Hokuto City chooses developmentally challenged sushi as new mascot

Every once in a while we report on the bustling mascot business in Japan, especially regarding the regional cute mascots known as yuru-kyara. Often these characters are chosen to represent a city, prefecture or even neighborhood by way of election.

This was also the case in Hokkaido’s Hokuto City as they took votes for their new representative character. Thousands of citizens cast their votes for whom they felt best represented Hokuto life and culture, ultimately choosing… that thing above.

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What to expect from conveyor belt sushi restaurants: not necessarily fish

Here at RocketNews24, we’ve had many discussions about the nontraditional flavors found in sushi around the globe. But, as it turns out, Japan has made quite a few changes of its own to the country’s staple dish. That’s not to say that the standard fare of fish on rice has been bumped from the menus. Rather, a lot of interesting new flavors have found their way into sushi bars across the nation. And it’s this new form of innovation that’s lead to the incredible expansion of the kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) market.

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We try “Eel Mango Rolls” at a Japanese Restaurant in the Philippines

Sushi is without a doubt the most popular Japanese food in the world, and as such it’s found its way onto the menus of restaurants around the world. However, as we well know, different countries always like to add their own twists to imported cuisine. These countries sometimes have a special way of eating sushi beyond the imaginations of people in Japan. Our reporter Shogo, while out covering the situation in the Philippines following Super Typhoon Haiyan, had stumbled on some such sushi while visiting a Japanese restaurant there. Read More

Do you have the guts for sushi?

Ask a Westerner what their favorite Japanese food is and there’s a high chance that the answer will be sushi. The widespread popularity of the delicately crafted delicacy has made it almost synonymous with the word “Japan”, even though there now exist dozens of different varieties made by people from all over the world.

Many of you reading this will have had sushi, some of you might even love it more than your mom’s cooking, but even so, that doesn’t guarantee that you have the guts for sushi. We’re not talking about the courage needed to put raw fish in your mouth, but rather, the genes required to properly digest seaweed.

Confused? Here’s the science behind it.

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You might not be in a real Japanese restaurant when…

In many countries around the world, Japanese cuisine has found a home. However, when one nation’s food culture lands in another’s backyard, things tend to get lost in translation. Deliciousness is always in the mouth of the beholder but Japanese people can often take issue with the way their food is prepared overseas.

For example, the website Madame Riri lays out their take of faux Japanese restaurants in Paris, a majority of which she claims is run by Chinese management. While we all might not share their hardline view of how Japanese food is prepared, they do have an interesting list of ways they believe can tell if a Japanese restaurant is truly run by Japanese people or not.

So without further ado: You might not be in a real Japanese restaurant when…

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Uber-complicated foreigner-friendly guide to conveyor belt sushi will make your eyes pop out

Oh boy, look at that thing. Just, wow. What is even happening here? There are so many colors, and this Escher-esque perspective trick where you’re looking down at the sushi conveyor belt but seeing the customers head-on all at the same time…

As the title of this bizarro infographic suggests, this is ostensibly a guide to using a kaiten conveyor belt sushi establishment. We’re actually very appreciative someone took the effort to make this since it’s pretty easy to accidentally commit a crime if you don’t follow the kaiten sushi rules perfectly.

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Smart Sushi: How the classic dish and technology come together to make dinner even more fun

Kaitenzushi, or conveyor belt sushi, is possibly Japan’s most famous dining invention, and continues to amaze foodies around the world. The concept of serving plates of sushi on a conveyor belt is said to have started as early as 1958, and the trend continues to grow internationally even today.

Granted that the automated serving system has become a somewhat familiar scene today in sushi restaurants worldwide, the brilliant fusion of food and technology continues to evolve in a truly Japanese fashion. A visit to Muten Kura Sushi presented an advanced system that was beyond my knowledge of kaitenzushi.

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Time to celebrate Halloween, Japan-style with jack-o’-lantern sushi!

Unlike America and other Western countries, Japan is only starting to get into the swing of Halloween. Over the past few years the country has come a long way toward embracing this eerie Western holiday. Now when fall comes around, it’s a lot easier to find stores bedecked with black cat posters and ordinary restaurants festooned with orange pumpkin garlands. Most department stores have a token costume section on display, and sometimes bigger cities will have events for kids to wander around in costume with their parents. One district in Kanagawa Prefecture has really gone the extra mile to give people a frightfully good time this October!

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This sushi art is the coolest thing made out of food you’ll see all day

Edible art is kind of a thing these days, especially in Asia, where seemingly every dish is so artfully crafted and cute you couldn’t possibly eat it – especially when it takes the form of a cat poking out of your latte.

This admittedly somewhat wasteful art form may have reached its pinnacle with these mind-boggling works of makizushi magnificence.

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Fluffy cat and dog sushi turns heads and wins hearts in South Korea

One day, some unsung genius stared at the fluffy pure-white fur of their beloved cat, thought “mmm, looks just like fluffy white rice”, and grabbed a red towel and a black sock to make their dream come alive. Boom! Fluffy cat sushi was born.

Over in South Korea, fluffy cat and dog sushi has become all the rage, with proud netizens displaying their home-made creations anonymously on internet message boards. Don’t get me wrong – this sushi is purely for decoration and made from household pets with beautifully white fur! Furthermore, it’s easy! If you have a pet at home who’s willing to sit still to be adorned, you can make your own delicious little morsel just like these.

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Would you eat this sushi, head to tail?

Ekiben, or “station bento,” can be found on train station platforms across Japan, conveniently packed for travelers too busy to prepare their own meal. They usually come in plastic or styrofoam containers wrapped with a decorative paper cover. But this ekiben is a little different. Found in Kochi Prefecture, this on-the-go bento is packaged in clear plastic wrap to display the goods inside, and what seems like merely a fish sitting in a white supermarket tray is actually sushi. Let’s take a closer look at this bizarre whole fish sushi ekiben.

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Unique interpretations of sushi found around the globe

A couple of weeks back we posted an article here about the unique interpretation Ukraine has given Japan’s most iconic dish, sushi. Now, having read the insightful observations of Mr. Masayoshi Kazato, chairman for the World Sushi Cup, a competition between sushi chefs from around the world, we think it’s safe to say that not only has sushi gained footholds in all corners of the globe, each country has established its own set of regional recipes.

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You call that sushi? Ukraine’s take on the Japanese classic

Whenever foods specific to a certain culture make appearances in foreign restaurants, something almost always gets altered along the way. For example, I’ve been living in Japan for years, and yet I still shake my head whenever I see an “American-style” pizza topped with eggplant, potato and mayonnaise. It’d be one thing if everyday consumers realized that the “Western” food they eat is actually unique to Japan, but as far as they are concerned, all of us Americans put taters and mayo on our pizzas!

But of course, Japan is in no way the only country to confuse traditional ingredients for those suited to their local tastes. Recently, one of our RocketNews24 correspondents, Natasha from Ukraine, wrote up a fine report on the sad state of sushi in her country. Here’s the gist of what she had to say.

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We try Sexual Harassment Sushi, Soapland Sushi, and Ice Cream Sushi

With so many sushi shops around Japan you’re bound to come across some irregular ones every now and then. Our very own Kuzo caught wind of one shop in particular that serves up sushi rolls with names that challenge you to guess what’s inside.

Maruhachi Sushi is located in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture and you can find creations such as Sexual Harassment Sushi, Ice Cream Sushi, and Frigid Lady Sushi alongside your favorite sushi toppings. Kuzo headed to Nagoya to find out what these menu items were all about.

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We visit “the best conveyor belt sushi restaurant in Japan”

While our reporter was out visiting the Nation at War Tavern and other sights in the southern city of Kagoshima, he perused a guide map of the area and saw a listing for “Japan’s best conveyor belt sushi restaurant.”

Conveyor belt sushi restaurants, also known as sushi trains or kaiten-zushi in Japanese, are eateries where the dishes float past your seat allowing you to effortlessly serve yourself.  They are fun and cheap places to get some decent quality sushi, but are hardly considered haute cuisine in Japan. So what could Mawaru Sushi Mekkemon be doing that elevates it past the largely uniform conveyor belt sushi preparation and presentation to earn it the coveted title of “Japan’s Top Conveyor Belt Sushi”? Our reporter went to find out and brings us this report.

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Japanese man dies in car accident, Cause of death: not the car accident

On the morning of 5 June, along a highway in Makubetsu, Hokkaido, a car swerved off the road and crashed through a tree before stopping on the sidewalk. The 87-year-old driver of the car was taken to hospital but sadly died soon after.

However, the actual accident wasn’t what killed him and the official cause of death had nothing to do with his age at all. In fact, the reason he died was something you may have done yourself while driving.

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French fries with sushi? Our delicious experiment in multicultural dining

One of the greatest things in Japan are kaiten-zushi restaurants, where customers sit at a counter and grab little plates of sushi that go streaming by on a conveyer belt. With instant gratification, no language barrier, and a far cheaper price than traditional sushi restaurants, what’s not to like?

One of the most popular kaiten-zushi chains is Sushi Ro, with its low 105 yen (US$1.05) prices. The fish is quite tasty too, enough so that most customers don’t bother with the various non-sushi side dishes the chain also offers. But if you can pull yourself away from the succulent slices of tuna and amberjack for a moment, you’ll be doing yourself a favor to get an order of Sushi Ro’s French fries.

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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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Battle of the Rice: Korean Rice Trumps Japanese as Koshihikari Loses Out on Top Spot

Say ‘sushi’ and you automatically think ‘Japan’. But a recent taste test by the experts suggests that the perfect sushi may not be 100 percent Japanese. Read More

What The… Unbelievable (and Sweet) Sushi Creation Found at Chain Restaurant in Southern Japan!

Do you have a favorite sushi topping? Well, raw fish may not be for everyone, but like most people in Japan, I absolutely love sushi, from simple tuna to more lavish creations using unusual ingredients. In fact, some of the best tasting “sushi” I’ve ever had has been of the unorthodox variety, like “grilled foie gras sushi” and “minced tuna and green onion sushi roll tempura” (yes, they actually deep-fried a sushi roll whole)! But now, a story on the Byokan Sunday site has brought to our attention an even more unbelievable sushi dish, and it’s pictured right on the menu above — can you guess what kind of sushi it is? Read More

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