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Source: Grape

The seemingly ubiquitous presence of vending machines in Japan can be a bit surprising for first time visitors, but even more surprising is probably just how much more than simple drinks and snacks can be purchased from them. High quality dashi, spicy mapo soup, and pizza are just a few of the more unusual vending machines found in Japan.

Japanese Twitter user Shin (@shinru72824) may have just discovered one of the most surprising yet. Shin recently caused quite a crowd to race over to Kyoto when he shared photos of a vending machine that offers classic French cuisine!

He shared the photos with the caption “Near the Kyoto Imperial Palace, there’s an authentic French cuisine vending machine!”

Source: @shinru72824

The unusual vending machine is stocked with sets of French cuisine meals, and appears to also have salad dressing as well. Here’s some of the mouthwatering dishes we were able to spot on display!

15:

Seared Tamba Highland pork

Marinated Salad and Carrots

Grated Apple in Japanese Sauce

17:

Smoked fish and Chef’s whimsical Hors d’oeuvre Salad

25:

Homemade tender chicken breast

Grilled vegetables

Plum marinade

27:

Country style pate

Pate de Campagne

23:

Braised beef cheek croquette

Potato based & braised beef cheeks

33:

Braised beef cheeks in red wine with mashed Naruto Kintoki sweet potatoes

35:

Seared chicken thigh

Porcini cream stew

Source: @shinru72824
Source: @shinru72824

京都御所の近くに本格フレンチの自販機があるよ! pic.twitter.com/O77DGj3gMM

— シン☆お酒とガンダム (@shinru72824) September 19, 2021

Shin, of course, couldn’t resist the urge to find out what French cuisine from a vending machine tastes like, so he purchased what appears to be the braised beef cheeks in red wine with mashed Naruto Kintoki sweet potatoes. He shared a photo of the meal, saying it was very …continue reading

    

Source: Grape

The long-tailed tit (Shima enaga in Japanese) tends to blend in a lot with the snow covered branches found on trees on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, but its adorable appearance makes it stand out easily as it’s often described as “the cutest bird in Japan.” It’s quite the reputation to live up to, often drawing comparisons to Pokémon and Sanrio mascot characters, but just one look at them can be pretty convincing!

source: MakiEni / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

The adorable birds have quite a fanbase, and luckily for them there’s a Twitter account dedicated to sharing all things long-tailed tit on a regular basis, @daily_simaenaga.

Recently, @daily_simaenaga has created a popular series of recreating the long-tailed tit from Japanese foods such as rice balls and mochi to great success, but one of their most recent hits has been turning riceballs into long-tailed tit versions of yankii, rebellious delinquent youths often seen in Japanese school anime and dramas.

As you can see, @daily_simaenaga is able to quite cleverly recreate yankii hairstyles such as pompadours and perms by using fish, and their standout jackets with wrappings of nori seaweed.

Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga
Source: @daily_simaenaga

ヤンキーおにぎり pic.twitter.com/g0fR9XAxLA

— ぼく、シマエナガ。 (@daily_simaenaga) September 9, 2021

@daily_simaenaga may have outdone themselves this time, however, with their adorable and delicious looking yankii long-tailed tit sushi! By using sushi toppings, each set of fishy hair looks more slicked back, and the octopus in particular captures the curls perfectly.

Source: @daily_simaenaga
<img loading="lazy" src="https://grapee.jp/en/wp-content/uploads/73105_04.jpg" …continue reading

    

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 2

Japanese Mushrooms – The Japanese diet is synonymous around the world as being wholesome, healthy, and delicious. People are often trying to figure out what it is about the diet that allows the Japanese to eat such tasty foods and yet remain mostly trim.

Their secret? A wide variety of foods that make up a super balanced diet. You’ve probably heard of the phrase “everything in moderation”, but whilst most people may find it hard to stick by, it’s ingrained in the Japanese way of life from the day you are born.

The people of Japan have long praised the health benefits of such goods as matcha, tofu, and miso. What many people don’t realise is that the reason why they always seem to enjoy their foods is in large part because of the variety of mushrooms they incorporate into their diet!

Mushrooms have long been a global source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Not only that, but the varying types of mushrooms that exist means that there’s literally a type of mushroom for every occasion.

The health benefits of mushrooms have proven that they are just as nutritional as they are delicious, possibly even more so!

Honestly, we don’t know anyone who doesn’t love mushrooms, and this article is just to make sure you know that there are way more varieties than you can imagine!

Read on as we detail 8 of the most delicious Japanese mushrooms and why you should eat them.

1. Shiitake Mushrooms

Japanese Mushrooms - Shiitake 1

Encompassing an abundance of flavour and nutritional value, the shiitake mushroom is without a doubt the most famous Japanese mushroom. Usually found in Japanese soups and hotpots, tempura batters, and grills, the …continue reading

    

The perfect drink for fans of both peaty whisky and ume-shu!

Japan has a pretty serious liquor industry. Besides sake, beer, and shochu (a liquor made from sweet potatoes, rice, or barley), the country also produces a number of highly respected whiskies as well as umeshu, also known as plum wine.

While these are all very different kinds of alcoholic beverages, it’s easy to become a fan of each one’s delicious flavors. If you’re someone who likes both the smoky flavor of whisky and the sweet taste of umeshu, for example, then you’re probably going to love Japanese drink company Suntory’s new limited-edition plum liquor known as the Yamazaki Smoky Cask Plum Liqueur Blend.

This new type of umeshu is a blended plum liquor aged in old barrels previously used for distilling smoky whisky. It was formulated at the company’s Yamazaki Distillery in Osaka Prefecture, where they also produce their famous Yamazaki Whisky, including the 55-year old single malt whisky that sold for three million yen per bottle.

With a unique aroma and special depth of flavor, this liquor has been formulated specially to blend well with sparkling water and thus has a high alcohol content of 20 percent. Its sleek black label and shiny gold lettering makes it look like expensive liquor, but it will sell at the reasonable price of 1,705 yen (US$15.46) per 750-milliliter (23.4-ounce) bottle.

This is a special 2021-only release that will be available across the country only in limited quantities starting on November 16. While Suntory has other barrel-aged umeshu products out there, this is the only one so far that promises a smoky aroma, so if you love peaty whisky and umeshu, you’ll definitely want to give it a try!

Source: Suntory via Entabe
Image: Suntory

● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest …continue reading

    

Source: Gaijin Pot

When I first moved to Japan, I thought that Japanese food was complicated and time-consuming to make. Cut to my friend telling me about her signature one-pan dish that only needed a handful of ingredients, and I was sold.

Today on Japanese Recipe Adventures, we’ll be making oyakodon, rice topped with onions, fried egg and chicken simmered in a blend of traditional Japanese seasonings. It gets its name from oya (親, parent), ko (子, child) and don (丼, bowl)—literally “parent-and-child donburi.” Pretty dark if you ask me!

This is an excellent recipe to have in your arsenal if you want something tasty but inexpensive and easy to make.

Ingredients

Dashi is the quintessential flavoring for Japanese food.
  • 1 chicken breast or thigh
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 eggs (scrambled)
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

For the oyakodon sauce

  • 1/2 cup of dashi (soup stock such as miso, chicken or fish).
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of mirin (sweet rice wine for cooking)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar

Directions for making oyakodon

  1. Cut up the chicken breast into uniform pieces.
  2. Slice up the onion.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to a frying pan and cook on medium heat.
  4. Add the sliced chicken and onions (I prefer to cook these a bit before adding the sauce).
  5. Combine your oyakodon sauce ingredients and add the mixture to the pan.
  6. Cover the pan with a lid, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for five to six minutes.
  7. Drizzle in the eggs.
  8. After the egg is cooked and settled to your liking, turn off the heat.

Putting it together

The “parent and child” donburi.
  1. Distribute the oyakodon over a bowl of cooked rice.
  2. You can serve it with any side dish, however, oyakodon is commonly accompanied by a …continue reading
        


New cafe is a literal hole-in-the-wall, where you’ll be served by fluffy bears.

Japan was famous for its tiny ‘hole-in-the-wall’ bars and eateries long before the pandemic, but now that people are more concerned about protecting their personal spaces while eating out, literal ‘hole-in-the-wall’ places are becoming even more popular.

As it turns out, this style of service, where customers collect their orders from a hole in the wall, is ideal for staff as well. And for those wanting to work but unable to, due to mental health challenges and sensitivities connected to face-to-face contact, contactless services like these can open up all sorts of new opportunities for employment.

That’s the aim of the new “Kuma no Te” (“Bear Paw“) cafe set to open in Osaka this month. Run by Mental Support, an academy that’s been providing support and counselling to individuals for the past 12 years, the new cafe is designed to be a safe space where those undergoing therapy can overcome their fears of reintegrating into society due to mental health challenges.

With face-to-face contact being a stress trigger for a number of their clients, Mental Health came up with the brilliant idea of setting up a cafe where staff don’t have to see or be seen by customers. And the problem of skin-to-skin contact was also solved with fluffy bear gloves, which staff use to hand out drinks and sweets through the small opening in the wall.

▼ The storefront may not have any doors or windows, but its cave-like appearance is still eye-catching.

…continue reading

    

An unprecedented development for Tokyo’s famous specialty soul food.

Ever since the pandemic hit Japan, fewer people are dining out like they used to, with many choosing to eat at home instead. Restaurants have been adapting to the changes by making use of vending machines so their dishes can be available to diners at any time of the day or night, and the latest specialty to appear via the automated delivery system is a Tokyo specialty called monjayaki.

Like okonomiyaki, the famous “savoury pancake” from Osaka, monjayaki is a batter-based specialty that’s grilled on a hotplate. Although it contains the same main ingredients as okonomiyaki, it’s prepared and eaten in a very different way.

Okonomiyaki is shaped into mounds and eaten with a fork like a pancake.

Photos © SoraNews24

Monjayaki is flattened on the grill and eaten from the hotplate with a small metal spatula.

Photos © SoraNews24

The best place to eat monjayaki is in Tokyo’s Tsukishima neighborhood, where you’ll find “Monja Street“, an entire street filled with restaurants specialising in the grilled dish. Now, there’s a new vendor on the street – the “Frozen Monja Vending Machine“, which made its debut this summer, selling four different varieties of monjayaki.

The four varieties available are:

Mentaiko Mochi Monja, which comes …continue reading

    

Your Summer Guide to At-Home Foot Care

Summertime means sandal season. That means a lot of exposing our feeta part of the body that we often pay little attention to during the cooler seasons. And as soon as summer hits, we go into instant panic mode, with feet definitely not ready to see meet world.

To avoid that critical gaze of friends, family and strangers, it’s important to get our feet in tip-top condition. Fast.

Here, we’ll be sharing three common foot problems and Savvy explanations to treat them. These at-home solutions will help you achieve soft, smooth feet that you can proudly show off in those cute mules and open-toe, strappy sandals.

Cracked heels

Your Summer Guide to At-Home Foot Care© Photo by iStock/Alina555

It’s a classic summer foot problem. And it was only a matter of time before the pressure on your heels from sneakers and shoes (often hard and flat) would take its toll on your feet. Callus can quickly dry out and next thing you know, the skin around your heels is rough and hard before it eventually cracks. Small cracks are more often than not painless. But if you leave them untreated, they can worsen, become bigger, and crack the healthy skin underneath, causing your poor feet to bleed.

Savvy Solution:

To gently remove the hard, cracked skin, keep your feet in lukewarm, soapy water for up to 20 minutes. Then, use a foot scrub, brush, or pumice stone to remove the hard, thick skin. Gently pat your feet dry and apply a thick moisturizer or heel balm to the affected area. You don’t need a fancy or expensive moisturizer, but you do need to moisturize your feet religiously to prevent your heels from drying out and cracking further.

Product recommendation: Aisen Karuishi Brush (¥385)

Extra Savvy Tip:

After moisturizing your feet, …continue reading