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10 Japanese Trends We Wish Would Hit the US

Japan United States
by Kay Apr 15, 2015

1. Bakeable Kit Kats

Kit Kats have to be one of the most popular snacks in Japan, and there have been some unusual Kit Kat flavors created — wasabi, ginger, chili pepper, and sweet red bean sandwich to name a few. But recently, a whole new generation of Kit Kats have come onto the market.

They’re “bakeable” Kit Kats that you can heat and bake in the toaster at home, and they’ve already been released in two flavors so far, custard pudding and cheesecake. Once heated, these Kit Kats turn a golden brown (without melting!) and turn into a warm, sugary, crunchy snack. Frankly, we can’t imagine why anyone would say no to these chocolate creations!

2. Unusually-flavored ramen

We’re talking milk, tomato, lemon, pineapple, and strawberry being among those we’ve seen before. And yes, chocolate ramen actually exists, and it’s pretty darn good too (at least this writer thinks it is)!

3. Fun face packs

Health product manufacturer Isshin Do Honpo has certainly added an element of fun to women’s beauty regimen with their line of artistically-printed face packs. Already a big hit with Japanese ladies, these packs have been made in various playful designs, and by applying one on your face, you not only get a beauty treatment, but you can turn yourself into a kabuki actor, rock star, a popular anime animal character, or even a spooky monster.

4. Decoration tapes in creative patterns

Japanese girls seem to love decorating cards and notes with cute tapes, and Deco Rush tapes definitely get the job done. With these tapes, it’s simple to add an amazing variety of patterns and decorations to your diary, notebook, or a card for that special someone.

And the tapes seem to be getting even more creative recently, with adorable patterns featuring brand logos for fast food chains and even Baskin Robbins becoming available. Writing someone a message is bound to be that much more fun when you can personalize and create your own decorative designs with these Deco Rush tapes.

5. Character-themed cafes

The people of Japan never seem to tire of character-themed cafes. Many of them are open only for a limited time, but there always seems to be one character-themed cafe or other open for business, and what’s more, they almost always draw huge crowds, with people willing to wait hours in line. But then, who can blame them when you see the adorable and artfully-created special dishes served at joints like the Pokémon Cafe, the Hello Kitty Cafe, the My Melody Cafe, and the Gudetama Cafe?

6. Anime collaborative items for adults

Do you secretly have a favorite anime and wish you could own items featuring the anime that aren’t just simple toys and not too childish? Well, in Japan, it’s not unusual to see products for adults made in collaboration with popular anime.

Just recently, major Japanese department store Isetan came out with a line of high end Sailor Moon-themed items including bags and wallets and even a Baby G Watch. Such fancy goods certainly let you carry your love of anime in style! And sometimes, anime-related products for adults aren’t items to be carried around at all — an Evengelion themed overnight trip for women complete with hot springs and sake is just another example of how anime can be turned into fun for grown-ups.

7. Anime and manga themed theater productions: musicals, kabuki, and even noh

Quite a few anime/manga comic series have been turned into large-scale theatrical productions in Japan recently. The anime series Death Note has been made into a musical that will open shortly in early April, and the internationally popular mega hit series One Piece will be performed as a kabuki production in October and November this year in what promises to be an exciting mix of modern anime and traditional Japanese art.

The long-running serial comic Glass Mask has also become the theme for a traditional noh performance — who would have thought that a girl’s comic could be the subject matter for a musical art form with 600 years of history? And Naruto, another hit manga/anime series is opening as a stage play this month and will even be performed overseas in Macao, Singapore, and Malaysia later this year. Seriously, seeing your favorite anime/manga come to life on stage has got to be an incredibly exciting and fun experience!

8. Special edition collaborative Steiff dolls

If you love stuffed dolls, chances are you’ve been fascinated by the beautiful creations from international doll maker Steiff. Well, in Japan, not only cafes but valuable collectible stuffed toys come in character-themed versions.

That’s right, if you’re a doll enthusiast in Japan, you get to collect special edition Steiff dolls made in collaboration with characters like Hatsune Miku and Godzilla.

9. Mochi ice cream

Japan, like the rest of the world, loves ice cream. But ice cream makers in Japan have added some nifty twists to the sweet comfort food we’re familiar with. Häagen-Dazs Japan in particular has always offered creative and interesting ice cream flavors, including “carrot orange,” “tomato cherry,” “strawberry and red bean paste,” and “rose.”

But they definitely came up with something new when they recently introduced two new ice cream flavors containing actual mochi rice cake. In fact, the mochi ice cream flavors have been so well received that they’ve currently been taken off the market due to a supply shortage.

You can also count on Baskin Robbins Japan to offer delightful seasonal items that are sure to put a smile on your face whether you’re a kid or an adult. Their most recent offerings include Easter-themed ice cream creations featuring egg and chick motifs. All of this certainly makes for cold, sweet enjoyment that we wish were available around the world.

10. Sakura-flavored sweets and drinks

In Japan, late March to April is the season for cherry blossoms, or sakura, and during this time of year the country is filled with sakura-flavored products. This year, Starbucks Japan has just recently released their sakura-flavored frappuccino, latte and cake.

And Lindt Japan is offering their sakura chocolate drink and sakura macaron. Even the popular Magnolia Bakery has sakura cupcakes on their menu in Japan. And if you’re thirsty for a refreshing drink, how about sakura-flavored beer?

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