Explore the beefy world of Wagyu
Konnichiwa Minna. We have quite a beefy bento for you all as we explore wagyu beef lore and recipes, as well as learn some beefy Japanese lingo. Add to that our anime and Japan news, Only in Japan, AMVs and anime challenge, yes our bento is filled to the brim with yummy content, so chillax, take the shoes off and indulge, we are YOUR monthly source of anime and Japanese content. Itadakimasu!!
News from March 2021
Corona dealt Konami a heavy blow
The pandemic has affected all of us in some way or another, from little personal inconveniences to corporate devastation. Konami, a video game design company that is a household name not only in Japan but to every gamer on Earth, has been hit hard as well. Konami is not just known for its video games but also its major chain of Gyms. They are also known to sponsor athletes, especially gymnasts.
Kyodo News reported that sixteen of Konami’s sports clubs will be closed for good by end of May. The decline of customers due to the covid-19 pandemic, the major cause. Locations affected include Tokyo, Osaka, Niigata and Aiichi.
In Japan, Konami doesn’t only make video games. It also has a major chain of sports clubs. Gyms have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and Konami has had to shutter a number of its locations. Below is a video made by Konami showing their commitment to safety during the pandemic, reminding employees to wear their face shields and masks and encouraging social distancing, especially while exercising.
Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Season 1 finished shooting
According to actress Daniella Pineda’s Instagram, (she plays Faye Valentine), the first season of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the hit anime series Cowboy Bebop wrapped up. It must be a relief for the crew who suffered delays in shooting the series multiple times due to a knee injury and of course the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to interviews with writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the anime series is less standalone than the anime source material and will focus more on Spike’s story, but that the show will still have the multicultural feel the original anime had. Now we have to wait and see if it will be good, will it fail and go to live-action adaptation hell, like most live-action series adapted outside Japan or will it blow our minds…
Here is Netflix’s breakdown of the series;
‘Based on the worldwide phenomenon from Sunrise Inc., Cowboy Bebop is the jazz-inspired, genre-bending story of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine and Radical Ed: a rag-tag crew of bounty hunters on the run from their pasts as they hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals. They’ll even save the world…for the right price.’
More Dr Stone and Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu)
Both beloved anime series Dr Stone as well as Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation revealed in their last episodes that more anime is coming our way soon. Dr Stone already streamed a teaser of its next season and it seems that the story is going to the open sea, to seek out scientific challenges in the unknown world across the continent.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu) ended on its 11th episode by revealing in their post-credits that more episodes are coming. According to Funimation, the series will run for 23 episodes. It is not known when the new episodes will be available, but we will keep you posted, so watch this space.
Muscle-bound Machamp, master of exersize
Machamp, the four-armed evolution of Machamp is sharing his way of exercising, which can be useful since most of us prefer to stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic situation. Machamp shows us how maintaining fitness does not have to be difficult. His program focusses on maintaining strength and flexibility of the body’s arms and legs and the way he runs his routine is from a routine that is quite popular in Japan, there are even whole companies doing a similar routine to warm up for the day’s work and errands, taking in mind not to exhaust themselves of course.
Machamp’s routine includes some of his iconic pokemon battling moves, and even if we are only two armed ourselves we can adapt to it easily. Some of the moves incorporated are Low Kick and Scary Face. All you need to do is to call your own your inner Machamp and join in.
Only in Japan
We bring you a short but sweet Only in Japan this month, tapping into the beautiful ‘bizarreness’ from the anime motherland. This month we talk about virtual girlfriends, and no this is far more intricate than a Tamagotchi virtual pet.
Japan has a huge loneliness problem, especially between the ages of 18 to 34, where over 70% men and 60% of women are unmarried, mostly because they are either over-worked and do not get the time to meet that someone special or they are Hikkikomori, recluse hermits that refuse to leave home and spend the day gaming.
For the past five or so years the Japanese tech company Gatebox has been offering me a live-in virtual anime girl, and no this is not just for anime otakus. Their device sits on your desk and produces a 3D image of a friendly, supportive animated you lady who wakes you up in the morning and has conversations with you throughout the day. And it seems that now they can offer life-size up to 165 centimetres tall ladies as well!
And if someone wants to marry his virtual love, who are we to judge, there are things in this world beyond our understanding, such as a girl in love with Godzilla, Only in Japan.
Kawaii Kulture: Wagyu, the king of beef
Many foodies, meat aficionados and like-minded folk have a holy grail, for most it is to taste the crème de la crème of beef, wagyu. The word conjures up images of beautiful fatty flavoursome beef or daydreams where cows are pampered with classical music and drink beer as part of their diet.. But let us bring you the truth of this beefy legend.
Real wagyu comes from Japan, the name loosely translated means ‘Japanese cow’ and in Japan, four cattle breeds make up the wagyu beef breeds: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn and Japanese Polled. These breeds are uniquely different from the British, Australian and European breeds. They are medium-sized, hardy with a great temperament and of course there is the uniqueness to their meet.
Wagyu beef’s most distinguished attribute lies in its marbled appearance, it has higher intra-muscular fat than other breeds, its texture is finer and it is very flavoursome. These yummy beasts originated as beasts of burden in olden times but their love affair with the Japanese people extend so deep that in 1997 the Japanese Government declared wagyu as a national treasure and banned exports of the cattle to other countries. Of course, exported cattle from Japan do exist pre-1997, which caused countries like the U.S.A, Australia and South Africa to have their own ‘wagyu-crossbreeds’ but even if those cattle produce wonderful meat, let us be honest, crossbreeds are not real wagyu.
As to the question of why this beautiful beef tastes so good, it has nothing to do with the urban myths that these cows go to a cattle spa every day, live on a diet of beer and gourmet food. Nice fantasy genre myth, but the secret to wagyu is good breeding and genes, from living in Japan and being fed a healthy special diet made up of grains. And a myth that is true is that these cattle do live longer than most other breeds, which improve the flavour, the cows can live up to three years, where normal beef cattle have a lifespan of 15 months.
Oh and a culinary tip: Kobe beef is a wagyu beef but not all beef is Kobe. This is because Kobe meat comes from Kobe prefecture, so if you buy wagyu and the label reads that it’s Kobe, but the label says that it is a product from Australia or wherever else, it is a lie. Kobe beef comes only from Japan. It does not mean the meat you are buying is not good quality meat, it is just lying about the Kobe part, shame on them. We have more about this fact in one of the videos below.
Kobe vs Wagyu: Understanding Japanese Beef
Japan: The Wagyu Mecca
Spread the Word & Word of the Month: Gyūniku
Our word of the month for April is the Japanese word for beef – Gyūniku
Other words for beef includes Bifu.
List of beefy words
kubi – neck
kata rosu – chuck Roll, chuck tender
kata – shoulder
katabara – brisket, shoulder belly
ribu – rib lion
saaroin – sirloin
ranpu – rump
soto momo – bottom round
hireniku – tenderloin
uchi momo – top round, topside
shintama – flank
tomobara – plate, short plate
sune – shank
Recipe of the month: Wagyu
In this bento we look at two yummy recipes. First up we look at how to cook Wagyu Steak Cubes. It is Saikoro steak -Saikoro means cubed beef tenderloin. Secondly, we visit the world-renowned humble chef Hiroyuki Terada who is going to show us his favourite way to cook Wagyu over a grill.
How to Cook WAGYU STEAK CUBES
World's Best Beef On Binchotan Charcoal Grill
April Anime Challenge: Cheating Craft
Our April anime challenge is Cheating Craft, a Japanese/Chinese anime series that was animated by BLADE and produced by Emon. It is based on Gemini Xin Luo’s novel Zuobi Yishu and premiered in October 2016. It was directed by Keitaro Motonaga, Mai Matsuura and Norie Tanaka designed the characters and they served as chief animators with Ryousuke Tanigawa. The female pop idol group Kamen Joshi performed the opening song and Aina Kusuda did the ending theme.
In the world of Cheating Craft, academic success decides your entire future, and the classroom is a ruthless battlefield. If you pass examinations, your future is guaranteed, while failing leads to a life of cruelty, torment and despair. To survive and stay alive you must be cunning or intelligent, either study your butt off or have the perfect cheating strategy. We follow the exploits of cheater Zhuge Mu Ming. What will be his destiny?
Birthday of the month: Kurapika (Hunter x Hunter)
Kurapika is a hunter and known to all Hunter x Hunter fanatiks as the last survivor of the Kurta Clan. The Kurta Clan was all murdered for their eyes, which were removed from their bodies, because when certain emotions are activated their eyes become blood-red. Their Eyes are known as Scarlet Eyes.
Kurapika is set on revenge, it is his goal and driving force to avenge his clan and to recover all the pairs of eyes of his murdered clan. He has blonde hair brown eyes (or blue eyes – In the manga and 2011 anime it is brown, in the 1999 anime it is blue), and of course, when he has intense emotion his eyes glow a beautiful red. When we meet him in the series he wears a blue tabard, decorated with an orange hem and a white full-body training suit underneath.
His character was inspired by the Ohmu in Hayao Miyazaki’s manga Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It is also interesting that Kurama, one of the main protagonists in Yoshihiro Togashi’s, YuYu Hakusho, bears some similarities to Kurapika. (Both mangas is by Yoshihiro Togashi): Both are cunning master strategists, both are prodigies and highly intelligent, both appear androgynous, etc.
AMV of the month
Our AMV videos this month are the song Overfly by Luna Haruna featuring the anime Cheating Craft which happens to be our anime challenge this month and the song Believer by Imagine Dragons featuring scenes from Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter
Anime Meetup: 24 April - Spring Season Openers
Konnichiwa Anime Fanatiks. Our Anime Meetup this month is on April 24th and we will view all the Spring Season openers. This time our event will be both at Cool Runnings as well as on our Discord, catering for our Fanatiks that live far or that cannot get to Cool Runnings as well as those who can. Takeshi will host the Cool Runnings part of the event, while Ookami will host the Discord event.
WHEN: 24 April 2021
TIME: 12:00 to 18:00
WHERE: Discord or Cool Runnings, Centurion (120 Ivan Str, Hennops Park Centurion, Gauteng · Pretoria) The anime day is at the back of the club in the anime screening room.
Link: https://discord.gg/59J2PEg (Remember to accept the rules to gain access to the full channel)
Grab a friend and join us for a super sugoi online event or super sugoi meetup event at Cool Runnings.
Be sure to look at our event page on our website as we may update with more news on events, and if these are changes to events, especially since COVID-19 is still a factor.