Tag Archives: Japan

Discover the people behind Japanese gastronomy

Last year, we introduced the ‘Meshiagare!’ exhibition, showcasing thousands of photos and videos exploring Japanese cuisine. Today, we’re revealing the second installation of this mouth-watering project, with a focus on the people putting food on the table

In partnership with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Google Arts & Culture is launching a new projectabout the incredible people behind the uniqueness of Japanese cuisine. You can check out their stories through 48 new exhibitions and more than a thousand unique images and videos.  

Here’s just a taste of what you might find.

Building up small businesses, generation after generation

Discover the stories of small family-run businesses and how over generations they’ve used traditional methods of making typical Japanese dishes, such as harvesting special products from very specific areas. Begin by exploring the history of soba noodles, where you’ll learn about Eiichi Kaneko, the 7th generation owner of Sarashina Nunoya — a shining example of Tokyo's classic soba stores.

A photograph of seventh generation soba maker, Eiichi Kaneko

Innovation and Japanese gastronomy

Discover how technology is used to create new types of food, incorporating tastes and methods from other countries. Stop by the Okaki Farm, where they’re working on the Taste and Beauty of Japanese Shine Muscat by introducing new technologies, as well as researching and developing new cultivation methods like renewable solar power.

A farmer at Okaki Farm carefully checks on the Shine Muscat grapes

Making the food industry more sustainable

More and more agricultural businesses are addressing environmental concerns, and many are changing their methods to reduce their use of chemicals. One example is Yamashita Fruit Garden CEO, Eri Yamashita (pictured at the top of the blog), who shares how Apples Make Us Think About The Environment and Consumerism.

Helping tourists learn about Japanese food culture

Discover how green tourism, traditional guest houses in farms, and teaching courses on traditional Japanese food and manners are more and more used to promote the stunning treasures of the culture of gastronomy — check out how the staff at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Ryotei Kinsui teaches the Beauty of Japanese Dining Etiquette.

A Japanese culinary appreciation and etiquette class at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Ryotei Kinsui

Still hungry for more? Check out the video of the passionate food influencer Sakiko Hirano receiving Professor Toru Fushiki to teach how to make the famous broth Dashi and Marie Chiba to expound on how to pair sake with Japanese food


This dive into the secrets of Japanese food-making will inspire you to learn more about the unique origins and transformation of incredible ingredients — and the people and businesses that make it all happen. 


Discover more online on Google Arts & Culture, available on iOS and Android.

Bring iconic Japanese characters to life with AR in Search

We all need a bit of escapism sometimes, and there’s nothing like a blast from the pop-culture past to do the trick. Today, we’re bringing characters from classic Japanese anime, games and TV shows to life — from Pac-Man to Hello Kitty — with augmented reality (AR) in Search. 


Japan’s anime and video game culture emerged between the 1950s and the 1980s, as comic books, gaming arcades and home TVs and consoles boomed. But it wasn’t just a Japanese phenomenon. The most iconic characters caught people’s imaginations around the world, and they’re still hugely popular today. 


Which animated icon is most searched on Google? Pac-Man leads the pack by a long way: worldwide search interest in the hungry dot-gobbler is more than double the next most-searched character, Hello Kitty. What might surprise you is that the top country for search interest in Pac-Man over the past five years was...Peru. Hello Kitty is most searched in the Philippines. 


When it comes to the broader trends, anime wins out. It’s more popular than video games worldwide, with interest for anime climbing to its highest peak on record in the past month. That’s pretty amazing — and in fact, search interest for “anime sugoi” (or “anime is amazing”) has spiked 2,300% in the past five years globally.
An animated world map showing search interest in anime characters over the past five years

Now, you can have these characters do their cute thing right in front of your eyes. Take a break to watch ghosts chasing after Pac-Man or Gundam swoop in your living room! Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man and Ultraman. (For die-hard otaku who can read Japanese, check out our Japanese blog with the full list.)

An animation showing how the Japanese anime characters will look in augmented reality on Google Search

How to access and share:

Search for one of the characters on Google using a mobile device and tap “View in 3D” to rotate or zoom in and see it up close. You can then bring the characters from outer space into your space with AR and turn up your volume to hear Hello Kitty deliver a cute message, or Pac-man's retro sound effects.

  • Android: Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app or any Android browser and tap “View in 3D.” You can see 3D content on devices with Android 7 Plus and you can see AR content on ARCore-enabled devices.
  • iOS:  Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app. 3D and AR content is available on iOS 11.0+ devices.
You can also create AR videos — or recreate your favorite scenes — with the recording option. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social with #Google3D.

Source: Search


The newspaper app helping Japan’s elderly population

Japan’s elderly citizens often live alone, and many have little regular contact with other people. That social isolation not only puts their health at risk, but also makes them more vulnerable during natural disasters, and to scams like fraud and extortion.


Regional newspaper Iwate Nippo wanted to do something to help elderly residents of Iwate (Japan’s second-largest prefecture) access life-saving services and help them feel more of a sense of belonging in their communities. With funding from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge, they developed Iwapon, an app created specifically for their older subscribers. 


The app’s safety features include a monitoring system that alerts family members if their relative hasn’t used their phone for more than 24 hours, information on suspicious calls or texts and a disaster information center to notify residents about threat levels and shelter locations during floods, storms, earthquakes and other severe weather. 


But Iwapon also fights social isolation in other ways—for example, by connecting residents to local businesses through virtual coupons, sharing local community and school updates, and giving them the chance to speak to an “on-demand” journalist about any concerns or questions they might have. 


To find out a bit more, we talked to Takuya Watanabe, manager of the digital media strategy division at Iwate Nippo.

How did the idea of Iwapon come to life?

As a local newspaper, we inform people about community problems like social isolation, and we also feel a responsibility to help address them. We already work closely with the police and local government. We regularly receive advance information about natural disasters, evacuation plans and details on fraud and suspicious behaviors to look out for. We thought an easy-to-use app would be a simple way that we could deliver this important information to people at risk, as quickly and accurately as possible.

What has the reaction been to the app?


The app was downloaded thousands of times within only six months. But the impact went beyond that. Monthly new subscribers for the online newspaper increased by more than 50 percent, and local businesses have approached us to become sponsors. Most importantly, the atmosphere within the company has changed. The app has helped increase cooperation within the editorial, advertising and sales departments. It’s also had a huge positive impact on the motivation of younger employees. 

What’s next for Iwate Nippo and Iwapon?

The COVID-19 pandemic affected many local businesses. We are planning to support small- and medium-sized restaurants and shops in the area by promoting them in the app. After the pandemic, the challenges facing our region are changing day by day. Through the app, we will continue to work with the community, tackle local challenges and contribute to protecting the safety and lives of people in our prefecture. 


Japan prepares for a changing economy

This summer, Japan was meant to be hosting visitors from around the world at the Olympic Games. Instead, Japan’s people and businesses are confronting the significant and lasting impact of COVID-19. While the postponement of the Games was disappointing, the immediate task is to make the necessary changes to deal with the pandemic and get the Japanese economy growing again in a sustainable way.  


Despite these challenges, there’s an opportunity for Japan not only to rebuild, but to shape a stronger future. We’re committed to helping in every way we can, building on our programs to expand digital skills and advance technology for good. 


Japan’s digital skills divide


One of the most urgent priorities is to close the divide between Japanese businesses that use the internet effectively and those that don’t. According to Ipsos research commissioned by Google, business owners who have adopted digital tools adjusted better to the impact of Japan’s lockdowns and social-distancing restrictions. 


Among businesses that own websites and e-commerce sites, 56 percent said in the survey that digital tools helped them handle the crisis. Kudo Sakai Dojo, a martial arts school in Osaka, began offering lessons online, while flower retailer Hana-Cupid has analyzed Google trends and used YouTube ads to attract new customers. 


Yet the research also found that just 41 percent of small businesses in Japan currently have an online presence—and fewer than five percent of small businesses launched a new website or e-commerce site during the lockdown.


Infographic on Japan SMB research

Many business owners or entrepreneurs want to take advantage of the internet, but they often don’t know where to start. Changing that has to be at the heart of Japan’s coronavirus response, and we want to play our part.  


Our commitment to closing the gap


Since 2016, we’ve provided digital skills training to 5.5 million people in Japan, running courses in 45 prefectures and working with more than 100 local partners. We’re now expanding these efforts. 


For the past month, we’ve been running seminars to help small businesses understand and adopt e-commerce, partnering with companies like Salesforce and Shopify, the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency (part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and Impulse (part of the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry). We’re adding new permanent courses to our Grow with Google training program, focused on helping businesses get online and promote themselves using platforms like Google My Business


As well as supporting businesses taking their first steps online, we’ve moved events like our Android 11 beta launch seminars to a digital format—so Japanese developers can now get information and support no matter where they live. We also continue to help Japanese founders through Google for Startups. Our most recent accelerator program got underway just as COVID-19 began to hit, forcing classes to move online, but the founders taking part have shown great resilience and flexibility. For example, Omsister, a childcare startup which provides bilingual nanny service, has launched a service offering online English lessons.


Looking to the longer term


Beyond its immediate impact, COVID-19 is raising longer-term questions in Japan—including what the future of work could look like.   


Japanese companies have traditionally required their workers to be in the office full-time, but during the coronavirus lockdown, many Japanese employees had to work from home—including almost half of all workers in the Kanto and Kansai areas (home to Tokyo and Osaka). After we made Google Meet available for free in April, we saw a big increase in Japanese companies and workers using it for video conferencing. 


This shift to remote work has become part of a bigger discussion about the need for more flexible and inclusive ways of working in Japan. We want to continue providing tools to help and sharing insights to inform the discussion, like our recent study on the impact of remote working


At the same time, we plan to deepen our partnerships in Japan in other areas of technology that we know will become more important as the country rebuilds. As major Japanese companies and government departments look to modernize how they operate, we’re working hard to help them adopt cloud computing. And as Japan continues to explore fields like artificial intelligence to solve social, environmental and economic problems, we’re helping through our program AI for Japan. It’s our commitment to train AI talent and advance and apply AI research for good.


In 2001, just three years after Google was founded, we opened our first overseas office in Tokyo, humbled to become part of a long tradition of Japanese forward-thinking. Today, despite the cancellation of the Olympics and the impact of COVID-19, we’re even more optimistic about the potential of technology for Japan’s future. We look forward to helping build that future with our partners and communities.

AI is bringing back balance to Japanese workers

The “Japanese economic miracle” is a term used to describe the fast-paced growth that Japan saw in the second half of the 20th century. Along with the rise to the world’s second-largest economy came a strong mentality for success, and much like other advanced economies, that left a side effect: work-life imbalance, resulting in an overworked population. 

Japanese entrepreneur Miku Hirano founded her startup, Cinnamon, to address this challenge to help relieve the burden on the Japanese worker. Using artificial intelligence, Cinnamon removes repetitive tasks from office workers’ daily responsibilities, allowing more work to get done faster by fewer people. Cinnamon recently participated in Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator Japan. We asked Miku to reflect on her path from becoming an entrepreneur and the challenges she faces in her work. 

When did you realize you wanted to make an impact on Japanese workers? 

I founded my first startup when I was a student in 2006, and it was successfully acquired by mixi in 2011, so entrepreneurship is not new to me. Just three years ago, I read a news story about a young woman in Japan who committed suicide after working too much. I did some research and found this was not an isolated incident, and in fact, we have word, karoshi, which means death from overwork.. 

I was pregnant at the time, and I started to think we should change this current working style for the next generation. Work-life balance isn’t just a “nice” aspiration to have. Consistency with your family, pursuing hobbies and spending time in nature is directly related to health and happiness. 

So how does Cinnamon help restore work-life balance? 

he majority of the time-consuming work that Japanese workers face is the result of “unstructured data.” For example, legal contracts are often 400 pages long, and without a way to quickly summarize it, workers are left to read the entire document, a task that can take up to a week to accomplish. Cinnamon uses artificial intelligence to quickly summarize the document in minutes.  

What we’re building at Cinnamon is a way to use AI to remove repetitive tasks that can give workers back hours of their life each day and increase the quality and output of their work. Advanced technology is the core component that makes Cinnamon work, and Google’s AI tools like TensorFlow and Firebase have been an easy way to allow computers to read and understand a lot of text very quickly.  

Why did you choose to participate in the Launchpad Accelerator? 

We were facing a block on how to develop large, quality AI models effectively and how to build strong teams.  Google’s program was supporting exactly that. 

During our time in the accelerator, we received hands-on mentorship for complex AI model development. We also got to participate in a program called LeadersLab, which gave us in-depth insight into our leadership styles.

What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs?

Start your business today!  There’s no reason to wait. Talk to potential customers immediately and get a sense for if they find your idea valuable. Most importantly, find your inspiration. For me it’s my kids, because they always inspire me with their genuine, fresh eyes and minds.

A new home for Japan’s startups

Google CEO Sundar Pichai meets Japanese founders from Sansan and Cinnamon

Japan has always been a nation of forward thinkers. From the bullet train and the walkman to the lithium ion battery, Japanese ideas have shaped the modern world—and now a new generation of Japanese entrepreneurs is carrying on that legacy, building businesses around technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning.  

To support these talented founders as they grow and scale globally, we’re opening the doors on a Google for Startups Campus in Tokyo. Joining a worldwide network with locations from London to São Paulo to Seoul, it’s a platform for Japanese startups to develop their ideas, access Google resources, and build connections with like-minded entrepreneurs.  

We’ve been supporting Japanese startups for some time now: Cinnamon uses AI to help businesses work more efficiently and Lily MedTech is working on a device that could better detect breast cancer at an early stage. The new Campus means we’re better able to help many more founders as they take their ventures forward. It’s co-located with our new office in Shibuya, so we can offer Google training, mentoring and tools. And it’ll provide a welcoming, inclusive environment for startups from all backgrounds. Over 37% of our Campus members globally are women—a higher percentage than in most other parts of the startup community, but one we’re working hard to increase every year. 

Starting in 2020, the Tokyo Campus will also be home to a new Google for Startups Accelerator, an intensive three-month boot camp for startups working in AI. The goal of the Accelerator program is to give founders with established products the tools to prepare for the next phase of growth, and ultimately contribute to a stronger Japanese economy. We’re confident the program’s focus on AI and machine learning will advance ways of applying technology to tackle social, economic and environmental challenges—an area where we believe Japan can lead the world. Applications open today.

The launch of a Google for Startups Campus in Tokyo is part of a bigger story, with Japan making technology, digital skills, and AI central to its ambitions for the future. Eighteen years ago, Japan was where we opened the first Google office outside the United States. Today, our team here is much bigger, but we're just as focused on making sure Japan has the digital tools and services it needs. We're helping Japanese businesses adopt cloud computing. We're supporting AI research at academic institutions and universities. And we've committed to train 10 million Japanese workers in digital skills by 2022, through the Grow with Google program we launched earlier this year. 

We’re looking forward to Campus contributing to these efforts, giving Japanese startups the opportunity to make their ideas real—and continue shaping the world like so many of Japan’s entrepreneurs before them. 

TerraTalk is changing how Japan’s students learn English

With increasing classroom sizes, more paperwork than ever and new mandates from the ministry of education, Japanese teachers face an uphill battle in their mission to teach their students. 

Yoshiyuki Kakihara wanted to use technology to figure out a solution, with an emphasis on English language education. He created TerraTalk, an AI-powered app that allows students to have audio conversations. TerraTalk’s artificial intelligence can hear and process what the students say and give feedback, removing this burden from teachers, and reinvigorating the classroom by creating an atmosphere filled with conversation and English learning games. TerraTalk was recently part of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, a program that provides mentorship and support to early-stage startups.

With nine acceleration programs and 341 startup alumni, we at Launchpadhave seen firsthand how  entrepreneurs around the world are using technology and startup innovation to solve the world’s biggest problems. In the third installment of our series, “Ideas to Reality,” we talked to Yoshiyuki about why he started TerraTalk, and where he hopes it will be in the next few years. 

TerraTalk app

A look at the TerraTalk English learning app.

When did you realize you wanted to make an impact on the education field? 

I grew up on the outskirts of Tokyo as a science-savvy kid and became super interested in foreign culture. I ended up leaving my high school to study in the United Kingdom. I did well academically back home, so it was quite a shock how my English fell short of being comprehensible at all abroad. It turns out that I wasn’t alone; in Japan, very few people reach conversational level at the end of secondary or university curriculum.

I feel that this is the result of an outdated methodology where too much emphasis is placed on explaining the grammar and little to no attention on putting the language into use. To make matters worse,  80 percent of teachers in Japan are putting 100 hours of overtime per month. They don’t have time to investigate, experiment with and transform the way they teach. When I learned this, I realized that I could help by creating a new technology to ease the burden on teachers, and make learning English more engaging for students.  

Who are your customers? How is your company positively affecting them?  

We do business directly with education institutions and local education councils. With our TerraTalk app, students can engage in role-playing style conversation lessons with their mobile devices. This enables teachers to ensure their students get enough speaking time, which is difficult to achieve with conventional classroom methodologies.

We are seeing students teach each other on how to tackle the exercises, sometimes creating their own competition out of it. In some ways, the technology we are bringing is humanizing classrooms, as it frees teachers from the standard lecture format.

How did you use Google products to make TerraTalk? 

BigQuery has helped us crunch massive user data to discover how people are using our app. Google Analytics is our go-to tool for marketing and search engine analysis. We use the TensorFlow family of machine learning tools and other numerous open source projects maintained by Google. We also use G Suite as a primary business tool, because of its reliability, security and ease of use.

Why did you choose to participate in Google Launchpad?

Google is a leading company in machine learning and cloud technology applications, which we heavily rely on. The prospect of receiving support in these areas was extremely appealing, especially when you are running a startup and saving time is everything.

What was the most memorable moment from Launchpad? 

We attended Launchpad Tokyo, which had seven startups in total. In a session called Founders Circle, founders from the startups got together and shared their biggest failures to date in a fireside-chat style. It was the moment where we became a true community, and many of us are still in touch after the program.

What advice do you have for future entrepreneurs? 

Don’t quit. Find a business or market where you have a natural advantage over other people. Whether your competition is other startups or established companies, it is the people you work with who make the difference.

Grow your indie game with Google Play

Posted by Patricia Correa, Director, Platforms & Ecosystems Developer Marketing

Google Play empowers game developers of all sizes to engage and delight people everywhere, and build successful businesses too. We are inspired by the passion and creativity we see from the indie games community, and, over the past few years, we've invested in and nurtured indie games developers around the world, helping them express their unique voice and bring ideas to life.

This year, we've put together several initiatives to help the indie community.

Indie Games Showcase

For indie developers who are constantly pushing the boundaries of storytelling, visual excellence, and creativity in mobile we are announcing today the Indie Games Showcase, an international competition for games studios from Europe*, South Korea and Japan. Those of you who meet the eligibility criteria (as outlined below) can enter your game for a chance to win several prizes, including:

  • A paid trip and accommodation to the final event in your region to showcase your game.
  • Promotion on the Google Play Store.
  • Promotion on Android and Google Play marketing channels.
  • Dedicated consultations with the Google Play team.
  • Google hardware.
  • And more...

How to enter the competition

If you're over 18 years old, based in one of the eligible countries, have 30 or less full time employees, and have published a new game on Google Play after 1 January 2018, you can enter your game. If you're planning on publishing a new game soon, you can also enter by submitting a private beta. Submissions close on May 6 2019. Check out all the details in the terms and conditions for each region. Enter now!

Indie Games Accelerator

Last year we launched our first games accelerator for developers in Southeast Asia, India and Pakistan and saw great results. We are happy to announce that we are expanding the format to accept developers from select countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, with applications for the 2019 cohort opening soon. The Indie Games Accelerator is a 6 month intensive program for top games startups, powered by mentors from the gaming industry as well as Google experts, offering a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of building a great game and company.

Mobile Developer Day at GDC

We will be hosting our annual Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday, March 18th. Join us for a full day of sessions covering tools and best practices to help build a successful mobile games business. We'll focus on game quality, effective monetization and growth strategies, and how to create, connect, and scale with Google. Sign up to stay up to date or join us via livestream.

Developer Days

We also want to engage with you in person with a series of events. We will be announcing them shortly, so please make sure to sign up to our newsletter to get notified about events and programs for indie developers.

Academy for App Success

Looking for tips on how to use various developer tools in the Play Console? Get free training through our e-learning program, the Academy for App Success. We even have a custom Play Console for game developers course to get a jump start on Google Play.

We look forward to seeing your amazing work and sharing your creativity with other developers, gamers and industry experts around the world. And don't forget to submit your game for a chance to get featured on Indie Corner on Google Play.

* The competition is open to developers from the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland).


How useful did you find this blog post?

Fuji Bokujo Dairy Farm: milking the best of the internet

fujibokujo2

As part of our series of interviews with Asia-Pacific entrepreneurs who use the internet to connect, create and grow, we chatted with Yuichiro Fujii, President of Fujii Bokujo Inc., a dairy farm based in Hokkaido, Japan. Founded in 1904, Fujii Bokujo runs the entire process of dairy product production—from milking, to breeding, to feed production—and needs a regular supply of seasonal workers to keep the farm going. In 2016, Fujii Bokujo was ranked as the third most popular company in Japan for employee welfare.


Can you tell us a bit about your farm and how your business works?

We have 900 cows at our farm in Furano, Hokkaido. We use the most cutting-edge technology and practices available in the dairy industry, such as fully automated milking machines. And we’re proud to export our homemade cheeses and ice creams worldwide. Business is booming and we’re eager to hire new employees each year, but farming isn’t everyone’s first choice of career. Each year, it gets harder and harder to attract new graduates. Most young people want to move to the cities and there’s a shortage of talent in the countryside.


What’s it like working on the farm?

Working life on the farm is fun, but it takes a lot of energy! Most of our 24 employees are in their twenties. Many come into the business with no experience of farming, but our motto is “We nurture our cows and our people.”  We’re constantly trying to create an environment where our people can grow professionally, and maybe personally too.


fujibokujocow

One of the residents of the Fuji Bojuko dairy farm.

What difference has the internet made for your business?

We are the descendants of pioneer dairy farmers in Hokkaido. A man named Edwin Dan, considered to be the father of modern day dairy farming in Hokkaido, coined the phrase, “Kaitakusha tare” (meaning “the pride of the pioneers”). We continue to practice the pioneer spirit today by always trying out new things.


So this year, to deal with our manpower crunch, instead of waiting for responses to wanted ads in newspapers and magazines, we decided to go online. To drive interest and awareness of Fujii Bokujo and the dairy industry, we used YouTube video ads and banner ads on the Google Display Network. In particular, we hoped that young people attending universities near us that had dairy farming courses would see our ads.


We got 260 enquiries for the three positions we had open and attracted 80 participants to a seminar we held to introduce our company. I was surprised by how far the message reached—we got responses from students not just from Hokkaido but also well-known schools in Tokyo and Osaka. In the end, we offered five students jobs, completing our hiring process three months earlier than last year.


What’s next for your business?

I’m looking forward to meeting next year’s graduates! We are in an age where domestic milk production cannot keep up with demand. In line with the spirit of Fujii Bokujo, it’s my life’s dream to develop and train the next generation for the dairy business.


I am also eager to use video not just for our corporate brand and hiring but also our product marketing efforts in the future. We are developing content that will help to entice the young people to the world of dairy.


Finally, with the Olympics coming up in 2020, nothing would make me happier than contributing to athletes winning medals through food. My dream is to have the athletes of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics enjoy the high quality milk we carefully produce at Fujii Bokujo.  


Lost in Translation no more with Word Lens in Japanese

If you don’t speak Japanese, Tokyo can be a confusing and sometimes daunting place to visit. Even if you make it through the complex subway system, you’ll be faced by street signs, menus or products on supermarket shelves that are only in Japanese. 

With Word Lens now available in Japanese, you’ll never have to worry about taking a wrong turn on a busy Shibuya street or ordering something you wouldn't normally eat. 

The Google Translate app already lets you snap a photo of Japanese text and get a translation for it in English. But it’s a whole lot more convenient if you can just point your camera and instantly translate text on the go. With Word Lens, you just need to fire up the Translate app, point your camera at the Japanese text, and the English translations will appear overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection. It’s every savvy traveller’s dream! 

Google Translate: Cash only

To turn your smartphone into a powerful instant translation tool for English to Japanese (and vice versa), all you need to do is download the Google Translate app, either on Android or iOS

Source: Translate