7-Eleven is ready to serve Nintendo fans Bowser-breath fried chicken and non-peach Princess Peach desserts.
This Thursday, we were supposed to be meeting Mario at the grand opening of Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World expansion. That’s been postponed indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus having not even the slightest shred of respect for Nintendo fans’ schedule, but Mario is still popping up elsewhere, like on Japan’s Super Mario train that’s running around Osaka and soon at 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan.
7-Eleven is offering six new Super Mario-themed treats, starting with the Mario Mix Roll (183 yen [US$1.75]), a split roll stuffed with mushroom sauce spaghetti, a croquette, and egg salad. For sweeter stuff, there’s the Yoshi’s Green Melon Bread (151 yen), filled with melon whipped cream.
There’s also Princess Peach’s Dolce (324 yen), a cup of strawberry cheesecake and strawberry gelatin, and the Shining Star Milk Kanten (226 yen), a creamy agar dessert.
Or, if your cravings are of the spicy type, you can opt for the Fire Flower Fire Curry Bun (140 yen) and its tomato curry filling or Bowser’s Fire-Breathing Super Spicy Karaage Roll (354 yen), where both the fried chicken’s seasoning and sauce are extra hot.
Also, if you’re a Mario fan who finds yourself in 7-Eleven, you’ll want out check out the Ichibankuji prize lottery, where a 650-yen ticket gets you a chance at prizes including a Super Mario retrospective towel, glow-in-the-dark Boo soap dispenser, or Question Mark Block folding table.
Edo period confectionery store learnt the secret recipe from a monk on a mountain in Kyoto.
Japan is known for its traditional sweets, covering everything from hand-moulded wagashi through to dango, sweet rice balls on a stick. However, not many people know about a very special sweet that preceded them all, with a history so steeped in tradition it can be traced back to the Nara Period (710-794).
Called Seijokankidan, which loosely translates to “Pure Delight Company”, this treat can only be purchased at one store in all of Japan: Kameya Kiyonaga. Founded in 1617, at the beginning of the Edo Period (1603-1868), this Kyoto-based confectionery store has been preserving ancient manufacturing processes as part of their “1,000-year-sweets” range.
Seijokankidan ‘s history far exceeds 1,000 years, though, as it was first introduced to Japan through a Japanese envoy to China, who brought Chinese treats called “Karakudamono” into Japan, along with Buddhism. These treats were once used as an offering in Buddhist sects and only eaten by nobility, but now, thanks to Kameya Kiyonaga, even us common folk can enjoy them, and that’s what one of our common reporters, K. Masami, did recently.
Masami has tried a lot of sweets in her time, but never before had she seen a treat like this. It certainly didn’t look like something you’d see in modern-day Japan, and that was definitely part of its appeal.
▼ Straight out of China’s Tang dynasty (618-907).
According to Kameya Kiyonaga, Seijokankidan, also known as “danki”, or “odan” for short, is one of eight karakudamono, or tougashi (Chinese sweets) brought over …continue reading
But we’d never seen a vending machine like this one our Japanese-language reporter Shawn recently discovered…
…which is stocked with PCR test kits!
Shawn stumbled across the machine while out for a walk around his neighborhood in Tokyo’s Taito Ward. It’s located on the grounds of Jomyoin, a Buddhist temple that was founded in 1666.
As you might expect, a PCR test is a little pricier than a bottle of Coca-Cola or Pocari Sweat, and Shawn had to feed 3,500 yen (US$34) worth of bills and coins into the machine. Once he did, though, he hit the button and got his kit, which comes in a square box.
He was a little confused by the stamped text that read “Takenoko PCR Test Kit,” since takenoko is usually the Japanese word for bamboo shoot. In this case, though, Takenoko is also the name of an ear, nose, and throat clinic in Saitama Prefecture, which supplies and processes the test kits sold in the vending machine.
Japan’s National Tax Agency (NTA) has decided to revise the rosenka land tax valuations downwards by 4% in three districts in Osaka to reflect the drop in land prices. This is the first time outside of a major disaster that the values have been revised since the system was introduced in 1955. Osaka, which has been hit hard by the tourism downtown, is the only city in Japan to receive this special adjustment.
The rosenka land values are announced in July each year and are based on a valuation date of January 1. That means the data from 2020 did not take into account any impact that the coronavirus pandemic and foreign travel restrictions may have since had on the property market.
Back in June 2020, the NTA had started looking into these impacts. In October they announced that land values had not fallen enough to warrant a revision, but have changed their standpoint after further investigation has shown some steep falls in Osaka land values.
Between January and September 2020, land values in Shinsaibashi-Suji 2 Chome, Soemoncho, and Dotombori 1 Chome had dropped by a staggering 23%. These shopping and entertainment districts are highly dependent on tourist spending and have suffered from the prolonged pandemic. It is worth noting that Shinsaibashi-Shuji 2 Chome’s rosenka land values are still up 313% from 2015, while koji-chika government assessed land values climbed 228% over the same period, jumping by as much as 45% in 2016 and 33% in 2017.
Several other districts in Osaka and Nagoya have seen land values fall by over 15% in 2020, with the NTA considering additional revisions depending on data from an October to December survey.
Rosenka land values are said to represent somewhere around 80% of the market value, although that ratio can vary. If the market value of …continue reading
Immediately adjacent to Shunkoji Temple was a series of vermillion torii heading up the hillside straddling a steep staircase.Vermillion torii can found in front of grand, imperial-connected shrines, as well as small roadshide shrines, but when there are lots of them close together it is usually indicating, as it does here, an Inari Shrine.On the climb up there are several smaller hokora type
Some self-quarantining residents feel like their death is being treated like a forgone conclusion.
Imagine you’re a person living in Osaka who’s tested positive for coronavirus. After talking the situation over with a doctor, you’re told that you’ll need to self-quarantine at home, and that you’ll be receiving a packet in the mail with more detailed instructions in a few days.
So you head home, and before long your information packet arrives…in an envelope with a large ad for funeral services on its backside.
“Osaka Municipal Funeral Hall – For questions about funeral services, call Koekisha CO., Ltd.,” reads the large-font text splashed across the top-left section of the ad. The company’s free consultation services promise to explain pricing and options to give clients a concrete image of what kind of funeral the company can provide.
In different circumstances, that’d all be nice to know. When it’s plastered on an envelope being sent to someone with a difficult-to-cure and potentially deadly disease, though, an ad for funeral services starts to feel like a proclamation that your impending death is a certainty, and it’s time to make arrangements for disposing of your corpse. Alternatively, it could be seen as a stern warning that if you’re not going to follow the packet’s instructions, you’re pretty much signing your own death warrant.
“All my energy drained away,” says one Osaka resident who received the packet/envelope combination, “and I felt so hopeless. It was like my very existence was being denied, and every time I think about it, I start to cry. This kind of carelessness can be a source of psychological distress for people …continue reading
The seasons are changing. It’s time to clean out all the bad energy from the biting cold winter and welcome Japan’s favorite season: spring.
However, before everyone goes crazy over cherry blossoms, Japanese families celebrate a unique tradition called Setsubun, held on the last day of winter according to the Japanese lunar calendar. Appropriately enough, the kanji for Setsubun (節分) translates to “seasonal division.” This year, it falls on Feb. 2.
While the tradition is for everyone, it’s a particular favorite among Japanese children. To celebrate Setsubun, families put roasted soybeans in asakemasu. That’s the wooden box that you sometimes see nihonshu (Japanese rice wine) served in. Family and regional traditions diverge regarding what comes next.
Exorcise your demons with beans
Typically, the head of the household throws these beans outside the front door, chanting the Setsubun mantra, “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (“Demons get out! good luck come in!”). Sometimes this role is given to a male in the house whose Chinese zodiac animal matches that year’s zodiac (2021 is the year of the ox).
In other families, the father dresses like an oni (demon) and the children throw beans at him while yelling, “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!“
This bean throwing tradition is called mamemaki, or “scattering of beans.” No matter the household’s particular way of doing mamemaki, the idea is to use these soybeans to symbolize purifying the home from evil spirits and misfortune lingering from the previous year.
When public restrooms become art, cities become museums. Those are the words of architect Makoto Tanijiri, who has designed a new public restroom in Sendagaya, right next to the new Tokyo National Stadium. Located immediately outside Tokyo’s Sendagaya Station, the new public restroom is designed to look like a giant block of levitating concrete, a […]
Mark the beginning of spring by scaring away all evil around you — with beans. Unfortunately, most of the popular ceremonies in and around Tokyo have been called off due to coronavirus this year but the easiest way to celebrate the event is to throw some beans at family members wearing “oni” masks and eating a big delicious eho-maki sushi roll at home.
TUE, FEB. 2, 2021
FREE! (AS LONG AS YOU PREPARE THE BEANS AND EHOMAKI IN ADVANCE)
RECOMMENDED FOR: FAMILIES WITH KIDS, COUPLES, FRIENDS
to get it listed!
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