What the … ? U.S. Navy firefighting Robot may be life-saving but is unnervingly freaky!

Rescue and firefighting robots that can operate in disaster areas too dangerous for humans can obviously be a great asset, and it is not surprising that research and development of such machines are conducted in many countries around the world.

One such firefighting robot developed by the U.S. Navy has been the subject of  significant attention recently. It’s actually a humanoid robot, which is unusual for a rescue robot, but that isn’t the reason why it is gaining attention; the reason becomes quite obvious once you see a picture of the robot – the robot just simply looks incredibly freaky! Read More

Visit the US Navy Ship Held Prisoner for Over 30 Years in North Korea

In 2012, a Japanese man was allowed to take a supervised tour of the secretive country of North Korea, we’ve reported some of his observations about their fine dining, public transportation, and more.  And now we bring you coverage of one of the most unique tourist spots in the world: the only currently captured United States Navy Ship, the USS Pueblo.

Our correspondent’s tour guide and government appointed escort took him to the ship moored in Pyongyang where the guide told him “even today, America continues to beg the ship be returned.”

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Yay ‘merica! Bacon Shake! But How’s It Taste?

Well, that’s what we’re here for.

So, Americans love bacon. Bacon with eggs. Bacon with burgers. Bacon with waffles, even. We’ve even seen bacon with chocolate and other sweets. Read More

McDonald’s Selling ‘Ramen’ in the most Unlikely of Places: America

McDonald’s is known for offering regional dishes at its international stores to please local customers.

We recently heard of a certain McDonald’s that sells its own version of Japan’s favorite noodle dish, ramen. We wouldn’t think much of this if it were being served somewhere like Japan or China, countries typically associated with the dish.

However, it turns out this McDonald’s ramen is found in none other than the land of burgers and fries itself, America.

Well, Hawaii, to be precise.

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Top Secret Cookie Recipe Finally Comes to Light

One day I was reading the American gourmet magazine Food & Wine and I came across this reader submission.

When I lived on the island of Hawaii, every Sunday I would buy cookies at the farmers’ market from an elderly woman everyone called Tutu, or “Grandmother.” She would sell only one bag per person until she ran out, which took about 30 minutes. Before I moved away, I asked her for the recipe. She gave it to me on the condition that I couldn’t share it with anyone for 25 years. Time has passed, and now I’d like to share it with your readers.

A cookie recipe kept under lock and key for 25 years! Of course, I had to give it a try. Read More

McDonald’s “Broadway Burger” Is More “Off-Broadway” Yet Delicious Nonetheless

The newest in McDonald’s Big America Series of US themed hamburgers, the Broadway Burger has been released amid much confusion over its name.  No one can really understand what’s so “Broadway” about this thing.

Anyone who has been to Manhattan knows it’s the home of some of the finest restaurants in the world.  Only on Broadway can you see a world-class play and then walk up the street to a plethora of restaurants for your choice of international cuisine. Read More

A Japanese perspective: 11 things that startled me about America

Many Americans who visit Japan return home excited to tell their friends and family about all the peculiar customs and cultural differences they experienced during their travels.

But have you ever wondered what Japanese who visited America tell their family and friends when they get back?

Your reporter (Japanese) has traveled to Honolulu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and a number of other cities in America over the past few years and today I’d like to share 11 things about America that surprised me.

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Diamond Head’s Sunrises Are Unmatched Anywhere

Hawaii’s Oahu Island is home to an inactive volcano known as Diamond Head. At a height of 232m it is by no means a tall mountain, but it’s a huge draw for tourists and is the biggest sightseeing spot around Waikiki. The reason for its popularity is the spectacular view it offers.

Getting up extremely early so I could catch the sunrise, I caught a taxi to the entrance of Diamond Head’s trail. While two to three hours are recommended to enjoy the whole mountain experience, only about forty minutes are needed to get to the top. It seemed like an easy enough trek, even for someone like me who rarely climbs mountains.

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A Japanese Perspective: American Blueberry-Flavored Cake Looks Like Mold

During a recent trip to Hawaii, I was shopping in the food section at Japanese department store Don Quixote when my attention was caught by a strangely-colored cake.

Now, I don’t know about our American readers, but here in Japan we take the appearance of our food very seriously. Most Japanese are dumbfounded by the unnaturally vibrant colors of some American foods like candies, cereals or cakes covered in brightly colored frosting.

Not many Japanese would find something like this appetizing and I honestly thought it was just a moldy cake that the staff had forgotten to take off the shelves.

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Manhattan Japanese Restaurant EAST Serves Unexpected Tear-Jerker

I happened upon a kaiten sushi-ya (conveyor belt sushi restaurant) while on an extended trip to New York, and I was surprised that something other than the hot wasabi brought tears to my eyes.

Japanese Restaurant EAST in Manhattan is a far cry from any Japanese kaiten sushi-ya – this place is as hip as any nightclub in the area. The chef is not Japanese, but his skills are just as good as those of any “genuine” sushi chef. He rolled out perfectly squeezed nigiri sushi and delicious miso soup.

And though I like to get adventurous with the wasabi from time to time, I was not prepared for the rotating item that would move me to tears on this day.

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Five American Candies Guaranteed to Gum Up Your Gut

When I think of American candies, I think of sickening confections splashed with garish colors. I went to the United States and checked out a candy store, and I found exactly what I thought I’d see!

These are treats I would never even think of giving my kids (if I had them). Forget the lack of nutritional value; no matter how safe the candies are thought to be, those colors alone make me worry.

Here is my list of the Top Five American Candies Guaranteed to Gum Up Your Gut: Read More

Horrifying Hello Kitty Looks Into Your Soul, Makes Children Cry

Hello Kitty has long charmed people all over the world with her adorable short stature and prim expression.

When we were walking around Midtown Manhattan during a trip to New York last month, we spotted someone standing outside in a costume that appeared similar to our beloved Hello Kitty, but as we approached the mysterious figure we began to feel a sense of discomfort – something was strange about this Kitty. Read More

New York As Seen By The Japanese In 8 Random Points

New York. From Broadway to numerous tourist spots like the Statue of Liberty, many Japanese people hold an image as a land of unlimited entertainment. At the same time, many of us may also relate the city with things like high prices and, likely due to the popularity of American crime dramas in Japan, violence.

During a recent trip to New York, I asked several Japanese people who have moved there to share their impressions of the city with the rest of us back home. I’ve also added some of my thoughts, and hopefully this list will give you a good understanding of what parts of New York stick out to Japanese people who have stepped away from the TV and onto the streets. Read More

New York’s Bento Burger Impresses The Japanese

During a recent trip to New York, we heard about a Japan-inspired hamburger restaurant that’s popular with the locals called Bento Burger.

When we say Japan-inspired hamburger, we don’t just mean things like teriyaki sauce or ramen noodle buns (though Kobe Beef and Japanese Hambuugu are available). As the name suggests, Bento Burger arranges its hamburgers on bento box-inspired platters along with a variety of toppings, which customers may dress their burger with or enjoy separately. Read More

Will It Vend?  American Vending Machine Sells iPad & Other High-Tech Toys, We Question Americans’ Buying Habits

And we thought Japan was setting the vending machine standards. Perhaps this is old news to some of our English-speaking viewers, but we were shocked when we stumbled upon a giant vending machine stocked with iPads, PSPgos, and other expensive gadgets on a recent outing to Los Angeles. Read More

Man Advocates “Fart Smeller Movement” During New York Protest In Zucotti Park

On October 3, the day after more than 700 people were arrested for blocking traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge as a part of a protest against Wall Street, protesters boldly moved on to occupy Zucotti Park to continue their rally.

When our reporters visiting New York stopped by Zucotti Park to see what the great American protest was all about, there was one sight amongst the madness of protesters and press that seemed to be grabbing attention particularly among female passersby: a lone man representing what he calls the “Fart smeller movement.” Read More

Our Top 10 International McDonald’s Hamburgers

McDonald’s is one of the most prominent symbols of modern globalization. Yet while it is possible to order a Big Mac in all corners of the world, many travelers seek out the golden arches to see what regional specialties are served in that country.

Throughout my own travels I’ve encountered many a fascinating and exquisite McDonald’s hamburger not available here in Japan. Wishing to share my findings with other potential McTravelers, I have compiled a list of my top 10 regional McDonald’s hamburgers.

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