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Taste the Earth with Japan’s new Sublime Volcanic KitKats

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 07:00 PM PST

We try the newest sensation in the sweets world: chocolate made from volcanoes.

A few days ago, we attended the press event for the world’s latest Japanese KitKat variety, and the ceremonial unveiling came with some impressive fanfare, as a number of big names gathered to welcome the arrival of the new Sublime Volcanic.

Created by famous Japanese patissier Yasumasa Takagi, the new KitKats are made with incredibly rare cocoa beans, sourced from volcanic islands in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Phillipines.

These beans, grown on lava-rich soil, give chocolate a very specific and unique taste, and they're also incredibly rare, as they account for a mere 0.2 percent of the world's chocolate.

The new KitKats can be purchased separately, or as part of a three-piece or seven-piece boxed set. We picked up one of their seven-piece boxed gift packs, which contains each of the new varieties, plus a bitter, milk, white, and ruby Sublime chocolate bar.

The three volcanic KitKats come in bright boxes that incorporate colours from each country’s national flag, with the yellow box representing the yellow Raggiana Bird of Paradise that appears on the flag of Papua New Guinea. 

This chocolate bar is made with cocoa beans grown on the tiny volcanic island of Karkar in Papua New Guinea, and is described as the fruitiest of the three new varieties, featuring raspberry-like notes.

They’re spot-on with the description, as this chocolate has an incredibly unusual tartness that’s similar to biting into a fresh raspberry. While the acidity levels are surprisingly similar, rather than tasting like fruit, this KitKat is filled with deep, rich chocolate flavours. Add to that a delightfully crisp crunch and a smooth, understated sweetness, and there’s no mistaking that this is definitely a premium luxury KitKat.

Next we move on to the red box, which contains chocolate made with cocoa beans from Mindanau in the Phillipines.

This is also a fruity variety, containing a slightly more pared-back acidity that’s said to be similar to grapefruit and the bittersweet flavours of a cherry.

Compared to the bright, refreshing tartness of the Karkar variety, this chocolate has a more mellow, slightly earthy element to it. This makes the chocolate more pronounced, and creates a deliciously complex combination of fruity and spicy notes, which, according to patissier Takagi, is meant to spark images of powerful magma bursting forth from the surface.

Finally, we have the Sublime Volcanic made with cocoa beans sourced from the island of Malekula in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is made up of over 80 individual islands, and out of all them, Malekula is the most abundant with nature. This chocolate really highlights the flavours of the Earth, with a fragrant sweetness similar to molasses. 

Sweet and bitter at the same time, this chocolate has a richer, fuller flavour than the other two, with less defined acidity and more earthy notes that highlight the unique characteristics of the unusual cocoa bean. This one is a real treat for dark chocolate lovers.

Each one of these new volcanic KitKats is a real surprise for the tastebuds, with unique flavours you won’t find anywhere else on the market. The new bars can be purchased separately for 400 yen (US$3.69) each, in gift packs of three for 1,300 yen, or as part of a seven-piece box for 2,600 yen.

The Sublime Volcanic KitKats are on sale at Chocolatory stores from 15 January, and online and at 50 pop-up shops around the country from 18 January.

Photos © SoraNews24  

Japanese netizens thrilled at the prospect of wielding adamantine claws like a certain superhero

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 06:00 PM PST

And all for just 55 bucks.

Life would be a lot more awesome if we had cool tools that would allow us to sling webs or fly like superheroes. Some nifty gadgets like handheld net launchers do let us come close to the fabled crime fighters, but most end up being pale imitations.

So Japanese Twitter user @sakupero was overjoyed when he discovered a pair of wicked-looking claws on Amazon Japan that looked like something out of a Marvel movie.

"I found this being sold on Amazon for 6,000 yen (US$55).
Is there any man who wouldn’t want this?"

▼ Owning a pair of these would be a dream come true for any fan of Wolverine.

Measuring 0.83 inches wide and 10.23 inches long, the stainless steel blades are rather sharp and may puncture sturdy material if thrust hard enough. Its satisfying heft and polish makes it a potentially great accessory for cosplay.

But as expected of Japanese netizens, some were quick to add some hilarious twist into the comments.

▼ "It's dangerous so I'll stick to these," said one reply,
referring to the bugle-like corn snack popular in Japan.

▼ Having razor-sharp claws on demand would save a lot of cooking time.

▼ While those with tight budgets prefer to stick with chopsticks.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of other prominent claw-wielding characters throughout history that have caught the attention of Japanese netizens.

▼ Such as Kotomine Kirei, the main antagonist of anime Fate Stay Night

▼ …or Zhang He from the Dynasty Warriors franchise.

▼ Who could ever forget Vega,
the famed Spanish bullfighter in the Street Fighter series?

Regardless of the characters that influenced them, netizens all agreed that they desired the magnificent pair of claws sold on Amazon:

"Even us girls want it too."
"Is that Wolverine's? It's supremely cool."
"Eating steak with that would be awesome."
"Does the 6,000 yen also come with a ripped body and healing factor?"
"Gotta put on some muscles before buying it."

If donning a pair of stainless steel claws sounds like a fabulous idea, be sure to check it out on Amazon Japan here.

We’re amazed that Wolverine’s trademark indestructible claws can be easily obtained for just 6,000 yen, but we must always keep in mind that becoming a superhero is more than just having a really cool weapon. It is all about the heart too, and few can do it better than Hugh Jackman, the real Wolverine himself.

Source: Twitter/@sakupero via My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@sakupero

Osaka police on the lookout for guy calling himself “Tights World”

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 05:00 PM PST

It’s the burning question on everyone’s lips: Who is Tights World?

On 17 January, Osaka Prefectural Police issued a bulletin that they are searching for a man calling himself “Tights World” who is attempting to interview women about the specs of their tights.

The incident that triggered the hunt for Tights World occurred at about 8:30 p.m. on the 16th in Nishiyodogawa Ward. A woman walking along the street was approached by a man riding a bicycle who said, “I’m Tights World. Please tell me the denier of your tights.”

No more of the encounter was reported, probably because the woman wisely fled the scene and went straight to the police. Tights World is described as a man in his 30s, about 160 to 170 cm tall and having no distinguishing clothes or markings.

▼ We are concerned he may also be capable of asking about threadcounts or even Gurley units.

His use of the word “denier” was especially interesting. A denier is a unit of measurement regarding the density of fibers in a particular fabric. What Tights World wanted to do with this information is anyone’s guess though. Readers were equally baffled.

“Maybe it’s some kind of spy code?”
“I think I’d like to go to a place called Tights World.”
“Maybe he meant to ask her about DeNiro the actor but got cut off.”
“If he can’t gauge the denier by looking, then he doesn’t really deserve the title of Tights World.”
“That sounds like it’s from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.”
“Well, I guess you can call me Denim World then.”
“Godspeed, Tights World….”

Occam’s Razor would suggest that this is yet another pervy guy out harassing women, but there are some suspicious details to the story. The oddest part is clearly him introducing himself as “Tights World,” as if it were meant to carry any kind of clout with the woman he was attempting to speak to.

However, it does sound like a potential name of a magazine devoted to such garments for which he might possibly be a reporter doing some legitimate field research… in the middle of the night on a bicycle.

A quick search revealed the existence of a blog and periodical by the name of Tights World, dating back to 2005. Right away we might assume they are the ones responsible for the incident, but according to their Twitter bio, they are located in the Kanto area, near Tokyo rather than Osaka.

Furthermore, they released a statement regarding this so-called “Tights World” appearing in Osaka.

“This is might be a pervert who is ripping off Tights World. He showed up at a bookstore in Umeda in 2015. We think it might be the same guy.” (Pinned Tweet, 18/1/2018)

“An incident occurred at a Kinokuniya book store in Umeda, Osaka in which a man using the name ‘Tights World’ asked women shopping there various questions such as the denier of their tights and so on. He is not affiliated with Tights World, but he appears to know of Tights World. So we demand that you please stop what appears to be sexual harassment in bookstores.” (Embedded Tweet, 5/12/2015)

So it looks like this person is a repeat offender and either a Tights World member gone rogue, or someone with an ax to grind with the organization and looking to sully the good name of respectful, law-abiding tights fetishists everywhere.

Hopefully police can find and put an end to this Tights World impostor soon because he’s weirding everyone out — including the real Tights World.

This recent incident is especially bad since it occurred near an all-girls’ school. We can only hope it’s one of the bizarre ones that doesn’t let its students wear tights, “because it affects the girls’ concentration.”

Source: J-Town Net, Twitter/@tightsworld, Hachima Kiko
Top image: SoraNews24
Insert image: Wikipedia/Vigorini

Member of Yakuza arrested for having honest job, dishonest application

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 09:30 AM PST

60-year-old man’s application paperwork lands him in trouble.

The Japanese mafia, known as the Yakuza, have a pretty notorious reputation. Although they try to keep a positive image by handing out candy on Halloween, their association with prostitution, drugs, and gambling is their most pervasive impression.

Such as their reputation is, members of organized crime are rather frowned upon by Japanese society, which leads them to be unwelcome in many organizations and public spaces. One 60-year-old man in Kasugai City, Aichi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, found this out when he tried to work part-time at the Post Office, but instead ended up fired and arrested for being paid for his work.

Now you may ask, what’s so wrong with a man earning an honest wage at a part-time job? Well, it seems that in order to get a job at the Post Office, you have to sign a contract that says, “I am not a member of an organized crime group” which the man did when he took the position. Unfortunately, he was associated with the Yamaguchi Clan, the most powerful Yakuza clan in the country and one of the most powerful organized crime units in the world. Naturally this meant that the man violated his contract with the Post Office, and of course once his secret was out after just four days of working there, he was immediately fired.

But why was he arrested? The details are not exactly clear, but it seems that it’s because he received pay under fraudulent conditions. The police were searching the Yamaguchi clan office, where they found records that he’d received a direct deposit of pay from the Post Office to his bank account. Police then arrested the man, who admitted to his crime, and are now conducting an investigation into the man’s motive for taking a job at the Post Office.

▼ “Another one in the books!”

Japanese netizens’ responses were a mixed bag of sympathy and criticism, but most of the responses seemed concerned about the money, with many saying, “He worked, so he should get paid, shouldn’t he?”

“It’s just part-time wages, why not give it to him?”
“He didn’t scam anything lol”
“He was arrested for working earnestly lol”
“It’s fine if he actually worked, don’t you think?”
“It’s okay if they fired him once the secret was out, but aren’t they supposed to pay him for the time he worked? This is weird.”

While others were completely unsympathetic:

“That’s definitely scamming. Besides, he caused the Post Office to ruin their good image because they hired a Yakuza member.”
“That money would have been paid to the government in some other kind of crime, so we have to have harden our hearts and take care of the problem now.”
“I have no sympathy for this guy. It’s all his fault since all he had to do was just quit the mafia.”
“It’s because companies aren’t supposed to associate with organized crime.”

So what do you think? Is it a sinister but botched infiltration of a vital national organization? Or is it an older man trying to amend his ways and make an honest living? Whatever the story, hopefully it doesn’t end up as another movie-style Yakuza romance.

Source: Yahoo! News via Itai News
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1,
 2)

Internet cafe now offering free, all-you-can-eat bread and fries every morning to customers

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 07:00 AM PST

Fill that tummy and start your day strong for zero yen.

There are plenty of Internet cafes available for people to catch a good night's rest in Japan, but the chain known as Kaikatsu Club has some of the most affordable plans available on the market, offering access to luxurious facilities that rival those found in hotels.

As an added bonus, customers can now indulge in its latest promotion offering unlimited fluffy bread and crispy fries every day from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., ensuring that no one starts their day on an empty stomach.

▼ A godsend for people traveling on a budget
or those who miss the last train home.

A few simple requirements are outlined on their website, but they are all standard all-you-can-eat Japanese practices like returning cutlery and trays back to collection points, as well as not allowing take-out.

Netizens were pleasantly surprised at the news, particularly those who visit Kaikatsu Club on a regular basis:

"It'll be a busy period for staff."
"Whoa! All the more reason to go to my favorite Internet cafe."
"Wait, so fries are absolutely free, too?"
"I want to sandwich a piece of bread between fries and eat it."

Not every branch is running the campaign, so remember to check out which stores do over here before settling into one of their cozy rooms.

The Internet cafe industry in Japan is a competitive one, with some featuring laundry and mail delivery services all in an affordable package that costs a fraction of a hotel’s price. And even though free breakfast bread and fries is by no means a big deal for some people, it does allow us that option to save up a bit of money and spend it on more fulfilling things.

Source: Kaikatsu Club via My Game News Flash
Featured image: Twitter/@kaikatsuclub_jp

Still using water to make your instant noodles? You’re missing out on amazing green tea noodles!

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 05:00 AM PST

We taste test a brand-new way to make the age-old favorite food of students, loafers, and busy people.

Everyone knows how to make instant cup noodles, right? You just open the lid, pour in some boiling water, wait three minutes, and bam – you've got a quick, tasty meal.

But what if you could have an even tastier meal that doesn’t take any extra time at all to prepare?

Having spent many, many years as an unattached bachelor, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji is a bit of an instant noodle connoisseur, and he recently discovered a super-easy cooking hack for what's already one of the simplest meals to make. The secret: use Japanese tea instead of water to make the noodles!

Rather than boiling water, start by boiling tea. You can either make the tea from leaves or a bag or, if you're lazy like us, just grab a bottle of pre-made store-bought tea, pour it into a pot, and heat it up.

▼ Seiji specifically recommends the roasted green tea called hojicha.

Once you're brought the tea to a boil, simply pour it into the noodle package…

…wait however long the noodles' instructions say for them to ordinarily cook, and you're done!

The finished product may not look very different from normal made-with-water noodles, but it has a fresh, enticing aroma with the astringent tea notes blending with the savory elements of the noodle broth seasonings.

▼ Seiji opted to use a pack of Donbei-brand instant soba noodles, because if you're trying out an unusual recipe, you might as well choose a brand with some very strange marketing.

But while it smelled nice, would it taste as good? Would the strength of the tea flavor overpower the other components of the broth and the noodles themselves?

Not at all! As Seiji took a bite of noodles and a sip of broth, he found that the tea had produce an enticing new flavor, richer than it would have been with water but still harmoniously balanced. “This is how I’m making instant noodles from now on,” he told us.

In the interest of full disclosure, we should mention the Seiji didn't come up with this idea entirely on his own. A few days prior, he spotted a tweet from Japanese Twitter user @ore825, who suggested making soba (using non-instant noodles) with a mixture of hojicha, two tablespoons of white bonito fish stock, and a measure of salt to produce 300 milliliters (10.1 ounces) of noodle broth.

But the crazy like a lazy fox idea of just using straight tea with instant noodles? Pure Seiji, and, according to his taste test, pure genius.

Images ©SoraNews24

Clip showing Chinese excavator rowing boat using its claw has Japanese Internet in stitches

Posted: 20 Jan 2019 01:00 AM PST

Until they realize that Japan does it too.

We often see excavators as huge and clunky machines slowly digging away at dirt, but little do most people know that they can also do surprisingly agile tricks like climbing onto trucks.

A video clip posted by Twitter user @xChina4 has made rounds on the Internet, showing us that China has another use for the digging machines when transporting them on boats.

▼ Rather clever of them, really.

Utilizing the large scooping action of the excavator, the machine in the video appeared to be rowing the boat it was on as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Although the short video seems to have been sped up to achieve dramatic effect, it still makes you wonder wacky excavator boat races could be a thing one day.

Japanese netizens were amused by the sight of a digger — normally used to gouge earth — essentially hauling itself and the boat across the surface of the water like some kind of metallic beast:

"It turned and looked this way!"
"That's why I love China."
"These are exceptional people who can take existing stuff and do something awesome with it."
"I got a good laugh out of this."
"We're on the same planet, but this kind of stuff wouldn't be allowed in Japan at all."

Except that they do, as a few netizens kindly pointed out that such practice also occurs over here.

▼ In this clip, the excavator claw is driven into the river bed
and used as leverage to move the boat.

How’s that for an eye-opener? Here’s hoping those excavator boat races turn into reality some day! Sure there are a ton of impressive machinery out there, but what is truly fascinating is humans who come up with ingenious ways to breathe new life into them.

Source: Twitter/@xChina4, Twitter/@nougyoukikai01 via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@xChina4

Can you guess what celebrity snuck into this Japanese Coming of Age Day photo?

Posted: 19 Jan 2019 09:00 PM PST

Twitter user’s fun experiment in style grabs the attention of the actual celebrity photoshopped into the image above.

A few days ago, we brought you photos taken by our Japanese language reporter Masanuki Sunakoma during his annual visit to one of Japan’s most colorful Coming of Age Day ceremonies in the southern port-town of Kitakyushu.

It’s always a treat to see these creative young folks making the most of this once in a lifetime event in celebration of their 20th birthdays, but one Twitter user by the handle of Reeeeeason (@reeeeeason) got a sudden burst of inspiration while looking through them.

“The theory that you can put Yoshiki into a Coming of Age Day ceremony without anyone noticing.”

Sure enough, with a casual look at this image, you probably wouldn’t notice the face of one of Japan’s biggest rock stars of all time staring right back at you. In fact, some of you might still not be able to pick him out. So for comparison here’s our original, unaltered photo.

The image of what appears to be Yoshiki of the band X-Japan, back in his visual kei prime, has seamlessly melded with the aesthetics of Kitakyushu’s Coming of Age Day revelers.

Reeeeeason may be onto something, but for the sake of science let’s see how well the musician blends in with some of our other photos from this event. See if you can spot the Yoshiki in the following, increasingly difficult, images.

・Here’s an easy one to start

・A little harder…

・Where did that rocker get to now?

・Now for a real challenge: Try to find all FIVE Yoshikis hiding in this photo.

Others were impressed with Reeeeeason’s theory, save a few super-hardcore fans who could even pick out Yoshiki in a Rorschach test.

“Seriously! I didn’t even notice at first.”
“Theory: a fan would see him right away.”
“Stop! That’s too funny!”
“That’s fantastic.”
“You could probably do the same with members from Exile.”
“It probably would have worked better if he didn’t say ‘Yoshiki’ right away.”

However, the most impressive response came from Yoshiki himself. The star’s official Twitter account had noticed Reeeeeason’s experiment and expressed his approval with a retweet.

It’s powerful evidence that this theory might be on to something, and that visual kei and Kitakyushu’s new adults may have more in common than previously thought. But more importantly, it also shows us that Yoshiki is out there… watching.

Now might be a good time to point out that I need a good musical act for my birthday party coming up in a few months. Anyone with a completely transparent piano would be ideal, and plenty of cheese crackers will be served.

Source: Twitter/@reeeeeason, Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@reeeeeason
Insert images: SoraNews24