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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.

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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

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
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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
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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.

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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Family Mart’s Famichiki upsize astounds customers in Japan

Japanese convenience store chain gives customers much more than they bargained for.

This year, Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart is celebrating its 40th anniversary with 40 Good Things, and one of those good things is a 40-percent increase in the size of its signature fried chicken, the Famichiki.

Family Mart’s Famichiki is legendary in Japan, so when fans found out about the amazing offer, they immediately stopped by their local branches to purchase the upsized servings of tender, juicy, oh-so-tasty fried chicken.

And when they did, they found something wonderful, because Family Mart wasn’t kidding around with the 40-percent upsize, as the new Famichiki were enormous.

▼ The new one (right) is much bigger than the original (left).

It didn’t take long for word to spread about the huge Famichiki, as happy customers began sharing photos of their enormous servings online.

▼ Putting it in the special bun designed for regular-sized Famichiki gives you an idea of just how big this chicken is.

▼ And in the hands of children, the Famichiki looks even more gigantic.

So how big exactly is the new Famichiki? According to one online sleuth, the regular-sized version is advertised as weighing 80 grams (2.82 ounces), but often weighs in at around 90-100 grams. A 40-percent increase, then, would mean the new Famichiki should officially weigh 126-140 grams, or 129-143 grams according to real-weight figures.

However, as their research shows, the real weight of this particular upsized Famichiki weighs in at a whopping 163.9 grams, which makes it more like a 65-percent increase.

▼ Other customers also attested to the extra-large increase.

It’s not every day a company gives customers even more than the advertised upgrade, and Family Mart has won everyone over with this impressive display of customer service. The extra large portion size means people are now enjoying the Famichiki slabs in all sorts of ways, adding them to McDonald’s burgers

▼ …slapping them on bentos

▼ …inserting them into sandwiches

▼ and popping them in curries to make epic katsu curry!

As it turns out, the Famichiki isn’t the only product getting a size upgrade for this special 40th birthday anniversary campaign, as a select number of other products will also be increasing by 40 percent for a limited time.

Some of the upsized products include:

▼ Chicken thigh yakitori sticks…

▼ …specially marked bentos and salads…

▼ …and specially marked sandwiches.

Unlike other convenience store sandwiches, which have been dubbed “paper tiger sandwiches” due to their lack of fillings, the ones at Family Mart are entirely covered with fillings!

The new campaign is only available for a limited time, from 10-31 August, or until stocks last, so be sure to get in quick to enjoy the extra big servings. And if you happen to be in Kyoto, you’ll be able to pair your giant Famichiki with a specially crafted whiskey at the Family Mart whiskey bar!

Sources: Family Mart via Hachima Kikou, Jin
Featured image 
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Survey finds Japan’s most satisfying restaurants for 2021

It’s not so lonely at the top of this ranking.

Although a lot of major brands last for a long time, people’s opinions about them can fluctuate quite a bit. In the past decade alone, we’ve seen McDonald’s Japan go from a fast-food juggernaut to a veritable pariah and back to the McCock of the walk.

One way to help keep tabs on these changes is the Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index which is an annual survey that measures general impressions on how satisfying and useful a business is in a wide range of industries from credit card companies to hardware stores.

The first round of results, however, focuses mainly on the food service sectors “eateries” and “cafes.” This year, 12 restaurant chains known as “family restaurants” in Japan, nine fast food chains, and five coffee shops were rated and ranked by nearly 25,000 respondents, making this the largest survey of its kind in Japan.

The survey asked three questions which respondents were to assign a score out of 100:

1 – How satisfied with [business name] were you in the past year?
2 – Looking back on your use of [business name] this past year, how much to you think it was a good choice for you?
3 – How much has use of [business name] enriched your life.

These scores were then compiled, weighted, and processed through all that other statistician magic to come up with the three most satisfying eateries in Japan for 2021. Let’s run it down!

3 – Mos Burger

A solid entry for third place, Mos Burger has been a long-appreciated franchise in Japan often found at or near the top of most rankings. Though they do catch a little flack for relatively high prices and small portions, quality-wise they are consistently a cut above the rest.

2 – Oh, wait a minute…

It would seem there is no second place. Instead we have a tie for first! I suppose that would technically make Mos Burger second, but we’re just following the number system used by JCSI, so get off our backs already.

1 – Saizeriya and Gyoza No Ohsho

Both receiving the same rating on the Customer Satisfaction Index, the Italian-themed family restaurant Saizeriya and Chinese-themed gyoza shack Gyoza No Ohsho are sharing the spotlight this year.

Saizeriya really does an amazing job at treading along the razor’s edge of low cost and high quality. “High quality” is used loosely considering most dishes are just reheated, but they all somehow end up tasting way better than they should, and at prices that seem to defy the economy.

▼ We even sent a hungry four-man team to try their best to run up a 100,000-yen (US$906) bill, but they didn’t even come remotely close

On the other hand, Gyoza No Ohsho has striven to become the largest gyoza chain in Japan, which is no small feat. Here gyoza can be very divisive, with a wide range of subtly different recipes found in most restaurants, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Uniting enough people under one umbrella made of tasty rice paper and stuffed with garlic is a testament to how satisfying this place can be.

To see where your favorite restaurant did or didn’t rank, here is the top ten:

1 – Saizeriya / Gyoza No Ohsho (Tie)
3 – Mos Burger
4 – Bikuri Donkey
5 – KFC / Marugame Seimen (Tie)
7 – Sushiro
8 – Ringer Hut
9 – Hamazushi
10 – Kisoji

According to the researchers behind the survey, there were some rather large swings in the results this year caused by the pandemic’s disruption. For example, Gyoza No Ohsho shot up a remarkable eight places from the previous year, possibly due in part to their very take-out-friendly central dish of gyoza.

On the other hand, it’s surprising that McDonald’s didn’t even crack the top 10 this time. Regardless of opinions on the food itself, their app that allows you to order and pay before even entering the store has been a lifesaver in these especially germophobic times.

Meanwhile, Starbucks fans needn’t fret too much, because cafes were put in a separate ranking, with the top three as follows:

1 – Komeda’s Coffee
2 – Starbucks
3 – Dotour Coffee

Once again, despite being the largest chain of its kind internationally, Starbucks was upset by Komeda’s Coffee. This is another chain that has thrived especially during the pandemic, something that has been attributed to their relatively wide floorspace compared to other coffee shops.

▼ Not only that but Komeda’s Coffee has a pretty killer line-up of food to go along with all that caffeine.

Even despite these results, in Japan you’d generally be hard pressed to find an eatery you could describe as “unsatisfying” so don’t worry to much about where to eat. However, if for whatever reason you still find that you can’t get no satisfaction, perhaps you should try one of these spots for a change of pace.

Source: Japanese Customer Satisfaction Index, All About
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Yoshinoya’s special Japanese parliament-only wagyu beef bowl is now available to us civilians too

Japanese Diet exclusive can now be part of the Japanese diet.

As Japan’s biggest gyudon (beef bowl) chain, Yoshinoya’s branches across the country have a pretty standardized menu. However, out of all of its 1,183 domestic locations, there’s a luxurious special item that you can only get at the Nagatacho Ichome branch in Tokyo.

But hey, a lot of people live in Tokyo, so a pretty large portion of the nation’s Yoshinoya fans can just mosey on over an order it, right? Nope, because the Nagatacho Ichome branch is located inside the National Diet Building, and this “Diet” doesn’t refer to the foods Japan eats, but to the country’s parliament, which is called the Diet.

▼ Exterior view of National Diet Building/Nagatacho Ichome Yoshinoya

Basically, unless you’re a politician or have some other sort of official business within the halls of power, the branch, and its exclusive Kuroge Wagyuju, is off limits. That’s about to change, though, as Yoshinoya has announced that it’s expanding its availability to branches nationwide.

So what exactly is the Kuroge Wagyuju? Well, for starters, it’s a -ju, not a -don, which indicated that it’s served in a rectangular container, not a round bowl. Ju usually carry the connotation of fancier ingredients as well, and the Kuroge Wagyuju delivers on that implied promise by using Japanese Black wagyu beef, a premium domestic breed that’s prized for its flavorful marbled meat.

The Kuroge Wagyuju is made with Japanese Black chuck roll of A3 or higher grade, which is pan-grilled to order, not stewed and waiting like with ordinary beef bowls. The meat is sprinkled with salt and pepper then treated with a ginger garlic soy glaze specially crafted to pair with the Japanese Black’s richness, then served over rice and topped with sliced white onion, accompanied by sides of miso soup and kimchi.

At the Diet, the Kuroge Wagyuju was priced at 1,389 yen (US$12.63), but for civilians eating elsewhere in the country the price has been knocked down to 1,290 yen (US$11.73). Not only does this make it a little easier on the wallets of us common folk, it also works as a pun, since 1 and 29 can be read as ii niku, or “nice meat.”

Those of you with a deep sense of loyalty to SoraNews24 and/or beef might recall that we actually taste-tested this rarified dish a while back, when it was being offered at one Yoshinoya branch at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, and loved it. However, with the number of travelers passing thorough Haneda severally reduced during the pandemic, it was taken off the airport branch’s menu back in the spring, and has only been available at the Diet location since. Yoshinoya says that it’s also reformulated the glaze and seasonings to bring out even more of the delicious wagyu flavor, and we can’t wait to try it for ourselves after it goes on sale on August 12.

Source: Yoshinoya via Yomiuri Shimbun via Yahoo! Japan News
Top image: Yoshinoya
Insert images: Pakutaso, Yoshinoya
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Japanese beef bowl chain Matsuya now lets you exchange your rice for a salad, for free

Cut the calories and the carbs, even at a fast-food chain!

Let’s face it: delicious as they may be, beef bowls are not exactly the healthiest meal. Juicy, meaty goodness slow-cooked in a savory-sweet broth and served over rice, often topped with delicious things like cheese or even yakisoba…well, that’s a high calorie count if we’ve ever seen one. But Japanese beef bowl chain restaurant Matsuya is making sure that even health-conscious individuals can enjoy their food by allowing their customers to choose to replace their rice with a salad.

The option is called “low-carb change” (ローカボチェンジ), and applies to gyudon beef bowls, teishoku set meals, curries, and bento boxes (so long as they have the regular size rice). You can do it for takeout orders as well as dine-in, so any time you order from Matsuya, you can choose to go low-carb.

By choosing the low-carb change, the salad you get has 95 percent fewer carbohydrates than the rice it replaces, and 93 fewer calories too, so for the health-conscious, this is an excellent option.

You might be wondering if, by replacing the rice with salad, the Matsuya staff ends up turning your beef rice bowl into a beef salad, but the answer is no. They put the vegetables on the side, so you get a bowl of beef, a bowl of salad, and a bowl of miso soup. And in the case of teishoku set meals, since they already come with a salad if, you chose to do the low-carb change you’ll get an extra salad, so you can get not one, but two helpings of delicious veggies.

The best part about it is that the low-carb change is a free option. Oftentimes such substitutions cost a little money, as it did when they offered customers the choice to exchange their rice for tofu. But not so with this deal–you can cut the calories and the carbs at no cost to yourself, so you don’t have to use the cost as an excuse to eat healthily.

As big beef bowl fans we can’t imagine ever eating a beef bowl without rice, but it seems like an easy and healthy switch to make, so we might try it out on days when we feel like we’ve been eating too much ice cream, bread, and sweets.

Source, images: PR Times
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ByLike Nagoya Admin

Nagoya mayor who bit softball athlete’s gold medal to forfeit three months’ pay

Nagoya politician also attends harassment awareness workshop, says comments he made about dating and marriage to medalist were inappropriate.


Following the Japanese women’s softball team’s gold medal victory over the U.S.A. at the end of July, left-handed pitcher Miu Goto returned to a hero’s welcome in her hometown of Nagoya. The celebration included meeting Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura, who wanted to convey his congratulations in person, but picked a very poor way to do so.

During their meeting Goto naturally showed Kawamura her gold medal, and the 72-year-old politician promptly stuck it in his mouth and bit it, imitating the common photo-op pose struck with the Olympic hardware. What Kawamura apparently failed to properly understand, though, was that it’s supposed to be the athletes themselves biting their medals, and that not only is slobbering all over someone else’s belongings gross, doing so in the middle of a pandemic is dangerous too.

▼ Miu Goto

With the bite caught on camera, the mayor has been facing a wave of criticism not just for his oral infraction but also for asking Goto if members of the softball team are allowed to date and encouraging her to “Find yourself a good husband.” During his regularly scheduled press conference on Monday he spoke of how he’s trying to make amends, saying that on August 13th he attended a course on harassment awareness and that he’s come to understand that his remarks to Goto were inappropriate. Kawamura will also be forfeiting three months of his salary, which works out to 1.5 million yen (US$13,640).

While voluntary resignations often follow political scandals in Japan, Kawamura stated that he wishes to continue serving as mayor of Nagoya, while reiterating his previously made apology, saying “I have caused discomfort to Goto and the people of the country, and will practice greater self-discipline.”

It’s unclear whether Kawamura’s forfeited salary will be donated to a charitable cause or simply remain in the city’s coffers. Using it to pay for a replacement medal for Goto would seem like the most natural application, but the athlete herself seems to be attached to the one that was presented to her as she stood with her teammates at the Olympics, even if it’s spent some time in Kawamura’s mouth since then.

Source: Jjii
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