Vending Machine: Roasted Potatoes both hot and cold varieties Known as “yaki imo” in Japan, roasted potatoes are hearty treats that conjure up feelings of nostalgia and warmth for many. Much like an ice cream truck, the singsong call of the yaki imo trucks that slowly drive around neighbourhood streets are a familiar sound that many grew up with, and are sadly far fewer than they were back in the day. While they may not be as widely available on the back of vehicles now, the good news is they’re still conveniently sold at stores and festivals, and in the the cities of Hyuga and Nobeoka, in Miyazaki Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu, they’re available day and night at a number of specially marked vending machines. The display reveals a product lineup that consists of two varieties of sweet potato: the sticky beni haruka and the dense, moist annou imo. What was most surprising is the fact that there were temperature options for each, with the former available in hot or cold varieties, and the latter served up cold. 300 yen (US$2.69)

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Shibuya Station’s Limited-Time Unmanned Ramen Eatery This new technology comes into play on JR Shibuya Station’s very own outer circle Yamanote line platform (on the Ebisu end). Where the iconic instant cup noodle shop Donbareya once stood, a much more colorful booth is open (but only temporarily!). Ace Cook, Microsoft Japan, and iRobot Japan have teamed up to produce a slightly more futuristic instant cup noodle shop called Mocchicchi Station. This unmanned cup ramen shop is open from February 14-28, and our Japanese-language writer Mr. Sato was first in our team to size that opportunity. Basically: you pick; pay by VISA, Mastercard, or JCB; and then you make it! First, you buy a cup of ramen. Hidenori had a choice between wonton noodles or vegetable tanmen. When you touch the screen to select the type and number you want, the price will appear on the screen. Magic! Then, select a payment option. Score: in addition to credit cards, you can also pay using your IC train card! The total bill came to 212 yen (US$1.92) if you eat inside the cozy eatery. When the cup ramen comes out, you then pour in water using the hot water machine… The touch screen set at each booth features a timer that helps keep track of the noodles. If you looked at his booth arrangement clearly, you may have also noticed an image of a phone drawn into the counter. This is actually a contact phone charger; you can charge your smartphone just by setting it down on the indicated space on the counter (as long as it charges using Qi)! And then there was the mystery device lurking in an alcove under the touch screen…but we’ll get to that later. When done, the touch screen showed a new button: Start Cleaning. Its subtitle also reads “Please press this button before you leave the store.” Not ominous at all, right? When you push the button, a robot comes out! It turns out that it was actually iRobot Japan’s Braava jet m6, a quiet robot machine. It tidied up the counter without any effort. If you’re interested in going, then you’d better head over to Shibuya Station’s outer circle Yamanote platform (on the Ebisu side) before the end of February 28! It’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

136 views · Feb 24th, 2020
Japanese Maid Delivery Service Brings Omurice To Your Door There are a lot of hearty comfort foods in Japan that don’t always get the same level of fame and attention as internationally renowned staples like ramen and sushi. However, one beloved Japanese dish is now getting its time in the limelight, thanks to a new campaign by Japanese food processing conglomerate Nippon Ham. The dish is omurice, which is named after its two main ingredients: omelette and rice. Usually served with a thin layer of omelette covering the rice beneath, wrapped up like a tasty parcel, omurice is a comfort food often cooked at home, but another place where it’s famously served is at Japanese maid cafes. The combination of maids, moe and omurice is one that Nippon Ham is now using to help sell a new microwaveable omurice called Fukuro no Mama Dekiru Omurice (“Omurice You Can Make in a Bag”). To promote the product, Nippon Ham is offering people the chance to have the microwaveable omurice delivered to their door by a Japanese maid, alongside a new ad featuring cosplayer and gravure model Moe Iori as the delivery maid. Applications for the Maid Made Omurice delivery service are currently being accepted until midnight on 13 March (Japan Standard Time), with deliveries being made to five lucky people, chosen by random, from 20-22 March. To apply, follow the product’s official Twitter account and fill in this online form with your information (in Japanese only). Applications can only be made by those with a Japanese address. You can pick up one of the new microwavable omurice packs at stores around Japan from 20 February for 270 yen (US$2.42). https://youtu.be/s6uBwmAsfU8
130 views · Feb 24th, 2020

Sliced Mayonnaise and White Chocolate Sandwiches now available in Japan Four different options to make your toast savory or sweet. Oddly enough, the Japanese company Bourbon doesn’t make whiskey, or even beverages. Instead, they’re primarily a confectioner, specializing in chocolate, but they’re now expanding their product line to include mayonnaise. This isn’t ordinary mayonnaise, though, it’s mayonnaise in slices! Applying the expertise Bourbon developed through creating sliced chocolate a few years back, the company is now getting set to introduce two new “sheet-like condiments” to its Kantan Cooking (“Simple Cooking”) lineup. One is a tuna mayonnaise sheet (pictured above), and the other, shown below, has the flavor of mayonnaise and mentaiko (spicy cod roe, which blends with mayo for a creamy, piquant flavor). Bourbon says they’re particularly handy in the morning, since you can slap a slice down on a piece of bread, stick it in the toaster oven, and have a hot, tasty breakfast with just seconds of prep time. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves or other veggies for some extra nutrition and color. The company is also re-releasing its sliced chocolate, with a new recipe that offers an even richer flavor than the previous one. Chocolate, obviously, doesn’t need any additional dressing up, but Bourbon does humbly suggest adding banana slices and a dollop of whipped cream, turning your slice of toast into effectively an open-faced crepe. And finally, there’s a brand-new sweet-flavor being added with apple butter sheets, which also contain white chocolate. All four flavors go on sale March 2, with the mayo slices priced at 200 yen (US$1.80) and the sweet ones 250 yen. Oddly enough, the per-slice price works out to exactly the same, since the mayo packs contain four slices and the sweet ones five, but it’s hard to argue with Bourbon’s logic of “Look, we know you’re going to want more chocolate, so we went ahead and put one more in there.”

92 views · Feb 24th, 2020

More from Universe Japan

Shibuya Station’s Limited-Time Unmanned Ramen Eatery This new technology comes into play on JR Shibuya Station’s very own outer circle Yamanote line platform (on the Ebisu end). Where the iconic instant cup noodle shop Donbareya once stood, a much more colorful booth is open (but only temporarily!). Ace Cook, Microsoft Japan, and iRobot Japan have teamed up to produce a slightly more futuristic instant cup noodle shop called Mocchicchi Station. This unmanned cup ramen shop is open from February 14-28, and our Japanese-language writer Mr. Sato was first in our team to size that opportunity. Basically: you pick; pay by VISA, Mastercard, or JCB; and then you make it! First, you buy a cup of ramen. Hidenori had a choice between wonton noodles or vegetable tanmen. When you touch the screen to select the type and number you want, the price will appear on the screen. Magic! Then, select a payment option. Score: in addition to credit cards, you can also pay using your IC train card! The total bill came to 212 yen (US$1.92) if you eat inside the cozy eatery. When the cup ramen comes out, you then pour in water using the hot water machine… The touch screen set at each booth features a timer that helps keep track of the noodles. If you looked at his booth arrangement clearly, you may have also noticed an image of a phone drawn into the counter. This is actually a contact phone charger; you can charge your smartphone just by setting it down on the indicated space on the counter (as long as it charges using Qi)! And then there was the mystery device lurking in an alcove under the touch screen…but we’ll get to that later. When done, the touch screen showed a new button: Start Cleaning. Its subtitle also reads “Please press this button before you leave the store.” Not ominous at all, right? When you push the button, a robot comes out! It turns out that it was actually iRobot Japan’s Braava jet m6, a quiet robot machine. It tidied up the counter without any effort. If you’re interested in going, then you’d better head over to Shibuya Station’s outer circle Yamanote platform (on the Ebisu side) before the end of February 28! It’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

136 views · Feb 24th, 2020
Japanese Maid Delivery Service Brings Omurice To Your Door There are a lot of hearty comfort foods in Japan that don’t always get the same level of fame and attention as internationally renowned staples like ramen and sushi. However, one beloved Japanese dish is now getting its time in the limelight, thanks to a new campaign by Japanese food processing conglomerate Nippon Ham. The dish is omurice, which is named after its two main ingredients: omelette and rice. Usually served with a thin layer of omelette covering the rice beneath, wrapped up like a tasty parcel, omurice is a comfort food often cooked at home, but another place where it’s famously served is at Japanese maid cafes. The combination of maids, moe and omurice is one that Nippon Ham is now using to help sell a new microwaveable omurice called Fukuro no Mama Dekiru Omurice (“Omurice You Can Make in a Bag”). To promote the product, Nippon Ham is offering people the chance to have the microwaveable omurice delivered to their door by a Japanese maid, alongside a new ad featuring cosplayer and gravure model Moe Iori as the delivery maid. Applications for the Maid Made Omurice delivery service are currently being accepted until midnight on 13 March (Japan Standard Time), with deliveries being made to five lucky people, chosen by random, from 20-22 March. To apply, follow the product’s official Twitter account and fill in this online form with your information (in Japanese only). Applications can only be made by those with a Japanese address. You can pick up one of the new microwavable omurice packs at stores around Japan from 20 February for 270 yen (US$2.42). https://youtu.be/s6uBwmAsfU8
130 views · Feb 24th, 2020

Sliced Mayonnaise and White Chocolate Sandwiches now available in Japan Four different options to make your toast savory or sweet. Oddly enough, the Japanese company Bourbon doesn’t make whiskey, or even beverages. Instead, they’re primarily a confectioner, specializing in chocolate, but they’re now expanding their product line to include mayonnaise. This isn’t ordinary mayonnaise, though, it’s mayonnaise in slices! Applying the expertise Bourbon developed through creating sliced chocolate a few years back, the company is now getting set to introduce two new “sheet-like condiments” to its Kantan Cooking (“Simple Cooking”) lineup. One is a tuna mayonnaise sheet (pictured above), and the other, shown below, has the flavor of mayonnaise and mentaiko (spicy cod roe, which blends with mayo for a creamy, piquant flavor). Bourbon says they’re particularly handy in the morning, since you can slap a slice down on a piece of bread, stick it in the toaster oven, and have a hot, tasty breakfast with just seconds of prep time. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add sliced tomatoes, lettuce leaves or other veggies for some extra nutrition and color. The company is also re-releasing its sliced chocolate, with a new recipe that offers an even richer flavor than the previous one. Chocolate, obviously, doesn’t need any additional dressing up, but Bourbon does humbly suggest adding banana slices and a dollop of whipped cream, turning your slice of toast into effectively an open-faced crepe. And finally, there’s a brand-new sweet-flavor being added with apple butter sheets, which also contain white chocolate. All four flavors go on sale March 2, with the mayo slices priced at 200 yen (US$1.80) and the sweet ones 250 yen. Oddly enough, the per-slice price works out to exactly the same, since the mayo packs contain four slices and the sweet ones five, but it’s hard to argue with Bourbon’s logic of “Look, we know you’re going to want more chocolate, so we went ahead and put one more in there.”

92 views · Feb 24th, 2020