Japan

Japan Crowns “Cutest” High School And Junior High School Girls

The now annual “High School Girl Miss Contest” (Joshi Kousei Miss Contest) by Model Press, a voting based competition to decide Japan’s “cutest high school girl”, is now gearing up for its 2018 edition. A pool of semi-finalists, representing different prefectures from the major regions of Japan (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Chubu, Chugoku, Shikoku, Kyuushuu, Okinawa, Kansai, and Kanto), were selected via voting on social media platforms. In the past, winners have been signed to talent agencies and promoted on television and in magazines. But this year marked the debut of the the event’s “sister” contest, the “JC Miss Contest”, which was held to determine the “cutest” junior high school student in…

6:04 PM


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


Turn Your Cat Into A Napping Dessert With The Kitty Fruit Tart Bed

Japanese online retailer Felissimo’s “Cat Club” (Neko-bu) division specializes in making feline related products, which can range from the strangely practical cat-paw socks that let you walk on hardwood floors a little more gracefully, to the quirky and mysteriously appealing lip gloss that simulates kissing a wet cat nose or scratch-and-sniff stickers that smell like cat tummies. They do, however, put out some items that both us humans and our feline friends can appreciate together–like this deliciously adorable fruit tart pet bed! Source: PR Times Source: PR Times Source: PR Times It’s called the “Nyanko Fruits Tart” (Kitty Fruits Tart), and the concept shouldn’t take too much explaining. It’s a…

5:47 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


Japan Opens Up Its First Mini-Shiba Inu Cafe

While recent years have seen Japan’s pet cafes expand to more “exotic” animals such as owls and otters, cats seem to have their paws on a majority share of the pet-staffed cafe market. Cat cafes in Japan have distinguished themselves with cosplaying cat cafes, cafes where customers can adopt kitties with FIV, and even Japan’s first ever cat cafe on a train. While there are definitely doggo cafes, they seem to lack in number compared to their feline counterparts. That may be changing, however, in a big way as the country’s first mini-Shiba Inu cafe just opened in Okayama Prefecture. あずきさん(@pokoazuki)がシェアした投稿 – 2017 11月 28 4:04午後 PST りょうこさん(@ryokyanp)がシェアした投稿 – 2017…

3:04 PM


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


Hungry Hamster Shirt Turns Your Bust Into Bulging Hamster Cheeks

Japanese apparel companies have had some fun exploiting T-shirt designs to give the appearance of a bigger bust as a gimmick, as seen with the “delusion mapping” grid shirt, but creative design brand Mocolle (whose official brand concept is “Wouldn’t it be nice if this existed?”) has a reputation for getting a bit more artistic with their crowdfunding efforts, as they often bring fantasy concepts to life. In the past, they’ve based some of their popular items, such as the Shinto shrine maiden swimsuit off of popular artwork. This time the organization is taking the design of hamster illustrator @saico0 to crowdfund the release of a T-shirt that turns your breasts…

1:31 PM


$2,600 Premium Wagyu Beef Bento Is Japan’s Most Luxurious Lunch Box

Whether you’re traveling around the country from the comfort of the bullet train or simply catching a lunch break, Japanese bento boxes provide some very delicious variety with your meal. Mom-and-pop bento shops offer up home-styled Japanese lunches on the cheap, school-kids can look forward to colorful character bento made by their parents, and those willing to spend a bit more can indulge their inner-foodie with fancier bento that offer premium delicacies from around the country. But even when rubbing elbows with the higher end of bento diners, you’re unlikely to come across someone enjoying as extravagant as this. Filling this wooden cow-silhouette bento box are premium cuts of wagyu…

6:22 PM


Needle Felt Neko Atsume Buddies Are The Kitties You Don’t Need To Lure Into Your Backyard

Smart Phone app sensation Neko Atsume (or Cat Collector, if you prefer) purred its way into a worldwide hit, resulting in several merchandise lineups of in-game items brought to life, its own official store, and even a movie. Depending on your smart phone game habits, your interest in keeping up with your virtual backyard kitties may have cooled, but the adorable characters of the game have sort of transcended the phone screen and joined the pantheon of cute characters and mascots in Japan, and perhaps these DIY needle felt craft Neko Atsume kitties may be the best way to bring your favorite felines to life. Source: PR Times There’s definitely…

2:38 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’s Adorable Cat-Shaped Bread Slices Return With Matcha And Black Kitten Varieties

If you’ever been to a Japanese bakery, you’ve no doubt noticed a variety of tasty breads and pastries to choose from, but one recent tread, perhaps inspired by melon bread, is the baking of breads that mimic of the shape of something. In the past year, we’ve seen this with watermelon bread loaves and bunny-ear shaped bread, but the most recent, and perhaps popular of these was the pre-sliced cat-shaped bread loaves from the Blue Jin cafe and bakery at Osaka’s Hankyu Hotel. Now the Blue Jin Cafe and Bakery is adding a new wrinkle to its feline lineup with some new flavors. They’ve dubbed the new series the Ironeko…

4:47 PM


Oedo Waen Soba and Sake Festival Shows Off The Amazing Variety Of Delicious Soba In Japan

If you’re a fan of Japanese food, you may be familiar with soba (thin buckwheat noodles traditionally served either chilled with a dipping sauce or hot dashi broth). However, depending on where you live, you maybe have one standard image of the refreshing traditional dish you’ve been relying upon. The truth is, like a lot of food in Japan, soba can come in a variety of forms shaped by the regional ingredients and specialties boasted throughout the many prefectures of Japan. While they all use the appeal of a refreshing take on slurping noodles in their own special way, making your way through all of them can be and overwhelming…

1:25 PM


Give Your Back A Deep Sea Cuddle Buddy With Giant Isopod Backpacks

When Japanese oddity and bookstore Village Vanguard isn’t offering KFC-scented bath bombs and see-through schoolgirl outfits, they like to get creative with animal-themed goods, and it appears they have a bit of a soft spot for Giant Isopods. Village Vanguard looks to continue that trend with a new bag that falls somewhere between eyesore and adorable, with this crawly and furry Giant Isopod backpack. Source: PR Times Handmade designer ma-mo designed the bag, which is made out of a comfortable and lightweight sweat fabric. Under each shell lining is a zipper and separate compartment, the shell looks pretty realistic. Despite not being much of a “mainstream” cute animal, there is…

4:11 PM


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