Japanese food engineers have created a cabbage jelly that you can eat, if you want

No one asked for a product like this, but hey, now you can eat cabbage in jelly form!

Whether it’s shredded fine and mixed into okonomiyaki or stuffed into gyoza or cooked into a spooky soba, there’s a reason that cabbage has a top-three reputation in Japan. Not only is it crammed with leafy green goodness, it’s rich in antioxidants and helps with digestion. Depending on your taste buds, it’s a crunchy and delicious addition to your meal!

No one is more serious about cabbage than Mimatsu Foods, a gyoza and spring roll specialist. They’ve been working with local farmers to bring tasty delicacies to the people of the Gunma prefecture since 1970, and their passion for locally grown cabbage can’t be beaten. Sometimes this passion for their produce takes a decidedly weird turn, such as last year’s offering of “Cabbage Cider”.

▼ All the refreshing taste of cabbage in carbonated beverage form

The cabbage cabal is back at it again, and this time they’re marketing something even more bizarre: konjac jelly flavored with their homegrown cabbage extract. Konjac potato (or konnyaku, as it’s called in Japan) contains a naturally concurring gelatin, and it’s popular to use in many dishes or even to spice up drinks with a bit of added texture.

However, while it is a common staple in Japanese cuisine, konjac is usually either mixed with fruit juices, added to smoothies, or deep-fried so it can be served as oden. Eating it on its own merit is a little strange even for health nuts. Going one step flavor and making that konjac jelly cabbage flavored is something no one had ever thought to try… Until now.

▼ Mimatsu Foods’ online retailer boasts that the jelly is Gunma-exclusive and uses extract from Tsumagoi cabbages

On top of the inherent strangeness of cabbage flavored konjac, konjac itself can be dangerous to eat if your throat muscles are still developing or weakened. Young children and old people are warned not to eat much konjac, and if they do they should cut it into small pieces and chew thoroughly to avoid death by choking (just like with New Year’s mochi).

So it’s dangerous, unusual and tastes like cabbage. What’s the appeal? Well, for one thing it’s being marketed as a diet food – because konjac takes a long time to eat with all the chewing and swallowing, it stands to reason it might trick your brain into thinking you’re more satisfied and hence you eat less. The locally grown cabbage extract is presumably full of nutrition, too.

One of the nicest perks of the product is that it lets the company use up all the unused bits of the cabbage that don’t go into rolls and dumplings. The cabbage extract that goes into the konjac is extracted from cores and outer leaves left behind by the six tons of cabbage Minmatsu Foods uses every day.

▼ Just look at that exciting lime green color!

The cabbage jelly is sold in packs of six tubes for 197 yen (US$1.80), just like a Go-Gurt but with more nutrients (and a higher risk of death). You cut open a tube and slowly feed it into your mouth as you chew off the part that extrudes, taking care not to bite off too much at once. The cabbage flavor is intense but lacks sweetness, so you could theoretically mix it into a smoothie or toss it in a salad for a powerful leafy boost.

The internet’s responses to this product have been… mixed, to say the least. One comment said “Literally no one wanted this” while another said “It looks tasty! I am a caterpillar, though.” The one thing everyone seemed to agree on is that if you eat a lot of this you can expect some pretty impressive bowel movements. How healthy!

If you’re interested in sampling this chewy cabbage treat for yourself, you can buy a bulk order of cabbage jelly directly from the brand’s online shop. The gift shop Gunma Iroha in Takasaki Station also sells the jelly, which could make a great souvenir for someone next time you’re in the area. If you’re travelling through Yamanashi prefecture, maybe you could even scout out a bottle of cabbage wine to wash it down with.

Source: Livedoor News/J-Town via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Mimatsu Foods/RON-Gyouza (1, 2)

12th Angry Tea Table Flipping Contest held in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture

Regular event calls out the best tea table upenders around.

A shopping mall in Yahaba, Iwate Prefecture was the venue for the 12th World Chabudai-Gaeshi Tournament on 16 June. This is a regularly held event in which participants must shout a phrase of anger, frustration, passion, or hope, while upending a small table and sending it flying.

▼ A promotional video for last year’s contest

They way it works is simple. Contestants first take a seat at a small table with imitation food set atop it. An elderly woman in cooking garb is seated next to the contestant and when she touches their shoulder and gently asks them to “stop,” that’s their cue to flip out both figuratively and literally.

Participants can shout about whatever their hearts desire. Rages this year included a man addressing all women with a “What’s wrong with me?!” On the other hand, affirmations such as “I want a job offer” or “I deserve a raise” could also be heard.

Various items are placed on the table but the key piece of equipment is a plastic fish, specifically a Pacific saury. While the player is only making contact with the tea table, their goal is to send that fish – and only the fish – as far as possible. In the end, contestants are judged on both distance of the saury and overall performance.

▼ Scenes from this year’s event

It’s a long running contest that has been around for years, and is based on the Japanese phrase “chabudai gaeshi” literally “upending the tea table.” The phrase has also been used to describe Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto’s tendency to drastically change projects just before they were to be completed.

In other words it can also mean to, stir sh*t up, throw a monkey wrench into certain proceedings, or add a healthy dose of chaos to a situation for better or for worse. The terms has been used to describe US President Trump’s behavior at the recent G7 meetings and is the used in the name of women’s rights group Chabudai Gaeshi Josei Action.

▼ A while back there was even a chabudai gaeshi simulator game in arcades.

This year’s winner was Shinya Chiba of the Iwate Big Bulls basketball team who sent his saury a whopping 8.29 meters (27.2 feet) while shouting “Go Big Bulls!”

If you think you can do better, keep an eye on information from Yahaba Town for the time and location of the next Chabudai-Gaeshi Contest. If the event continues to grow we may someday see a dream match between Japan’s two most notorious table flippers: Miyamoto and Yoshiki of Japan X.

Sources: Sankei News, Iwate Nippo, Yahaba Town Iwate
Top image: YouTube/Yahaba City Office

Anthropomorphized menstrual cycle is Japan’s newest comic book star

Seiri-chan is a heartwarmingly absurd manga for the modern period.

Like a lot of manga, Ken Koyama’s Seiri-chan is named after its protagonist. However, even longtime fans of anime/manga may be struggling to remember another franchise with a character named Seiri in it.

That’s because Seiri isn’t a traditional Japanese name. Instead, it’s the word for “period” or “menstrual cycle.”

Yes, Seiri-chan is the latest, and arguably most unexpected, entry in Japan’s ever-lengthening list of anthropomorphized characters, following colleagues drawing inspiration from mushrooms and Japanese swords. Rather than trying to render the liquid state of monthly lady flow, Koyama draws Seiri-chan as a pink, vaguely heart-shaped entity with full red lips and a white cross for a nose.

While Seiri-chan can be seen punching a woman in the midsection on the back cover of the first collected volume, she’s generally presented as a more benign figure in the manga. Each chapter has Seiri-chan spending time with different women during her once-a-month visit, often as they’re experiencing some sort of personal crisis or emotional dilemma. For example, in the scene below, Seiri-chan makes her long-awaited appearance in front of a woman named Kaori, who recently slept with a married coworker with no contraceptives being used. “Men who don’t use a condom are the worst,” Seiri-chan declares, while giving Kaori a reassuring hug.

“I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t shown up today,” says Kaori, relieved that the night of passion hasn’t resulted in an unwanted pregnancy.

In a later chapter, Seiri-chan gives a pep talk to convenience store clerk Riho, who’s always had an inferiority complex about her less-than-glamorous looks and thus is unwilling to believe the handsome man who confessed his love to her is serious about wanting a relationship.

Seiri-chan also takes time to console Momoko, a cafe waitress and aspiring novelist who’s been sent into a spiral of depression after discovering that her coworker Ippei, who she had a secret crush on, has started dating the beautiful half-Japanese Chloe, yet another of her coworkers.

Sometimes, though, instead of being quietly supportive, Seiri-chan is psychotically violent, like when she punches this man in the face while shouting “Menstrual Punch!” before injecting him with a drug that causes him to have periods as well.

Through written and illustrated by a man, Seiri-chan has quickly built up a sizable female fanbase, including our own female Japanese-language reporter Anji. “Koyama’s a guy, so how does he understand women’s feelings so well?” said Anji after reading through the volume. “Whether I’m laughing or crying, I can always identify with the women Seiri-chan visits.”

With its outlandish premise and episodic nature, Seiri-chan seems like it’d be a perfect fit in the world of late-night short anime programming, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see an adaptation in the near future. Who knows, maybe the franchise will become a big enough hit that we’ll see a brand-new batch of anime-themed menstrual pads go on sale in Japan.

Photos ©SoraNews24

Pet rabbit celebrates Japan’s World Cup victory by humping Pokémon’s Charmander【Video】

Sudden exuberance following soccer win draws praise for vigor and speed.

With the FIFA World Cup currently taking place, we’re all once again reminded of the incredible power that sports have to bring excitement and joy into the hearts of athletes and spectators alike. Sometimes, seeing the team you’re cheering for achieve victory on the playing field can be enough to have you shouting to the heavens, dancing in the streets, or feeling kinship with people hailing from all the way on the other side of the planet.

But have you ever felt so happy that you’ve just had to hump a Pokémon?

As time expired and the Japanese soccer team secured a historic victory over Colombia on Tuesday night, Twitter user @milk_white53 was at home in front of his TV. Watching the game with him was his pet rabbit, but as the Samurai Blue basked in the afterglow of their triumph, @milk_white53’s bunny decided to make his very own pink film, choosing original starter Pokémon Charmander as his co-star.

“In his excitement over Japan’s victory, my rabbit has begun violating Charmander,” @milk_white53 tweeted, calmly describing a situation made even more bizarre by the only audio accompaniment to the coupling being the muffled sound of the television sportscasters.

Mixed in with multiple comments expressing admiration for the rabbit’s vigor and speed were those saying “My pet has done the same thing.” While some commenters may have been broadly speaking about animals mounting inanimate objects, at least one other Twitter user has a pet rabbit who’s been inordinately affectionate to his Pokémon plushie.

▼ Based on the Pocket Monster’s name, however, we’d imagine Slowpoke prefers more leisurely paced lovemaking.

Coming on the heels of last month’s instance of a lusty dog trying to get it on with an Idolmaster huggy pillow cover, animal-owning otaku might want to consider keeping their seductively soft anime merch out of their pets’ reach. As for @milk_white53, he may want to consider washing that Charmander, unless he’s expecting Japan’s soccer team to go deep into the World Cup this time, in which case perhaps he’d be better off waiting until after his rabbit is done with all of its potential victory celebrations.

Source: Twitter/@ milk_white53 via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@ milk_white53

Who’s that Dad? Curious and political Father’s Day portraits show up at a supermarket in Japan

Japanese Twitter gets a good laugh out of these great examples of a common elementary school exercise. Happy Father’s Day!

Many countries celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June, and Japan is no exception. Friday, June 17 saw the gifting of many an adorable hand-drawn card, not to mention huge amounts of beer, cake sets and bitter chocolate. Sometimes even local shops get in on the action, having customers (presumably young children, but not always) construct crafts or draw pictures to celebrate their ever-toiling papas.

Twitter user @NITKC_gorilla snapped a picture of a particularly grand exhibition of these drawings and shared it with Twitter. It’s so lovely when children put in hard work to capture their parents, isn’t it?

▼ “Perfect timing! LMAO”

Each of the papers is labelled ‘A Picture of Dad‘. The gentleman on the left, allegedly drawn by “Yusuke Hayashi”, has very expressive eyebrows, and appears to be alarmed by the spectral images surrounding him: perhaps a creative imagining of the classic angel and devil on the shoulder? Though wait, the craggly stick figure on the left of him is labelled “Me”. and the one to the right is labelled “Mama”. Whoops.

Mr. Hayashi thanks his father for “always working hard at your job and making our days bright”. We wonder if he got some assistance with this piece? The stick figures seem to be drawn by an entirely different hand, and display none of the technical knowledge of shadow and light that went into depicting his father. We also have a weird feeling we’ve seen this face before?

▼ 57th Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe

Must just be my imagination.

Moving on to the image in the center, “Moemi Taki” has drawn her father with a dignified and curlicued hairstyle and distinctive crow’s feet. Pretty obvious that her dad is a foreigner, what with the pronounced, lengthy nose compared to the other portraits – so it’s unsurprising that her message is in flawless English. “Thank you for being awesome!” isn’t said to enough dads in general, is it? Though, uh, now that we think on it, this dad looks familiar too…

▼ 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump

The last portrait is of a jolly looking dad in glasses. The message by artist “Takahiro Fukui” is cut off, but seems to be the tune of “Thanks for all your hard work!”. Again, we have some beautiful interplay of shadow here, particularly to define the features, and – wait, hold on a minute!

▼ This is just a traced picture of 1st Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Il-sung!

The first two artists cite their ages as “22 years old”, which explains the dexterity with which “they”(?) recreated these politicians’ images. Presumably Fukui is the same age, but we can’t see it in the picture.

The original poster helpfully provided a nice comparison image.

In the resulting thread there was a copious amount of laughter at the uncanny resemblances, applauding the obvious adult who pulled it off, and puzzling over why the artist chose to draw Kim Il-sung rather than his more currently relevant grandson Kim Jong-un. One user lamented “I wish they’d drawn Ms. Akie Abe more accurately”, but hey, Mother’s Day was back in May. It’s officially Mr. Abe’s time to shine.

More than one user questioned the veracity of the pictures, but @NITKC_gorilla stood firm that the posters were hung up in a local supermarket. Personally, I think it looks like one child’s father saw his kid working on a portrait and was inspired to whip up his own art in response, and here at SoraNews24 we’re all about that kind of mutual creativity!

Source: Twitter/@NITKC_gorilla
Featured image: Twitter/@NITKC_gorilla
Insert images: Wikimedia Commons/Asmithca, Wikimedia Commons/Stemoc, Wikimedia Commons/Agranome et Chofers

Kyoto yakiniku restaurants offer up blue meat and drinks for Japan’s World Cup fever

Has World Cup madness gone too far for the Samurai Blue?

When you think of blue food, what comes to mind? Probably not much apart from blueberries and blue corn, or those fun blue-dyed pancakes your mom used to make when you were young. However, all of that’s about to change with the latest menu offerings at two sister restaurants in Kyoto near the famous Kamo River.

Yakiniku Bare Yaruki and Ponto-cho Yakiniku Yaruki are in the midst of a promotional campaign to sell blue horumon (beef/pork offal) for yakiniku diners. This limited-time menu is a show of support for the Japanese men’s national soccer team, which is nicknamed “Samurai Blue.” We’ve seen a blue drink and blue curry created in their honor before, but nothing has quite prepared us for the shock of seeing some vividly blue meat:

▼ That blue meat will either drum up your World Cup fighting spirit or send you running to the bathroom in defeat.

You’re probably wondering “how?” at this point. The horumon is seasoned with mint and the shocking blue color is a result of naturally occurring Spirulina, a microalgae which is often consumed as a dietary supplement. The dish goes for 506 yen (US$4.57), a seemingly arbitrary price until you realize that it actually sounds similar to “goal” when the numbers are read individually in Japanese (go-o-roku).

In addition to the meat, the restaurants are also offering blue beer, wine, lemon sours, highballs, and even more beverages for thirsty bar-goers.

The special blue menu is being offered from June 14 (opening day of the World Cup) for as long as the Japanese team is in action. If you’re feeling particularly “blue” this week, why not toast Japan in their first match against Colombia on Tuesday, June 19 at either of these establishments?

Restaurant information
Yakiniku Bareyaruki Shijo Kawara-machi-ten / 焼肉バルやる気四条河原町店
Address: Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Kawara-machi-dori, Takoyakushi-kudaru, Shioya-cho 333-1
Open: 5pm-1am

Ponto-cho Yakiniku Yaruki / 先斗町焼肉やる気
Address: Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Higashi-kiyamachi-dori, Shijo-agaru, 3-chome, Zaimoku-cho 182-4
Open: 4pm-12am

Source, images: PRdesse
Featured image: PRdesse

“Ghost photo” shows Kyoto’s breathtaking Fushimi Inari Shrine can be bone-chilling at night

And that flash of light isn’t even the scariest part of the snapshot.

In the span of a few years, Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine has gone from being relatively unknown to foreign travelers to being one of their favorite destinations in Japan. And its popularity is well-deserved, as wandering through the hillside tunnels of thousands of Shinto torii gates makes for a beautiful, unforgettable experience, especially if the late afternoon sunlight is filtering through the gaps in the torii.

However, Fushimi Inari can feel a little less inviting once the sun goes down. Just like many Western horror tales are set in or around secluded churches, Japan has a long tradition of ghost stories that take place at rural shrines. The higher you climb along Fushimi Inari’s pathways, the farther you get from the light of the city, which can make it feel like the world of the living is also growing distant, which brings us to a creepy snapshot taken by Japanese Twitter user @mcoscam.

“I was taking photos at Fushimi Inari Shrine at night, and I ended up with this freaky one…So scared I’m about to cry…”

“What happened?” asked a shocked commenter, to which @mcoscam replied “That’s what I want to know!”

Following the ghostly streak of light its farthest point from the lens, it seems to stop at a hanging lantern, or perhaps the brightest part of the reflection of the camera’s flash. Somehow this light source then got smeared in an undulating arc when the image was captured. That’s got to be what’s going on, right? After all, ghosts aren’t real…

…is what we keep trying to convince ourselves as we look at this subtly startling portion of @mcoscam’s photo, which escaped our notice until another Twitter user shared a zoomed-in version.

Once again, though, this looks to be a trick of the light, though one with a connection to local religious customs. See, each of the torii at Fushimi Inari is paid for by a donor, often a business looking to curry favor with Inari, the Shinto god of commerce. Torii are added as donations are made, which means that adjacent gates may actually have been installed several years apart from each other, and so their paint, metal fittings, and other components will be in different states of weathering and/or disrepair. As a result, the surfaces of the torii tunnels don’t reflect light uniformly, which can cause irregular shapes like the “silhouette” seen in the photos above.

So as spooky as @mcoscam’s photo may be, this probably isn’t concrete proof that the shrine is haunted. As a matter of fact, some of @mcoscam’s other photos from that night show that Fushimi Inari has a unique beauty after dark, which we also saw when we took a look at its midsummer Motomiya Festival.

Still, if you decide to plan your trip to Fushimi Inari for early enough in the day so that you’ll be done before sundown, we won’t blame you.

Source: Twitter/@mcoscam via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@mcoscam
Top, insert images ©SoraNews24