Category Archives: FEATURED

Organic and Free-range Options for Buying Meat, Eggs and Dairy in Japan

Source: Japan Cheapo

Japanese people love animals, right? The country has a booming pet industry and Tokyoites can be seen pushing dogs with ribbons in their fur in strollers through the capital’s parks. Farm animals in Japan unfortunately face a comparatively lackluster treatment, and there’s still a general lack of interest in free-range, organic and animal-friendly methods of raising livestock.
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So it’s much harder to find free-range eggs, organic milk or grass-fed beef in Japan. Though not impossible. Generally, your safest bet is to go to an organic supermarket, a farmers’ market or one of Tokyo’s many international supermarkets that also stock more organic produce than do domestic chains. We’ve already written a very comprehensive list

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Starbucks has started selling its cherry blossom-themed drinks and products for 2019

Source: Gaijin Pot
Starbucks sakura themed drinks and products for 2019

Few things come and go as fleetingly as Japanese cherry blossoms, or sakura. These harbingers of spring blossom from Japan’s national tree, and, after a short week or two of gracing us with their beauty, they fall to make way for much less attractive green leaves.

Perhaps the love Japanese people have for gentei (limited offers) has roots in their love for this pretty pink flower. And one of the most loved gentei has got to be Starbucks’ sakura collection.

Each year, just before the real deal starts blooming, sakura-flavored drinks and sakura-plastered mugs and cups show up in Starbucks stores across Japan, often selling out within weeks (ah the cruelty of impermanence!). This year, Starbucks is going full force with a bigger, bloomier line of products, on sale from today.

Celebrate transience with Starbucks sakura-flavored drinks

Glowing up for 2019, Starbucks is coming out with not one but two sakura-flavored drinks this spring. The limited-edition frappuccino and latte are inspired by sakura in full bloom. Slap those two terms together and you get “Sakuraful” — the official moniker for these seasonal delights.

The Sakaraful (try saying that ten times in a row) Latte mixes creamy milk with strawberry and sakura flavors and is topped with strawberry chocolate shavings representing fallen petals. The Sakauraful Frappuccino has sakura-strawberry sauce at its base, which resembles cherry trees in full bloom when mixed. With sakura and strawberry jelly also in the drink, it’s sure to be an explosion of taste, color, and texture — albeit brief.

The Sakuraful Frappuccino will be available from February 15 to 27 and costs ¥580, only available in size Tall. The Sakuraful Milk Latte will be available from February 15 until March 19 2019, and costs ¥440-¥560 for sizes Tall to Venti.

Go extra and drink your Sakaruful Latte from a sakura-emblazoned mug

Also from today, …continue reading

    

Valentine’s Day in Japan

February 14th is Valentine’s Day! In Japan, Valentine’s Day is a chance for women to show their appreciation to the different men in their lives. Here’s what the massive $800 million Valentine’s Day industry looks like in Japan.

 

Origins

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated across the globe for centuries, but it didn’t begin in Japan until 1958. That year, a chocolate company in Tokyo called Mary’s began selling heart-shaped chocolates and encouraging women to give them to their romantic interests. Since then, chocolate companies across Japan have jumped on the Valentine’s Day trend, and continue to market February 14th as being the perfect chance for women to confess their true feelings.

 

Valentine’s Day Today

Today, confessing your feelings on Valentine’s Day is still popular, but it has also become quite common for women to hand out chocolate to a number of men in their lives to show their appreciation. The types of chocolate handed out depend upon the relationship with the recipient – the deeper the relationship, the more elaborate and expensive the chocolate tends to be.

Types of Chocolate

There are actually three different kinds of Valentine’s Day chocolates given out on February 14th in Japan.

Giri-Choco is “obligation chocolate”. The Japanese word giri (ギリ) means “obligation” so it makes sense that this chocolate is given out of obligation. Giri-choco is a simple gesture of kindness to male acquaintances and coworkers, and has no romantic undertones.

Tomo-Choco is “friend chocolate”. Tomo (友) is Japanese for “friend”. Tomo-choco is given out by Japanese women to their other female friends. It also has no romantic undertones, and is just a sweet gesture of friendship.

Honmei-choco is “true feelings chocolate”. Honmei (本命) refers to one’s true, inner feelings that are kept hidden below the surface. Honmei-choco is given as a first-time confession of feelings to …continue reading

    

GaijinPot Readers Share Their Japan Love Stories in 100 Words or Less

Source: Gaijin Pot

I don’t care for Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m anti-romance — I just hate capitalism.

The scourge of the controversial holiday is nauseating here in Japan. Saccharine displays take up every shop window weeks ahead of time. Questionable ad campaigns stir up controversy. Women are unfairly expected to make and give away all the chocolatey goodness to every guy they know (though men supposedly reciprocate a month later on White Day). Ugh. Even when I am getting laid, the whole spectacle just annoys me.

So, naturally, I was chosen as the contributor to compile a series of reader-submitted 100-words (or fewer) love stories for GaijinPot this Valentine’s Day.

The result? You wonderful people opened your hearts to us and shared your experiences with love in Japan. There are stories of fairytale romances, missed connections and pepper jack cheese. Topics considered too taboo to openly discuss, like queer trysts and office romance, make steamy appearances. In total, about 40 people submitted, and though we were regrettably only able to select 10, every single one contained something valuable, authentic and thoughtful.

Y’all even made this cynic feel a little something this V-Day.

Lesson Learned

Photo: Jamie Lloyd

Japan taught me how to love, and allow myself to be loved by someone, unconditionally.

The reason my eardrums are still tickled by the fluttering interludes of Debussy. The backdrop for late-night sideways smiles leaning on door frames and early morning strolls to the post office, midday musings over washoku lunches on soft grassy knolls, sharing lives under umbrellas in the plum rain.

In the crazed fruits of the balmy Kansai air, I changed. We changed. I knew what it meant to feel alive. And for two people that couldn’t imagine ever deserving love, it meant—and continues to mean—everything.

—Jamie Lloyd

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Photographs of a Snowy Tokyo by Yusuke Komatsu

Tokyo is getting some cold weather right now, including a rare bit of snow. So it seems timely to introduce the photography of Yusuke Komatsu, who recently published a self-explanatory series of photographs titled Snow in Tokyo. Komatsu started off as a graphic designer but has been shooting the streets of Tokyo since 2010. He […]

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