I know that this post isn’t my typical blogpost, trying to tell you about new/ old popular culture in Japan. …Or is it?
If you’ve watched anime before, you may have seen characters eat those triangle things with black rectangles going through them:
You might even have asked “what the heck are those?” Well, this is what wikipedia says: Onigiri, also known as o-musubi, nigirimeshi or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or oval shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed).
Wait, oh my gosh. THEY’RE REAL. And real Japanese people eat real rice balls. Well actually, Japanese people look at them more like peanut butter jelly sandwiches. They’re a main staple for any lunch that you’ve had in Japan. And they could be filled with virtually anything. Back in the day, the fillings were much more organic. Say, I don’t know, pickled plums or marinated vegetables. Now you can even get them with tuna and mayo. The 711 in Japan even had this one seasonal item: Bacon and egg rice balls.
Why are they triangular though? This is a question that I’ve asked myself many a times. Well, try doing this: when you cup your hands together, notice that the empty space between your hands actually makes more of a triangular shape, than a circular or rectangular one. This mold is actually what makes a rice ball the way it is.
A lot of foreigners are really disgusted, once they find out that rice balls are made with bare hands. Well, the truth is that I have actually NEVER in my life made a rice ball with my bare hands. It could be that I don’t really trust myself, but it’s mainly because the rice is too hot to hold.
Trust Japan to make a weird fetish out of anything though, and there’s one for rice balls. Take a “kansetsu kiss”- it literally translates into an “indirect kiss”. When you’re sharing a drink with someone, or your lips touch something that someone else’s lips touched, that’s a “kansetsu kiss”. So, naturally, when you think about someone going through all the troubles of making something yummy to feed you, and they made it with their RAW, NATURAL OILS, it leads to something like THE GIST OF WHAT THIS WEIRDO TRIED TO DO:
Or, a more adorable and parent friendly version can be seen below:
Why are rice balls so popular? I think it’s because they’re so filling. It’s actually like eating one bowl of rice with toppings. Maybe it’s nothing like that, but I think of them that way. They’re also incredibly portable. You can bring them with you anywhere, to go hike, or to school, or work, or a date. Japan’s still got the DIY mentality, despite all of its technical offerings. There’s still a great appreciation for the hands-on arts and home made food.
If you’re curious about how to make a Japanese-style rice ball, you should just google directions or watch this person:Read more
“Goose House” is a Japanese band that began as a musical cooperative of singer songwriters. It’s a spin-off of Sony’s PR project for the “Play You.” walkman (gosh, do you even remember those?)- where artists and musicians applied to live in the same house and work together, releasing their content via internet.
“Goose House” actually gained their momentum through youtube covers- familiar territory for big name artist in North America (cough- Justin Bieber). They mainly cover Japanese pop songs, but there are a few sweet oldies in their playlist too.
Like the Candies, for instance.
For some God-forsaken reason, SONY hasn’t released the original Candies’ “Toshishita No Otokono Ko” (A Boy Who’s Younger Than Me) on the internet, but you can find many beautiful renditions on Recochoku. Either that, or I’m too stupid to find the original recording. That may be… But Goose House really got people’s attention through this amazing cover of the Radwimps song “おしゃかしゃま”(Oshakashama) that you can watch and listen below:
They’ve released a much anticipated new single “光るなら”(Hikarunara- If You’re Going to Shine) on November 19th. If you’re in Japan, you’ve probably seen their TV ads a bunch of times. Here it is:
You can watch a live acoustic version too:
KILLER. If you’re an indie bopper like me, you should support these DIY artists. Too many plastic looking lip syncs dominate the J-Pop industry. In solidarity with true art! Available on iTunes Japan store and iTunes Japan gift cards available through JapanCodeSupply.Read more
iTunes Gift Cards can only be used for the iTunes Store for the country in which the card was purchased. This means that an iTunes Gift Card purchased in Japan can only be redeemed in the Japanese iTunes Store.
From a strictly legal perspective, Apple’s Terms and Conditions limit you to only using the iTunes Store in the country you’re in. However, as of June 2012, Japan snuck in some strict copyright laws. The internet was sniped of almost all Japanese media and entertainment, as the attorney at law Toshimitsu Dan put the following changes in place:
1. Ripping and copying of copy-protected and encoded materials like DVDs and games is no longer considered “for personal use” and is punishable.
2. The sale of software and hardware that circumvents copy protection and access protections is forbidden.
3. The intentional download of illegally uploaded materials is now punishable.
What options does an Otaku outside of Japan have? You can purchase a Japan iTunes gift card here. You can purchase a gift card and will receive the code by email in seconds (FAST and CHEAP!).
We also offer Nintendo cards and PSN cards for Japanese region store.
Bear in mind, that in order to purchase these Japanese cards outside of JapanCodeSupply and other platforms, you must have a valid Japanese credit card. Avoid the hassle! Let us do the work for you!