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This 77-Year-Old Japanese Man Is The Michelangelo of Microsoft Excel

The Great Big Story, which has given us fascinating looks at stories in Japan such as the hypnotizing speed of the world’s fastest mochi makers and the beautiful Japanese sweets crafted by a family over six generations, is now turning their attention to an unusual, but beautiful art form. It’s practiced by 77-year-old Tatsuo Horiuchi, who creates superbly detailed pieces of beautiful art using the spreadsheets of Microsoft Excel. Horiuchi wanted to get involved with art once he retired, but became a bit apprehensive once he considered the costs of supplies such as paint and various types of brushes. He wanted to try creating art with what he already had,…

3:13 PM


New Umami-Themed Pour-Over Style Dashi Bar Gives Rich And Relaxing Alternative To Coffee

For brew-lovers, sometimes finding a quality cup of coffee in Japan requires sifting through more sensationalist options like canned Coca-Cola coffee and perhaps the prettiest Starbucks in the world, but those who commit to the search can be rewarded with a coffee culture that has boomed to provide a lot of quality options. Many cafes cater to what might be Japan’s favorite way to enjoy coffee, however, in the form of pour-over-drip-coffee, popularized by its controlled and measured expansion of flavor. The pour-over method has recently been applied outside the coffee world in Japan, even with curry rice. Now a recently opened Tokyo “cafe” is hoping to break into the…

1:53 PM


Late Night Tokyo Food Stand Sells Traditionally Wrapped “Sushi Box” Sublime Kit Kats

You may be familiar with the myriad of adventurous and sometimes intimidating Kit Kat flavors of Japan (which can beautifully be re-imagined as anime characters, by the way), but it’s Nestle Japan’s high-end Chocolatory stores where you can find “luxury” flavor options made from premium ingredients. In the past they’ve offered Kit Kat sushi, liquid-nitrogen sprayed Kit Kats, and most recently, a monthly series of Kit Kats that come with a corresponding edible birthstone. Nestle Japan has been known to tap into the country’s deep gift-giving culture, however, even creating a vending machine that lets you personalize Kit Kat souvenirs for friends and family. Their latest effort continues that trend…

10:56 AM


Family Mart Convenience Stores Opening 24-Hour Fitness Clubs In Select Locations

While Japanese convenience stores are known to offer a boatload of delicious seasonal treats, bento, and an increasing variety of hot food, they also have a reputation for offering services such as ticket reservations for events, shipping, and even bill payment. Now it appears popular Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart will be adding a unique service, one that will perhaps help counter all the caloric damage you do to yourself on a late night convenience store raid. Starting February 2018, Family Mart will begin a plan to equip select store locations with their own 24-hour fitness clubs. Source: Family Mart Titled Fit & GO, the 24-hour convenience store fitness…

11:35 AM


New Pokémon Cafe And Deluxe Pokémon Center Opening Up In Tokyo

It’s not uncommon for Japan to celebrate the anniversaries or reward the fandoms of popular anime and manga series with themed cafes and restaurants, as recently seen with a delicious-looking series of Sailor Moon cafes. The Pokémon franchise has enjoyed this honor before, but like most similar promotions, those cafes have been of the pop-up variety and only ran for a short amount of time, making it difficult for those not in Japan to enjoy. Fortunately, that will no longer be a problem, as next year a permanent Pokémon Cafe attached to a brand new Pokémon Center shop is set to open up in Tokyo. Source: PR Times The new…

4:33 PM


Tokyo Disney To Open New Park, Possibly With Japanese Style Theme

Owned by the The Oriental Land Company, there are currently two different Tokyo Disney Resorts (although they’re both located in Chiba prefecture, just outside of Tokyo) in Japan: Tokyo Disneyland, and the nautical exploration themed Tokyo DisneySea. According to Mainichi News, a third park may join their ranks in 2025, with a possible theme of “Japan” being considered. Backed by an impressive 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion USD) investment, the park is planned to offer all new characters, attractions, and large scale facilities. Conscious of attracting tourists from overseas to the park, the company is considering incorporating a Japanese-style theme into the third resort, with more specific details coming in…

11:56 PM


Japan Celebrates Kirby’s 25th Anniversary With These Awesome Kirby Meat Buns!

Japanese convenience stores certainly live up to their name, providing services beyond consumables that include concert ticket pick-up, shipping, and even paying your bills. They can be a treasure trove for limited edition goods, however, and this often extends to the hot food section, which can offer delights such as curry flavored fried chicken and big American dogs (what they call corn dogs). What seems to sell fastest, although, are the nikuman, or steamed pork buns. Normally, a blend of meat, onions, and spice are encased in soft doughy buns, but there are also variations of pizza and red bean paste. For limited edition campaigns, they even release special versions…

9:35 PM


Pack Up Like A Boss With Attack on Titan Vertical Maneuvering Equipment Bags

Due to its massive popularity, the grim and terrifying world of hit anime and manga Attack on Titan has seen some creative merchandise releases over the years, including personalized credit cards and super-expensive tactical gear. A recent collaborative effort between Tokyo Otaku Mode and Mingeki (official AoT fansite), however, might be the most practical and stylish series-related item yet. They’ve teamed up to offer this 4-way bag inspired by the vertical maneuvering equipment of Attack on Titan. Source: PR Times Source: PR Times Available in two colors (black and khaki), the versatile bag can be worn four different ways, and is made of a durable waxed cotton twill, making it…

12:41 PM


Japanese Artist Charms With Capybara, Shoebill, and Kitty “Fake Sweets”

Japanese Twitter user and arts and crafts specialist @unamuu2014 does things a little different than previous food artists we’ve seen, who have gone as far as turning traditional Japanese sweets into adorable Shiba Inu butts. Rather than cook up recipes that end up being too cute to eat, @unamuu2014 focuses on what they call “fake sweets”–crafting adorable and artistic animals, but deliberately putting them into the shape of popular wagashi, or traditional Japanese sweets. Recently, @unamuu2014 has garnered some attention on Twitter for a series of sweets shaped like Japanese manju. As you can see, the “fake sweets” manju come in the form of cats and capybara. Source: @unamuu2014 貝猫商事、再び冬の新作のお知らせです。弊社まんじうシリーズの新しい仲間として更に「迷菓カピバラまんじう」が加わりました。愛らしいカピバラの形をまんじうにまとめ上げ、こんがりと焼き上げました。お茶請けに、ご贈答等にご愛好下さいます様、宜しくお願い致します。…

1:55 PM


Illustrator Turns Kit Kat Flavors Into Gorgeous Anime Characters

Illustrator Cioccolatodorima has a flair for creative artwork, but what he really seems to do well is what’s known in Japan as gijinka (擬人化). Gijinka is Japanese for “personification” or “anthropomorphism”, and in modern usage typically refers to an art style that humanizes animals or inanimate objects with an anime aesthetic that displays characteristics of the original model. Cioccolatodorima is applying his talent in that regard to the various flavors of Kit Kat, which includes Japan’s never-ending lineup of exciting flavors like melon and mascarpone cheese, or flavors set to match your birthstone. Over the past year or so, Cioccolatodorima has created a series of artwork that brings the various…

11:54 AM


New Vending Machine In Kyoto Lets You Make Your Own Personalized Kit Kat Souvenirs

Throughout the years, Nestlé Japan has released an assortment of limited edition Kit Kats that take advantage of regional and local flavors, with some highlights including premium sake Kit Kats, sushi Kit Kats, and most recently, a monthly-release batch of Kit Kats that match your birthstone. Nestlé Japan’s latest effort, however, isn’t a flavor but a sweet combination of the world’s love for Japanese Kit Kats and Japan’s gift-giving culture that results in a cool way to individualize your own Japanese Kit Kats and create a memento of your travels in Japan. Source: Nestle Japan Recently installed in Kyoto’s Omiyage Kaido (Souvenir Highway) is a special vending machine that sells…

5:48 PM


Newest Japanese Kit Kats Are Premium Birthstone Chocolates To Be Sold Monthly

Japanese Kit Kat flavors are known for their variety, often taking advantage of regional and seasonal ingredients. It’s their high-end Chocolatory stores, however, that have offered some of the fancier flavors in their lineup. In the past they’ve released Kit Kat sushi and chocolate cake-filled Kit Kats as well. Now Nestlé Japan may have outdone their fancy-pants ways with their latest release, a series of birthstone embedded Kit Kats. Starting from this November, a Kit Kat Chocolatory Birthstone series will be released that offers a special edition flavor inspired by the birthstone of that month. While not an actual birthstone (it’s an edible cake decoration), the shiny treasure embedded in…

11:10 AM


New App Now Lets You Make Shinkansen Reservations From Overseas

Even though the JR Rail Pass allows for the convenience of an “all-you-can-ride” experience on trains in Japan, sorting out tickets to ride the shinkansen (bullet trains) in Japan from another country hasn’t been easy without the help of a friend in Japan. There’s actually been an online reservation system set in place by JR East, but it’s unfortunately limited to trains to travel to northern Japan. Fortunately, a new app by the name of SmartEX will allow visitors from outside of Japan to reserve tickets on JR West and JR Central shinkansen, which provides access to a multitude of popular sightseeing spot such as Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and other…

5:27 PM


Ukiyo-e Print Bubble Wrap Gives You Art You Can Feel Free To Touch And Pop

Ukiyo-e, which translates from Japanese to “image(s) of the floating world,” is a genre of Japanese art that thrived from the 17th to 19th centuries. The genre boasts woodblock prints and paintings of a variety of scenes that ranged from folk tales to erotica, many by some of Japan’s most iconic artists. Recently, there have been many creative modern attempts to re-popularize the style, such as using ukiyo-e to portray classic Star War characters, teach people about train etiquette, and make adorable kitty sake glasses. Now we’re seeing the distinctive art style used for something that is sure to please everyone–ukiyo-e bubble wrap! Source: PR Times Designed by Puti Puti,…

1:43 PM


Japanese Crafts Companies Create High Quality Sets Of Miniature Furniture For Cats

Cats have a bit of a reputation for giving attention to the toys you buy them on their own terms (read: ignoring them), but recently Okawa City in Fukuoka prefecture, known for its local craftsmanship, has launched a campaign that may satisfy even the most apathetic of felines. Okawa city is home to Okawa Kagu (Okawa Furniture), a collective of furniture and interior design artists, two of which have offered up their talents in traditional crafts and designs–Hiromatsu Furniture and Tateno Mokuzai–to create a lineup of fine quality furniture for cats. Source: Okawa Kagu Featured in this series of promotional videos are bedroom and living room sets, which feature sofas,…

3:48 PM


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