Japan

Japanese Packed Lunches That Are Hard to Swallow; Edible Batteries and Bathroom Cleansers Enough to Make Andy Warhol Blush

Recently a lot of attention has been directed at Japanese mothers’ painstakingly crafted packed lunches called charabens (character bentos). It’s something of a competition for mothers to send their children off to school with not just the best tasting or healthiest food, but also the most creatively arranged. The BBC ran a feature showing how housewives attend classes to arrange rice, seaweed, and other ingredients into characters ranging from Hello Kitty and Totoro to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama.

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Need a Last Minute Christmas Present? How About a “Whale Sword”?

On Yahoo Shopping, a site famous for its oodles of unique merchandise, an ornamental sword is attracting a lot of attention. It’s called the “Whale Sword” and it’s a model of a style of ornamental sword used in the pre-war days, with a blade close to a meter long. Who wouldn’t want that in their stocking?

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What Recession? World’s Largest Uniqlo to Open in Ginza

Uniqlo, the clothing retailer who has achieved ubiquitous status in Japan is continuing its ambitious plans to expand worldwide. In order to achieve their goal of earning 5 trillion yen (US$60 billion) by 2020, they have been aggressively building larger and larger flagship stores around the world.

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BREAKING NEWS: Captain Jack Sparrow Now Manages Cake Shop

As I was taking a walk through the city the other day, I encountered a cake shop with a fantastic exterior like something out of a fairy tale. It had a very cheerful ambiance, and on closer inspection, I noticed a remarkable figure. Could it be? Star of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jack Sparrow, selling pastries? Captain Jack managing a cake shop?
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This Year’s Hot Chirstmas Gift for that Special Someone You Never Want To See Again: The Frank Mulle…I Mean Miura Watch

Are you looking for something to give to that special someone in your life? Choosing the right gift is a huge burden for many of us this time of year, especially with so many options to choose from.

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6 Reasons Disneyland’s Secret Restaurant Club 33 Is Awesome

Did you know that there is a secret, members-only restaurant in Tokyo Disneyland called Club 33? The majority of memberships are corporate accounts, allowing them to do business entertaining there, but there are also individual members. Don’t get your hopes up, though, because they aren’t accepting applications. If you want to get in the door, no matter who you are or how much money you have, you have to be invited by a member.

But what is this mysterious Club 33 actually like? We’ve tracked down someone who was invited to enjoy a luxurious evening there, and according to him, these are the six most amazing things about Club 33.
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Calbee Plus Store Opens in Harajuku, Offers Hot Potato Chips Straight From The Fryer!

Snack food giant, Calbee, opened up their latest Calbee Plus store in Harajuku on 7 December, where you can buy their famous potato chips straight from the deep fryer. Calbee already has shops located in Kyoto and New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, but this newest store gives Tokyoites their first chance to enjoy piping hot potato chips.

I rushed out to get a first-tongue taste.

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How’d she do that?! A closer look at “Japan’s Lady of Eternal Youth”

Who could forget, Masako Mizutani, the 40-year-old magazine model who laughs in the face of time and recently set the international internet community ablaze. Her perplexingly unfailing sex appeal has even caused some of our readers to suspect vampirism or cryogenic freezing, while others were left with uncomfortable thought about their mothers.

Now, we’ve tracked her progress from age 20 to 30 in search of her secrets, so let’s take a trip down memory lane to see how this stunner pulled off what most women (and let’s face it, men too) could only dream of.

Hopefully we won’t encounter any vampires on the way.

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Calling All Boozehounds! All You Can Drink for 30 Minutes, Just 299 Yen!

The weekend is almost here! You’re off tomorrow, so how’s about hitting the bars? Come on, you’re probably sitting at your desk right now sneakily checking out your options for a post-work tipple.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: if you want to drink the good stuff and actually manage a buzz, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. Well, think again. Rocket News has found the best, cheapest nomihoudai in town.
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What Kind of Hamburger Is Worth 23 Bucks?

Every day on my way to work, I pass one of the many outlets of fast-food giant Lotteria. Usually, I grab a cup of coffee there and drink it as I head to the office, but this morning something new caught my eye.

They’re selling Matsusaka Beef hamburgers? Hamburgers made from one of the best quality meats in Japan, famous for its exquisite marbling? But at 1800 yen (about $23), that’s a pretty steep price tag for a fast-food burger… Will it be worth it?
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“Gourmet” fans, add Ikebukuro Station to your list of stops for fine fare. Platform 3/4 for the Tobu Tojo Line, to be exact. HOT DOG 59 is the name, hot dogs are their game.

Folks in gourmet circles rave about these sizzling sausages available only at this single location. HOT DOG 59 spares no expense on the quality of the buns and dogs, said to be a step above New York’s famed red hots.

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Okunoshima Is Up to its Ears in Bunnies

Do you have a penchant for the fluffy and cuddly? Well, good news! It turns out there is a place in Japan that is literally crawling with squee-worthy bunnies. About 300 of them, in fact. They aren’t even fenced in, but are living their adorable little lives running free on an island.

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Fashionistas, Take Note: These Hot iPhone Covers Are Just 100 Yen!

There is a shopping wonderland where every item is only about a buck and you can buy pretty much any daily necessity and a whole lot of stuff you didn’t even know existed. This fabled place is the Japanese 100 yen shop, and it’s head and shoulders above the dingy dollar shops you know from home. You can even pick up a stylish cover to pimp your iPhone, with an unexpected abundance of styles and colors to satisfy even the most demanding fashion divas.

Of course, price is one thing, but quality is also going to be a major factor. Can decoration-loving fashionistas really buy with confidence? Can these cheap covers really protect our all-important iPhones? Rocket News decided to find out.
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Japan’s World Heritages Fly Well Under Radar

Did you know that Japan has 16 locations on the list of UNESCO World Heritages? Could you name them all with any sum of money on the line?

Survey Research Center, Co. Ltd. conducted a survey that showed that most people could not. When asked whether they were interested in Japan’s world heritages, 67.8% of those surveyed responded affirmatively. However, only 4% of respondents knew all 16 Japanese sites.

See how many you can name before looking at the list below:

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Japanese confectionery companies always seem to be on the lookout for the next great combination of tastes, and the shelves in supermarkets and convenience stores are often stocked with the results of these “korabo.”

Words like “suspect” and “amusing” come to mind to describe most of these products, but Morinaga and Pasco have teamed up to create a product that just may give the old peanut butter and chocolate combo a run for its money.

“Morinaga Caramel Shokupan” is exactly what it sounds like: the old-fashioned flavor of Morinaga Caramel baked into fluffy Pasco bread. The packaging is the same gold color as those familiar little rectangular boxes of caramel, and the immediate association with the mouth-watering taste of Morinaga caramel is anything but subtle.

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HAMAMATSU – The Hamamatsu University School of Medicine has partnered with the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute to develop anti-cancer medicine with reduced side effects. The research group announced Tuesday that research and development are progressing and that experiments on animals have yielded positive results.

Cancerous mice were given 1/40 the usual dosage of anti-cancer medicine, and their tumors nearly disappeared by the 19th day of the test. Moreover, the researchers observed no side effects whatsoever.

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Toyota Introduces Increasingly Impressive Cast for Live-Action Doraemon Commercials

Toyota made waves by casting Japanese heartthrob Satoshi Tsumabuki as Nobita-kun in its live-action Doraemon commercials two weeks ago, but fans of the adapation of the popular cartoon were in for an even bigger shock the following week.

Toyota rolled its second wave of live-action Doraemon commercials off the line on November 18 with film star Jean Reno playing the role of Doraemon.

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On November 15, Japanese electronics manufacturer Sanwa Denshi unveiled a radiation-measuring device that can connect to iPhones and serve as an affordable Geiger counter.

It is 14 cm long and five cm wide and displays radiation dosages on the screens of iPhones equipped with GeigerBot and other such applications.

The retail price is 9,800 yen, and it will go on sale in a few days.

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Akihabara Restaurant Serves Up Three Squares in One

Many Japanese restaurants serve a “yama-mori,” or “mountain-sized,” serving of rice and other main dishes, but Adachi’s in Akihabara may boast the biggest one in the country.

Adachi’s claim to fame has always been its large portions. The first Adachi’s operated out of the Kanda Market, and its clientele were people who worked in the fruit and vegetable market. They worked up huge appetites by performing manual labor from the early morning hours, and regular portions would not fill their bellies. It was then that the elder Adachi decided to provide huge portions.

The affable younger Adachi told me all about it during my first visit to the restaurant. The restaurant is famous for letting its patrons eat to their hearts’ content, and anyone who has ever dined there knows that the “regular” portion of rice is five to six times larger than normal. Read More

New Organizer Keeps Devices and Cords Away From Each Other

Smartphone? Check. Digital camera? Check. Electronic dictionary? Check. Chargers and cords for all of the above? Check. Hope of finding them amidst the mess they will undoubtedly become in your handbag? Uncheck.

We are carrying more and more electronic products around with us these days, and it gets tougher and tougher to find them in our bags and untangle them from each other. It’s like untangling Christmas lights, except what used to be reserved for one day a year is now happening almost every day.

The GRID-IT purports to solve this problem with rubber bands arranged horizontally and vertically across its pocket-less surface. Read More

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