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Rainy Season Sweets To Brighten Your Spirits

first_imgAll-day rain, humidity… when you get tired of the gloomy weather, why not find something you can only enjoy around this season instead?Seasonal Japanese SweetsWhen it comes to wagashi, there are plenty of seasonal sweets to choose from; jonamagashi are particularly important, as they are designed with the season itself in mind, and make use of ingredients that can only be found during that time frame. Japanese sweets with names like risshun (first day of spring), geshi (midsummer), and Tanabata (star festival) line the shelves of traditional Japanese sweet shops, and make excellent party foods too. It’s often said that there are over 100 different kinds of sweets produced by confectionery shops through the course of a year in Japan.Today let’s look at some beautiful tsuyu related sweets sure to brighten any rainy day.Ryokuu (Green Rain): Fukujudo-HidenobuA sweet from Fukujudo-Hidenobu confectionery shop in Osaka. Ryokuu refers to the rain in the season when fresh greenery appears. This sweet is made to represent a young leaf with a rain drop almost falling off of it. The rain drop is made from gelatin, while the leaf is formed from a Japanese cake base called nerikiri, and is stuffed with anko, or sweet red bean paste. This sweet tastes best when enjoyed with a cup of green tea.Available: end of May – start of JuneWebsite: http://www.fukujudo-hidenobu.co.jp (Japanese)Rain: TaneyaTaneya opened its first shop in Shiga prefecture. Covered by soft and jellied kudzu, there are several types of sweet bean paste inside this cute hydrangea flower. This dessert is not too sweet, so it goes well along with tea or coffee also.Available: early June – early JulyWebsite: http://taneya.jp/home/ (Japanese)Hydrangea Kinton: Tsuruya-YoshinobuTsuruya-Yoshinobu in Kyoto has four hydrangea sweets sold during this season. The color of gelatin balls and kinton (made from mashed sweet potatoes and chestnuts) really catch your eye. The inside is filled with a coarse sweet bean paste, which is not too heavy to eat as a snack.Available: end of May – mid-JuneWebsite: http://www.turuya.co.jp/en/index.htmlHydrangea: Tsuruya-HachimanI found another hydrangea at Tsuruya-Hachiman in Osaka. The bright light blue is sure to catch your attention, while the vivid yellow red bean paste makes for a vibrant contrast.After taking your first bite, you will relish the springy soft texture of the outside while the lightly egg-flavored filling blends perfectly into the mix. This is another great confectionery to eat with matcha green tea.Available: June 1st – 15thWebsite: http://www.tsuruyahachiman.co.jp/Hydrangea: KeishindoThere are crackers to match the season too; these ones come from Keishindo, a shop that originated in Nagoya and has now spread all across Japan. These hydrangea crackers have the light taste of shrimp to them, while the leaves have accents of shiso (perilla), and the snail has a richer shrimp flavor to it it. The white and cream colored ‘rain drops’ are made from sweetened rice crackers.Available: early May – early JuneWebsite: http://www.keishindo.co.jp/foreign/index.htmlSeasonal Calendar – Hydrangea: Tsuruya-YoshinobuThis is a half-dried type of sweet known as a higashi, which can be preserved for longer than other sweets like we have already encountered, which are called namagashi (raw or fresh sweets). The surface of these higashi sweets is a dried gelatin and they somewhat resemble sweet bean paste. When you open the packaging, these cute sweets almost seem to greet you.The subtle sweetness of the gelatin will spread across your taste buds after the first bite.Available: end of May – end of JuneWebsite: http://www.turuya.co.jp/ (Japanese)Walking Through Wagashi StoresWhen visiting a traditional Japanese sweet shop in early summer, you are sure to find many different confections in the shape of hydrangeas, the most popular flower of this season. Despite the flower being found in many different shops, each has their own unique way of representing this seasonal blossom. If you would like to see these and other season-limited treats, simply head to your nearest department store and pay a visit to their food floor – you won’t regret it!last_img read more

Taito Ryokan Asakusa Vintage 1950s Japan

first_imgFor reasonable price, try Japanese housing!The original atmosphere in Taito Ryokan has lingered since its establishment in 1950. Not many places offer such a reasonable price (one person 3000 yen per night) and the opportunities to enjoy traditional Japanese housings. Those who want to experience real life style in Japan instead of a simply stay, you should definitely give it a try!InformationTaito RyokanAddress:2-1-4 Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku, TokyoCheck-in:15:00~22:00Check-out:10:00WiFi:YesLanguage:Japanese, EnglishStation:Ginzza Line “Tawaramachi” stationAccess:3 minutes walk from “Tawaramachi” stationPrice:3000 yenPhone:03-3843-2822Official HP:台東旅館 The oldest temple in Tokyo Sensoji has a symbolic gate Kaminarimon with its famous large red lanterns and also a grand five-story traditional tower Gojunoto inside. Take a five-minute walk from the temple, and you will find a Japanese style hotel Taito Ryokan in the old down town district.Experience Japanese HousingAs you reach the entrance, traditional lanterns and wooden stairs capture your eyes. They have been here since 1950, the year this ryokan was built. Tourists from abroad always take pictures of the stairs because of their unique appearance.The shared space where tourists enjoy chatting and relax is just like a Japanese traditional living room. Tatami mats are laid and kotatsu, a Japanese style heating facility, is been set up here.Users can enjoy reading travel magazines not only about Tokyo, but also sightseeing throughout Japan. Many visitors plan their trips while sitting and reading magazines at the kotatsu.There is a small Japanese garden, a so-called tsuboniwa inside the ryokan. In a quiet yet peaceful space, the small garden has a tsuchikabe, a wall made from soil, and marumado, a tasteful round window, which both set off the garden.One of the features of Japanese housings is fusuma, a sliding partition door. Beautiful scenes from Japan are depicted on the doors there. Thanks to these fusuma, the traditional Japanese atmosphere is made even more attractive and charming.Next, let’s look into the rooms.All rooms are in Japanese styleThere are nine types of rooms and all of them are Japanese style. It’s economically friendly to tourists since it costs one person 3000 yen per night. In addition, those who stay more than seven nights can enjoy some discounts.* There are no dormitory rooms so you may be asked to share your room if you are staying alone during the peak seasons.Copyright:Taito Ryokan HPIn a very traditional Japanese room, your tiredness during your trip will surely be healed thanks to the relaxing scents of tatami mats and fluffy duvets.Copyright:Taito Ryokan HPThere is a round table chabu-dai and Japanese cushions zabuton in a resting space inside the room. Having Japanese tea and sweets are obligatory in Japan.Introduction of FacilitiesToilets (Shared, Men’s and Women’s)Washbasins(Shared)last_img read more

The Origins Of Kawaii Culture The Tokyo Coloring Book Art Museum

first_imgKiichi’s Coloring Books: Longed After by Japanese Girls Back when Japan wasn’t a wealthy and developed country like it is today, what brought pleasure and happiness to little girls were pictures that they could color in themselves. Coloring in these simple line drawings has been a pastime that the Japanese people have been fond of for many years.The girls in these pictures wearing dresses and accessories are found to be cute, ‘kawaii’ in Japanese, thus making them the object of many young girls’ desires.At the time, there were a number of companies producing coloring books. The pictures that gained the most popularity were pictures that were drawn by Kiichi Tsuya, and her works came to be known as ‘Kiichi no Nuri-e’ or ‘Kiichi’s Coloring Books’. Showing off the splendid coloring book culture centered around Kiichi’s coloring books, is the Coloring Book Art Museum, located in Machiya, in the Arakawa ward of Tokyo. Photo courtesy of: The Coloring Book Art MuseumInside this art museum there’s an area set up where you can color in your own versions of the coloring sheets for free. When we visited there were a number of kids sitting here, completely absorbed in their coloring. This area can be viewed on the Coloring Book Art Museum’s home page (corner page in Japanese). Many of the best works done by the kids are displayed in this online gallery.Let’s Go to the Coloring Book Art Museum and Experience Kawaii Japan Photo courtesy of: The Coloring Book Art MuseumThere is just one floor in this museum in which pictures are displayed on and no steps to contend with, making it a barrier-free facility for those with mobility issues. Rather than just having pictures hanging on the walls, there are numerous drawer displays with other works throughout the museum, which patrons are permitted to freely open and look at. You are sure to find something that catches your eye amid all the works on display in the Coloring Book Art Museum.If These Are Coloring Book Pages, Why Are Some Colored In?Photo courtesy of: The Coloring Book Art Museum‘If these are pictures from coloring books, why are some of them already colored in?’ ‘Aren’t you supposed to color them in yourselves?’ I’m sure there are more than a few of us who can’t help but wonder this. The pictures that have already been colored in are actually the covers of the coloring books. You’re sure to enjoy simply looking at these covers; they really do make your imagination soar. The coloring books on display here are not only Japanese either; you will find books from various countries all around the world exhibited here. By seeing the numerous coloring books from many diverse countries you will quickly realize just how popular coloring is as a past time with people worldwide.Nuri-e Corner: Choose a Coloring Sheet and Have Funcenter_img There are a number of ways to reach the Coloring Book Art Museum. You can take either the Chiyoda or Keisei lines or the Toei Toneri liner, or the bus too. But we recommend taking a more nostalgic approach: try taking the Toden Arawakawa line, an old-fashioned streetcar. The closest stations to the museum are Machiya Nichome Station and Higashi Ogu-Sanchome Station. Let’s See the Vivid Coloring Books at the Nuri-e Art MuseumNow let’s head into the Coloring Book Art Museum.Photo courtesy of: The Coloring Book Art MuseumAs with almost any museum, you must purchase an admission ticket before being allowed to see the exhibitions. It is 500 yen for junior high students to adults, 100 yen for elementary school students, and free for those younger than elementary school age.Here you can also purchase goods based on those in the museum’s exhibits, so once you’ve made your way through the museum, why not stop here to get something to remember your visit? Not only do they have museum-limited goods, but you just might also be able to find a copy of the piece that you liked the most for sale here.At the museum entrance there is also a seasonal display. We visited this museum in the fall around Sports’ Day, so there were many sports-related pictures to enjoy. Photo courtesy of: The Coloring Book Art MuseumFluffy skirts, cute ribbons – these are clothes that little girls especially still love to this day, whether they be from Japan or around the world. It just might be that the girls depicted in these coloring books are the origin of modern Japan’s kawaii culture.If you’d like to see the origins of kawaii for yourself, then please head to the Coloring Book Art Museum when you get the chance! Nurie Art Museum View Informationmuseumlast_img read more

Exploring ICT Tourism With a Student From Thailand

first_imgThis is a new article in the series where we rediscover Japan’s allure through the eyes of students from Thailand. In this 7th installation of the series we will be investigating tourism using ICT technology.Today we will be traveling with Ginny from Thailand, who also appeared in the articles on Akihabara, Tokyo Tower, and Jiyugaoka.While we explore ICT tourism be sure to have a look at the images provided by NHK World TV’s Tokyo Eye 2020 ~ICT Tokyo~. InformationBICQLO (Biccamera) Shinjuku East Exit*The following is Biccamera’s informationAddress: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku Shinjuku 3-29-1Hours: 10:00 – 22:00Closed: Open 365 days a yearWi-Fi: AvailableCredit Cards: VIEW, Aeon イオン, JCB, VISA, DC, MASTER, AMEX, Diners, 銀聯, UFJ, MUFG, Tōkyū card 東急カード, Nicos, Orico, Rakuten 楽天, MICARD, TS3Languages: English, Chinese (There may also be staff who can speak Thai, Korean, and French)Languages Available in other Languages: yesStation: Shinjuku Station 新宿駅 (JR Yamanote, JR Chuo Line, JR Sobu Line, JR Saikyo Line, JR Shonan Shinjuku Line, Marunouchi Line, Shinjuku Line, Oedo Line, Keiou Line, Odakyu Line)Access: 5 minutes on foot from the East Exit of the Shinjuku Station 新宿駅東口Price Range: Varies depending on the productReligious Information: -Phone Number: +81-3-3226-1111Official Website: Bikkuro Biccamera Shinjuku East Exit (Japanese, automated English translation available)Uobei Shibuya Dōgenzaka Store 魚べい 渋谷道玄坂店Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dōgenzaka 2-29-11Hours: 11:00 – 24:00 (admission/last order: 23:30)Closed: Open 365 days a yearWi-Fi: -Credit Cards: JCB, AMEX, DinersLanguages: EnglishMenus available in: English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), KoreanStation: Shibuya Station 渋谷駅 of every lineAccess: 5 minutes on foot from the Hachiko Exit of the Shibuya Station 渋谷駅ハチ公口Prince Range: 1,000 – 2,000 yenReligious Information: -Phone Number: +81-3-3462-0241Official Website: Uobei Shibuya Dōgenzaka TOKYO EYE 2020NHK World TV’s program, broadcast in English. Tokyo, the metropolis making changes with the Olympics on the horizon. The world’s most exciting city reveals its potential.Past episodes cane be viewed on VOD. You can also use this IC card in convenience stores for paymentsIt’s a convenient item that can be used outside of JR East Japan’s main lines, for trains country-wide, as well as shopping.Off we go! First, we head to the station.Ginny “There are several entrances. Which one should I use?”There are three types of gates in Japanese train stations: “entry-only”, “exit-only” and some that work either way. To get through, use a gate that doesn’t have a red mark on the flap doors.Passing through is easy. Just hold your Suica over the blue touch panel and pass through. If you don’t have enough money on the card, or if there is an error, the panel will flash red. In this case, talk to the station workers to solve the problem.Ginny passes through with ease.Ginny “It went so easily and smooth. The design is easy to understand, so I managed to pass through without worries.”Once you’re inside, the next step is getting on the train. Each of the JR lines uses a distinctive color for its trains, so those who have trouble with Japanese should use the colors of the trains for orientation. This time we are using the Yamanote Line, whose color is green.When you’re inside, look above the door! An LCD screen displays the current station and the direction in which the train is headed, as well as the estimated time left until the destination is reached.*This applies only to the JR Yamanote Line. Other lines vary in terms of equipment.Ginny “Look, the display shows the information both in English and Japanese. No need to worry about getting lost.”2. Finding our way aroundUpon reaching Shinjuku, she immediately takes a souvenir photo.Ginny “I’m going to brag about being in Shinjuku on my SNS. Shinjuku and Shibuya are famous among the youth in Thailand as well.”It seems that youngsters in Thailand know more about Japan than we thought. Let’s have a look at the areas of Shinjuku that are particularly well known to them.Ginny ” First off is Alta! This is where people meet up with one another, right? It’s pretty famous. I don’t actually know what’s around there, though…”Ginny “The Don Quijote in Shinjuku is famous as assplace to buy souvenirs.”This time Ginny has got her eyes on tax-free stores.Ginny “I want Japanese beauty appliances, so I’m going to check out some electronics stores that sells them at tax-free prices.”She’s using the “TAX-FREE SHOPPING GUIDE”, a smartphone application that helps us find the particular stores we’re looking for. This app allows you to search using criteria such as area, distance from your current position, and the goods you’re looking for (watches, clothes, etc.), which will then bring up a map to guide you to the store.Ginny “It looks like there’s “BICQLO” store nearby!”Using the app for orientation, she heads to her destination. Both public and private sectors of Japan have been focusing to make progress on ICT (Information and Communication Technology).In 2012, Japan’s yearly GDP was around 474.4 trillion yen, 50.4 trillion yen of which was created by ICT related businesses. ICT technology is being used in many situations of daily life, and even foreign visitors have been using it.In this article we will cover how ICT influences the four categories of activities related to tourism: transportation, finding your way around, shopping and cuisine.1. TransportationIf you’re visiting Tokyo, the first priority is getting to your destination. Tokyo is the city with the most highly developed transportation system in the world. By getting used to the trains and subways, you become more capable of budgeting your time and money, which allows you to visit Tokyo much more effectively.However, because of its high rate of development, there are some things about Tokyo’s transportation system that are hard to understand for travelers. If you have any trouble, use one of the ICT services available in order to travel through Tokyo in a carefree manner.Ginny “Today I want to go to Shinjuku and Shibuya. I wonder if I can get there by myself…”If there is something that we would like travelers in Japan to try, that is “Suica.” It is the IC card introduced by the railroad company known as “JR East Japan.” By charging your card with money beforehand, you can use the train without the need to purchase a ticket.center_img At BicCamera there are always members of the staff who can speak both English and Chinese. To those who don’t speak either of these languages we recommend the smartphone application “Jspeak”.When you speak into your phone using Jspeak, the app automatically translates your words into Japanese. It can also translate Japanese into whatever your native tongue is, allowing you to have a conversation with a Japanese person. It can translate up to 10 languages, including Thai and Spanish.*1…English, Chinese, Korean, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Thai, IndonesianIf you have any trouble, try talking to the staff.Ginny “Which beauty appliances are popular?”Will they understand her…?Employee “Beauty appliances? There are many people who buy this hair dryer.”She guided us to the area with beauty appliances that are popular among customers.Ginny described the functions and design, as well as the color she wanted, and managed to buy the hair dryer she was looking for.4. CuisineOnce we were through with shopping, we went to eat something.In many restaurants in Japan tablets and other similar electronic devices are being used to improve efficiency in placing orders.Now, when you speak of popular Japanese cuisine, sushi is pretty high on the list. We heard about a sushi place in Shibuya where 70% of the customers are foreign travelers, and went to check it out.Only two minutes away from Shibuya’s landmark “SHIBUYA109” is “Uobei, Shibuya Dōgenzaka store 魚べい 渋谷道玄坂店.” The reason behind its popularity is that it uses ICT in its services. Let’s check it out.This isn’t your typical sushi place. The interior is straight out of the near future, with a white-based scheme. All 50 of the seats are arranged in the usual sushi restaurant style.What caught our interest were the 3 lanes running in front of the seats, and the displays above them. This is a sushi restaurant with high-speed lanes, where customers receive their sushi orders directly from the kitchen to their seats on these lanes.The display provided at each seat is a touch panel for ordering sushi.Ginny “This is way different from the sushi places I know!”Will Ginny manage to order properly on her first visit to an ICT sushi restaurant?She touches the panel with a little caution. She selects the language first; they offer Japanese, English, Korean and Chinese (simplified and traditional) versions of the menu here. Ginny seems to have chosen English.Finally, we get to order.As you can see, the entire menu is in English. It has pictures as well, so you can order even things that you aren’t familiar with.Ginny “I’ll order one of my favorites: salmon!”We wait about one minute… And what comes out on the lane? 3. Shopping”BICQLO” is a large shopping center that combines the appliance store “BicCamera” and the clothing outlet “Uniqlo”. They are both popular shopping destinations for travelers to Japan. We should be able to find the beauty appliances Ginny is looking for here.While it is a large establishment that contains nearly everything you’re looking for, it’s also easy to get lost for those who aren’t used to it. If you get lost, just ask the staff for help. Ginny “Wow! I’ve never seen a service like this. It stops right in front of me, even though there are so many people.”Once the sushi reaches you, take the plate down onto your table and press the yellow button next to the display. The lane will return to the kitchen.If the lane doesn’t get back to the kitchen, they may not be able to send sushi to other customers. Please be sure to press the button.Ginny “It’s not only delicious, but it’s also fun. I want to order again and again just to see the sushi fly up to me.”You can pay with Japanese yen or with your credit card, and you can even pay with the Suica you used in order to ride the train. You won’t have to count small change or sign for any receipts here. It is a very pleasurable experience.Final thoughtsWhat do you think? ICT is not only convenient, but it can also be fun in and of itself. You’ll be missing out if you don’t make use of the ICT services when you come to Japan.To those who are interested in learning more on ICT tourism we warmly recommend the Tokyo Eye 2020 ~ICT Tokyo~ website for details.Photo by Junichi HigashiyamaRelated Articles■Places You Must Visit in Akihabara! A Tour with a Thai Student■Thorough Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree Comparison by a Thai Student■A Tour Around Izu Peninsula With a Thai Exchange Student. Beautiful Scenery, Delicious Food and Onsen!■Jiyugaoka: Through the Eyes of a Thai Student■Hokkaido’s winter attractions? A trip to Biei with a student from Thailand In cooperation with: NHK WORLD TV(TOKYO EYE 2020)last_img read more

Sssee The Snakes At The Tokyo Snake Center

first_imgYou are free to take photographs throughout the cafe, but don’t expect the snakes to pose for you. However, you will see snakes coiled up, other snakes bathing – just snakes doing what they would normally do.Enjoy the Snake-themed Menu and GoodsWhen you pay the entrance fee, you get a drink with plenty of options to select from. Other than drinks, the cafe also has a lovely food menu with various sweets and appetizers. The menu is written in both Japanese and English, and, while not perfect, the staff can speak some English, so non-Japanese speakers can relax and have friendly conversations with them.The Daily Special Cake Sampler set (864 yen with tax) features an adorable ‘hisscuit’ (snake biscuit) in the shape of a snake. Other snake-motif dishes include the Guru-guru Toguro parfait (864 yen with tax), which is a parfait modelled on the image of a coiled snake, and the Snake Dog (540 yen with tax) which is a hot dog with a snake face. Throughout Japan there are numerous animal cafes where you can meet and interact with different types of animals; there are cat cafes, owl cafes and more to choose from. In Harajuku though, you will find Japan’s first snake cafe, at the Tokyo Snake Center. As you would expect at any animal cafe, here you can enjoy a great cafe menu and interact with the snakes.Choose Your Snake and Take it to Your TableWhen visiting the Tokyo Snake Center you can choose the snake that most appeals to you and, while still in its case, bring it to your table. The admission fee to the cafe costs 1000 yen (with tax) and comes with a drink.And now you can also exchange the snake you picked for another during the experience.The tanks that the snakes are kept in have the snake’s name, sex and species indicated on the label. If you found a snake you really connected with, don’t forget its name when you go home. By the way, the serpentile staff at this cafe are known as snake attendants.As the snakes don’t have any hair, don’t smell and their cages can’t be opened, it’s safe to bring the snakes right to your table and enjoy the cafe’s menu items alongside your new friend.Soothing Snake AttendantsWith the exception of the snakes that were already at other customers’ tables, there were 22 varieties of snakes and 63 snakes in total at the cafe today. The staff oversee all the care, shedding and feeding of the snakes and make sure that they are rotated through equally, so that no matter when you visit you can meet a snake attendant that is feeling at its best. You can also purchase postcards, shed snake skin and other original Tokyo Snake Center goods from the shop as well.Meeting Your Snake with an AttendantIf you pay an additional 540 yen (tax included), you can sit over on the special sofas and actually touch a couple of snakes. The two snake attendants in this part of the cafe are much larger and you can spend about 10 minutes with them.The breeds chosen to be snake attendants are of course non-venomous and fairly docile, so incidents of being bitten by the snakes are exceedingly rare and not a worry at all. The snakes don’t like to have their heads or tails touched or to be squeezed too tightly, so if you keep those points in mind, you won’t have any problems when you meet the snakes.All the snake attendants at the Tokyo Snake Center are quite docile and gentle, so even people who are a little afraid of snakes might find that their impression of them changes. If you’d like to learn more about snakes and see them up close for yourself, then please head to the Tokyo Snake Center in Harajuku. Tokyo Snake Centre View InformationcafeFor more cute animals: Meet Little Birds in “Kotori Cafe”, Omotesandō 3 Recommended Routes to Take in Ueno Zoo Meet Owls In Kichijōji: Musashino Cafe & Bar Owl Village Of Course It’s Popular! Pompompurin Café in Harajuku Cat Cafe Temari No O-Uchi: A Visit to the World of Cats (Kichijōji)last_img read more

Spice Up Your Rice The Appeal Of Furikake Seasonings

first_imgEven if the Japanese diet is rice-based, that doesn’t have to mean that you’ll be eating plain rice all the time. By adding the popular rice seasonings called “furikake”, which come in many different varieties, you can make a simple rice dish into a delicious meal. The tradition of using furikake in Japanese cooking helps transform plain rice and vegetables into a tasteful experience.What is Furikake? Various types of furikake are available at supermarkets, 100-yen shops, and convenience stores. At the Don Quijote chain all over Japan, they also sell furikake that is conveniently packed so that it can be taken as a souvenir to bring home to friends and family.One package usually costs between 80 – 108 yen. At some supermarkets you will find furikake types priced as low as 60 yen.Whether you want your rice to taste leafy, spicy or savory, you will find many different types to choose from. While some have just one or two base ingredients, others can contain up to ten different ingredients.Making Onigiri Using Furikake Furikake is usually sprinkled over rice, vegetables or fish. Another great way of using these popular Japanese seasonings is to make with them onigiri (rice balls). By simply adding some of the furikake to either the cooking water for rice or mixing it with the cooked rice, the seasonings will expand and blend in with the rice, giving it flavor. After the rice seasoning has blended in well with the rice, you can shape it into rice balls.How about trying to make your very own vegetarian onigiri using the furikake mixes available at the supermarket?Make Your Own Furikake Furikake is a mix of spices and seeds that can be added to rice and veggies (or any other kind of meal you are preparing) as seasoning. Some of the main ingredients are sesame seeds and popular seaweed types such as wakame or nori. There are actually many varieties available to choose from. While some are vegetable based, there are also varieties that contain egg or meat.These seasonings have been invented around the beginning of the 20th century when pharmacists were looking for ways to make food healthier. They created a powder based on seeds and sea vegetables, that could be added to meals to give them higher nutritional value. The richness of its taste made the powder a popular condiment in Japanese cooking and foods, and the tradition of using “furikake” to add taste to rice and other foods has since kept its popularity. As rice is the staple dish in Japanese cooking, furikake enabled the people to keep healthy diets without compromising the taste experience.The Greatest Appeal of Furikake – They’re Easily Available! Although furikake is available at every food store, some people enjoy making their own varieties, either to bring out a specific taste or to use the natural and organic ingredients of their choice. Making furikake is fairly easy and there is no limit to the ingredient combinations possible.As sesame seeds and sea vegetables like nori or wakame are the main ingredients in furikake, crumbling and mixing seeds, nori and salt will result in a good furikake base. After making this base, you may add whatever other ingredients you might desire to make your preferred furikake mix. You can add more leafy ingredients, your favorite spices, or other types of seeds and thus make a nutritional and tasteful rice seasoning of your own.Remember that by seasoning your rice, vegetables, and meals with furikake, you’re not only adding flavor to them but at the same time you’re making these simple dishes into nutritious meals.You May Also Like:Vegetarian Onigiri – Enjoy Meat Free Rice Balls On The GoJapanese Encyclopedia: Onigiri and OmusubiNatural & Raw Food LOHAS – Enjoy Sapporo’s Local Vegetarian Cuisine!last_img read more

Yoshikien Garden – A Green Oasis In The Heart Of Nara

first_imgWhat is Yoshikien Garden?©︎JNTOYoshikien Garden is a Japanese garden located in Nara Prefecture. It was constructed in 1919. It is composed of three gardens; Pond Garden, made with a pond at its center, Moss Garden, a garden covered in haircap moss, and the Tea Flower Garden where simple flowers, used to decorate the seats of sado tea gatherings, are grown.The entire garden uses Mount Kasuga and Mount Wakakusa as Shakkei (*1) for an enjoyable dynamic view. A tea house with an elegant Kayabuki (*2) has been built in the Moss Garden and can be rented for tea gatherings (12,340 yen and up for three hours, please make reservations through this phone number 0742-22-5911).This article will introduce everything you need to know about Yoshikien Gardens before visiting.*1 Shakkei: a Japanese garden technique that makes it seem as if far-off mountains and buildings are a part of the garden.*2 Kayabuki: the roof of a building made with materials such as susuki grass, Japanese bloodgrass, etc.Information©︎JNTOThe garden is open from 9:00 – 17:00 (final entry is at 16:30). Tourists visiting Japan can enter for free (a type of certification such as a passport is necessary). The general entry fee is 250 yen for adults (high school students and older) and 120 yen for children (elementary school students and older).The garden itself is closed from February 15th until the end of the month. The tea house is closed from December 28th until January 4th.last_img read more

How To Survive A Bike Trip From Tokyo To Shizuoka

first_imgPicture from: Shizuoka: An Economical Two Day Gourmet Tour Of The Izu PeninsulaUndoubtedly, exploring Japan on a bike offers different and unexpected views that a traveler will certainly miss if they’re content just riding a train to their destination. A trip from Shinjuku to Ito, located in Shizuoka prefecture, takes just around 2 hours and zips past a variety of popular locations for travelers to disembark at.Areas such as Kamakura, Hakone, and Odawara, all well known for their sightseeing spots, all line the path towards the Izu Peninsula. While these locations can certainly be accessed by public transportation, it can have the effect of rushing the traveler to only visit sightseeing destinations.There is a markable difference in visiting Kamakura and only hopping from temple and shrine as compared to coasting carefreely along the shore and shopping streets. By biking, you’ll be able to experience a different side of Japan that most travelers never get to see.The Etiquette of Biking in Japan When biking, there are a few key things you’ll need to prepare. Obviously, your backpack will need to be light enough for you to wear your entire trip, or small enough to fit into a basket if your bike has one. Therefore, pack only essentials and light yet durable clothing.Long athletic pants that don’t chaff are recommended for long distance biking. A hat is absolutely necessary in order to combat the time spent in the sun (as we found out, sadly).Along with that, make sure enough water and snacks are packed, or schedule in time to take breaks at some of the various convenience stores.Also, while bike thefts are not common in Japan, it is still a good idea to bring a lock to ensure your bike remains safe. Naturally, the bike should have its tires pumped before the journey begins, and be equipped with lights if you plan on biking past sundown. Safety is the most important aspect to consider when packing, so make sure you’re prepared!A Biking Trip to ItoReaching the desired destination after biking an imaginable distance feels a whole lot more satisfying than just stepping off of a train. If you’re somewhere on the spectrum of slightly delirious to downright crazy, then embarking on a long distance bike tour of the Tokyo, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka prefectures might be the perfect trip for you! There are a variety of options about where to go and what to see when biking.However, this article will focus on the route beginning in Tokyo and ending in Shizuoka, which I attempted during the Golden Week holiday. The beauty of biking is that it allows travelers to explore Japan at their own pace, so when crafting your own path, feel free to take these suggestions and expand upon them.The Advantages of Going on a Biking Trip in Japan Picture from: Shizuoka: An Economical Two Day Gourmet Tour Of The Izu PeninsulaIf you follow the path from Tokyo to Ito completely, the reward will be worth it. Ito itself is a coastal, onsen area that is refreshing and relaxing. Whether you bike all the way here, or simply take the train, a visit to this area is highly recommended. This adventure’s final destination was intended to be Ito. However, after taking into consideration that half the party was riding mamachari’s (the type of bike that Japanese mothers typically ride, generally equipped with baskets or children’s seats), the level of sunburn already inflicted, as well as the thought of returning all the way to Tokyo again, it seemed to be a more humane decision to leave the bikes in Odawara and ride the train to Ito Station.Learn a lesson from our mistakes and know your limits. There’s no shame in leaving your bike in a parking lot especially for bicycles which can be found by most train stations and then collecting them again later.And don’t be afraid to take your time either! We stopped frequently to eat and see famous sights (and spent far too long throwing bread to the fish at Odawara Castle) and the best part of biking is that it allows you to explore whatever you’re interested in!The Final Destination Picture from: A Cycling Trip On The Shimanami Sea HighwayRiding a bike in Japan comes with its own specific rewards and challenges. Before deciding to make the journey, it is important to be familiar with all of the rules of the road.Firstly, it is acceptable to bike on both the sidewalks and the roads. With the exception of major highways, a bike can be used to travel almost anywhere.On sidewalks, pay attention to pedestrians and make sure that other bikes traveling the opposite direction have enough room to pass.Don’t be afraid of riding on the roads. Stick to the left side of the road and allow cars space to drive by. If there happens to be a car parked on the side of the street, look carefully before passing and getting back into the far side. Otherwise, simply follow traffic laws as you would normally do.What You’ll Need for a Biking Trip Picture from: A Tour Around Izu Peninsula With a Thai Exchange StudentThe area surrounding the station has the charm of a small town and is enjoyable to stroll leisurely around. The station is less than 1 km from a swimmable beach, where the sand is black and the water is clear. During the week that we traveled, the water was slightly cold. While I was the only person swimming, the contrast from the ocean to the hot water in the onsen (hot springs) we visited directly after was worth it.In ConclusionThe cliche holds true: regardless of the final destination, the fun lies in the journey itself. Whether biking through Kansai or Kyushu, biking in Japan is a safe and exciting way to see the country through new eyes.Go with a good group of friends, be well prepared, and the results will undeniably be worth it. Enjoy!You May Also LikeShizuoka: An Economical Two Day Gourmet Tour Of The Izu PeninsulaA Tour Around Izu Peninsula With a Thai StudentA Cycling Trip On The Shimanami Sea HighwayExploring Untapped KagoshimaA Great Option For Those On The Go! Eating At A Convenience Storelast_img read more

Spend A Special Japanese Christmas Skating And Lights 2017

first_imgIn Europe and America, Christmas is a holiday with a religious significance, and is a time to be enjoyed with one’s family and relatives. In Japan, however, it’s considered a romantic holiday for couples to spend time together. On a typical Christmas date, couples go to an upscale restaurant and exchange expensive presents. Some people also hold house parties and invite their friends. Christmas celebrants prepare fried chicken and chocolate cake, drink alcohol, exchange presents and have a pleasant time.Also read:Visiting Japan In Winter: What You Need To KnowFrom Lucky Bags To Shrine Visits – Enjoy New Year The Japanese Way!Recommended Ways for Travelers to Spend Christmas in JapanGo See the LightsIn the winter, many places in Japan are lit up brilliantly with illuminations. We’ll introduce you to various popular spots with colorful and whimsical scenery.Tokyo German Village (Chiba Prefecture)At the popular Tokyo German Village, you can enjoy the scenery of a German country town along with delicious food; it is also well-known for its two million glimmering LED lights. Every year the illumination undergoes drastic changes, and you can even enjoy fireworks at the same time, depending on the season. We recommend the view from the Ferris Wheel.Lit up: November 30th, 2017 – April 8th, 2018 Tokyo German Village View Informationamusement_parkrestaurantMarunouchi (Tokyo, Chiyoda Ward)About a million LED bulbs are set up along the length of the 1.2 km Tokyo Marunouchi Naka-dori, enveloping the street in champagne gold light.Lit up: November 7th, 2017 – February 18th, 2018 Marunouchi View InformationKobe Luminarie (Hyogo Prefecture) The Luminarie is the most popular light display in the country. Set against the night view of famous Kobe City, the gorgeous lights are sure to make you sigh in amazement.Lit up: December 8th – December 17th, 2017 ルミナリエ会場 View InformationAlso read:Radiant Tokyo: 5 Great Places To See The Winter LightsGo Christmas ShoppingAround this time, department stores and fashion outlets will be holding many limited-time sales and offering year-end bargains.Get Your Hands On Limited-Edition ItemsEvery year, various fashion brands put together Christmas-only cosmetics sets, which feature special designs and come with limited-edition pouches for you to enjoy. These cosmetics can be procured at department stores. Since they’re so popular, they sell out fast, so do some research about the specific items you want beforehand. Also, many sweets shops prepare chocolates, traditional sweets and special assortments specifically for Christmastime. Enjoy the atmosphere in the stores, which feels totally different from the normal shopping vibe.Let’s Find Some Bargains!The year-end sale is one of the allures of Christmas, as many departments and shopping outlets will run blowout sales to sell through their inventory. The bargains aren’t limited to fashion goods, as you can also find cheap home appliances and items for your home interior. Some sales start even before Christmas, so do some investigating and head out early to do some shopping.Also read:When To Buy What: Annual Sale Guide For JapanEnjoy Ice SkatingThere are a great number of ice skating rinks in city areas which are specially installed in winter. Skating around in the wondrous atmosphere produced by the lights is a special pleasure that can only be had at Christmastime. We’ll introduce you to a few of the rinks you can skate on.Akasaka Sacas (Tokyo, Minato Ward)It’s become customary for this rink to appear in winter. The outdoor rink has a romantic atmosphere, and ice shows, skating lessons and other events are held here. Normally the rink is open from the start of December to the end of February. akasaka Sacas View InformationFutako Tamagawa Rise (Tokyo, Setagaya Ward)Accessible from Shibuya in about ten minutes, Futakotamagawa has an exceptional location. Made from natural ice, the 40 square meter skating rink at Futako Tamagawa Rise can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and is popular as a date spot. Normally the rink is open from late December to the end of February. 二子玉川RISEスケートガーデン View InformationgymYokohama Red Brick Warehouse (Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture)There’s even a skating rink in Yokohama’s famous tourist attraction, the Red Brick Warehouse. Themed around a collaboration of art and ice, the Red Brick Warehouse skating rink cooperates with a diverse array of artists every year.The rink is open from December 2nd, 2017 to February 18th, 2018. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 2 View Informationrestaurantshopping_mallstoreThere are many events which travelers can only enjoy if they come to Japan during Christmastime. How about spending a wonderful Christmas in a uniquely Japanese atmosphere?Recommended articles:Ikebukuro’s PARCO, The Forefront of Food and FashionThe ATMs Are Closed?! Facts About Japanese Long HolidaysThe Best 5 Restaurants to Enjoy the Night View in ShinjukuRadiant Tokyo: 5 Great Places To See The Winter Lights How Do the Japanese Spend Christmas?last_img read more

Udon And Soba 10 Varieties You Have to Try When You Visit

first_imgUdon and soba are known as a kind of Japanese fast food, and since they don’t take a long time to consume, they’re great for eating on the run during your busy trip. Plus, they’re served with a variety of toppings, allowing you to enjoy a wide range of different flavors.But having said that, unless you’re a Japanese person, it’s rather difficult to know exactly what sort of topping comes with each kind of udon or soba. So today, from the extensive genre of hot udon and soba dishes available, we’ll be introducing ten different versions worth knowing about, complete with photos.1. Su Udon / Su SobaPhoto by Kawaiikiri on FlickrSu Udon and Su Soba, refer to a simple dish that consists of a dashi soup broth and the udon or soba noodles only. In Tokyo and other parts of eastern Japan, this dish is also commonly called Kake Udon and Kake Soba.This dish is a good choice when you want to just simply enjoy the flavor of the broth and the noodles, and also when you’re on a budget.2. Tempura Soba / Tempura UdonPhoto by ume-y on FlickrAs the name implies, Tempura Soba and Tempera Udon are soba and udon that come with a serving of tempura. The dishes are usually served with the tempura in the same bowl as the noodles and broth, but are also sometimes served separate from the soup bowl, as in the above photo.Shrimp is the most common filling for this tempura. However, tempura filled with chopped vegetables can also appear on the menu. Dishes served with this vegetable tempura are called Kakeage Udon and Kakeage Soba, and are relatively inexpensive compared to their shrimp tempura-filled counterparts.3. Chikara Udon / Chikara SobaPhoto by Yoppy on FlickrChikara Udon and Chikara Soba are dishes that both have baked mochi (traditional rice cake) inside.The mochi is usually placed inside the soup or on top of the udon or soba noodles. When the mochi is submerged in the soup it begins to soften, at which time it’s ready to eat.4. Kitsune Udon / Kitsune SobaPhoto by onigiri-kun on FlickrKitsune Udon and Kitsune Soba refer to dishes that are garnished with aburaage (deep-fried tofu slices) on top. The aburaage is first simmered in a sweet and salty shoyu (soy sauce) broth before it’s placed atop the udon or soba dish.Generally speaking, at most udon and soba shops, the history of these noodles dates back a long time. In the early nineteenth century, udon and soba became a common staple of the Japanese diet. According to sources, a soba dish topped with aburaage and negi green onions first appeared around this time, and was called Kitsune Soba.5. Tanuki Soba / Tanuki UdonPhoto by WordRidden on FlickrTanuki Soba and Tanuki Udon are dishes garnished with agedama. Agedama, also called tenkasu, are the small pieces of tempura batter that are left over after the tempura has been deep fried (see photo above). There is also a cold version of this dish called Hiyashi Tanuki.In Japan’s Kanto region, this dish is called Tanuki Soba (see photo above). However in Kyoto, Osaka and other parts of the Kansai region, Tanuki Soba refers to soba topped with aburaage (as previously mentioned, in the Kanto region this is called Kitsune Soba).6. Sansai Soba / Sansai UdonPhoto by norio_nomura on FlickrSansai Soba and Sansai Udon refer to dishes topped with flavored sansai (edible wild vegetables and plants picked in the mountains).In some cases the sansai topping includes mushrooms, and overall, this a healthy dish that’s quite low in calories.7. Tororo (Yamakake) Soba / Tororo UdonPhoto by kennejima on FlickrTororo Soba and Tororo Udon are dishes served with grated yamaimo (mountain potato) and nagaimo (Chinese yam) on top. Depending on the shop and also the way in which it’s prepared, the word tororo (refers to the texture of these grated vegetables) can also be called yamakake.For many first-timers, the uniquely sticky texture of the tororo can take some getting used to. However, it’s highly popular among Japanese people because it’s said to have beneficial health properties, such as boosting your energy when you feel tired and run down.8. Niku Udon / Niku SobaPhoto by securecat on FlickrOn those occasions when you have a big appetite to fill, Niku (meat) Udon and Niku Soba both make the perfect choice. As the name suggests, slightly sweet-flavored meat (beef, pork or chicken) is placed atop the udon and soba noodles.There’s also a different version of this dish called Kamo Nanban, in which soba noodles are garnished with duck meat.9. Tsukimi Udon / Tsukimi SobaPhoto by securecat on FlickrTsukimi Udon and Tsukimi Soba get their name from tsuki o mi(ru), or moon watching. In this dish, the bright colored egg yolk is thought to represent the perfectly round moon. In both of these dishes, a raw egg is placed over the udon or soba.Japanese people are divided as to whether it’s best to break the egg yolk at the start of the meal or near the meal’s end. But since breaking and mixing in the egg yolk with the noodles at the start of the meal tends to cloud the soup’s color, it might be a good idea to leave the yolk as it is until the end. Mixing in the raw egg with the soup and noodles gives a smoother, well-rounded flavor.10. Curry Udon / Curry SobaPhoto by pelican on FlickrIn the case of Curry Udon and Curry Soba, udon and soba noodles are mixed in with a flavorful sauce-like soup made from the broth and curry. Curry Soba is also sometimes called Curry Nanban.Filled with meat and onions, there’s alot of volume to this dish and the curry flavor is the perfect match for the udon and soba noodles. We recommend this dish when you want to try udon or soba with a slightly different kind of taste.You May Also Like:Soba Noodles: Their Calorie Content, Ingredients And Where To Eat ThemNadai Fujisoba – Your Go-To Stop For Casual Soba Noodles And KatsudonUdon Noodles: A Guide To Varieties, Prices And Recommended ShopsTry A Bowl Of Fresh, Fast And Cheap Udon At Marugame Seimen!Udon Shin In Shinjuku: Fresh Udon Noodles Make A Perfect Dishlast_img read more

West Coasts Jared Ebell relishes his Drosselmeyer role in Alberta Ballet Nutcracker

first_img Facebook B.C.’s Jared Ebell enjoys playing the mysterious magician Drosselmeyer in Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Advertisement At this time of year, Alberta Ballet dancer Jared Ebell is fully immersed in the world of The Nutcracker. But, growing up on Vancouver Island’s east coast, he was more familiar with salmon lures and surfboards than Sugar Plum Fairies and Mouse Kings.“I do remember seeing one Nutcracker as a kid at one of the local schools,” says the Nanoose Bay–raised dancer from Edmonton, where he’s starring as the magician Drosselmeyer in his company’s production of The Nutcracker before it hits Vancouver. “But it really wasn’t part of my family as a kid. We were usually too busy fishing and surfing. I came from a classic West Coast family—one that was really outdoorsy.”That said, Ebell was able to find the nearby Parksville Ballet School by age six, a facility that trained him in a range of styles and gave him a good base in the technical skills he would later pursue with such passion. Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “After every day in school I’d go to the Parksville Ballet School till 8:30 at night. It was a good little school—and a good opportunity because, obviously, when you’re one of the only guys on Vancouver Island doing dance, you get a lot of attention,” he says with a laugh.READ MORE Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Tying up loose ends

first_imgThe 15 anti-Naxal security personnel slain in what has been termed as one of the worst attacks on counter-Naxal forces in the last 15 years, was not off-charts. Maoists have time and again assured the establishment of their presence despite state operations aimed at dismantling the Red Terror. And, with the ongoing elections, time was just ripe for them to strike. The Quick Response Team (QRT) was slain while en route to provide reinforcement to Police in Kurkheda Taluk, nearly 60 km north of Gadchiroli, where the Maoists had torched several vehicles meant to assist road construction work in Dadpur village. Prima facie the incident was deemed as a retaliation to the killings of two senior women cadre of the rebels by the anti-Naxal forces in an encounter in South Gadchiroli on April 27. But Maharashtra Director General of Police, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal admitted that there was information regarding such attacks during elections that clearly precedes the anti-Naxal operation on April 27. Intelligence inputs cited that Maoists had planned attacks in retaliation to the heavy losses inflicted on them last April when 40 of their comrades were gunned down by security forces. An impactful strike by security forces last April got a response of the same magnitude from rebels. While reports cite lapse in following security protocol hinting how the incident could have been prevented, it failed to connect the dots. The preceding incident of torching vehicles in Dadpur was the bait which QRT took. The urgency to reach Dadpur does not make sense since the incident had already occurred on Tuesday night. Specifically rushing to the spot without following standard operating procedures (SOPs) perfectly fit the narrative of Maoist ambush. With intelligence by their side, QRT’s sacrifice outlines carelessness on their part. If we have a hostile setting and rebels have outrightly plotted to attack owing to intel input, acting recklessly should be the last thing, especially when Gadchiroli anyway remains a Maoist hotbed with past incidents serving as a reminder that the area is unsafe to act without SOPs in effect. Outlining the need for preventive actions exits the fray when those are not followed in the first place. Acting on intel besides sticking to preventive measures was what Pulwama taught the nation. The threat, whether internal or external, has definitely highlighted the national security narrative of BJP. But neither of these threats are new. They have been around and many governments have failed to prevent it. Tightening security means nothing when lapses plague the security apparatus. What happened in Sri Lanka is a case in point. So while BJP advocates the fact that India is secure, incidents like Pulwama and Gadchiroli only mock that claim. It creates an urgent requirement to consolidate intelligence and enforce strict compliance of SOPs. Maharashtra Police’s encounter which delivered a significant blow to Maoists last April had definitely loosened the Maoist grip in the area but a year’s time has made them reappear strongly. Hiding in deep forests, these extreme-left rebels have made their point that they are not dead. And, with the elections on, the additional vigilance was anyway a standing prerogative. With the Centre having notified Maoist violence-affected states to be on guard, there should not have been any loose ends left for Maoists to capitalise on. The security forces have themselves to blame for not anticipating the trap and heading straight into it. But, their sacrifice builds up strong vigilance and compliance of security protocols all the more. While Maoist crackdowns through special operations by anti-Naxal security forces remains a priority, being defensively prepared and ensuring safeguards to avoid such unfortunate incidents is equally important. Gadchiroli serves as a wake-up call for states to be prepared and certainly not embark on such misadventures which may cost precious lives. While it is impossible to not act in the Maoist hotbed, our resources and security apparatus remain adequately equipped to counter such attacks. Compliance to security protocol remains non-negotiable and utterly essential for safety in these areas. We must tie up loose ends otherwise casualties will only rise. It must be understood that there is no scope of giving Maoists an opening while incessantly focusing on dismantling them!last_img read more

Energy and materials help boost TSX higher US stock markets also up

The Canadian Press TORONTO — The materials and energy sectors helped push Canada’s main stock index higher as commodity prices also climbed.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 73.63 points at 16,289.89.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 66.52 points at 26,129.20. The S&P 500 index was up 8.35 points at 2,895.08, while the Nasdaq composite was up 30.99 points at 7,854.16.The Canadian dollar traded for 75.27 cents US compared with an average of 75.37 cents US on Monday.The July crude contract was up 26 cents at US$53.52 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was unchanged at US$2.36 per mmBTU.The August gold contract was up 90 cents at US$1,330.20 an ounce and the July copper contract was up 1.3 cents at US$2.67 a pound. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) read more

Stop the presses Newspapers snubbed in Liberal governments cultural policy

VANCOUVER — The Canadian government’s new cultural strategy all but snubs so-called legacy media, industry experts say, and left out some key measures that could have given a boost to struggling newspapers expected in the lead-up to the long-awaited announcement.“I’m disappointed that the minister didn’t spell out more specifically her support for news media in Canada,” said Bob Cox, chair of News Media Canada, a group representing more than 800 print and digital media titles in the country.He was one of several voices lobbying the government to grow the Canadian Periodical Fund, which supports magazines, periodicals and local newspapers, from $75 million a year to $350 million.But Heritage Minister Melanie Joly left little doubt Thursday that the Liberal government finds little favour with traditional print news models.“Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable,” she said. Instead, the government will focus on supporting innovation, experimentation and the transition to digital platforms.The new framework doesn’t increase the amount of money in the fund, but will expand who is eligible to receive money, such as digital-only periodicals.All that means, says Cox, is that more organizations will be fighting over an already limited amount of money.“We didn’t get anything we were asking for,” he said.The group will make recommendations to the department about how to restructure the fund and how to support innovation and transition going forward, Cox said.Ottawa is ignoring an ongoing crisis in Canadian newsrooms, he said, and the onus remains on newspapers to create solutions and reinvent themselves as newsrooms are racked with layoffs and dwindling ad revenues.“The idea that there should be public support for our newsrooms is really off the table now and that’s disappointing,” he said.The government’s commitment to news media through changes to the periodical fund is quite vague, said April Lindgren, an associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism in Toronto.“I think that they’re taking a very much hands off let the market sort it out approach,” she said, adding that public opinion is divided on government subsidies to news media.She thought the federal government might embrace some tax changes to make it easier for news organizations to operate as non-profit organizations and receive funding from foundations.Removing obstacles to philanthropic financing was one of several recommendations that came out of a report from the Public Policy Forum in January. The minister ordered the study as part of a broader review of Canada’s media landscape.Lindgren said she’s surprised the government didn’t make such changes.While the policies relating to news media are vague at this point, Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey gleaned some positive elements.“Some of the things I’m pleased with is some consideration being given to innovation and experimentation,” he said.The government said it “will give consideration to ways to better support innovation, business development, start-ups and export,” which it will present next year.Postmedia is actively involved in innovation, Godfrey said, pointing to the organization’s launch of a digital development lab at Communitech Hub in Waterloo, Ont., in 2016. A development team there focuses on developing products for the company’s digital portfolio, among other things.While it’s unclear whether any funding will be made available or what the guidelines for it would be, Godfrey said he hopes Postmedia would qualify for any funding available.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter read more

Loblaw says it ordered 25 Tesla electric trucks wants fully electric fleet

MONTREAL — Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it is among the first purchasers of Tesla’s new electric truck.Canada’s largest supermarket chain (TSX:L) says it has pre-ordered 25 of the vehicles called the Tesla Semi.“It’s part of our commitment to electrify our fleet,” spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said.Earlier this month, Loblaw committed to have a fully electric fleet as part of the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030.That would involve adding 350 zero-emission vehicles and more than 2,500 trailers to the fleet.The Ontario-based grocer said removing diesel from its transport trucks and refrigerated trailers could reduce more than 94,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of removing more than 20,000 cars from the road.By 2030, Loblaw expects to have reduced emissions from electricity use by 35 per cent, transportation by 25 per cent, and refrigerants by 50 per cent.First deliveries of the Tesla trucks are expected in 2019.No price for the trucks was provided, but reservations for the Tesla Semi cost US$5,000 per truck.Wal-Mart says it has also pre-ordered 15 vehicles, including 10 for its Canadian routes.“We have a long history of testing new technology — including alternative-fuel trucks — and we are excited to be among the first to pilot this new heavy-duty electric vehicle,” Wal-Mart spokesman Ryan Curell wrote in an email.“We believe we can learn how this technology performs within our supply chain, as well as how it could help us meet some of our long-term sustainability goals, such as lowering emissions.”Tesla declined to identify any other Canadian buyers for the truck that it says can go from zero to 100 kph in five seconds without a trailer, compared to 15 seconds for a comparable diesel truck.It says the Tesla Semi requires no shifting for smooth acceleration and its brakes recover 98 per cent of kinetic energy to the battery.“Overall, the Semi is more responsive, covers more miles than a diesel truck in the same amount of time, and more safely integrates with passenger car traffic,” it said on the company’s website.Tesla says that a fully loaded Semi consumes less than two kilowatt-hours of energy per mile and has a range of about 800 kilometres. That could save owners at least US$200,000 in fuel costs over 1.6 million km.The Canadian Press read more

Hamilton police charge man with harassment and extortion of woman

A 41-year-old man has been arrested after a woman was extorted and repeatedly harassed by someone she met online.George Condy, of Port Elgin, is charged with criminal harassment as well as four counts of extortion related to incidents involving a woman he allegedly met on an online dating site. Police say between March 2015 and February 2018, a woman received thousands of text messages and emails from the man. They say he used an alias to continually harass the woman and threaten to ruin her life. Police allege Condy also threatened to send personal information about the victim to her family, friends and employer if she did not speak with him. Hamilton police detectives with the assistance of the Hamilton Police Tech Crime Unit and the Saugeen Shores Police executed a search warrant in Port Elgin on Tuesday and arrested Condy.Cell phones and computers were also seized from the home by officers.Police are asking anyone with further information call Detective Chambers or Detective Constable Mendes at 905-546-3817. read more

Free prenatal and postpartum classes in Delhi

DELHI Delhi Community Health Centre is offering new programming for expectant parents.The new prenatal and newborn health program is being offered through a collaboration among multiple practices with the Delhi family health team.Some of the groups being offered include development milestones, postpartum yoga and infant sleep.Expectant parents can be referred to the groups by a family doctor, or they can refer themselves by calling the centre.“If you see us for the pregnancy, you don’t need to see a physician for the pregnancy,” said Amanda Kocheff, a registered midwife at the health centre.Lactation support, baby care, mental health support and prenatal nutrition are some of the focuses of the program.Kocheff noted that first-time moms will benefit from the programming.The program does not offer home births or midwifery led deliveries.For more information on the programs or to self-refer, telephone 519-582-2323, ext. 282.astaylor@postmedia.com read more

Fourth person dies after Kirinda drowning incident

The Police said the woman died while receiving treatment in Colombo last night.The family had gone for a bath in the Kirinda sea when they were dragged away by strong currents. A fourth person who drowned in Kirinda recently died while receiving treatment in hospital.A man and his two children had died after drowning in the Kirinda beach last week while the man’s wife was admitted to hospital in serious condition.

Stationary company goes to CID over hate campaign

A further 148 defamatory comments and posts have been made by people working in competitor companies and those with vested interests. Today, 50% of the negative comments and posts against the brand are being made by fake profiles on Facebook.Additionally, the company noted that at grassroots level, there is a campaign by unethical parties with vested interest advocating traders and teachers to boycott Atlas products, and children are being asked to not use Atlas products or worse, being punished for using them. Atlas Axillia Co., a Sri Lankan owned and operated stationary products company has filed a complaint with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) over a hate campaign launched on social media.Asitha Samaraweera, Managing Director of Atlas said that the most recent obstacle Atlas has faced is a hate campaign targeting the organization,which originated on social media. The campaign is driven by hate speech, fake news and fake accounts. “On the 21st of April, the country was shaken by terror attacks that left us all grieving and in shock. Fear, anger and frustration were emotions we all felt as Sri Lankans. Post these horrifying attacks and while trying to recover as a nation, certain parties took advantage of the situation and launched defamatory campaigns against local businesses, to gain short term competitive advantage. Atlas, a company that follows strict corporate governance, with rooted values and principles and actively contributing to the national economy, has unfortunately been on the receiving end of one such malicious campaign. We have been unjustly accused of many baseless and defamatory claims.” he noted. The company said that nearly 400 posts or comments promoting hate speech and fake news against the brand have been made by fake accounts on Facebook and the social media platform has taken action to remove them as per its policies. The company confirmed that firm action has been taken against this hate campaign. “We have lodged a complaint with the CID and we will be sending a Letter of Demand to some of the individuals responsible for these attacks. Additionally, we have launched a campaign for Trade, Schools and the public toeducate them about the truth,” said Samaraweera adding that fake news circulating on messaging platforms such as ‘WhatsApp’ however cannot be monitored and traced.Despite the challenges Atlas is facing today, the company says it remains confident about its business stability and growth. read more

Plant breeding should boost grain crops test transportation network CWB

CWB Marquis is seen at the Port of Montreal on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 in this handout photo. CWB Marquis is scheduled to be the opening vessel for the St. Lawrence Seaway. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO, Jean Brosseau AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Plant breeding should boost grain crops, test transportation network: CWB by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 2, 2015 2:30 am MDT MONTREAL – The ability of Canada’s transportation network to move Western Canadian grain will likely be tested again in future as higher-yielding crops continue to add volume to the system, according to the head of the Canadian Wheat Board.“I think we could see the grain production in Western Canada be on a good, steady growth path and that means that we’re going to have to find the logistical means to get that crop from the Prairies to customers,” Ian White said before participating in Thursday’s opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.Western farmers have grown large grain crops in the past few years, especially in the record 2013 season when a bumper crop later prompted complaints about the shipping performance of Canada’s two major railways and resulted in intervention last year by Ottawa.Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced Saturday that the government wouldn’t extend the unprecedented step taken a year ago to impose minimum grain volumes, adding that grain now is moving adequately through the system and the new grain crop is of average size.Although the grain shipping system now is back to normal, White said the move “focused everybody’s attention” on the need to ensure the supply chain functions well as pressures grow to deliver more grain for export.Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) and Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) have been critical of the federal government’s decision to impose minimum shipment volumes. They moved more than 50 million tonnes of grain in 2014, exceeding the minimum volume requirement by 5.5 million tonnes.The wheat board, which is in the process of developing a privatization plan to be implemented in the next two years, is investing up to $200 million to buy new Great Lake ships and grain-handling terminals.The Chinese-built CWB Marquis is making its maiden voyage and will become the first vessel to pass through the seaway in 2015. A second Equinox-class vessel, costing about $30 million, will arrive later this year, joining other new ships being added by several companies as part of an overhaul of the Great Lakes fleet.Terrence Bowles, chief executive of St. Lawrence Seaway Management, said he expects the waterway to benefit from an improving U.S. economy and recovering Canadian manufacturing sector.Increased automobile manufacturing and construction activity should accelerate demand for steel, concrete and aggregate. And a cold winter should also mean another good year for restocking road salt inventories, but shipments of iron ore continue to suffer from rock-bottom prices, he said.The seaway expects to handle 40 million tonnes of total cargo in 2015, the same as in 2014, but could easily handle 50 per cent more volume, he said, adding that efforts to accelerate grain shipments could help.“Demand is only going up in the world so we think that’s a very positive development and good for the seaway for sure.”Heavy ice in the Great Lakes is causing the latest seaway opening since 1997. However, Bowles doesn’t expect the same problems that caused weeks of shipping delays early last year.The late start to the season shouldn’t affect overall tonnage for the year, added Seaway marketing director Bruce Hodgson.“We’re going to lose a bit of time at the opening but it’s more than likely that we’ll make it up as the season goes on,” he said.However, Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said ship owners and industrial customers are concerned by delays in parts of the Great Lakes due to ice conditions.“The harsh winters of the last two years have highlighted serious systemic flaws,” Brooks said.“Instead of a system driven by industry demand, timely transportation of North America’s valuable commodities is held back by a limited supply of icebreakers that are stretched too thin across too large an area.” read more