Category Archives: Food, Drinks, & Snacks

All the fun Japanese food, drinks, and snacks that you don’t know if you should eat or not cause you might not know what it is or was. And recipes for everything you can get at the grocery stores here in Japan, but don’t know what to do with.

Trail over tainted dumplings underway

A trial has been held for a Chinese man accused of poisoning dumplings which sickened 10 people in Japan, Japanese and Chinese media say.

Factory worker Lu Yueting admitted putting insecticide in frozen dumplings that were later exported to Japan, Xinhua news agency said.

The 2008 incident led to a scare over Chinese food and strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The trial comes as a senior Japanese minister visits China.

Lu Yueting worked in Tianyang Food company in China’s Hebei province from 1993 to 2009.

He was accused of using a syringe to put insecticide into the frozen dumplings over frustration with his wages and colleagues.

Read the rest of the story: Man tried over China-Japan tainted dumplings.

Fire breaks out at world famous sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro

A fire broke out on Monday morning in a Ginza building housing the Michelin Guide 3-star sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Police said the fire started at around 11:30 a.m. in the B2 floor of the 9-story building at Ginza 4-chome. According to TV media, the fire started in a storeroom for restaurant supplies. Firefighters were quoted as saying that a sushi chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro on B1 floor had been using straw to smoke bonito and that the straw most likely ignited after he returned it to the storeroom.

Firefighters said the ceiling of the storeroom was destroyed but there were no injuries caused by the fire which took about an hour to extinguish.

Sukiyabashi Jiro has received 3 Michelin stars for six years in a row.

President of KFC Japan Buys Colonel Sanders’ Suit and Tie

The president and chief executive of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan purchased the trademark white suit worn by company founder “Colonel” Harland Sanders at auction Saturday for $21,510 — then promptly tried it on.

Masao “Charlie” Watanabe grinned while putting on the suit jacket and black string tie at the Heritage Auctions event, standing beneath a photograph of Sanders. He had already planned to attend a company marketing meeting in Dallas, but arrived early after he found out about the auction, he said.

Watanabe was one of hundreds of in-person, telephone and online bidders vying for various items, including a gun belt owned by legendary outlaw Jesse James and leg irons that restrained abolitionist John Brown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GBNbqa0M9pk

Read the rest of the story: President of KFC Japan buys Colonel Sanders’ trademark white suit at auction for $21K.

Hotaru-bi no Chakai: A Tea Gathering in the Fire of Fireflies

For anyone set to visit Kyoto this weekend, there’s one event Japanese haven’t failed to celebrate at the Shimogamo Shrine. Wondering what this is? Here’s all you need to know about the Hotaru-bi no Chakai.

Shimogamo Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan which is located north of Kamo and Takase Rivers of north-central Kyoto. The shrine dates back to the prehistoric periods and the first reference of the Shimogamo was of a fence repair dating back to 2BC.

The shrine has served as a central religious aspect for Kyotoites. It has said that the shrine played a significant role in the Heian period when prayers for the capital where held in that area. In countless tales, of which includes “Tale of Genji”, Shimogamo Shrine has been featured.

Today, this Kyoto shrine has been registered under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Shimogamo contains 52 building all of which are recognized as iconic Cultural Properties. A number of events take place at the Shimogamo Shrine of which include the Hotaru-bi no Chakai

About Hotaru-bi no Chakai:

Hotaru-bi no Chakai is the event held at the beginning of June which is a special tea gathering done amidst the glow of live fireflies. “Hotaru” translates to firefly while “bi” refers to fire. “Chakai” on the other hand means tea gathering. This event shows the true essence of Japanese tradition where one of its aims is the preservation of Tadasu no Mori, “The Forest of Justice,” which surrounds the Shimogamo Shrine.

Hotarubi no Chakai

For the event, around 600 fireflies are released over the stream called Mitarashigawa which serve as invites to the grandiose tea gathering. Usually, a reservation is required for one to attend the ceremony but there are other programs of the Hotaru-bi no Chakai open to the general public.

If you are ever in the area, make sure to check the Shimogamo Shrine. Other than the Hotaru-bi no Chakai, the ancient “Juni-hitoe” where 12 layers of the kimono will be shown and various dance performances are set for the night. Twenty long established stands also sell around the area at 1pm where the popular Kyoto souvenir, yatsuhashi and the common rice dumpling, mitarashi dango is being sold.

Jackie Chan the Japanese Drunken Master with Kirin Beer

The beloved master of Kung Fu and action-packed films, Jackie Chan is known for insanely crazy stunts and the strange kid cartoon. However, Japanese beermaker Kirin has made Jackie Chan look hilarious for a 7 minute short film involving beer and Tokyo. It’s Drunken Master all over again!

Here’s something not all Jackie Chan fans see every day. Japanese beer maker, Kirin instils the help of martial artist Jackie Chan and Shoko Nakagawa for a short film. Interestingly enough, all this was to promote and advertise Kirn’s Nogodoshi Draft Beer.

Probably the best part of the short film is the typical one liner from the guy holding a fan. Of course, Jackie Chan comes in to save the day in his iconic Drunken Master style with a staff causing the villain to explode after being launched in the air.

The short film might not be enough to bring on the urge to drink Kirin’s special Nogodoshi Draft Beer but the direction and choreography definitely did the short justice. Fans of Chan will certainly remember him as the Drunken Master and commemorate it with a Kirin beer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=aecV7oQGx8w

Fans of Chan might as well thank Kirin’s ordinary 34-year old office worker, Kazuo Ishida, for the idea. The seven minute video was done all thanks to a 39-item checklist by Ishida in hopes for his dream to come true. The original checklist is as follows.

  • Dream 1: I want to be a kung fu action star…
  • Dream 2: …and work with Jackie Chan.
  • Dream 3: The leading lady should be Shoko Nakagawa (Shokotan)…
  • Dream 4: …the main villain: my buddy from university.
  • Dream 5: I want a scene where Jackie, Shokotan, and I are eating together.
  • Dream 6: Jackie is drinking tea.
  • Dream 7: I want to use like a chair or something in a fight.
  • Dream 8: And I’ll hit a bunch of guys with it like bam, bam, bam!
  • Dream 9: Then I want break that chair.
  • Dream 10: I want Jackie Chan to do something cool in the end scene. Ummmm….
  • Dream 11: I want the bad guys to come to kidnap Shokotan.
  • Dream 12: I throw narutomaki at someone.
  • Dream 13: Hmm, I definitely want to use a chair to fight.
  • Dream 14: And I want to break a table.
  • Dream 15: A bad guy should say “I’ll remember this!” as he runs away.
  • Dream 16: Of course, they come back to get revenge.
  • Dream 17: I want that same bad guy to say “Boss! It’s him!”
  • Dream 18: Then we go outside and there’s like 100 enemies.
  • Dream 19: Before fighting I flick my button off like a badass.
  • Dream 20: I don’t want to be good with nunchaku… for comedy. Annnnnnd….
  • Dream 21: Something should fall all over one of the bad guys.
  • Dream 22: I do some cool kicks.
  • Dream 23: Then I knock one guy into a huge group of enemies.
  • Dream 24: A guy comes out with, like, knives for hands.
  • Dream 25: I fight him with vegetables, you know, for comedy.
  • Dream 26: I do some team work with Jackie.
  • Dream 27: Shotokan makes a cute face.
  • Dream 28: Oh, and I definitely want to do something with wires.
  • Dream 29: I’d like to throw a guy off a roof.
  • Dream 30: I want to do a real stunt. Let’s see….
  • Dream 31: A bunch of old-timey pots should break.
  • Dream 32: Then I give a “thumbs-up.”
  • Dream 33: Then I want to do that pose, you know, the one from that movie [Drunken Master].
  • Dream 34: I want to train on one of those wooden men things.
  • Dream 35: And do sword practice in front of a sunset.
  • Dream 36: But get this! Then I lose…
  • Dream 37: and say “Duì bù qǐ” to Jackie.
  • Dream 38: In the end Jackie finishes off the head bad guy.
  • Dream 39: Then there’s and explosion and… That should do it.

Akihabara: The One Stop Japan Spot for Otakus

Japan is notable for its many splendour tourist spots such as Shibuya, Okina and Kyoto. However, if there is one spot Otaku’s from all over the world wish to visit and this would be none other than Akihabara. Akihabara has been considered Japan’s one-stop-shop for all anime lovers and enthusiasts.

Where in Japan:

Located in Sotokanda, Tokyo Prefectur, Akihabara (秋葉原) is two stations north of Tokyo Station. Locals call the area Akiba after the local shrine. This area has gained quite the recognition from all over the world due to its diehard otaku culture. Major developments have already occurred thanks to the Akihabara Crossfield complex that promotes Akihabara as the centre for global electronics technology and trade.

How to Get There:

It’s easy to head to Akihabra thanks to Japans’ complex train systems plus their trains give meaning to “faster than a speeding bullet.” There are two options of which are as follows:

  1. From Tokyo Station: Akihabara is located two stations north of Tokyo Station by Keihin-Tohoku or JR Yamanote Line. The trip costs 130 yen and will only take three minutes. However, during the weekdays, Keihin-Tohoku line skips one station between Akihabara and Tokyo which will cut off a few seconds off travel time.
  2. From Shinjuku Station: Travellers should take the JR Chuo Line (colour orange) from Shinjuku to Ochanomizu Station of which takes approximately ten minutes. After, take a quick transfer to JR Sobu line (colour yellow) for one more station headed to Akihabara. This trip takes two minutes max. Alternate options also include taking the yellow train without transfer from Shinjuku to Akihabara for seventeen minutes trip. The fare costs 160 yen for either case.

What to See:

As mentioned, Akihabara is the centre for Otaku enthusiasts and lovers. From maid cafes to Tokyo anime centres selling merchandise and games, everything can be found here. It’s best to load up the wallet because the merchandise scattered around can easily lure Otakus in.

  1. Maid Cafes: Cosplay themed restaurants abound where food is served basically by waitresses in frilly and colourful attires. These “maids” also engage in fun activities with the guests.
  2. drinks

  3. Tokyo Anime Center: This is found on the UDX building of Akihabara Crossfield where anime related exhibitions are held.
  4. akihabara-2

  5. Gundam Café is extremely popular where food is served in gundam themes. A gift shop is also connected where visitors may purchase souvenirs and goods.

gundam-cafe

Why Visit Akihabara:

While Akihabara is heaven on earth for Otakus, some visit the area for real steals when it comes to the latest gadgets and electronics. Various centres offer whopping deals that are definitely a real steal as compared to any other place in Japan or overseas.

When to Visit:

Akihabara is open all year round! Take a trip to one of Japan’s busiest and most Otaku-friendly place on earth.

Important Reminders:

Japanese don’t like tourists taking photos inside stores. Unless you’re a famous celebrity or you’ve got special permission, keep the trigger happy camera’s to yourself or outside the store.

Kesennuma, Japan: CITES deal might spell trouble

An international agreement to protect sharks could spell trouble for one tsunami-wrecked port in Japan as it struggles back to its feet two years after being swept away, locals say.

Shinichi Sato said his shark processing business in Kesennuma has only just re-started, but he fears a global vote to regulate trade in several species of the predator could put paid to its recovery.

“We don’t just take fins and dump the fish in the way now criticised by the world,” Sato said on Tuesday as he laid out the boomerang-shape fins to dry in the sun.

“We make very good use of the resources.”

Kesennuma has been Japan’s sharkfin hub since the 19th century, and once dealt with 90 percent of all shark landed in the country.

Read the rest of the story: Japan tsunami town on watch for shark deal.

Maeda Atsuko to star in commercial for Sapporo Beer

On January 30th, it was revealed that former AKB48 member Maeda Atsuko has been chosen as the new image character for Sapporo Beer’s ‘Mugi to Hop‘. While she has starred in numerous CMs in the past, this will be her first appearance in a CM for an alcoholic beverage.

The new CM will air starting in February and it will also star Tamura Masakazu and Hotei Tomoyasu. Since her graduation from AKB48, Maeda has starred in CMs for Softbank Mobile’s ‘Shirato Family’ series and job search site ‘Mynavi Tenshoku‘.

Scientists Warn Pacific Tuna Stocks Have Plummeted

The Pacific bluefin tuna, fished relentlessly for decades, is in trouble.

A report issued this week by fisheries scientists on behalf of fishing nations, including the United States and Japan, shows that decades of uncontrolled overfishing have left stocks vulnerable, with conservationists warning that there is a real possibility of their collapse.

The fisheries scientists, working for an organization known as the International Scientific Committee to Study the Tuna and Tuna-Like Species of the North Pacific Ocean, spell out the crisis in unusually stark language.

The current biomass of the Pacific bluefin “is near historically low levels and experiencing high exploitation rates above all biological reference points commonly used by fisheries managers,” they write. “Based on projection results, extending the status quo (2007-2009) fishing levels is unlikely to improve stock status.”

Read the rest of the story: Pacific Tuna Stocks Have Plummeted, Scientists Warn.

Japan – A Single Bluefin Tuna Fetches Record $1.7m

A single bluefin tuna has sold in Japan for 155m yen ($1.7m), almost triple the record price set last year.

High bids traditionally mark the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

Even the buyer, sushi chain owner Kiyoshi Kimura, who also paid out the record price last year, said the cost was “a bit high”.

The sale came amid continued warnings from environmentalists that tuna stocks are dwindling and overfished.

This year’s record-breaking fish was caught off north-eastern Japan and weighed in at 222kg (489lbs), some 47kg lighter than last year’s prize-winner, which fetched 56m yen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jgGMH-_NtE&feature=player_embedded