ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

7 Coolest Japanese Things You've Never Heard Of

Updated on February 20, 2019
SgtCecil profile image

I am an expat living in Japan. Every day is an adventure and a blessing. Here are some of my most memorable experiences.

A cool body job I saw in a parking lot
A cool body job I saw in a parking lot | Source

There's more to Japan than you think!

The goodies from Japan are countless: cars, electronics, anime, horror movies and so on. Then there are the other things that are gobbled up by consumers all over the world. Folks don't know this stuff comes from Japan but know that it's clever, practical and useful. It's the secret stuff everybody sees but nobody thinks of.

I'm talking about the Japanese stuff people buy not because it's Japanese but because it's the perfect solution. These simple products go above and beyond. The customers are surprised and delighted--then they keep coming back. Before you know it you've got a global phenomenon.

So what are they? Don't worry, I won't let you miss the wave!

7. Kewpie Mayonnaise: for everything but your sandwich

Kewpie dolls are cute, naked cherub dolls popular all over the world. While the Kewpie craze is waning in the US, what keeps it alive in Japan is the only place you'll still see it: Kewpie Mayonnaise!

Mayonnaise is a force of food from the West Japan can't get enough of. Over the years, Japan has added its own twists and it's the Americans back home who can't get enough.

But mayonnaise is mayonnaise, right? Well... not exactly. There are a few things that make Japanese mayonnaise different from American. First it's thicker than mayo back home. Next, take a look below and you'll see that it's in a squeeze bottle. No need for a knife! Why haven't we caught on yet?!

Also Japanese mayo isn't used on sandwiches. It's used for salads (such as potato and tuna) and for many popular Japanese dishes such as okonomiyaki and takoyaki.

6. Seki Edge Nail Clipper

I know what you're thinking: A fingernail clipper? Seriously? Wait! Hang on a second. Click on the product and read the reviews. They are long and full of loving, beautifully crafted prose. I've never seen so much joy pouring from the heart over a fingernail clipper. Neither have you.

The Nagel Knipser clips nails unlike any other. It will last forever and it even catches your nail clippings! Repeat: it catches your nail clippings! Ingenious! Clearly, this is for the few of us who don't relish the experience of watching our clippings fly all over the place just to get lost in the sea of carpeting below.

Seki Edge Deluxe Fingernail Clipper w/Nail Catcher & Built in File (SS-101)
Seki Edge Deluxe Fingernail Clipper w/Nail Catcher & Built in File (SS-101)
In full disclosure, I do not own this product. In fact, it seems a bit expensive to me. But every once in a while, I swing by and think it over. Then I think about all the generic nail clippers I've used that barely do the job. They leave hangnails and clippings to be cleaned up. After six months or so they fall apart. Then I have to go and get another cheap one just to be disappointed again later on. Well, I'll keep dreaming... or you can beat me to it.

5. Pocky - a global phenomenon

You might have heard of this or at least seen it. If not, let me just say this: Pocky rocks. It's a convenient snack that tastes great. It's a kind of cracker, shaped like a thin pencil. About 80% of it is coated with chocolate.

Pick it up by its "handle" (the part that isn't covered in chocolate) and eat. It's too easy. So easy that people all over the world can't get enough. When I'm with at least two friends and one of us opens a box, it's gone before any one of us can name more than three flavors.

That's right. You don't think Glico (the company behind Pocky) would leave us only with chocolate, do you? While you may see only one or two in your lifetime, there are dozens of flavors. For those of us who's "gotta catch 'em all" we've got plenty to look forward to.

Glico Strawberry Family Pocky 3.95 oz
Glico Strawberry Family Pocky 3.95 oz
You're probably used to chocolate so here's strawberry. That's enough to get you hooked.

4. Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer: Panasonic ER-GN30-K Vortex Wet/dry Nose and Facial Hair Trimmer, to be exact

People don't talk about nose hair and with good reason: it's not interesting. It's a conversation killer but stick with me here.

I don't know how you handle your nose hair (please don't tell us in the comments below) but for more and more people, Panasonic delivers a product that works. The Vortex lasts and will never, ever hurt. That's right, this gadget doesn't pull nose hair or rip human flesh. You can save those tears for the next Nicholas Sparks book.

Panasonic ER-GN30-K Nose Ear Hair Trimmer
Panasonic ER-GN30-K Nose Ear Hair Trimmer
Reach for it before that hot date, big job interview or 10-hour Skyrim marathon and the situation's under control--you won't even need a mirror. If you want more details and reviews, click on the product here.

3. Nissen Chicken Ramen - Nissin Demae Ramen, Artificial Chicken Flavor

I always thought ramen was the last option of subsistence. I always thought it was a quick fix for college kids. They grab a pack on their way out the door, eating without even cooking it. Maybe it is for many back home but in Japan it is far more different.

Ramen is a tradition. Tiny, quiet ramen shops dot the landscape, filled with customers of all ages. As a small business owner, each master works his trade his way. One genius is noticed and suddenly there are lines of people waiting hours (yes, hours) for the experience.

Then there are the factories that churn out the mass-produced stuff we know as instant ramen. Not a problem. Do some homework, find something you like and dig in.

One brand to consider is Nissen, particularly the chicken-flavored. People back home can't seem to get enough. Nissen is the first instant ramen ever created but its taste alone justifies its fame. For both reasons, people all over the world pay homage to the Instant Ramen Museum in Ikeda, Japan.

Does Ikeda sound familiar? There's a festival and fireworks show during the summer.

Nissin Top Ramen Oodles of Noodles Chicken Flavor 3oz 48-pack
Nissin Top Ramen Oodles of Noodles Chicken Flavor 3oz 48-pack
If you haven't already, why not try one of the most popular flavors?

2. Tea or Ocha

Tea ("Ocha" in Japanese) isn't always formal and traditional. In fact, my first experience with Japanese tea was disastrous and embarrassing. It's taste was a shock, very different from the high-fructose corn syrup that I was used to.

For a growing number of Americans, green tea is on fire! It's easy to see why. The taste is exotic and easy to get used to. Also green tea has many health benefits--too many to list here.

Ito En makes the most popular green tea in Japan that you'll find in a bottle--at a great price, too. I don't miss Ito En whenever I visit relatives back home but I must admit that there is nothing like this anywhere in the US.

Ito En Tea Oi Ocha Green Tea, Unsweetened, 16.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Ito En Tea Oi Ocha Green Tea, Unsweetened, 16.9 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Outside Japan, the only way I know how to get my hands on it is by Amazon. You can do the same.

1. Japanese TV

I almost didn't include Japanese TV in this article for two reasons: 1. I think everyone already knows about it and... 2. It becomes a stale circus that tunes people out to a special, amazing culture--the exact opposite of what I'm trying to do in these articles. But let me tell you: it is funny!

Most Japanese television is tame, like TV anywhere else. Then, sometimes there's the really zany, crazy, wacky stuff. It hits the air and a few minutes later it's all over the internets. People all over the world are gobbling it up. You can go on YouTube right now and you'll evaporate in front of your computer from addiction.

MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge: Seasons 1 and 2
MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge: Seasons 1 and 2
Here is the show MXC. I came across this show while I was in the Army and I couldn't stop laughing. Enjoy!

Many Americans already do

Would you buy any of this stuff?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)