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Angela Erika Kubo
For Angela Erika Kubo's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Dec 30, 2014
Crackers from the briny deep courtesy of Calbee
Calbee has given its popular Kappa Ebisen snack a fancy makeover this month with the release of a gourmet-lobster-bisque-flavored version of the product (¥138).
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Dec 24, 2014
Pastries and sweets by Sangenjaya Station
Bonnet Dane is a long walk from Tokyo's Sangenjaya Station, and is a tiny shop with only a small selection of baked goods, but it makes up for any inconvenience in quality. Owner Hiroshi Ogihara spent 5½ years in Paris working at bakeries, patisseries and chocolate shops, and it shows. The croissants (¥190), made entirely of French wheat, are as light as air and everything Ogihara bakes tastes as if it was plucked straight out of Paris. The most delicious item in the store is the sablee praline (¥280), which are two buttery cookies with chocolate sandwiched in between.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Dec 16, 2014
Zima gets a new look and a second chance
In Japan, a man can order a bottle of Zima at a bar and no one will make snide comments questioning his sexuality.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Dec 16, 2014
Seven-Eleven comes out with a creamy treat
Seven-Eleven has been selling Cold Stone Creamery's ice cream since 2012, but the two took their partnership a step further by collaborating on a new series of candies that were released last week. One of the new treats you can find at Seven-Eleven stores across the country are chocolates inspired by popular ice cream flavors from Cold Stone that come in small ice-cream containers (¥240). The flavors include Chocolate Devotion, Cherry Almond Sundae and Cookies & Cream. The only disappointment? Each cup contains just three chocolates.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Dec 9, 2014
Christmas in Tokyo is pretty sweet
Just before the Halloween decorations were taken down and packed up, the signs advertising Christmas cakes went up. Bakeries, department stores and convenience stores all seem to have a corner for small cakes topped with whipped cream and tiny Santa Claus figurines. A traditional Japanese holiday feast of KFC and strawberry shortcake might come off as odd to those used to a whole roast turkey and apple pie, but if you're up for joining the local festivities, then make sure your treats will impress.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Dec 9, 2014
Organic chocolate-covered fruit snacks from Biople are a great gift idea
Biople by CosmeKitchen (biople.jp) has locations in Ogikubo, Odawara and Machida, and is known for a line of organic cosmetics. In addition to selling beauty products, the company also imports a growing selection of organic food, including tasty freeze-dried fruit covered in chocolate from Landgarten (¥490, excluding tax), which were released last month.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Dec 2, 2014
Get the taste of Brazil right at Caipirinha Bar
Even if you don't care for the nightclubs, rowdy bars and other delights of the Roppongi scene, Caipirinha Bar is one of those rare places that doesn't give off that general "Roppongi" feel that leads some patrons to take their drinking elsewhere. The bar, with its dim lighting and relaxing Brazilian background music, is in stark contrast to the loud entertainment venues that dot the neighborhood.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Dec 2, 2014
Pizza and chocolate are delicious, but not together
Pizza and chocolate are two delicious foods, but together they don't make for a tasty treat.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Nov 25, 2014
Little Pie Factory draws big crowds
The newly opened Little Pie Factory in Tokyo's Hiroo neighborhood (5-16-6 Minami-Azabu, Minato Ward) serves up tiny pies in all kinds of flavors from classic apple (¥380) to a savory turkey and mushroom (¥450). The turkey and mushroom variety is only available during the month of November. While the shop may have an efficient assembly line that makes sure that enough hot pies are stocked, it’s just not enough to keep up with the demand. If you go too late in the afternoon expect to join a long line up and find many of the flavors already sold out. For more information, call 03-5791-3075 or visit the shop's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/littlepiefactory.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Nov 18, 2014
Step into another era at Cafe Streamline
Leaving the tranquil streets of Tokyo's Daikanyama district and entering Cafe Streamline is like going back in time. The bar contrasts the modern architecture outside with antiques and old kitchen appliances cluttering the interior and soft jazz music playing on a radio. Then again, the bar counter and walls, inspired by old science-fiction films, are made of metal, giving the bar an almost futuristic look.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Nov 18, 2014
Popcorn flavors take ever stranger turns
Frito-Lay Japan releases some pretty weird flavors in its Mike Popcorn line. Earlier this year it was Indian butter chicken curry, while others have included seaweed wasabi, ponzu (citrus soy sauce) and salad. Its latest creation is maple butter (¥105), which has a subtle sweetness and tastes almost like pancakes, another recent food trend. Also, from Dec. 1, Frito-Lay will release a clam chowder flavor, which it claims will be the perfect snack to munch on during the long winter. While there's no guarantee that it'll taste good, at least you won't have to line up for hours in the cold to try it.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Nov 11, 2014
Donuts and ice cream united at last at Krispy Kreme
Two of life's greatest comfort foods — donuts and ice cream — come together at Krispy Kreme stores across the country, where you can top your warm honey-glazed donut with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and extra toppings, adding more calories to an already overly decadent dessert.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Nov 4, 2014
'Super Sour' Pringles pack an added punch
Pringles is true to its word when it describes its newly released dill pickle-flavored chips (¥152), released last week in convenience stores throughout Japan, as "Super Sour." Eating one of these chips is like reaching into a jar and biting into a juicy pickle flavored with plenty of the delicate herb. The taste is so overpowering that you'll pucker. But if you enjoy sour foods and have trouble finding a jar of actual pickles then these are a good alternative to have with a sandwich or hamburger.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Nov 4, 2014
Drunk Bat: Attune your sonar to this cozy craft-beer bar
Admittedly, the only reason craft-beer bar Drunk Bat in Mitaka caught my attention was because of its name. For English-speakers, it comes off as amusing; for Japanese speakers with only a few years of compulsory English education under their belt, it can be misheard as "Drug Bad," which leads to some serious misunderstandings.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Oct 28, 2014
Croissant-muffin hybrid prepares to tackle the Cronut
Dominique Ansel's famous Cronut has inspired endless imitations in Japan, including a croissant taiyaki sold at Gindaco stands across the country, as well as other bizarre hybrid pastries.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Oct 21, 2014
Cinnabon joins the popcorn bandwagon
While popcorn may be one of the hottest snack trends in Japan right now, it's still unexpected that Cinnabon, of all places, started selling its own gourmet version this month. The popcorn comes packaged in small (¥380) and medium (¥750) sizes and can be found at the chain's Roppongi branch (Roppongi Center Bldg., 6-5-18 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 03-3470-4780; www.cinnabon-jp.com) and some others. The popcorn is coated with a generous amount of cinnamon and brown sugar and, strangely enough, tastes quite a bit like a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Oct 14, 2014
Craft beer on tap couldn't be simpler
Opened last month, Pump is the newest addition to Tokyo's continuously expanding craft-beer scene. The interior is clean and simplistic with unadorned concrete walls, spotless counters and tables and a stainless-steel wall behind the bar counter.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / KONBINI WATCH
Oct 14, 2014
One Happy Turn snack deserves another (this time with ice cream)
While it is sad that the summer weather is more or less behind us, Meiji's latest product, Happy Turn Ice (¥130 plus tax) — an unlikely appropriation of its hugely popular Happy Turn rice crackers — is a good cause for cheer. Meiji mixes in the savory "Happy Powder" used to coat its rice crackers into plain ice cream. While the dessert could be improved with chunks of rice cracker added in, as you'd expect from the tie-up, the combination of saltiness and sweetness is a pleasant new experience for the taste buds.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / DESSERT WATCH
Oct 7, 2014
The popcorn craze continues at Clap Your Hands
Continuing Japan's craze for popcorn (of all things!), Hiroshima-based popcorn maker Clap Your Hands has opened its first Tokyo branch in trendy shopping district Shimokitazawa, far from Omotesando, where people currently line up for hours at KuKuRuZa and Garrett. Prices range from ¥300 to ¥350 for a small cup of cheddar, caramel or coffee- flavored popcorn, or you can pay ¥3,000 for a large tin. The best thing on the menu: tiramisu, which is salty cheddar popcorn and sweet coffee popcorn mixed together. 2-12-15 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3413-0670; cyhpopcorn.com.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink / TOKYO BAR ADVENTURE
Sep 30, 2014
Unleash your inner fetishist at Tokyo's Shag
While the naming of newly opened Shag in Omotesando might cause sniggers among anyone familiar with British innuendo, the name — inspired by Sex, a boutique run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in the 1970s — is fitting for a place that touts itself as Japan's first mainstream fetish nightclub.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?