Azuki beans are widely used in Japan and most of East Asia. Whether cooked with rice or turned into amanattō (甘納豆) ice cream, the little red bean paste is generally better when sweetened with sugar. That said, I present to you the photography/art project of Takao Sakai: Portraits of Azuki Beans Beard.
Gross? I wouldn't go that far - but I wouldn't eat these beans, either! Check the site and you'll see that he's thumbnailed nearly 600 images, and they keep coming. Next time I'm in Tokyo I'm going to have to ring him up!
Interested in azuki beans? Try this recipe for oshiruko!
With everything from charaben guides to virtual pets to the usual exercises in mayhem, the iPhone app gaming world has really found its niche as a tool for the overly bored. Usher in my new #1 favorite app, the iBBQ!
If you've ever wanted to experience the sights and sounds of yakiniku (traditional Japanese BBQ grilling) while, say, sitting on the subway, toilet or even on an airplane some 10,000 feet in the air, well - this quirky game has got you covered in virtual soy. Most unique game feature: You actually blow into the phone's mic to heat up the fire! Weird. The only thing missing (duh) is the ability to smell and taste the meats. Who wants some of the real thing? Corn for me, please!
2010 marks the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man's debut. In honor of the anniversary, Circle K stores in Japan are selling a limited-edition Pac-Man bun, filled with a (very delicious sounding, I must say) crushed almond cookie and cream custard! Get them now, while you can (and mail some to NYC while you're at it). Available for ¥120 (around $1.31).
Those of you in Japan: do check out NHK TV's program NEW YORK WAVE for a special mini-documentary on yours truly...airing in early February. They filmed my book release party at Giant Robot, and last week they were here in mi casa for a special bento "party" with friends (whose charaben skills were in full effect - no joke, it was really amazing stuff). NHK also documented the creation of a bento of mine from scratch. Pics to come (once the show airs), but here is a preview sketch of my Desnos as Maneki Neko, um... Bento!