Bottled waters have long been the rage in Japan, with store shelves lined with all kinds of flavors and levels of carbonation to appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers. And on 1 November, Asahi Soft Drinks released yet another new take on an old classic with the only bottled hot water on the market.
▼ It’s called Oishii Mizu Tennensui Sayu.
This isn’t just any hot water though. It’s what is known as “sayu” in Japanese as opposed to “oyu” which is the normal term for hot water. Oyu is water that has been heated to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) or so, whereas sayu is considered water that has been brought to a boil and then cooled to around 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
As you can probably imagine, the boiling process helps to remove impurities and thus makes sayu a healthier alternative to oyu, especially if you’re getting it from a tap. Sayu is said to be great for improving blood circulation and promoting healthy digestion.
In the case of Asahi’s Oishii Mizu Tennensui Sayu, natural spring water is directly bottled and then warmed to temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Celsius (122 and 140 degrees Fahernheit)…which, come to think of it, doesn’t make this sayu. It really is just any hot water after all.
In fairness to Asahi, there isn’t a strict definition of what exactly “sayu” is and since the source is natural spring water served at the same temperature as sayu, there’s still a fair chance that the health benefits of this Oishii Mizu Tennensui Sayu hold true. Either way, customers in Japan have really been willing to take the plunge as sales have exceeded …continue reading
A popular fixture of the Japanese cityscape is the many plastic food samples that grace the windows of restaurants and other food retailers. These fake foods are crafted with such amazing attention to detail that they’re works of art in their own right.
Unfortunately, this can be a source of problems for the sellers of foods themselves when these lifelike dishes aren’t safely locked in showcases. Just ask the staff at Andrew’s Eggtart, who’ve been having trouble telling their fake tarts from the real ones.
▼ Andrew’s Eggtart is a division of Lord Stow’s Bakery, in which Andrew and Lord Stow are the same guy
In late October, an incident occurred in which a customer was accidentally served five plastic tarts when staff mistook them for actual fresh tarts. The Macau-based franchise which usually has locations in Osaka, Nagoya, and Kagoshima, opened up a temporary stand in JR Tottori Station and customers flocked at the chance to get the rare treat. It would seem that in all the ruckus the inedible order of tarts got handed out by mistake.
The company explained that part of the reason was that these particular food samples were designed to be hollow to save production costs. This also makes them much lighter than solid plastic sculptures and harder to distinguish from the weight of real tarts. In addition, attention to the samples’ look was so detailed that they even had the distinct color and texture of tarts that were baked off-site and cooled as opposed to freshly baked ones.
It’s that very attention to detail that made a lot of online commenters say they’d consider themselves lucky to be given samples by mistake.
“I’d totally rather have the samples.” “I think the company who made the sample should feel proud.” “Recent food replicas are amazing and really …continue reading
If you ever get tired of your standard drinking parties, there are plenty of ways to make them more exciting, mainly by playing games (with or without alcohol involved as punishment). Obviously, if you’re drinking with your boss, you can’t go too wild with standard drinking games, but a major toy company just released a tame way to make your company parties a little different: Horoyoi Izakaya Games.
Made by Mega House, a subsidiary of Bandai Namco, these three party games, whose collective name translates as “Tipsy Bar Games”, are themed on three popular menu items at Japanese bars (known as izakaya): draft beer, edamame, and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers). Their pieces are so realistic, you almost want to eat them!
The first game is Gura Gura Edamame Balance (with “Gura Gura” translated as “Wobbling”).
In this game, which is almost like the opposite of Jenga, players attempt to stack realistic-looking plastic edamame on top of a wobbly bowl without tipping the whole thing over.
But it’s not quite that simple–there’s a die too! With prompts like “Skip the next turn” and “Place two edamame”, the game’s level of difficulty can change with the roll of a die.
If you’ve ever enjoyed cheap and delicious sushi plates at kaiten-zushi, or conveyor belt/revolving sushi, in Japan, you’ve likely made use of the convenient hot water faucets at your table or counter seat. Stocked above each seat is a batch of green tea powder you can throw in a cup, and mix with the instantly dispensed hot water for a piping hot cup of green tea to pair with your meal.
Lost in the instant convenience of it is that people sometimes walk away with some watery green tea lacking in flavor. While it’s sort of become and accepted compromise to getting fast food sushi, it doesn’t always have to be that way! At least, that’s what one TikTok video that’s been making waves in Japan says!
In response to the idea of having bad tea at kaiten-zushi, Coro (corocoro_coffee), shared a video that’s been enlightening a lot of people.
As Coro explains, a lot of people simply throw in the powder, pour hot water, and stir. The trick to unlocking a fuller flavor cup is to actually pour the powder, a little bit of hot water, mix it first, then fill your cup up with the rest of hot water. Coro says they learned this simple tea lifehack as a barista at Starbucks–perhaps when making delicious matcha concoctions.
Our reporter Seiji Nakazawa has been binge-watching detective dramas recently, so when he was in Tokyo’s Tachikawa area to see a friend’s band play live one night, the hum of cars on unfamiliar streets made him feel like he was in a police drama.
He hadn’t been to Tachikawa for a while and as he was hungry for soba, Seiji decided to walk around looking for a place to eat before the band’s performance. That’s when an older man appeared in front of him, saying, “Hey, are you looking for something?”
Seiji flicked his head up to see the man was dressed in a chef’s outfit. This seemed like a fortuitous encounter, so Seiji told him, “I’m looking for a soba restaurant,” and the chef replied, “Isn’t this the place you’re looking for?”
Looking behind the man, Seiji could see they were at a restaurant called Takaotei. As it was a little far from the station, the restaurant had parking for cars in front of it, giving it a lovely, suburban feel in the heart of the city.
It looked like a great place to eat, so Seiji followed the man inside, feeling like a young punk being recruited into a yakuza gang. As he took a seat inside the homely establishment, he waited with bated breath to see if a big boss would come out of the kitchen with shades and instructions for him …continue reading
So when we heard MUJI had released a new seasonal beverage that’s been getting rave reviews, we just had to head to our local MUJI to pick one up and give a whirl! Released as a warming fall special, MUJI is now serving up an Instant Apple Cinnamon Latte as part of their “café menu”.
The new Apple Cinnamon Latte is an instant latte mix that combines the flavor with Fuji apples (known to be particularly sweet in Japan) along with a strong cinnamon aroma. At 390 yen a serving of ten cups, that makes for a pretty affordable 39 yen a cup! Simply combine 16g (4.5 teaspoons) of the mix with 140ml of hot water and your Apple Cinnamon Latte is ready to go!
When we poured in the hot water, we immediately noticed a strong fragrance of sweet and sour apples, and of course a fall cinnamon punch underneath that as well.
As for taste, the latte had a distinct creamy texture to it, and a strong apple sweetness finished by a mild sourness that quickly dissipates once the refreshing cinnamon kicks in. For such a simple to make drink, MUJI’S new Apple Cinnamon Latte is definitely worth picking up as a delicious fall drink to sip on!
No more getting to the restaurant only to find they don’t have what you want!
If there’s one thing we always look forward to about Japanese restaurants, it’s their limited-time-only menus and low-price deals. Often seasonal, sometimes ridiculous, but always exciting, these dishes and deals, which can be on the menu for as short as a few days, draw customers like flies to honey.
But what happens if you, as a customer, go out of your way to a restaurant to try a limited edition menu item like the new Pikachu Donuts at Mister Donut, or to take advantage of an amazing deal like all-you-can-eat fancy shaved ice for just 3,800 yen, and they aren’t actually offering it? Big disappointment, that’s what. Apparently, that’s been a problem at revolving sushi restaurant chain Sushiro, where, back in June, the popular sushi shop earned ire when it advertised a half-price beer that they allegedly knew they couldn’t actually provide.
Understandably, customers were upset when they arrived at their local Sushiro only to find that the super cheap beer wasn’t available (though by the time we went in July they seemed to have sorted it out). In the end, the Consumer Affairs Agency had to step in on the grounds that they were violating the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations with “bait-and-switch advertising”, leaving Sushiro looking for a way to resolve their customers’ dissatisfaction.
That solution was a new system whereby customers can check the stock not only of the limited-edition menu items but also the regular items online before they visit their local Sushiro. You can find this information on both the website and the app. On the website, look for a red button with a clipboard icon that says “branches’ sold-out information” (各店舗の品切れ情報はこちら), which you can find on the “menu” …continue reading
Fans of long-running hit anime and manga One Piece have no doubt been enjoying a full course of new movie merchandise thanks to the theatrical release and major success of ONE PIECE FILM RED. Hopefully they’ve saved some room for dessert, because Japanese sweets and cake specialty store cake.jp is releasing all new flavors of their wildly popular cakes in a can with flavors inspired by characters from the movie, and they’re coming to vending machines too!
This isn’t cake.jp’s first foray into the world of the epic pirate series, in the past they’ve released edible versions of the Devil Fruits eaten by popular One Piece characters. This time cake.jp will be releasing a trio of canned creamy cakes cakes layered in flavors and colors inspired by Luffy, Uta, and Shanks as they appear in ONE PIECE FILM RED. While each cake comes in a cola-style like can, they are meant to be eaten with a spoon or fork–almost like the viral parfaits in a can we recently sampled.
Luffy: A refreshing genoise sponge cake made with orange cream, orange passion jelly, and blueberry cream.
Uta: A colorful cake with a variety of flavors such as melon marshmallow, lemon, orange cream chocolate sponge cake, and blueberry cream.
Shanks: A rich sweet and sour layered Chocolat-based cake with chocolate sauces with mixed berry cream sauce.
The One Piece cake in a can is sold from cake.jp’s online store in a set of three for 3,600 yen, but will also be made individually available (for 1,200 yen) at vending machines at number of Aeon Mall locations throughout the country (you can check locations here).
Fall is the season for eating, according to a Japanese saying — and it’s not wrong. And with the sheer number of delicious Japanese fall foods, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
With nights getting slowly darker, temperatures dropping, and the leaves changing, there’s no denying the arrival of fall. For many of us who have been melting in the summer heat, it’s something to be celebrated. It’s practically impossible to comfort eat during the Japanese summer — even getting up for a tub of ice cream works up a sweat — but now that it’s fall you don’t have to worry about that anymore. You can sink back into those warming dishes and enjoy the comfort of hearty flavors.
So, without further
For when you want something to warm you up, but aren’t in the mood for the standard hot drinks.
In Japan, one of the best things about this time of year is that you can buy hot drinks in cans and bottles at convenience stores. When you’re out and about on a chilly day, or especially on a frigid night, there’s no quicker way to warm yourself up than popping into a shop and grabbing a bottle of green tea or can of coffee from the heating rack so that you have a warm, comforting beverage to sip until you’re back indoors.
Or, if you prefer, you can grab a bottle of hot water, thanks to Asahi and their Oishi Mizu Tennensui Sayu, which went on sale at the start of this month.
To clarify, Oishi Mizu Tennensui Sayu isn’t one of those clear, non-carbonated soda-style flavored waters that started gaining popularity in Japan a few years ago. “Sayu” just means “hot water,” and the piping hot bottles are simply filled with the same mineral water that Asahi usually sells at cold or room-temperature under its Oishi Mizu Tennensui. Asahi says in recent years hot water has been gaining in polarity, with a growing number of people craving it on late-autumn and winter mornings as a way to warm themselves up without the jittery caffeine side effects of coffee or tea.
These aren’t just leftover bottles of water that get tossed into the heater rack, either, as orange caps indicate that a drink, under Japanese beverage-handling regulations, is only to be sold hot.
Asahi Oishi Mizu Tennensui Sayu is priced at 105 yen (US$0.70) and available in convenience stores and supermarkets nationwide.