Monthly Archive August 2021

ByLike Nagoya Admin

Survey asks which country’s fashion is the most influential in Japanese street style

You might be able to guess which country came out on top!

In Japan, there are a lot of unique kinds of fashion, but the most popular looks for everyday streetwear are influenced by fashion from all over the world. Rakuten Group sought to find out which country’s fashion is the most influential in Japan and why, so between July 1 and 2 they surveyed 5,124 users of their flea market app Rakuma.

3,896 women and 1,228 men over the age of 10 were asked, “Which country besides Japan do you reference the most in terms of fashion?” Many respondents answered with the U.S., France, Italy, or the U.K., but far and away the most popular answer from Japanese women was Korea.

▼ The countries whose fashion Japanese women most reference, by age group. Key: red for Korea, blue for The U.S., orange for France, green for Italy, yellow for the U.K., purple for Spain, pink for China, and grey for “other”. Starting with women aged 10-20, all the way down to women 60 and up.

In fact, Korea was the top answer for almost every age group. Girls and teens between the ages of 10 and 20, in particular, seemed to overwhelming accept Korea as their foreign flagbearer for fashion, as 77.3 percent of them picked Korea as their top answer. Women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s also seemed to find inspiration in Korean fashion, as Korea was the top answer for each of those age groups (56.7, 36.4, and 24.3 percent respectively).

Older women, on the other hand, seemed to prefer European fashion. “France” was the top answer for women in their 50s, and the second for women in their 60s and older. The oldest age group also seemed to reference Italian fashion, as 17.1 percent of respondents voted for Italy. While U.S. fashion occupied the title as second most popular for younger Japanese women, European styles beat out American clothing for the most and second most popular among many older women.

But while women preferred Korean fashion, men seemed to prefer American fashion over the styles of any other country. More than 40 percent of respondents in every age group voted “The U.S.” as the country they most reference for fashion (besides Japan).

▼ The countries whose fashion Japanese men most reference, by age group (same key as above)

Younger men in their teens and 20s also like Korean fashion, which came second in both age groups with 28.7 and 13.8 percent of the vote respectively, but as men get older, they appear to begin to prefer the dressier fashion popular in Italy. Italian fashion was voted as the second most inspirational by 26 percent of men in their 60s and older.

The men were also given a free space to write which male celebrities they took most inspiration from, and, despite being given the option to write any name, the most popular answer for all age groups was former SMAP member Takuya Kimura, who continues to be one of Japan’s most admired celebrities. International smash hit K-Pop group BTS was the second most popular answer, most selected by teens, and for older gentlemen in their 40s and above, TV personality and comedian George Tokoro, with his penchant for nice T-shirts, was most popular, and third all-around.

Respondents were also asked to vote for reasons why that country’s fashion most appealed to them, with the option to choose multiple reasons. For men and women of all age groups, the top reason why Korean fashion was voted as the most referenced was “Because it’s cheap and easy to find” (64.8 percent). More than a third also said that “Because I like the celebrities and artists of that country”, but it seems like accessibility was key.

Responses for other countries were slightly more evenly divided. For American fashion, the top reason was “Because I can really express myself” (43.2 percent), while the majority of respondents who voted for French and Italian fashion said it was “Because they have brands I can trust” (43.2 percent and 51.4 percent respectively).

Where do they find their international fashion inspirations? Instagram, of course! For those who take fashions cues mostly from Korea and the U.S.–who are primarily younger people–browsing social media is a must. But for the older generation, old-school fashion magazines are what they use to study European fashion.

This all makes us wonder, though; since the top reason many of these fashions were chosen is because they’re cheap and accessible, and since the respondents’ most referenced celebrities are mostly Japanese, would Japan have come out as the top answer if it was an option? With Disney kimono and ukiyo-e sneakers now available, it’s really hard to say it wouldn’t.

Source: PR Times, My Navi News via Otacom
Images: PR Times

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ByLike Nagoya Admin

The most expensive pancakes we could find at 7-Eleven Japan are a delicious bargain【Taste test】

Japanese luxury hotel group creates pancakes you can buy at a humble convenience store.

During the Olympics, we all got a reminder of just how awesome 7-Eleven Japan’s rice balls are. There are amazingly delicious things to be found of each and every aisle of a Japanese convenience store, though, and on our ace reporter Mr. Sato’s most recent 7-Eleven shopping trip it was these pancakes that he couldn’t resist.

Specifically, it was these two words that convinced him he had to try them.

The Hotel Okura is one of Japan’s most respected travel accommodation providers, and Japanese luxury hotels are known for having very high standards for their pancakes. These convenience store pancakes were offering him the chance to enjoy that sort of gourmet indulgence in his own home, as they’re produced under supervision from the Hotel Okura group’s head chef.

There was a slight catch, though, in that the four-pancake package, at 484 yen (US$4.49), is pretty pricy by convenience store standards. However, Mr. Sato figured he’d earned the right to splurge a little after working so hard lugging a microwave back to the office from Tokyo’s unmanned electronics shop, so he grabbed a pack to reward himself with.

The pancakes were kept in 7-Eleven’s refrigerated section, so obviously Mr. Sato wanted to heat them up before eating them. Looking at the instructions, he found a stern warning that he should not, by any means, use any sort of automatic timer, and should instead set his microwave to warm the pancakes for 70 seconds at 500 watts, or 50 seconds at 600 watts. The directions also said to refrain from covering the pancakes in plastic wrap.

Mr. Sato followed the directions to a T and was immediately glad he did. As he pulled the plate out of the microwave, a spire of steam floated up from the pancakes, carrying the enticing and comforting aroma of warm Hokkaido flour.

The pancakes come with butter and maple syrup, and adding the former while there were still hot caused the dollop to soften into a melty mass.

Taking a bite, Mr. Sato’s heart likewise melted at the fluffy texture and gentle, comforting sweetness. However, this was only an intermediary stop on his way to pancake paradise.

Pouring on the maple syrup immediately enhanced the pancakes’ appearance and fragrance. After waiting a moment for the syrup to be absorbed into their spongy softness, he took another bite, and an explosion of sweetness occurred on his taste buds.

After just two bites, Mr. Sato had done a complete 180 on his feelings about the pancakes’ price. Yes, 484 is on the high end for convenience store snacks, but judging the pancakes on their flavor, he thinks they’re worth even more than that.

The Hotel Okura pancakes aren’t exclusive to 7-Eleven, and not every branch in the chain carries them either. Still, if you spot them, Mr. Sato recommends picking up a pack without hesitation for a taste of luxury hotel dining, and one that doesn’t require going through a security checkpoint like the last time he ate hotel pancakes in Tokyo.

Photos ©SoraNew24
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Acid attack occurs at Tokyo subway station as man gets sulfuric acid thrown in his face

Police are looking for attacker seen in security footage whose actions also injured innocent woman.

Because of how many different subway lines crisscross each other below the surface of Tokyo, some stations have to be dug deep into the earth. This, of course, means it can be a long trip back up once you get off your train, but as a 22-year-old man was waiting for the escalator to take them back up to the surface from Shirokane-takanawa Station on Tuesday night, something terrible happened.

Another man, dressed in black with a baseball cap and mask obscuring much of his face, came walking up the escalator behind him, holding a small bottle in his gloved right hand. When he got up next to the first man, the man in black splashed the contents of the vial, which turned out to be sulfuric acid, onto the man’s face, with the liquid running down his shoulders and onto his back and causing severe burns.

▼ Security camera images of the attacker

In addition to the man who was targeted, a 34-year-old woman who was also on the escalator suffered injuries when she slipped on the liquid that had spilled onto the floor, coming into contact with the acid as it burned the skin on her right leg. The attacker then fled the scene, and police are currently searching for him.

Security footage shows that the attacker came out of the ticket gate at approximately the same time as the male victim and purposefully followed him. It’s currently unknown if some sort of prior altercation between the two led to the attack or if it was simply a random act of heinous violence. The male victim’s burns are expected to take roughly half a year to fully heal.

▼ The exit at the top of the escalator where the attack took place

In addition to the suddenness of the attack and the unusual weapon, the incident has also shocked locals because of where it took place, as the Shirokane and Takanawa neighborhoods of Tokyo’s Minato Wards are some of the fanciest residential areas in the city, and a reputation for low crime levels even by Tokyo standards. The attack is a reminder that all it takes is one unhinged person to put innocent lives in danger, and so even if Japan deserves its reputation as an especially safe country, it’s still a good idea to be aware of your surroundings when using public transportation.

Sources: TBS News, FNN Prime Online, Jiji
Top image: Wikipedia/本屋~commonswiki
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

In rare move, Japan prepares to offer refuge to Afghans

Japan has begun preparations to take in Afghans who worked for its embassy and aid organization, an unusual opening of doors to war refugees amid mounting concerns of Taliban retribution against locals who worked with foreign governments. (Nikkei)

ByLike Nagoya Admin

Shopping Online in Japan – Internet Shopping!

You are not going to get complaints from me about living in Japan. I am generally happy here, but still, I prefer to use products and eat foods from my own country in many cases; decent peanut butter, for example. Maybe in your case, Vegemite? There are lots of products from home that I could […] Source H&R Group K.K.

ByLike Nagoya Admin

Late-night Starbucks run? Chain will start discounting items before closing time in Japan

Starbucks Japan takes a page from Japanese supermarkets with new eco-friendly plan that should make everyone happy.

Starbucks branches in Japan see most of their customers in the late afternoon/early evening time blocks. After lunch but before dinner just makes sense as the best time to sip a Jimoto Frappuccino, nibble on a pastry, or otherwise tickle your taste buds as you enjoy a peaceful pause in your schedule for the day.

Starting next week, though, there’s an extra incentive for Starbucks fans in Japan to put their visit off until later in the day, as the chain will start offering discounts on food items before closing.

The practice of knocking down the price on unsold items as closing time approaches is already common in Japanese supermarkets, and some convenience stores do the same thing. The idea is that the item will no longer be fresh enough to sell when the store opens again the next day, so rather than end up with unsold inventory that has to be tossed out in the morning, it’s better to lower the price and entice someone to buy it while it’s still good to eat.

Starbucks’ version of the system will be to reduce prices by 20 percent for baked goods, sandwiches, and desserts in its register-adjacent food cases starting three hours before closing time on days when they have an abundance of leftovers. The practice will go into effect at all of Starbucks’ roughly 1,600 Japanese locations starting on August 23.

▼ It’s great news for people like us, who typically just go into our local Starbucks, empty our wallet on the counter, and say “Give me all the matcha donuts this will buy.”

Starbucks says it’s implementing the system as part of its efforts to reduce the chain’s amount of food waste, 15 percent of which is currently accounted for by expired food (the bulk of the chain’s food waste comes from coffee beans left over after brewing, a portion of which are recycled into fertilizer and animal feed). The ostensible increased sales from the discounts should also help its bottom line, and if it saves customers some cash the next time they’re craving a sakura donut or matcha scone, it sounds like a win-win-win for Starbucks, its fans, and the planet they share.

Source: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Otakomu, Sponichi Annex
Images ©SoraNews24
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Japan halts use of 1.63 mil Moderna vaccine doses over contamination

Japan’s health ministry said Thursday foreign materials were found in some portions of the unused doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine and the use of around 1.63 million… Source Japan Today

ByLike Nagoya Admin

Gold-medal-biting Japanese mayor scribbles letter of apology to staff

It’s the lack of thought that counts.

One of the enduring figures of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has to be Mayor Takashi Kawamura of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. After the sporting event concluded, the mayor met with gold-medalist Miu Goto of the Japanese women’s softball team. After pleasantries were exchanged, the two stood in front of reporters for a standard photo op, and this was when the mayor made the grave mistake of jokingly biting Goto’s medal, as an athlete might on the podium. The act drew a lot of criticism, mainly because Kawamura is not a world-class athlete but the leader of 2.3 million people during a highly infectious pandemic.

▼ Lest we forget

In the backlash that ensued, Kawamura publicly apologized and took a three-month pay cut as penance. He also promised to attend sensitivity training not only for the bite heard round the world, but for awkward questions and comments about Goto’s dating life during the meeting.

However, none of this seems to have stemmed the flow of complaints streaming into City Hall. According to the city, about 15,000 protests were received as of 20 August. It’s all enough to interfere with the daily operation of the municipal affairs, and for that Mayor Kawamura apologized to staff by issuing the following…er, Vicodin prescription?

“The apology from Mayor Takashi Kawamura is handwritten, but the penmanship…”

While pushing the very limits of legibility, Kawamura’s letter is clearly hastily written and seems to frequently forego even the basic-level kanji characters that adults are expected to use in written communication, possibly because he knew they would be impossible to read if he did. The mayor gave copies of the letter to his cabinet on 23 August, asking them to pass it along to all members of their respective departments.

It reads:

“To all Nagoya City employees,
I’d like to take this time to apologize for the gold medal incident that I caused. It has created a lot of trouble for you to receive the many emails and phone calls. This is all my wrongdoing. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.
End of message”

Kind of hits you right here, doesn’t it? They do say that handwritten notes are more polite that typed, but that’s because it shows the extra level of effort in writing a message by hand – a nuance that seemed lost on the mayor.

After drying their eyes from reading this heartfelt chicken scratch, readers of the letter online had a lot to say about it.

“I’m beginning to think maybe he isn’t really sorry…”
“Maybe he thought writing it that way would show his humanity.”
“He said nothing and did it in the laziest way possible.”
“If he handed this in at school the teacher would smack him.”
“This screams insincerity.”
“The best apologies always close with ‘end of message.’”
“He understands what he did wrong, doesn’t he?”

One Twitter user also graciously corrected Mayor Kawamura’s letter like a teacher might a high school student’s assignment. Aside from some word choice complaints such as the inappropriate closing, places where kanji should have been used instead of the phonetic hiragana script that Kawamura opted for was also marked, with asterisks indicating the level of education the kanji should have been learned at such as 小3 (3rd grade elementary school) and 中学 (junior high).

So it would seem in addition to sensitivity training, a few weeks at one of Nagoya’s fine cram schools would be in order for Kawamura to brush up on his penmanship and writing skills as he continues to dig himself deeper into an already Olympic-sized hole.

End of article

Source: Tokyo Shimbun, My Game News Flash
Top image: ©SoraNews24
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

State of emergency to cover 8 more prefectures

Japan’s government is set to expand the coronavirus state of emergency to 8 more prefectures to control a surge in infections. (NHK)

ByLike Nagoya Admin

The 10 best spicy foods for 2021 as chosen by our Tokyo writer

Start pouring the milk, because it’s heating up in Japan.

An interesting effect of the pandemic has been an uptick in spicy food consumption in Japan. Some have attributed this to the increase in home dining and isolation in which people don’t have to worry about the sweaty brows and gastrointestinal turbulence that comes along with consuming capsaicin.

To help make sense of all the new spicy foods that came out this past year, our writer Yayoi “Spicy Hunter” Saginomiya has selected the ten leaders of the piquant pack. Bear in mind, however, that this isn’t a ranking of pure intensity, rather overall deliciousness. For those who value burn over taste, we included a spicy-meter with a five-star scale too.

So without further ado, let’s see what instant foods tapped into the powers of peppers the best.

#10 – Mokotanmen Nakamoto Hokkyoku Yakisoba

This tub of instant yakisoba hails from the acclaimed Mokotanmen Nakamoto chain of ramen restaurants, known for its particularly spicy soups. What makes this 7-Eleven exclusive so special is that Mokotanmen Nakamoto doesn’t even have yakisoba on the menu.

The result is a unique take on the classic Mokotanmen Nakamoto seasoning. At first bite, Yayoi was a little let down by the mild taste but it turned out the mayo coating simply kept the intense fire locked in for a delayed but deadly burn.

Spiciness:  ★★★★★

#9 – Cup Noodles Spicy Chinese Pepper Hot Pot Noodle

Although Cup Noodle is capable of some pretty intense heat, this Chinese-cuisine themed offering shows a lot of restraint.

It contains a pack of chili oil and is also seasoned with tingly Chinese peppers, but neither dominate the overall flavor. Yayoi was especially impressed with the authentic taste of this hot-pot-inspired instant ramen.

Spiciness: ★★★☆☆

#8 – Karauma Renkon-ten

For those times when you get tired of potato chips, you might want to branch out into the fried lotus root snack genre. It has a unique crunch all its own and in this case comes with a generous dusting of chili and Chinese peppers for yet another well-balanced burn-and-tingle experience.

Spiciness: ★★★☆☆

#7 – Ippinhinabe’s Hot Pot Meal

Ippinhinabe is a restaurant in Tokyo’s Chinatown district near Ikebukuro Station, which offers a version of the traditional group-meal hot pots in a single serving for 1,000 yen (US$9).

This isn’t only good for safety during the pandemic, but it’s a great way to enjoy some spicy food, because in your own space no one can hear you scream with delight.

Spiciness:  ★★★★★

#6 – 7-Eleven Extra Spicy Chicken Curry

For this instant curry pack, 7-Eleven enlisted the mighty ghost pepper but balances it out in a creamy blend with chunks of chicken.

The result is a hearty curry with a firm but not overbearing kick to it.

Spiciness: ★★★★☆

#5 – Samyang Extremely Spicy Roasted Noodles

This Korean version of instant noodles can really bring the heat, but Yayoi recommends those new to spicy food should start off with the regular “spicy” version before moving into the “extreme” territory. 

Still, even the “extremely spicy” version of these noodles has an underlying sweetness that gives the taste a great deal of depth and keeps you coming back for another bite despite the heat.

Spiciness: ★★★★☆

#4 – Ethiopia Beef Curry

Yayoi has been trying a lot of retort-pouch instant curries, but none could approach this in terms of spiciness. It’s from the Tokyo-based curry restaurants called Ethiopa, and manages to pack all that restaurant-level flavor and texture into a little pouch for home use.

There’s a certain expectation of curry that comes out of a heated vinyl pouch, but Ethiopia surpasses it in terms of quality, quantity, and pure burn.

Spiciness:  ★★★★★

#3 – Bakuretsu Karamen

Where do bad noodles go when they die? They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly. They go to this soup of fire after they fry.

The explosive design of the package isn’t just blowing smoke either, the soup broth of this instant ramen is pretty intense. They didn’t just cram a bunch of chili peppers in there and call it a day either. There is a complex blend of cumin, Japanese pepper, green chili, and a miso base, all for a deep full-bodied broth.

Spiciness:  ★★★★★

#2 – Karakarauo Tsukemen

This interesting ramen is sold at the Kagetsu Arashi chain with the help of Tokyo’s Mandokoro Inosho restaurant, famous for its spicy fish soups. Karakarauo Tsukemen might look daunting at first with what looks like a huge pile of chili pepper in the middle.

Actually, that’s just a blend of spices topping a pile of fishmeal. The fishmeal gradually melts into the soup, adding texture and spice along the way. The result is a very fun dining experience, and even though it’s quite spicy, the way the heat is delivered in this ramen makes it accessible even to novice spicy food eaters.

Spiciness: ★★★★☆

#1 – Konan Saikan‘s Shuizu Fish

This Sichuan dish involves boiling meat in a particular way to create a delectable texture and then smoothers it in oily sauces and spices. With a variety of added vegetables, Shuizu Fish is a delight of flavors and textures with a pleasant underlying spiciness.

Tokyo restaurant Konan Saikan hits those notes just right for a stellar spicy dish that is easy either for newcomers to get into or for those who have forgotten the joy of spicy food to rekindle their love affair with it.

Spiciness: ★★★☆☆

And that concludes Spice Hunter Sagnomiya’s top picks for 2021, but remember that this is a list of the best spicy foods, not the spiciest foods. Yayoi herself had a few spicier meals, but heat alone doesn’t make a great dish.

With interest in spicy food in Japan still on the rise, we can probably expect even more sophisticated items in the year to come as the competition really heats up.

Photos © SoraNews24
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