on his trip to the United States, our Japanese reporter Yoshio told us that he was looking forward to eating a real American burger. What that meant to him, apparently, was a 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon patty wedged between two glazed donuts and skewered on a steak knife.

Are you happy now, America? Japan associates you with bacon and glazed donuts. Actually, that sounds about right…

Check out Yoshio’s taste report below!

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Japanese Man Perfects, Battles Most Useless Machine 【Video】

In the early 1950s, American mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon built a device that looked like a simple wooden casket with a single switch on the side. When the switch was thrown, the lid would rise slowly and a mechanical hand would emerge from beneath. The hand would slowly reach over to the side of the box, flip the switch off and retreat back into the box, whereupon the lid would snap shut.

Shannon called the device the “Ultimate Machine,” and since its invention, it has been reconstructed and revised under a number of different names, such as the “Useless Box” or “Leave Me Alone Box.” While all of these iterations are entertaining in their own right, a recent video by a Japanese university student has the internet buzzing that, more than 50 years later, Shannon’s Ultimate Machine may have finally been perfected.

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New Vocaloid Mayu Gets December 5 Release Date, Bundled with 2-disk CD Compilation

Vocaloid producer Exit Tunes announced today that the newest Vocaloid, Mayu, will make her debut on December 5 along with the release of VOCALOID3 Library MAYU, a special package containing the Vocaloid3 software with Mayu’s voice library installed and a 2-CD compilation of Mayu tracks produced by over 30 different artists.

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Pokémaniacs, ready your credit cards because Amazon Japan launched their Pokémon Store, a special page dedicated to the sale of all things Pokémon, on October 17.

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Cool Japanese Music Video Brings Back 8-Bit Google Maps…Kinda

Remember Google’s 8-bit Google Maps April Fools’ prank from earlier this year?

Japanese four-piece all-female rock band, Negoto, have taken the idea to the next level by integrating their new music video with an 8-bit map of Tokyo so that it tracks the singer’s location as she goes on a grand adventure across the city.

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