Archive for March, 2014

Hanami! Sakura! Spring snacks have also sprung

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I am not one to require too much of a reason to throw a mini cream puff party in the office, but Beard Papa‘s announcement of karintō cream puffs was a good one; so, I take the liberty of starting this spring snack write-up with our impressions.

If you’re not familiar, karintō are those things in the snack aisle or local dagashi-ya (sweet shop) that look like dirty twigs. The dirt, however, is brown sugar and the twig is best explained as “fried.” Not fried “something” but just . . . fried. The main ingredient besides sugar is flour, and they’re crunchy like cookies despite being cooked like doughnuts. By the time you get that far, it’s only a couple leaps to the cream-puff idea.

Beard Papa‘s surprisingly delicious karintō cream puffs

Beard Papa‘s surprisingly delicious karintō cream puffs

The website copy calls it a “masterpiece confection that can be confidently recommended to karintō fans since it captures the flavor of the real thing.” Here are some comments from our tasting panel . . .

CONTINUE READING about spring snacks →

Pulsations 3.25.14

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order . . .

No Objections to Resident Evil’s “Deaf Composer” in Ace Attorney (from Kotaku): A fan-made satire video puts Mamoru Samuragochi on trial in a popular courtroom videogame series.

Sprint Turns to Spokes-Hamster (from Japan Realtime): Is the wireless carrier taking a cue from parent-company SoftBank’s talking dog?

252 Pocky lovers gather in Shibuya to set world record (from RocketNews24): It’s harder to sustain a relay of people feeding each other than you might think.

A ‘Heartbreak Box’ That Helps You Get Rid Of Your Ex-Lover’s Belongings (from Design Taxi): Japanese company Brandear has come up with a handy and charitable way to unload your ex’s stuff.

The Secret World of Japanese University Cafeterias (from Spoon & Tamago): Did you know a bunch of them are open to the public with the same student-geared prices?

Visual Pulse

Anime Japan was held March 22-23 at Tokyo Big Sight. MAiDiGi TV was at the convention collecting video highlights.

Bump of Chicken x Hatsune Miku, plus two other ‘must-see’ J-pop music videos

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Bump of Chicken‘s seventh album, “Ray,” came out today along with the announcement of a Hatsune Miku duet remix of the titular track. It’s available now under the artist name “Bump of Chicken Feat. Hatsune Miku” on iTunes and Recochoku and is the first time the band has done a collaboration of this type. Not only that, but Crypton Future Media is producing a video using tons of new tech, including a “14 [ichiyon] model” of their virtual idol. Hatsune Miku will not be edited in later, but perform in real time with the band. Find out more details about the development process in the documentary above.

Babymetal – “Gimme Choco!”

Cuteness has never been this metal. Blending hard rock and idol pop, Babymetal has been recording since 2011, but it was only with the release of their first major album last month that they went viral. “Gimme Chocolate!!” is a tale of chocoholism that cannot be cured even though “I’ve been worried about my weight lately.”  If that particular instance of will power isn’t the most hardcore, how about this for metal? Trio member Yuimetal fell 2 meters off the stage at their Budokan show earlier this month, but was back up and performing again within minutes.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – “Yume no Hajimarinrin”

Kyary’s popularity continues to grow, and not only in Japan. Her latest single is used in a commercial for the apartment listings company Chintai. The video, however, remains solidly in the Kyary universe, including plenty of references to her other videos. Toast clapping! How nostalgic.

Bonus: Omodaka, who engineers a quirky harmony between traditional Japanese folksongs and chip-tunes, released a new album today called “Bridge Songs.” Wonder when we can expect another amazing music video . . .

Pulsations 3.7.14

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order . . .

Bird’s Eye View Maps of Cartographer Hatsusaburo Yoshida (from Spoon & Tamago): Google celebrated the hard-working map-maker’s birthday with a doodle homage.

Tokyo luxury hotel offering special Galaxy Express 999 anime guestroom (from RocketNews24): Spend a night surrounded by artwork featuring Maetel and other characters at Hotel Grand Pacific Le Daiba.

渡辺おさむのフェイク・クリーム・アート (from JDN Station): Osamu Watanabe invites you into his world of “fake cream art” in the exhibition “Sweet Sentiments.” Animals, tea sets and more are sculpted to look as though they’re made out of cookies and cream.

cuboid house in kitakarasuyama by mizuishi architect atelier (from designboom): Kota Mizuishi’s house is designed to balance openness and privacy.

A History of Video Game Consoles, In Japanese Commercials (from Kotaku): Do you remember the Cassette Vision Jr.? Explore the history of consumer console gaming from the beginning to present day via this YouTube collection.

Hello Kitty Teams Up With Playboy For A New Kind of Cute Sexy (from Anime News Network):  Bow meets bunny ears when Hello Kitty dons fishnet stockings to blow playboys a kiss.

Visual Pulse

Hina Matsuri (Girl’s Day) came and went (March 3) but Chika’s overview and cute hand-made hinadan is a must-see for those interested in Japanese culture. If you want to practice your Japanese listening skills, check out her bilingual lesson.


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