Author Archives: Carol

Eat | The Lockup

The Lockup is a reservation-based horror prison-themed all-you-can-eat restaurant that can be found in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. They have a lite 10 item menu, regular 150 items menu, seasonal menu, and occasionally collaboration menus with different artists. The restaurant holds the Monster show 3 times a day at the 18:30, 20:30 and 22:30, hence to not miss the show, I booked our table at 18:00.
[I apologize in advance for all the blurry pictures due to dark lighting]

The entrance of The Lockup

The Introduction

Our cell of the night

Before entering the restaurant, a staff approached me and my food buddies to confirm our reservation. Shortly after that, an announcement urged us to enter through the rear door. We were in an empty room with mirror walls. The light slowly dimmed to complete darkness, and suddenly the emergency alarm rang loudly. A door on the left opened up and a server dressed in a police costume was waiting for us. She asked what sin brought us to prison, and one of us said eating too much mochi. Then she guides us to our cell, with comfy sofa seats and a table inside. The whole restaurant is really dark with mere lightings just enough to see the person across the table.

After ordering our meals, we excitedly wait for our food when looking around like we have never been in a prison before (sadly none of us are criminals).

Main Course

Drink in IV bag

We ordered deep-fried chicken, pasta, fries, takoyaki, salad, potato wedges, rice, drinks, desserts and way more than I can remember. Everything tastes really good, but what’s better was the plating and garnishes. Drinks were put into IV bags, which you have to lift up the bag and drain the drink into a science lab beaker. Fries were put into a red envelope so you can shake and mix in the fries and spices. Sauces for pasta and deep-fried chicken are made into purplish pink colour, some hues that are too creepy for food. My favourite one is the Russian roulette takoyaki with one out of 6 pieces filled with deadly spicy sauce.

As we are happily enjoying our meal at peaceful times, the emergency alarm rang and announced that the top criminal at the prison has escaped! It’s the Monster show time! We did not ask for danger tapes on our cell door since we wanted the monsters to bang on our door and come inside to grab us. And luckily they did! One of them even sit next to me and invite me for a selfie!!!

Me on the left and the Monster prisoner on the right

It was a really fun time for all of us, and as I am writing this blog post I am also planning my next visit to The Lockup. Their food is really good and the overall atmosphere and show are very engaging. If you have a friend that screams for the least scary peekaboo pranks, bring him/her to this place cause it is going to bring you so much entertainment during the Monster Show (not saying I did, but you know, it was fun). Promise me to find some time to lock yourself up in your next Japan trip!

The post Eat | The Lockup appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Process Post | Beyond Blog

Reading about artificial intelligence (AI), I began to think of ways to implement this technology into my blog. One way is to import an AI chatbot app into my WordPress template and start an automatic reply chat area for readers. There several plugins to choose from including Botsify, Chatfuel, Flow XO,, Hubspot, and more. With plenty of YouTube tutorial videos available and my basic coding skills, I think it will be easy to manage.

The overall flow of the chatbot experience would be first greeting the audiences, like “Welcome to my blog! Are you looking for…”, then let them choose the pre-programmed choice of “Travel”, “Restaurant” or “Information”. Each choice will correspond to “Travel with Me”, “Eat with Me” and “Learn with Me” section of the blog. After choosing from these categories, readers will type keywords of what they are looking for and related articles will be listed. For example, if a visitor chose “Restaurant”, then typed the keyword “fish”, it will bring them to a result with restaurants that have fish dishes. In my current blog it will be the “Eat | Zauo Main Store”, “Eat | Umeyama Teppei Shokudou” and “Eat | Kane Hannosuke” posts.

Another feature can be having a “Knowledge of the day” selection within the chatbot. This will generate a result of a randomly picked post from the “Learn from Me” section. This function encourages audiences to check out different types of posts that they might not have thought of, but interested to read once provided.

The post Process Post | Beyond Blog appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Travel | Akihabara: Non-maid Cafes

In the centre of Tokyo, there is a famous otaku camp that houses all kinds of Japanese pop-cultures, aka Akihabara. There are tones of manga shops, gaming stores, anime figures showrooms and much more in the area. A really popular concept store that attracts a lot of tourists is the maid cafe, which I guess you have already heard of and got tired of it. Therefore, in this article, I will introduce 2 non-maid cafes that are even more attractive.

Shinobuza Cafe

Shinobuza Cafe staff

Shinobuza Cafe (n) is a ninja-themed cafe with all waitresses dressed up in cute and sexy ninja costumes. Similar to maid cafes, they serve their customers as “prince/mister” or “princess/mistress”. The interior design of the store is based on traditional Japanese style, bringing customers back in time to the Edo period. Other than the food and drinks catalogue, there are some wondrous items in the service menus such as shuriken throwing experience, flame torching with a ninja staff, wood board breaking performances and more. There is also an intriguing service item to let a ninja staff remove the cover and show her face under the mask. Ninja costume rental is also available on request, so you can wear a twin outfit with the staff!



NEWTYPE, in my humble opinion, is the most interesting cafe out of all. It features male staff, or transvestite, who enjoy dressing in clothes appropriate to the opposite sex. They look just like any other girls with long hair and makeup dressed in a one-piece, yet, as they approach and begin to talk, yup, they are guys. The overall atmosphere and service is comparable to a gay bar but more interesting and relaxed. This is absolutely the place to go to if you are into the transvestite culture.

PS: To all the girls out there, don’t feel bad about how the guy staffs looking prettier than you when they crossdress, all we treasure is inner beauty. 🙂

Rules and Manners

Whenever I am travelling, I want to take a selfie with everything I see, post too many Instagram stories that annoy my friends and experience the stupidest thing like toilets that automatically opens up when you step nearby. However, when visiting a maid cafe or any concept cafe with similar services, there are a few rules we need to keep in mind.

  1. Do not take unauthorized photography of the maid in the store. They charge for photos, so you are stealing their business by taking your own picture.
  2. Any threats, including loud interrogation, are not allowed. Please be nice to everyone!
  3. No shouting of offensive statements is allowed. So if you are in the emergency to read out the F word, do it quietly so it is not disturbing other customers.
  4. Try not to repeat the same request over and over again when the staffs are busy. It only makes them anxious and makes you annoyed.
  5. Do not ask private or personal questions. And do not threaten them by telling them you know about their personal life.
  6. Do not exchange contact for dating purposes, and do not wait for or stalk staff when they are off work.
  7. No body contact is allowed. Not their hands, not their hair, not their clothes. No touchy touchy!
  8. Do not visit the store when drunk or feel uncomfortable.

Maid cafe and concept cafes is always interesting to visit especially when you find one that matches with your own hobbies. I obviously will visit NEWTYPE the next time I go to Tokyo and will write all full review on one of my eat with me posts. I am looking forward to it!!

The post Travel | Akihabara: Non-maid Cafes appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Peer Review Three

The site that I am reviewing this week is Marylou Villegas’s blog ( Marylou Villegas is a singer, songwriter and a silver award Youtuber with more than 100,000 followers. This blog is another platform for her to share her creativity and build up her brand.

The site has several compelling and recognizable branding elements, including the harmonious theme colours of natural earthy wood tones, warm white, browns and black. The consistent use of fairy light is also very interesting, giving visitors a more memorizable first impression. 

Marylou is doing a great job in terms of monetization as YouTube offers financial awards for successful YouTubers like her. She also has a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Spotify account, allowing audiences to subscribe to her regular content updates. I believe that the major focus of Marylou is her YouTube channel since it is the platform that generates the most revenue. Other social media, including this blog, are some platforms for her to attract more subscribers and more importantly, maintain interactions with her current fan base. 

In the second peer review, Marylou was recommended to decrease the size of some header images to reduce scrolls. I believe that she implemented this suggestion as no big image header is found on the contact and PUB201 page. Content on the “Home” page and “About” page can be reached within 1 scroll, which works perfectly well. The second suggestion from the peer review for Marylou is to be more active on social media, which I definitely agree with. Knowing that her Instagram account has the biggest follow comparing to other social media, I would recommend an update on Instagram at least once a week and once a month for other platforms. This will keep her subscribers engaged and maintain a closer relationship. Marylou surely has her own style when it comes to posting videos and creating content, which explains how she made it into such great success. Yet, after browsing through the YouTube channel, I feel like I would also want to see more about her personal life, or maybe some processes behind all the creative works. These contents might be a good fit for platforms outside of YouTube.

I really enjoyed Marylou’s blog and her skillful use of all social media platforms. She is pursuing her YouTube business into the next level and expanding through all types of media. I really look forward to her next YouTube video!

The post Peer Review Three appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Learn | Instant Noodle

Instant noodle, or instant ramen, is unquestionably one of the fastest meals to prepare which involves only a single highly skillful technique of boiling water (sorry for my sarcasm). It can be ready in 3 minutes and bring peace to your growling stomach. Instant noddle for sure owns its place on my comfort food list and I crave for this unhealthy, oily and salty carb junk food from time to time.


Chicken Ramen(Left), Ando Momofuku(Right)

Instant ramen was invented in 1958 around 10 years after Japan lost in World War II. During this post-war period, Ando Momofuku (安藤百福) was triggered to make the first-ever instant ramen “Chicken Ramen”, aiming to provide cheap, simple to make, safe, long storability and tasty food for the public. He industrialized the production process into 4 steps of 1) making noodles, 2) steaming the noodles, 3) flavouring and 4) deep frying, then began mass production in factories. It was marketed as the “magic ramen” and sales number went remarkably great. This recipe got adapted quickly throughout Europe and America, selling over 15 billion units within 30 years, which is more than 136,000 packs per day.

To perform worldwide quality control, Ando Momofuku gathered 10 largest makers from 10 countries in the world to start the International Ramen Manufacturers Association (1997), which is now the World Instant Noodles Association. In 2006, this association was officially recognized by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and manage to place a “CODEX Standard for Instant Noodles”.

Fun Fact

The instruction on the instant ramen package usually suggests cooking the noodle for 3 minutes before eating, yet the purpose of this duration is not to cook the noodles till an al dente texture. The preciously annoying 3-minutes wait time is solely to make us wait. The manufacturer thinks that waiting for 1 minute does not rise our tension of hunger, yet 5 minutes seems too long. Hence, they came up with a time frame of 3 minutes, which is just right to make us feel hungry but not angry. There was once a “1 minute instant noodle” in the market, yet comments like “the soup is still too hot”, and “waiting for the soup to cool down makes the noodle soggy” has stopped production of this product.


Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen

There are instant noodles from all over the world, but this 2019 ranking below focuses on Japanese instant ramen.
1) Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen ($6/ pack of 5)
2) Sapporo Ichiban Shio Ramen ($6/ pack of 5)
3) Maruchan Seimen Shouyu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
4) Maruchan Seimen Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
5) Shin Ramen ($4.5/ pack of 3)
6) Chicken Ramen ($9/ pack of 5)
7) Umakkachan Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.85/ pack of 5)
8) Raou Shoyu Ramen ($7.5/ pack of 5)
9) Maruchan Seimen Tonkotsu Shouyu Ramen ($6.5/ pack of 5)
10) Demae Iccho Sesame Oil Flavour ($6.5/ pack of 5)

*Prices are approximates got from

I usually bring a pack of instant noodle from Japan as a souvenir for myself. It is possible to buy the exact same brand and same flavour in Vancouver, but the price markup is insane. And, sometime there are some “limited time” flavours or new flavour that are not yet sold in countries other than Japan. So be sure to check out a supermarket before you end you Japan trip!

The post Learn | Instant Noodle appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Process Post | Data

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the biggest things right now when talking about data and such. For my website, without doing anything yet, it already appeared as the very first search result when googled with the keywords “Nihon Shoku”. I thought it is due to my cache and cookies, but even when I open an incognito window the same result showed up.

This is actually the first time for me to google my blog’s name, and I am quite surprised by the result. I realized that it might be due to the uncommon phrase “nihon shoku”. It can be an advantage and prove that my blog has a unique name, but at the same time showing uncommonness of this phrase. I also learned the reason why my blog was visited by viewers from Malaysia with a very high bounce rate. It is because there is a Japanese restaurant in Malaysia named “JyuJyu-Tei by Nihon Shoku”.

Another round of googling was done by search keywords in post titles. As expected nothing from my post appeared in the search result, also meaning that no travellers will be able to reach my site by googling. This is a great loss for me since a lot of people research for their trips by browsing on Google, yet, my contents are not listed. The result has persuaded me to put online resources, like Google Academy, into good use during the quarantine period and work on the SEO for my website. Although it might not boost up my blog to a significant level, it is definitely a milestone that worth my time.

The post Process Post | Data appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Learn | Maid Cafe

If you have ever watched any Japan travel vlogs or blogs, you must have heard about maid cafes. It is basically a themed cafe with cutesy waitresses dresses up in maid costumes, serving you adorable looking foods and drinks. The maids will usually ask you to make a spell “Moe, moe, kyuun! Oishikunare!” before you start your meal. Depending on the store, you can usually take pictures with one maid of your choice. This is an extremely popular and unique experience for tourists, especially for weebs like me who are very into anime and manga.


1998 Launch event for “Welcome to Pia ♡ Carrot! 2”.

Akihabara is the place that gathers anime, manga, gaming, idols and all kinds of otaku hobbies. It is also the place where maid cafes were born. The first maid cafe appears around two decades ago in the “Tokyo Character Show 1998”, where the launch event of the love simulation game “Welcome to Pia ♡ Carrot! 2” took place. The event production team set up a one-day cafe with waitresses cosplaying as game characters while serving customers. This concept cafe was greatly appreciated by fans, hence, the event team decided to run the cafe longer for a limited time. This further led to the grand opening of “Cure Maid Café”, which is believed to be the first official maid cafe.

Insider Talks

Maid gentlemen’s club

The popularization of maid cafes started a boom in the maid culture, yet, also brought up the dark side of it at the same time. Other than cafes, there are many maid-themed stores, like karaoke, casinos and more. Some store owners even started a trend of maid strip club, maid gentlemen’s club and maid prostitution. These sexual services are described as the dark side of the maid culture because it has attracted people with an unpure mind to Akihabara and leaving otakus with no place to stay. Additionally, the increasing amount of tourists that have heated up the battle between stores also causes some less pleasant voices within otakus and even maids.

From an interview performed on 100 maids staff, most of them agreed that otakus customers are more willing to spend money on services and tips more compared to tourists. The maids surely do not hate on or whatnot, yet, when it comes to financial benefits, otakus seems to have won the heart of the maids.

If you are a weeb, have an otaku hobby or if you are totally not interested in such a culture, I still recommend you to try out one of the maid cafes when you visit Japan. It is a very interesting experience, and if not, the girls are really cute and adorable to look at, cough cough, I mean the food and drinks are really cute and adorable to look at. Get ready to Moe moe kyuun! ♡~*

The post Learn | Maid Cafe appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Process Post | Monetize

When thinking of ways to monetization of a blog, the first idea that comes in mind is through advertisement banners. Yet, these banners are not only distracting but also receive a very low amount of clicks. Hence, I suggest myself to work with advertisers and compose sponsored content on my blog as a post. This does not only makes my website clean and more professional but also provides advertisers with more space to expand on the selling points of their products. Possible advertisers will be Japanese restaurants in Vancouver or Japan, agencies that hold local food tours in Japan, companies that produce food-related travel tools like restaurant rating mobile apps, and any other business that is related to both food and travelling in Japan.

However, I need a much larger readership before I will be able to get any sponsors. Therefore, I will keep working without making revenue until I gain at least 1000 followers on any of my social media accounts. Some options that I considered are to expand fellowship are making YouTube travel vlogs or reproducing blog content into shorter Instagram posts. Travel vlogs might not be possible right now since I am not in Japan nor visiting Japan soon, yet an Instagram account can be started soon. I will be able to promote the blog Nihon Shoku and build my multimedia design portfolio at the same time.

Monetizing was not my initial aim to start the blog, yet, if it is possible I would definitely work hard on it. I will also need to follow internet trends more closely and learn from more influencers on social media, so I can start off on the right track.

The post Process Post | Monetize appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Process Post | Visuals

Studies have shown that visual content helps people retain information better, suggesting that visual content creation for a blog is as important as written content. Some examples to learn from are Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and all other social media platforms with a large amount of visuals. My blog has several visual contents including the logo, large photographs, some gifs, yet, there are no videos, infographics or audio. To develop such content for my blog, I brainstormed a few ideas that might fit

First, I should make more videos during my future trips to Japan, and try to incorporate some audio within. I personally would not want to include my voice, which as an alternative, I can make good use of the current trend of ASMR clips. ASMR videos on chewing and eating sounds match with the theme of my foodie blog, create variety in contents and incorporate visual contents. It can be a tasting video of food bought from a convenience store in Japan or take-out from Japanese restaurants, which will allow me to relocate myself to a quiet environment for better soundtracks.

Secondly, infographics can be used to explain my blog post’s content, such as steps of a recipe, proper table manners and more. Similar to Kane Honnosuke‘s instructions on “How to eat Tendon”, I can learn from the store and create guidelines with illustrations. Generating my own artwork also helps my blog to look more consistent in terms of graphic styles, colour choices and more.

I will definitely try to include more multimedia content into the blog, so as to help audience understand my content better and improve the blog’s quality.

The post Process Post | Visuals appeared first on Nihon Shoku.

Eat | Kane Hannosuke

Kane Hannosuke (金半之助) is a Japanese chain specialty restaurant known for its Tendon, which is tempura rice bowl. Beginning with its main store at Osaka, Kane Hannosuke has expanded to a global scale with oversea stores in the US and Canada. After long years of wishing, dreaming and praying, they finally opened a store in Vancouver, allowing me a chance to try out this amazing rice bowl without having to worry about flights and travelling costs. This week we will not travel to Japan, but just our taste bulbs.


Inside of the store

Their first Vancouver branch is located on Robson Street, right at the center of Vancouver downtown. The outside of the store does not stand out, but the floor stand signage with a picture of its signature rice bowl caught me immediate attention as I walk by. When entering the store we can see a wall of cherry blossom painting. It is very calming and matches the overall atmosphere. Beige wood furniture with light green cushioned chairs and the warm yellow gradient from the lights also made a very friendly and peaceful first impression.

Main Course


The menu fully showcases their dedication towards tempura, featuring only their 4 famous tempura rice bowls and several tempura sides. I and my food buddy both ordered the premium tempura rice bowl, which has a whole white eel, shrimp, mixed seafood tempura, soft boiled egg, seaweed, green bean and the best part is that all items are deep-fried in the fluffy but crunchy tempura batter. These freshly made tempura pieces are then topped with a splash of special house-made sauce, and finally, placed nicely on a bowl of steaming hot rice. The sauce helps to reduce the oiliness and gently softens the shell so it will not hurt our gums even after eating that many tempura pieces. Before start eating, our waitress also recommended us to follow the steps illustrated in the guidelines.

Guidelines to eat a tendon

This is undoubtedly a very filling and satisfying meal that I am sure everyone loves. Each and every single bite is so enjoyable, juicy yet crunchy. When paired with the sauce and a spoonful of white Japanese rice, it is better than anything you can imagine. However, despite the fact that this meal is extremely delicious, the calories and oil consumption also made me worry and slightly guilty. Great price and a good portion, tasty but cost me hours of workouts afterwards. But I did not regret it and might even work harder so I can come more often!

The post Eat | Kane Hannosuke appeared first on Nihon Shoku.