Pancakes on a stick and nap cafés: five crazy things that could only exist in Japan
In terms of crazy ideas and technological advancements, Japan is a true El Dorado. There’s really nothing that does not exist in the Land of the Rising Sun. Over the years, the country has provided travellers and locals alike with a range of strange establishments, from cat cafés to mayonnaise restaurants.
Here are five of the latest wacky trends from Nippon:
- Maple syrup spa
- The nap café
- Rental friends
- Coffee spread
- Pancakes on a stick
Maple syrup spa
If you could choose from all the liquids on the planet to bathe in, which would you choose? Maple syrup, maybe? Hakone Kowakien Yunessun Spa offers visitors the chance to swim around in their favourite sauce in their hot tubs for some surreal body treatments. As well as maple syrup, other hot tubs are filled with chocolate water, green tea or red wine.
The nap café
A pop-up nap café recently opened in Tokyo in time to mark World Sleep Day on 17 March, as part of a collaboration between a coffee brand and a French luxury bed manufacturer.
Customers wishing to participate are required to order a food item from the menu, which includes a complimentary cup of decaf coffee. After waking up from their nap, customers will be given a cup of regular coffee to give them a caffeine-kick and spring back into life.
The Japanese company Family Romance offers folk the chance to rent friends, or at least people who will pose as your friends, in order to boost your social media presence. Ideal for solo travellers who don’t want to keep posing alone on Instagram, customers can select their ideal “friends” from a catalogue of photogenic models that are categorised by gender, age and other characteristics.
Everyone oversleeps from time to time, and this means rushing into the shower and in all likelihood skipping that essential first coffee of the day. However, the company Snow Brand Milk Products has launched a new creamy coffee-flavoured spread to smear on your morning toast to eat on the go.
Pancakes on a stick
We all love pancakes, but despite being a popular form of street food, they can be tricky to eat on the go. Thankfully, some creative culinary minds in Japan have come up with an ingenious solution: the pancake on a stick. The “Kushi Pancake” from Osaka Kawaii Panbo, which recently opened its doors to customers in the western city’s Shinsaibashi district, places miniature servings on a large cocktail stick alongside slices of fruit, marshmallows and a choice of sauce. Truly scrumptious.