Kanazawa Curry Cola lets you have your tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) and curry on the go!

RocketNews 24:

Finally, the great taste of a fried pork cutlet drenched in thick curry that you can slip in your coat pocket without getting wet!

Sold by Japan’s Tombow Beverage Co., this cola is based on the Ishikawa Prefecture specialty dish Kanazawa Curry which is a large fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) soaking in a rich curry roux and topped with a drizzling of tangy tonkatsu sauce and served with a side of shredded cabbage.

 

This isn’t the first time a curry beverage has been released in Japan, but Kanazawa Curry Cola may be the first to take a carbonated cola base and blend in the tastes of curry roux and tonkatsu sauce.

Whether or not that’s a winning combination will be knowledge bestowed on the lucky few who can acquire one of the 100,000 bottles Tombow is planning to bottle and sell this year.

You would be most likely to find one at the various service stations along highways in Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures as a part of the Hokuriku Regional Drink Series. However, Tombow said they will distribute around the country and if demand is great enough they’ll also consider ramping up production in response.

If you don’t feel like going on a wild curry cola hunt, you can always go to the Tombow website linked below to purchase a 20-pack for 3,900 yen (US$35). That’s not a terrible price considering, at the very least, Kanazawa Curry Cola sounds like it could be a highly effective laxative.

Kanazawa Curry Cola order page (Japanese)

Seven cool things set to happen in Japan during 2015

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RocketNews 24 (by Casey Baseel):

If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you should always wash your hands after going to the bathroom. If there’re two things we know, though, the second is that you’ll never get anywhere in life being fixated on the past. So while 2014 was a pretty good year for us, we’re already looking to the year ahead, which is already promising seven cool happenings for Japan in 2015.

1. Opening of the new Shinkansen line

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Japan may have a reasonably priced overnight bus network and well-maintained highways, but there’s no denying that the quickest and most convenient way to get around the country is the Shinkansen. Currently, you can travel by bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano, but the new Hokuriku Line will allow travelers to extend their Shinkansen trips from Nagano all the way to coastal Kanazawa. So starting March 14, you’ll be able to zip on over to the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture in record time to enjoy its historic Kenrokuen Garden, delicious seafood, and, provided you’ve still got some yen left over, golden handicrafts.

2. First flight of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet

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If tertiary travel is too tedious for your rarified tastes, there’s also the maiden voyage of the MRJ coming up in 2015. Jointly developed by Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Fuji Heavy Industries (parent company of automaker Subaru), the MRJ is scheduled to take to the air for the first time this spring. Airlines won’t be receiving their own until 2017, but nonetheless, the upcoming test flight is a major step towards Japan’s first domestically produced airliner since the financial failure of Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing’s YS-11, which was discontinued over four decades ago.

3. Osaka’s Dotonbori Canal becomes a pool

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If you’ve spent much time looking at photos of Japanese cityscapes, odds are you’ve seen Dotonbori, Osaka’s neon-lit entertainment district that straddles the Dotonbori Canal. After years of revelers diving into the water after victories by the local Hanshin Tigers baseball team, someone decided they may as well make part of the canal into an outdoor pool, which is just what’s scheduled to happen to a one-kilometer (0.62-mile) section of it for four weeks in August of 2015.

4. The next, and possibly final, Evangelion movie

Creator Hideaki Anno has never been particularly decisive about putting a period on his masterwork, as evidenced by how Eva’s cash-strapped TV finale has already been followed by a half-dozen movies. Signs point to a late 2015 release for the fourth Rebuild of Evangelion theatrical feature, though, which has been billed as the culmination of 20 years’ worth of groundbreaking animation (those of you who can’t wait until the end of the year can whet your appetite with a teaser-style Eva short film right here).

5. So long, SIM locks!

Like topknots and the feudal system, SIM locks are set to become a thing of the past in Japan starting this May.

6. The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II

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2015 is also a good time to stop and take a moment to appreciate that Japan can get excited about developments in consumer electronics because it’s a country at peace, as it has been for the last 70 years.

7. Prince William visiting Japan

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Another thing that wouldn’t have been happening during open war between the U.K. and Japan, Prince William is scheduled to visit the country as part of a trip through Asia in late February.

Link

The many twists, turns and trapdoors of Kanazawa’s incredible Ninja Temple

 

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RocketNews 24:

 

Ishikawa Prefecture is a little off most tourist itineraries of Japan, since it’s located along the north coast of the main island of Honshu. If you’ve got the time to spare, though, the capital city of Kanazawa has more than enough attractions to fill a day or two.

The city is home to Kenrokuen, considered one of Japan’s top three gardens and recently voted to be one of the 30 best sightseeing spots in the country. The Omicho Market is also a great place to enjoy delicious seafood, including the shrimp that Ishikawa is known for.

Or, if neither of those pique your interest, there’s also the ninja temple, whose layout is said to be so confusing that few could make it out without a guide.

Although the official name of the structure is Myoryuji, literally the “oddly built temple,” it’s better known as Ninja-dera, the ninja temple. First constructed in the 16th century, the building was moved to its current location in 1643 by Maeda Toshitsune, the warlord who controlled Kaga Fief in present-day Ishikawa.

As an official Buddhist temple, Myoryuji’s ostensible purpose was as a place of worship. In actuality, though, it served as a secret Maeda stronghold. By 1643, the civil war that had ravaged Japan for centuries had largely died down, with the Tokugawa shogunate having suppressed its political and military rivals. Still, the peace between the shogunate and the regional warlords was an uneasy one. Maeda feared the Tokugawa forces may one day come to separate him from his gold-rich lands, and placing Myoruji near Kanazawa Castle gave him a safe-house hidden in plain sight.

 

▼ Maeda Toshitsune

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Ninja-dera was never home to a clan of fearsome shadow warriors, however. Instead, its name come from the numerous traps and tricks incorporated into its design to help repel intruders.

The deception starts before you even enter. From the outside, Myoryuji appears to have two floors, in keeping with the feudal era restrictions that prohibited buildings other than the town’s castle from being over three stories tall.

 

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In actuality, though, the complex is built with a four-story frame, and the numerous spaces between the floors give it seven separate levels. Myoryuji’s 23 rooms are connected by an intricate network of no fewer than 29 staircases.

 

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These aren’t all ordinary staircases, either. For example, take a look at the wooden grid at the front of these steps.

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The white sections are actually made of paper. As intruders run up the stairs, guards positioned beneath the floorboards could stab at their feet.

Other staircases lead downwards to pit traps. Once the attacker falls into it, his slide continues to a room where a team of defenders is waiting to finish him off before he can recover from the shock and properly defend himself.

 

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As you’d expect from a building constructed at this point in history, many of the passages are connected by traditional Japanese sliding doors. Unlike normal doors of this type, though, many of Myoryuji’s automatically lock after being shut and can only re reopened from one side. This allows defenders to quickly block their adversaries’ advance or trap them in a confined space.

 

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As is the case in many countries, centuries-old architecture in Japan tends to be built for the shorter stature of the people from bygone eras. If the room shown in the following photo looks to you like it has a particularly low ceiling, though, you’re absolutely right.

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This purposefully cramped design was chosen in order to give assailants less room in which to swing their weapons, which would put them at a disadvantage against guards who were already aware of the low clearance and adjusted their tactics accordingly.

Even Myoryuji’s well is more than it appears to be at first glance. At the bottom of the 25-meter (82-foot) shaft is a passage that’s said to connect with Kanazawa Castle, although no one who’s alive today has gone deep enough into the tunnel to confirm this.

 

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It’s said that once you enter Myoryuji, its layout is so confusing you won’t be able to find your way out. Thankfully, the temple offers guided tours, which are offered between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Reservations are required though, which can be made by contacting the temple by phone at the number listed on its website here up to three months before the date of your intended visit.

Perhaps the most mysterious thing about Myoryuji, however, is that no one knows the identity of the architect that designed its defensive features. Given the detailed written records throughout Japanese history that chronicle the accomplishments of scholars, statesmen, and strategists, this sort of anonymity is especially rare. Thankfully, not knowing who was responsible for the Ninja Temple so many years ago doesn’t mean visitors can’t still marvel at his or her craftsmanship today.

 

Check out this link:

 The many twists, turns and trapdoors of Kanazawa’s incredible Ninja Temple

Video

Watch the handmaking process of Japanese urushi lacquerware

Yamada Heiando, Japaneselacquerware purveyors to the Imperial Household,” take us through the handmaking process of urushi, traditional lacquer products that date back 9,000 years. Craftsmen of the Ishikawa Prefecture cut and carve the wood, then polish and paint them all by hand, creating immaculate products that are both traditional and modern. Using micro brushes with gold paint, the resulting urushi — from bowls, boxes, and coasters to even phone cases and watch faces — bear familiar oriental motifs such as goldfish and sakura blossoms.

Watch the video to get a glimpse of the incredible production process.