Renaissance a Classical Music Cafe Koenji

first_imgThere are many weird cafes in Koenji. For example, “R-za Dokusyokan” where conversations are forbidden; “Neruken” that is located in an old church; and here we have “Renaissance”.”Renaissance” is 5-min walk from Koenji station of Chuou line. Because of its obscure location and its non-flashy appearance, it is quite hard for people to bump into the place by chance.Based on the concept of “enjoying classical music”, “Renaissance” is the type of cafe that is known in Japan as “classical music cafe”.A strange billboard. Let’s go downstairs.All are smoking seats. You cannot bring your own drinks inside and the use of phones and cameras are not allowed either.Since all seats are smoking seats, it is difficult to recommend the place to non-smokers; but its atmosphere makes even non-smokers want to have a taste of cigarette. It is a huge place with over thirty seats. The lighting of its interior carries a dark shade. This lamp for example gives a quirky atmosphere.For the drinks, there are hot and iced coffee, juice and tea. All are at 400yen.We ordered orange juice this time.It seemed that the people surrounding us were all closing their eyes. Even though they had originally bought their books and notes, they could not help closing their eyes to relax themselves in the quiet music under the dim lighting.Due to how hidden this spot is, there is no network signal. It is the spot for people who would like to get away from the internet for some moments. There are many customers who come by themselves and indulge themselves in the “quiet” atmosphere. If it is okay for you to not have any conversations, you can come with others as well.Starbucks is convenient, but we would like cafes like this as well.Information”Renaissance”Address:B1 Horiyorozu Building, 2 − 46 − 11 Kōenjiminami, Suginami, TokyoOpening Hours:12:00〜19:30(土日祝日は〜21:30)Wi-Fi: NOMenu: In Japanese onlyStation:Koenji station of Chuou lineAccess:5-min walk from Koenji station of Chuou lineTel:03-3315-3310last_img read more

Japanese Encyclopedia Katsuobushi Dried Sliced Bonito

first_imgKatsuobushi (鰹節) is the small ribbon-like pieces of bonito that have been preserved through heating and drying the meat. It is used as the basic ingredient in numerous Japanese dishes and, prior to slicing, is one of the hardest foods in the world.From: The Base of Washoku! Taste the Golden Dashi at “Nihonbashi Dashi Bar”How to Use KatsuobushiIn order to cut katsuobushi, a special cutting blade with a box attachment must be used; this creates the distinctive paper-thin bonito flakes. Once it has been cut, it is referred to as kezuribushi (“flaked bonito”) and can then be used to make dashi (soup/sauce base). It can also be put on top of boiled vegetables (such as spinach or komatsu – Japanese mustard spinach) with soy sauce as a dressing – a cooking technique known as o-hitashi.These bonito flakes can be used as toppings too. When you put katsuobushi on hot, freshly made okonomiyaki, these paper-thin ribbons will sway back and forth; in this case, it is said that the “katsuobushi are dancing”.From: Hold the Seasons in Your Hands: Have a Bowl at TantansaiKatsuobushi and konbu (a type of dried salted kelp) are used together to create dashi, the flavorful broth that is the basis for many Japanese soup dishes. This base can be adapted or enhanced by the chef, allowing for fine adjustments to be made to the recipes.Katsuobushi Used in This and ThatThough dishes such as soba, udon and miso soup may have hundreds of variations all across Japan, the one thing that ties each dish together is the inclusion of katsuobushi in the base of the soup. In all of Japan, perhaps the place that uses katsuobushi the most is Okinawa, where you will find Okinawa soba, and sōki jiru (stewed pork spare ribs). Both of these dishes are simmered in plenty of katsuo-dashi.Katsuo-dashi broth is also a key ingredient in the savory steamed egg-custard dish chawanmushi and most other bowl-based foods. In fact, one might go so far as to say that a dish isn’t really Japanese if it doesn’t have katsuobushi in it.While many may think that soy sauce is the standard flavor of Japan, the real heart and soul of most of the amazing dishes found all across this country come from katsuobushi. If you would like to taste the difference bonito makes, by all means purchase some katsuobushi as a souvenir of your time in Japan and enjoy making authentic Japanese cuisine at home.last_img read more

Ocha No Igeta Sip Green Tea And Indulge In Local Sendai Sweets

first_imgSendai Castle In Miyagi Prefecture – Highlights And Scenic Spots In cooperation with Ocha no Igeta-Ichibancho Honten Customers to Ocha no Igeta are highly recommened to try the Puchi zunda parfait (350 yen including tax).Matcha ice cream, made at the tea shop, is garnished with the famous locally produced mochi.This dessert is available only in limited quantities, so if you would like to try some, be sure to visit the store as early as possible.There’s also Puchi Kikufuku parfait (350 yen including tax), in which the zunda is substituted with kikufuku.4. Zunda Mochi & Matcha Set – Enjoy Matcha Flavor Read also Sendai Travel Guide: 12 Sightseeing Spots, Food, Access, And More Sendai is famously known as an area that makes zunda. Zunda is made by grinding edamame into a paste.The shop sells zunda mochi in bite-size pieces. It is a flavorful treat with slightly lumpy texture. It’s sweet, but leaves a refreshing aftertaste that is deliciously addictive.A four mochi pack costs 594 yen, an eight-piece set is 1,080 yen, and the fifteen-piece pack is 1,944 yen. All prices include tax.3. Little Zunda Parfait – A Matcha and Edamame Combination For customers who have never tasted green tea or have never bought green tea in Japan, we recommend the cute sencha tea pack. Each pack has one tea bag inside, and is reasonably priced at just 108 yen (including tax).In Japan, sencha green tea is the most commonly consumed standard variety of tea. There are many other kinds of sweets available, including a zunda milkshake and a Japanese-style parfait.You can also order these desserts at the shop, as there’s a cafe space on the premises. However, you can also request take-out and eat them on the way home.The Perfect Place for Souvenirs and Food Sampling Green tea (ocha) has been a cherished drink in Japan for many centuries. Even now, many people drink green tea on a daily basis.There are many tea shops throughout the rural areas of Japan. Today we’ll be introducing Ocha no Igeta (Ichibancho Honten), a shop which has had its main location in Sendai since 1920. This is a well-established tea shop that is well-regarded in the local region.Ocha no Igeta is known for offering different green teas to match each season of the year. Customers here will ask about the stock of teas each season, looking forward to the arrival of these unique products.In addition to green tea, they also sell sweets which utilize ingredients from the Sendai area. We highly recommend this shop to visitors who want to try regional sweets.This article features our suggestion from Ocha no Igeta. We hope it is helpful for those buying green tea for the first time, visitors wanting to drink slightly different tasting tea, and also for those people who’d like to try some delicious local sweets to go along with their tea.Find a Huge Variety of Green Tea A popular choice here is the kikufuku, a unique daifuku (*1) made by Ocha no Igeta. It comes in four varieties: Matcha nama cream (fresh cream), Hojicha (roasted green tea), Zunda (green soy beans), and Nama cream (fresh cream).There are also seasonal varieties available at certain times of the year.*1 daifuku: a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi (glutinous rice cake) with a sweet filling, usually red bean paste (anko). When our writer visited the shop for this interview in September, they were selling the fragrant Akichabiyori tea which is only on sale in autumn. It retails for 1,080 yen per 100 grams including tax.The store often sells certain products only during specific times of the year in order to provide customers with a sense of the season when they visit the shop.To make the tea, simply put in two large tablespoons of the leaves into the pot (kyusu) and then fill it up with hot water. After letting it steep for about one minute, pour into a teacup or regular cup and enjoy!Delicious Sweets to Enjoy With Green Tea!Ocha no Igeta also sells confections made with tea, which taste great with a cup of tea and make ideal souvenirs.Next we’ll introduce our top four sweets, which are all local to Sendai.1. Kikufuku Daifuku – The Most Popular Sweet is a Store Originalcenter_img Green tea is made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinesis. After picking the leaves, they undergo repetitions of a steaming and hand-rolling. The flavor of the tea changes when this process is adjusted.The products in the picture above are from a brand called Kikusui, made by Ocha no Igeta. Each different colored package contains a different flavor.The light blue colored package on the left side (pictured above) was made in order to retain the aroma of just picked tea leaves. It’s made with minimal processing.In contrast, the purple colored package (second from left in the above picture) has leaves that have undergone a high-temperature firing process. This intensifies the tea aroma for consumers to enjoy.The package second from the right in the picture is suggested for customers who like a strong umami and tea taste. On the far right-hand side is tea with a balanced, delicious taste.100 grams cost around 1,000 yen for all varieties. This is a set with real matcha and zunda mochi.The sweet taste of the zunda mochi is complimented by the slightly bitter, refreshing flavor of the matcha.This dessert costs 500 yen (including tax). On the outside of each tea pack there’s a cute picture such as a cat or flower, along with a Japanese message of gratitude.As shown in the picture above the tea bags have the following messages written in Japanese: “Thank you for everything!” (itsumo arigato) and “Thank you” (arigato).These would make a thoughtful gift to give to someone special. A Tea Shop With Refreshing Seasonal Flavors The shop is located in a traditional Japanese shopping street (shotengai) called VLANDOME. This shopping area is an indoors, so on a rainy day you can easily stop in without an umbrella.Some of the products featured in this article can be also purchased in front of JR Sendai Station and inside the ticket gates of the shinkansen (bullet train) area.If you’re looking for the ideal souvenir from Sendai, be sure to stop in at Ocha no Igeta. You won’t be disappointed! Igeta View Informationstore 5 Great Souvenirs From Sendai Station – A Special Campaign Too! There are dozens of different kinds of green tea, all of which pair nicely with Japanese sweets. It might be difficult to choose the right variety with all the types of tea available.We have picked some products you can enjoy inside the shop and also items ideal for relaxing and enjoying the tea in your home.Convenient Teabags for Beginner Green Tea Drinkers Our writer tried the Matcha nama cream (123 yen for one, including tax), which is the most popular flavor here. The sweet aroma of the anko (red bean paste) is simply delicious. The matcha inside the daifuku is not bitter and recommended for anyone with a sweet tooth.The kikifuku are sold at the store frozen. They can be consumed after being thawed out, and during the hot summer months they are delicious when they are still cold.The price depends on the flavor, but they generally sell for about 150 yen each.2. Zunda Mochi – Sendai’s Most Well-Known Treat The tea package in the above picture features an adorable Japanese pattern. It come swith three sencha tea bags inside and retails for 410 yen (including tax).These tea packages come in over ten different varieties, including black tea that is domestically-made and contains distinctly Japanese flavor, like konbucha (kelp tea), Jasmine tea, and other rare types.Tea Leaves – For Those Who Want to Enjoy Green Tealast_img read more

Treat Your Inner Child To Nostalgia At Super Potato Akihabara

first_imgIn this store, they sell peripheral devices for older game consoles. They also have a corner where you can try out some old retro games.4F Playstation, Sega Saturn; Game Consoles from the Not-So Distant PastThe 4th floor mainly houses games from the later half of the 90’s, up to games past the later part of the 2000’s. There’s a giant Mario figure at the entrance, waiting to greet you as you come onto the 4th floor.This is a Sony Playstation, which first went on the market in 1994. What was the latest in console design at the time, now brings back waves of nostalgia.Here are cartridges from the first games in the hugely popular Pokemon series. The author of this article also often played Pokemon as a kid. There must be so many precious memories packed into these small cartridges.5F Game Center and Bargain Snack CornerHere we have some arcade games, which have mainted just as much entertainment value as the at-home consoles. At Super Potato, they are serving up nostalgia on both the video game, and arcade game fronts.You can play all of the games for 100 yen (1 play).Right next to the arcade games, we then have the Bargain Snack Corner. Snacks here are generally under 100 yen each, so you can try out those snacks you’re interested in without having to worry about breaking the bank.This, is the most widely-recognized bargain snack in Japan. Katto Yocchan, or Yocchan Ika, as it is often called by Japanese, is only 30 yen. This is a famous bargain snack that has a sweet-and-sour flavor, along with a chewy texture that is easy to get hooked on.Why Not Have a Rendezvous with an Old Game of the PastGames have advanced at an incredible pace due to the advancements in technology. Of course, high-performing, stylish games are all good and fun. But, there’s something that these old nostalgic games have, that you can’t find in the latest games. At Super Potato, you can find a large array of these classic games assembled in the various floors. If you’ve come all the way to Japan, how about stopping by Super Potato; think of it as though you’re going to visit an old friend.InformationSuper Potato AkihabaraAddress: 1-11-2 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo-to, Kitabayashi 3-5 floorsHours: Weekdays 11:00-20:00Saturday, Sundays, Holidays: 10:00-20:00Nearest Station: JR Akihabara StationAccess: 6-minute walk from JR Akihabara StationTelephone: 03-5289-9933Official Website: Super Potato Akihabara What games did you used to play obsessively when you were a kid? Pokemon, Super Mario, Final Fantasy… Just namingssa few of these games brings back such fond memories.You could say that plenty of people, the author included, have games that they absolutely loved when they were younger.ssTokyo’s Super Potato Akihabara, has a great deal of those nostalgic games available for purchase at the store.Retro Games Galore at Super Potato AkihabaraSuper Potato Akihabara is located on the 3rd-5th floors of the Kobayashi Building, which can be found in a side road off of Akihabara’s Chuo-dori. The 3rd floor mainly handles games from 1980-90’s, while the 4th floor handles games from late 1990’s into the 2000’s. On the 5th floor you can play classic arcade games, as well as purchase cheap Japanese snacks.So then, shall we take a look inside?3F 1980-90 Retro GamesThis is what the 3rd floor looks like. Inside the shop, there are illustrations of game characters, as well as game maker signs hanging in the shop. Most gamers probably would not be able to contain their excitement on this floor.Here we found a 30 (plus) year old Nintendo conslole, or Family Computer, as it is known in Japan. This console was a key figure in making the home console unit popular around the world. Of course, this console is totally playable, even now.This is a Super Nintendo, also by Nintendo, released in 1990. The amount of units sold worldwide for this incredibly popular game console, was an astonishing 49.1 million units.As you can see, they don’t just have game consoles, but they also have an abundance of video game software. Super Potato features plenty of games that are quite difficult to come across in other stores.Here we have a Super Mario Bros.’sssgame cassette, from the well-known Mario Bros. series.last_img read more

Sarushima The Perfect Getaway On A Deserted Island In Tokyo Bay

first_imgThe only way to get to Sarushima Island is by boat from Mikasa park. You can only purchase tickets on the day of your departure, so sales begin from the morning. The boat fare and the entry fee to the island total to 1500 yen for adults and 600 yen for children. The boat departs approximately once an hour.The boat ride is about ten minutes. It is short, but you will be able to enjoy the grand view of the sea. When you approach the island, you will see the beach with many people having fun.The last boat departs at 17:00 (16:00 from December – February). During peak season, there are times when not everybody can board. Additional boats may be added, but it is recommended that you give yourself enough time and line up early before the departure time.With many activities and fun expeditions to historical spots, there are plenty of exciting things to do on Sarushima Island in Yokosuka. We recommend you to stop by the next time you visit.Sarushima Island MapFor more historic spots and islands:8 Spectacular Sights In Enoshima That You’ll Want To Keep SecretAn Entertainment City Overlooking the Sea – 7 Spots to Visit in OdaibaThe Filming Location Of “Attack On Titan”! Gunkanjima, NagasakiThe World Of Laputa – Tomogashima Island In Wakayama Sarushima in Yokosuka city, Kanagawa prefecture, is the only remaining natural inhabited island in the Tokyo bay. The island itself has a long history for being used as a main military fort to protect the Tokyo bay. Many brick buildings and remains of batteries still remain today.Now, it is a great place to spend a fun day out on the sandy beaches and enjoy a barbecue.This time, we would like to introduce some fun spots to explore in Sarushima, along with fun activities.Read also: 8 Spectacular Sights In Enoshima That You’ll Want To Keep SecretSpots To Explore On Sarushima IslandIn an area slightly away from the beaches, there is an entrance to the excavation course that takes you around the island. Here, we will introduce you to a few of the highlights of Sarushima island.A Stronghold Along The Cliffs Once you go up the hill, you will find a path cut between the large rocks. You will be able to notice the history from the stone walls covered in moss.On the island, there are forts made of bricks still remaining. All of the forts are constructed deep in the walls, so it is hard to tell what the island is like from the outside.The forts of Sarushima island are made using the French brick style of architecture, which is a rare method of construction in Japan and only four buildings in the nation use this style. It is also a popular tourist spot among the Japanese and is known as the place that looks like a scene from the famous Ghibli movie, “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”.Go Through The TunnelThe tunnel made using this construction method is 4 meters wide, 4 meters high and 90 meters long. It is said to be the main access to the twelve rooms that kept ammunition and lead to the batteries.Inside the tunnel is rather dark and after many couples held hands while going through it, it came to be referred to as the “tunnel of love”.This is a former ammunition chamber.There are a total of three tunnels, so try going through all of them.From The Battery Remains To The Coastal CliffsAt Sarushima island, you will be able to see the former battery remains that were set during the time of war. It is an area with a clear view, so it was an ideal place to target enemies in the sea.Near the battery, there are stairs leading to the shore. At the end of the stairs, you will find a cave called the “Nichiren cave”. It was once used as a living space long ago.The view of the sea from the cliffs is amazing! It is definitely a spot where you would like to take a short break and feel the refreshing breezes from the sea.Look At The Sea Of Yokosuka Next To The Observatory!The observatory area is an open, grassy area. Unfortunately, you cannot enter the observatory, but you can see the sea and the city of Yokosuka from the banister. It is a great spot to capture a panoramic view of the city.After descending from the observatory area, you will be able to return to the beach. You will need approximately an hour to sightsee around the entire island of Sarushima. There are unstable areas with stairs, so it is recommended that you go wearing clothes and shoes that are easy to move around in.Take A Break And Barbecue At The BeachSarushima island has beautiful sandy beaches with a great view of the massive sea and Yokosuka along the opposing horizon on a sunny day.On the side of the beach, you will find a shop called “Ocean’s Kitchen” that sells food and drinks along with barbecue sets and parasol rentals. Please note that Sarushima island does not sell ingredients for barbecue (meat, vegetables, etc.), so please purchase them in Yokosuka before arriving at the island.During July and August, the swimming area opens and you can enjoy fun water activities. It is a great place to enjoy the hot Japanese summer.Only A 10 Minute Boat Ride! How To Get To Sarushima Islandlast_img read more

Visit Fukunoki In Sapporo For MuslimFriendly Ramen

first_imgHead to Fukunoki for Muslim-Friendly Ramen Photos courtesy of: FukunokiThe flagship dish of Fukunoki is the shrimp jarashi ramen (950 yen including tax), with a tomato-based soup and plenty of shrimp. The bright red soup, garnished with mizuna greens and peppers, gives the bowl a colorful appearance. The centerpiece of this ramen is the extravagant whole shrimp that tops the noodles.Fukunoki’s original flat noodles entwine nicely with the thick broth, and the shrimp flavor fills your mouth. The tomato broth, with its mild sweetness, blends well with the shrimp and makes you want to drink it all.There is another secret to the ramen’s deliciousness: the special shrimp paste in the center. As it dissolves, the rich taste of shrimp expands in the bowl. When you eat all the noodles, leave the soup for later. We’ll explain the recommended way to finish up the soup.All-Meat Tomato Noodles, Popular with Muslim Customers In addition to its Muslim-friendly menu, Fukunoki always keeps its diners in mind, as you can tell from its emphasis on not using additives. The dishes are made with the wish that people who eat at Fukunoki stay healthy. The reason Mr. Obara opened the ramen shop was that he didn’t like pork or alcohol. His intent was to create a place where everyone could enjoy their food and be healthy, without worrying about dietary restrictions. When you come to Sapporo, please visit Fukunoki. The owner and staff will greet you with a smile. Fuku Noki View InformationrestaurantAlso read:Enjoy Hakodate’s Elegant Streets and Nature with This 2-Day Itinerary!Sapporo Area Guide: Transportation, Sightseeing Areas and SouvenirsSapporo – 10 Destinations to Visit in Hokkaido’s Largest City!Sapporo Travel Guide – Access, Local Food, And 17 Sightseeing Spots There are cute cat-shaped containers on the tables, with the spice powder contained inside.Cheesecake That Can Be Enjoyed by Muslim Customers As the biggest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo is famous as a tourist destination for its food, shopping and beautiful scenery. Each year, many tourists visit Sapporo, and one of the things you should eat in Sapporo is ramen. Sapporo has a lot of ramen shops, even for Japan. We’ll introduce you to Fukunoki, a shop which has halal menu offerings. Meat, Miso and Tomato Noodles (850 yen including tax) Photos courtesy of: FukunokiMany places which offer halal menu items have a separate halal menu from the standard offerings, but Fukunoki is different. The ramen loved by locals can be enjoyed by anyone, with the same taste for everyone.2. A Robust Selection of Menu Items That Can Only Be Had at FukunokiAll of Fukunoki’s ramen is tomato-based, which is unusual for Japan. The soup, prepared so that even people who don’t particularly like tomatoes can eat it, uses the nutrients in tomatoes to their fullest extent, and draws out maximum flavor. The ramen also uses no chemical flavorings, and is made with diners’ health in mind. The regular menu items use chicken bone broth, but there are also vegetarian tomato noodles (890 yen including tax). Let’s look at two particularly popular ramen dishes.Shrimp Jarashi is the Most Popular Fukunoki also offers cheesecake (350 yen including tax). The secret to the delicious Fukunoki cheesecake is fermented cream. The fermented cream is made without animal gelatin or preservatives, and is a Fukunoki original. The fermented cream uses a luxurious amount of cream cheese from Tokaichi in Hokkaido to create this delicious cheesecake.Hokkaido is known as a cheese and dairy producer, and is the top producer of raw milk in Japan. Among cities in Hokkaido, Tokaichi in the east is the most prosperous milk producer. However, it’s an unusual pairing for cheesecake to be on a ramen shop menu.The owner, Mr. Obara, used to run a cafe, so he sells the cheesecake that his cafe offered at the time. It’s unusual for dessert to be offered at Sapporo ramen shops, and you can even pick some up to go. If your stomach is too full from the ramen, you can bring cheesecake back to your hotel to eat it later.Fully English Menus Fukunoki is very particular about its spice powder, and the spices are imported from India. The owner, Mr. Obara, who has a medicinal cooking master license, developed a totally original spice powder. For people who want to eat a lot of meat, we recommend the All-Meat Tomato Noodle (1250 yen including tax). It consists of the regular tomato noodle ramen, topped with chicken. It is made using three kinds of tomatoes, making it good for tomato lovers.You’ll be shocked by its size when it’s brought to your table, as the bowl is topped with so much chicken that you can’t see the noodles. There are four kinds of chicken in total: chicken sausage, chicken wings, homemade chicken ham, and finally, crumbled chicken.Naturally, all cuts are halal-certified so that Muslim customers can enjoy it. When you dig in, you’ll notice how the rich, thick broth entwines with the noodles, while the tomato flavor itself is addictive. Furthermore, the four different toppings all have their own flavors for you to enjoy. You’ll want to drink all the soup, but hold out a little longer.Make a Risotto with the Leftover Soup When you arrive at Fukunoki, you will notice this halal insignia. The restaurant is very popular with international visitors, including Muslims, to the point that sometimes all of the shop’s customers are from overseas. Naturally, it is also beloved by local residents, and there are some people who even eat at Fukunoki every day. While we were talking with Mr. Obara, the owner, many of the shop’s regulars came in, and we had to cut our conversation short several times. What is behind the shop’s popularity? We’ll take a look at three reasons.1. All Menu Items are Muslim-Friendly, So Everyone Can Enjoy the Same Dish There are also photos of the chicken used in menu items, so you can relax and enjoy.A Ramen Shop that Cares About the Health of its Customers There is also an explanation for Muslim customers. In cooperation with: Fukunoki Fukunoki has English menus available for tourists. Every item has a photo, so you can understand what a dish contains at a glance. The staff members will talk to you in simple English. If there’s something that you don’t understand, they will kindly try to assist you with phone translation and other means, so feel free to ask them. Photos courtesy of: FukunokiAfter you’ve finished your noodles, use the leftover soup to create a risotto. You can get cheese on rice (120 yen including tax) to throw into your soup. The combination of rich tomato soup and cheese is exquisite. The rice used is not white rice, but turmeric rice procured from India.3. Other Appealing PointsYou can feel the care that Fukunoki puts into its menu from the other items on offer.You Can Switch to Potato NoodlesIf you want to enjoy a somewhat different texture, we recommend the potato noodles. You can switch to the potato noodles for an extra 100 yen. Their round appearance is different from the standard flat noodles. They have a characteristic springy, chewy texture, so you can taste something different from the norm.An Original Spice Powder from a Medicinal Cooking Masterlast_img read more

TAIKOLAB Learn To Play Japanese Drums And Exercise

first_imgChan on the front left, Jasmine on the far left.After removing your shoes at the entrance, you will make way to the check-in counter. Lessons will need prior reservations. Tell them your name at the counter and the friendly staff will assist you.There is a changing room separated by gender that can be used to change into clothes that are easy to move around in. The lesson will be held barefooted so, it will require you to remove your shoes and socks. The closest station is the Tokyo Metro Gaiemmae Station. Get out of the Jingu Baseball Stadium District Gate and get out of exit number three. The studio is located on the basement first floor.For a Memorable Experience During Your Stay in Japan! The studios at the TAIKO-LAB Aoyama branch are separated into three rooms consisting of the A studio (for 50 people), B studio (25 people), and C studio (for 25 people). The studios appeared to be very modern and stylish. The lesson consists of detailed techniques where the staff will teach you how to properly hold the bachi and the correct posture when striking the wadaiko drum. It seems like Jasmine and Chan are still a little nervous here.At first, they simply copied the instructor’s moves due to the unique rhythmical pattern. A wadaiko performance requires a lot of strength and shouting while striking the drum. It appeared to look quite difficult at first, but as the lesson progressed, the two appeared to have gotten the hang of it and enjoyed themselves.Combining the rhythms they learned, they managed to perform a two-and-a-half minute piece. Play Japanese Drums at TAIKO-LABWadaiko (Japanese drums) are traditional musical instruments. Most Japanese people are familiar with this instrument as it is used frequently at festivals.This time, we joined a wadaiko drum lesson at TAIKO-LAB with Chan from Vietnam and Jasmine from America.There are many TAIKO-LABs nation-wide, but we took part in a lesson held at the TAIKO-LAB in Tokyo’s Aoyama area. The closest station to this branch is the Gaiemmae Station on the Tokyo Metro and is a four-minute walk.What Is a Wadaiko? If you would like to take part in a class, you will need to make reservations in advance online. Lessons are held in Tokyo and Kyoto on a daily basis, so it is advised to check online for available dates.You are more than welcome to join even if you don’t understand Japanese or never played the drum before. One lesson is an hour and it is 6000 yen per person. Reservations can be made on their website.Getting to TAIKO-LAB Aoyama Branchcenter_img Prepare for your lesson by changing into a Japanese happi coat normally worn during festivals. You can select the happi of your choice and the staff will help you wear your coat and securely tie your obi-sash. Continue down the large street called Aoyama Street and go past two traffic lights. Turn right and you will see a building where TAIKO-LAB is located on your right-hand side. At the end of the lesson, the instructor did a magnificent performance using the massive oodaiko. It was a dynamic performance that made the ground shake. It was a memorable experience to be able to see it up close.Chan said, “it was harder than I thought, but it was very fun.” While Jasmine said, “It was great exercise. The instructor’s performance was powerful and very cool.”Reserve a Class! Both Jasmine and Chan had a great time at the wadaiko lesson. Why not experience the fun yourself? TAIKO-LAB青山 View Information A wadaiko is a Japanese drum that requires the use of wooden sticks called bachi. Wadaiko come in many forms and sizes, such as the Nagado-daiko like the one shown in the photo above, and others like the Shime-daiko where the drum is tied down with ropes and bolts.The history of the wadaiko dates back to the ancient times when its loud sounds were used in battlefields to energize the warriors and also used as forms of communication. As time passed, the wadaiko became an accompaniment to festivities and lately, it is being used as an instrument for exclusive wadaiko performances.The lesson we took park in has musical elements along with performance and sports factors as well.Join the Wadaiko Lesson!last_img read more

Make Your Travel Photos Pop Tokyu Hands Has It All

first_imgStickers are indispensable when decorating photo albums or scrapbooks. Tokyu Hands has a whole section for stickers of various shapes and sizes and themes, but of this selection, we recommend the Paper craft museum series.Unlike ordinary stickers, these three dimensional motif stickers are designed to stand out vividly on paper. The intricate details of an airplane and each individual petal of a flower are carefully designed on the stickers. The quality of these illustrations is so high that they’ll make you wonder whether they’re actually stickers or not.A few simple stickers will make your album that much more vivid and unique too, and make for great gifts as well!Product: Paper craft museum motif stickersReference price: 300 yen each + taxPhoto Frame Greeting CardsTry to use one of these photo frame greeting cards when you want to send a special photo to someone.After leaving a message on the back of the photo and putting it in the frame/card, you are ready to send it. The recipient simply has to open the card and they can easily use the photo for decoration. This is the perfect thing to use if you want to give a photograph to someone of you two together, or to share family photos.Product: Photo frame greeting card “For you”Reference price: 360 yen + taxBonus Service Only from Tokyu Hands:Turn Your Photos into a Jigsaw PuzzleAt Tokyu Hands you can find a machine called Puz-Puri (Puzzle Printer) that can turn your favorite photos into a jigsaw puzzle on the spot.Simply load your photos onto a memory card, USB or infrared device into the machine, and with a few button clicks, your very own personal jigsaw puzzle will be finished!It takes only 3 minutes from start to finish and costs just 300 yen. This is an excellent way to customize and personalize your photos, not to mention a great souvenir for yourself or a friend back home.For everyone from the amateur snapshot taker to the professional photography, Tokyu Hands is a great place to shop to find the latest in photography related goods. Why not take advantage of the products we mentioned here and really make your pictures stand out?To learn more about Tokyu Hands, please check out our special feature and read the Complete Guide To TOKYU HANDS too. Thanks to the Instax mini camera, you can instantly shoot cute, small photo cards with ease. These photos measure 5.4cm x 8.6cm, and can be printed on a variety of film papers. This camera is extremely popular because it’s handy, easy to use and because it prints the photos instantaneously. You and your travel companions can have fun watching the photos you just took develop right before your eyes. Wouldn’t it be great to take photos with your friends and be able to hand them out right on the spot?The camera also comes with a built-in flash, so you have nothing to worry about if you want to take photos in lower light conditions. Superb, isn’t it?This camera is also quite popular thanks to its rounded shape, pastel colors, and overall adorable design. It’s sure to brighten your travels no matter where you go.Product:Instant Camera instax mini 8(original hand strap included)Colors available: white, blue, pink, yellow, blackReference Price: 7600 yen + taxDoodle on Your Photos Everyone that comes to Japan is sure to find at least one point that they just can’t get enough of – be it the differing landscapes, preserved historical buildings, modern culture, beautiful food or the people themselves. And with practically everyone having access to a camera in one form or another, visitors here are sure to want to take the memories of these sights back home with them.In this article, we show you some fun ways to take and decorate photos with 5 select products available at Tokyu Hands!Fast and Easy Instant Camerascenter_img Have you ever wanted to write something on a photo? Not so easy, is it? Don’t worry, the uni-ball Signo Angelic Color pastel color pens are just what you need – thanks to their high-tech ink, you can easily write on film.Moreover, the ink is resistant to water and light, so whatever you add to your photos won’t bleed or fade away. Isn’t it reassuring to know that the messages you put on your important photos will last? These pens come in a variety of shades, including white, a refreshing pink and a cool blue. What color do you like best?Product: Uni-ball Signo Angelic ColorReference Price: 120 yen each + taxA Photo Album that Won’t Fail You!Unlike most stick-on photo albums, the Pittato photo album allows you to stick on and peel off your photos as many times as you like. Rest assured you can adjust your best shots to the nicest angle and the perfect spot, or change them around and add others to make your own scrapbook of your trip.You can write on the album with pencils and ballpoint pens too, so you can write about your travels, what’s in the photo itself, or anything that you want to remember about it on the same page. Plus, insert a photo into the album cover and make the album unique and easily recognizable too.Product: Pittato photo album fabric FSReference price: 1680 yen each + taxUse 3D Stickers to Decorate Your Photoslast_img read more

Kamakura Moyai Kogei Handicrafts From All Over Japan

first_imgKamakura Moyai Kogei is a shop dealing in precious handicraft items gathered from all over Japan. It is located in a residential area, a 15 minute walk from the west exit of Kamakura Station.A tall tree stands between the gate and the shop entrance, so it may not look like a shop at first.The Shop: an Old-style Japanese HouseThe building reminds visitors of a retreat; t was built 28 years ago, and designed like an old Japanese private house.The roofline gently points upwards, which is a characteristic of the Izumo-style (*1). The kawara (roof tile) are Kimachi kawara, ordered from Izumo. This kawara is dipped in a glaze (*2) made from the Kimachi stone. The interior is paved with stones also ordered from Izumo.*1 Izumo: the old name for the eastern part of present day Shimane prefecture.*2 A glaze is a thin layer of liquid put on a piece of pottery. When heated, it turns into a shining, glass-like texture, which protects the pottery, and also adds gloss.A Gallery of Works by Japanese CraftspeopleMoyai Kogei mainly handles earthenware. They deal directly with the craft-persons, who live all across Japan, from Akita prefecture in the north to Okinawa prefecture in the south.Although MATCHA visited the shop on a hot summer day, the interior was well-aired and cool, with classical music playing in the background. Most of the furniture are handmade products from Matsumoto Mingei Kagu, a company in Matsumoto City (Nagano prefecture).The furniture has a weathered texture, which matches the items in the shop. They also create a calm, nostalgic atmosphere.These are Okinawan earthenware called yamuchin, known for their bold designs.The small saucers are from Ehime prefecture; called Tobeyaki (Tobe ware), they have quite charming patterns.These glass cups and containers are from Kurashiki (Okayama prefecture) and Naha (Okinawa prefecture).This basket, woven from the bark of a walnut tree, is a product of Akita prefecture.The basket in the photograph was woven from a bamboo called inetego, and was used for carrying rice seedlings. Moyai Kogei displays this basket, which was made in Kagoshima prefecture as a vase; one of their specialties is proposing various ways to utilize these items in daily life.This is a place mat using sugikawa washi, a special kind of washi mixed with sugi (cedar) tree bark. The color varies according to the degree of bleaching. This place mat is made in Wajima (Ishikawa prefecture).Moyai Kogei also sells towels designed by stencil dyeing, and cloth coasters.All the items are durable, easy to use and simply designed. The Moyai Kogei staff describe their items as “calm and clear,” with a “wholesome beauty.” They also said that the beauty intensifies as the items are used.This is a Iwamiyaki (Iwami ware) saucer made in Shimane prefecture. It is designed in an unpretentious style, fit for daily use.Moyai Kogei suggested the idea of this saucer to the craft-person, and it was made in a plain fashion. This Western-style saucer is also stackable.The Creed of Moyai KogeiMoyai Kogei handles items made by craftsmen, rather than “designers”. They value practical items to be used daily, rather than a work of art to be appreciated.They also look for handmade, mass-produced and inexpensive items.The traditional aspect is respected as well, checking whether if the items are made by customary methods and by using local materials.If you visit Moyai Kogei, take a look at the valued items made by Japanese craft-persons, and use those items in your daily life.The items will not only be great souvenirs, but also brighten your day.InformationMoyai KogeiAddress: Kanagawa, Kamakura, Sasuke 2-1-10Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.Closed: Tuesdays. If Tuesday happens to be a National Holiday, the store will be open.Credit Cards: AcceptedNearest Station: Kamakura StationAccess: 15 minute walk from Kamakura Station Nishiguchi (west entrance).Phone: +81-467-22-1822Webpage: Moyai Kogei (Japanese)last_img read more

Japanese Encyclopedia Urushi Urushinuri And Shikki Lacquerware

first_imgThe History of Japanese UrushinuriUrushi (漆) or lacquer, refers to the paints made from the sap of the urushi-no-ki, a tree known as Poison Oak in English. In general, traditional dishes and implements that have been painted with lacquer are known as urushinuri or as shikki (“lacquerware”).The manufacturing and use of lacquerware in Japan is believed to have begun over 2000 years ago. Along with tableware, combs and personal accessories, coffins, armors, Go and Shōgi boards, and many other objects have all been made with lacquer.In present-day Japan, there are about 30 different places that are well-known for their lacquer work. All across Japan, from north to south, and from the coasts to inland areas, shikki have evolved and taken on the special characteristics of the area in which they are produced.Understanding that lacquer is a natural component, the sap collection location and timing, methods of drying and the viscosity of the materials all vary from region to region. That is a large burden that lacquer artisans must shoulder. These artisans must take the skills that have been passed down to them and use them to discern the different natural properties of the lacquer and decide when that particular lacquer will be at its finest. Those techniques and knowledge are both held and passed down only in the region in which that particular lacquer is produced.Features of Various LacquerwareThough lacquerware is now produced all across Japan, the types that have the longest tradition associated with them typically are named after the region in which they developed. Now, let’s take a look at some of the more famous brands of lacquerware found in Japan.Wajima city, Ishikawa prefecture, is where you will find Wajimanuri, also called Ji-no-konayama, which is lacquerware that developed out of and is manufactured from soil that has been specially gathered for these handicrafts. Wajima Shikki Taidō is a long-standing shop where you can purchase elaborate pieces of lacquerware in Wajima city. For those who would like to purchase lacquerware for more daily use, the shop Wajimayazenni is perfect. With everything from ball pens to coffee cups, here you can find affordable pieces of lacquerware perfect for souvenirs or daily use.Perhaps most known for its apples, Aomori prefecture is where the Tsugarunuri style of lacquer developed. This technique features layers upon layers of lacquer, giving it a depth that is not seen elsewhere.And in seafood-rich Miyagi prefecture, you can find Narukonuri. The feudal lord that ruled this region sought to have its lacquerware become famous across Japan and as a result, heavily promoted its development. In order to do so, Narukonuri became closely associated with the famous hot spring, Naruko Onsen. This close connection to the north-eastern hot spring has made Narukonuri the de facto souvenir of any visit to Naruko Onsen. For that reason, even today the old shop Kanegen, the reasonably priced Sasaki Shikki Shop, and others meet the personal shopping needs of the guests to this hot spring town.Japanese Food and Shikki in the WorldA second reason behind the sudden popularity in Japanese lacquerware is the Japanese cuisine boom that has taken place overseas. The striking contrast of the scarlet and black along with the brilliant depth to the polish of Japanese lacquerware really sets off the beauty of Japanese cuisine. Hence, as Japanese cuisine spreads around the world, so too does the incorporation of lacquerware at these international shops. In fact, it is almost certain that most non-Japanese first come into contact with shikki ware by visiting Japanese restaurants abroad.And, with this boom in Japanese cuisine, there are many more traditional lacquerware craftsmen and artisans looking towards the global market. For example, in Fukushima prefecture, the Aizu shikki producing brand BITOWA started up; producing lacquerware in a variety of designs that are perfect for daily use. And in fashion-focused Aoyama in Tokyo, at Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square, you can find Japan’s various famous brands of lacquerware all under one roof.Japanese lacquerware handicrafts can range in price from hundreds to thousands of yen. If you would like a sturdy, very “Japanese” souvenir, then a piece of this lacquerware is the perfect item for you.Read these articles for more on Japanese handicrafts!See Japanese Handicrafts: Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama SquareA Thai Student’s First Onsen Experience At Naruko OnsenAmazing Words Of Art! Handcrafted Fountain Penslast_img read more

5 Amazing Summer Fireworks Festivals Near Tokyo In 2019

first_imgFirework Festivals Close to Tokyo in 2019 How To Enjoy Japan’s Summer Fireworks To The Fullest! Lots of people associate summer in Japan with fireworks festivals, which are held throughout the country in June, July, and August.Numerous large-scale fireworks festivals occur in Tokyo, but there are also many in nature-filled remote areas in the Kanto area, still within convenient access of the capital. These festivals tend to be lesser-known to international travelers and provide visitors with a close-up look at summer traditions in Japan.This article lists fireworks festivals in 2019 located in rural places that can be accessed from Tokyo. Attending a festival will make a great end to a day trip away from the metropolis. Please note that the dates and times of these festivals may be changed subject due to weather and other changes. 1. Koga Fireworks Festival, IbarakiPhoto courtesy of Koga Tourism Association KoganaviKoga in Ibaraki Prefecture is located north of Tokyo. Here, a fireworks festival is held annually that is known for being one of the largest in the Kanto region. A whopping 25,000 fireworks in total are set off. Some are shot up to 600 meters in the sky, while some have a diameter of 650 meters! The festival will celebrate its 12th year in 2017.Photo courtesy of Koga Tourism Association KoganaviThe venue is a golf course which is located by the Watarase River, allowing viewers to enjoy the harmony of fireworks and nature. The nearest station of the Koga Fireworks Festival is Koga Station, which is accessible without any train transfers from JR Ueno and Shinjuku stations. It is about a 20-minute walk from Koga Station. Alternatively, visitors can ride the Tobu Nikko Line to Shinkoga Station, where it is a 5-minute walk to the venue from the east exit.Event InformationDate: Saturday, August 3, 2019Time: 19:20 – 20:30Address: Ibaraki, Koga, Nishimachi Koga Golf Links2. Takasaki Matsuri Fireworks Festival, GunmaPhoto courtesy of Takasaki Tourism AssociationThe Takasaki Matsuri has been held every year since 1975 in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture. The Takasaki Matsuri Fireworks Festival lights the night sky, creating a fantastical scene. Around 15,000 fireworks are sent up into the sky, and there are performances during the daytime you can watch.The venue is close to Takasaki Station, which is accessible from JR Tokyo Station in about an hour with no transfers.Event InformationDate: Saturday, August 3, 2019Time: 19:30 – 20:20Place: Gunma, Takasaki, Karasugawa Wadabashi upstream riverbed3. Chiyoda-no-Matsuri Kawagaseki Fireworks Festival, GunmaPhoto courtesy of Chiyoda TownThe Chiyoda-no-Matsuri Kawagaseki Fireworks Festival held in Chiyoda, Gunma Prefecture. It is a must-see event. The festival has been held for more than 140 years. The fireworks reflecting in the surface of the water are impressive and are very worth the visit. Kumagaya station is 30 minutes from JR Ueno Station.Event InformationDate: Sunday, August 18, 2019Time: 19:00 – 20:40Place: Gunma, Ora, Chiyoda Tone River Riverside4. Ashikaga Fireworks Festival, TochigiPhoto courtesy of Ashikaga City Tourist AssociationAshikaga City in Tochigi Prefecture is famous for sightseeing spots like Ashikaga Flower Park and Japan’s oldest school. The historic Ashikaga Fireworks Festival is a major event that has been held annually for around a century.The event is very popular, as around 500,000 people visit the festival every year. The nearest station to the festival venue, JR Ashikaga station, is about 90 minutes from JR Ueno Station.Event InformationDate: Saturday, August 3, 2019Time: 19:00 – 20:45Place: Tochigi, Ashikaga, Watarase River Tanakabashi Downstream Riverbed5. Mooka-shi Summer Festival Fireworks Festival, TochigiPhoto courtesy of Mooka City Tourist AssociationKojinsai is a summer festival held by Mooka City in Tochigi. On the middle day of the festival, the Mooka-shi Summer Festival Fireworks Festival is held.The fireworks of this event are unique for being sent into the sky along with music and laser beams and other special effects. You’ll be moving to the music in no time and are sure to have a blast! The nearest station is Mooka Railway’s Kitamoka Station, which is about 2 hours from JR Ueno Station.Event InformationDate: Saturday, July 27, 2019Time: 19:30 – 21:00Place: Tochigi, Mooka, Mooka City Office, East Side Gogyo River riversideVenture Out of Tokyo and See Fireworks!Watching fireworks is a must-do activity in Japan during the summer. These events are sure to fill your weekend with excitement and memories. Take a trip outside of Tokyo to take part in this traditional seasonal fun and experience phenomenal hanabi. 7 Amazing Firework Festivals Near Osaka And Kyoto In 2019 What to Remember When Attending Summer Fireworks Displayscenter_img Read also Read also 7 Fabulous Firework Displays In Tokyo And Eastern Japan – 2019 Edition Tokyo’s Edogawa Fireworks Festival – 2019 Schedule And 4 Attractive Featureslast_img read more

What to Remember When Attending Summer Fireworks Displays

first_imgSummer in Japan means it’s time for fireworks. When you’re looking up at the beautiful night sky, set ablaze by fireworks launches, you can feel that summer has come. Often appearing in dramas and movies, fireworks are emblematic of the summer season.From June through the end of August, fireworks displays will be held all over Japan. If you’re coming to Japan during this time, you should absolutely join one of these events!In this article, we’ll explain some things you should remember before you go to a Japanese fireworks display.Things to Remember Before Going to See the FireworksFrom [Summer] 4 Ways to Fully Enjoy Japan’s Fireworks Displays (MATCHA article, Japanese)1. Look Up the Venue and Start Times In AdvanceMost fireworks displays are held in July and August, so if you’d like to see one, we recommend visiting Japan during this time.Also, the grounds and viewing areas at fireworks venues are very wide. It goes without saying that you need to confirm the details about the venue to avoid getting lost.2. Check the WeatherFireworks displays are vulnerable to the elements. In the event of rainy or stormy weather, they can be postponed or canceled, so double-check right before you go.3. Think About Transportation to and From the VenueParking situations vary from venue to venue, but many places will not have parking lots, so going by train is more convenient. However, the station closest to the venue and the surrounding area will be packed with crowds. If you don’t have a Suica or Pasmo transit card, buy your return ticket soon after arriving. Many a tourist has grumbled about the long wait to buy a train ticket after the fireworks have ended, so save yourself some time with an advance purchase.Things to Remember on the Day of the Fireworks DisplayFrom 1,000 Fireworks Launched in Five Seconds! Marvel at the Edogawa Fireworks Display (MATCHA article, Japanese)1. Go to the Restroom EarlyWhile there are toilets set up at fireworks venues, most facilities will have long lines of people waiting to use them, and they can be located a long walk from viewing areas. Handle your business before the show starts, so you can relax and fully enjoy the fireworks.2. Be Polite When Getting a Spot!Some venues sell tickets to seats set up in the viewing areas closest to the fireworks. However, the good seats must be reserved far in advance, so tourists from overseas may find it difficult to buy tickets.Of course, you can enjoy the fireworks for free. However, you will need to get a spot to sit. At that time, please refrain from marking the area with oil-based spray paint, markers, or sticy tape. Also, using stones may cause people to slip and fall, so be careful. Bringing tarps or towels will let you sit comfortably, and they serve as convenient markers, too.3. Don’t Cause Trouble For Other PeopleWhen you look up at the summer night sky, illuminated with fireworks, it’s understandable to get really excited. Nevertheless, try not to interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the show – take care to avoid things like loud yelling and intruding into other people’s seating areas.Things to Remember After the Fireworks are OverPhotos provided by: Northern Biwako Town Sightseeing Company1. Clean Up After YourselfMost places have trash bins separated by the type of garbage, but some don’t; if you can’t find a trash can, please bring your rubbish with you when you leave.2. Give Yourself Extra Time to Get to Your Next DestinationThere will be hordes of people rushing for the train after the fireworks are over. There might be a long wait until you can get on, or the train might be packed or behind schedule. We recommend arranging your schedule so you don’t stress about being late for your next appointment. Avoid unnecessary rushing, and stay safe; wait patiently in line.When you actually go to a fireworks display, you might be surprised by the crowds, but that’s really how many people go to see the fireworks in Japan. There are many different kinds of displays, with some that are awe-inspiringly large in scope, or located by the seaside. At any of them, you can enjoy the breathtaking sight of the gorgeous night sky in tandem with the fireworks. If you have the opportunity, by all means, see them for yourself.last_img read more

Visit Nippon CHACHACHA Near Shinjuku Station For Japanese Gifts

first_imgFrom the right of the photo, you can find the kabuki actor, the hyottoko (*1), and the okame (*2) motifs used in the pouches. The hyottoko and okame are considered to be good luck items, so perhaps if you use it, good luck will come to you.*1 Hyottoko: a traditional Japanese character of a man with a pointed mouth.*2 Okame: like the hyottoko, another traditional Japanese character, a round-faced lady with a low nose. Photo courtesy of SOUVENIR Co., Ltd.After heading out of the west exit of Shinjuku Station on the JR and Odakyu Lines, you will find Nippon CHACHACHA located right in the Mosaic Street shops between the Odakyu and Keio department stores. The west exit of Shinjuku Station is where you can board the limousine bus bound for Narita and Haneda airports, so this is a wonderful place to stop by before boarding your bus.Now, let’s inspect the Nippon CHACHACHA Shinjuku store.What Is Their Most Popular Product? Nippon CHACHACHA is a cute Japanese item shop right by Shinjuku Station. It has a wide variety of cute, authentic-style Japanese goods that make great gifts or souvenirs.center_img The most popular product in Nippon CHACHACHA is the Motif Gamaguchi Pouch (1500 yen plus tax). It is liked by people of all ages.Designs range from daruma, ninja, sumo wrestlers, and other round forms that give the pouches a comical, characteristic appearance.last_img read more

A Fresh Look At Jellyfish Visiting The Kamo Aquarium In Tsuruoka

first_imgLocated on the rocky coast road (Route 50), along which Benkei (*1) and Matsuo Basho (*2) traveled in centuries past, the Kamo Aquarium houses the greatest variety of jellyfish of any aquarium in the world, and now breakthrough research on jellyfish bioluminescence has put this aquarium firmly on the map.*1… Benkei – A warrior monk who lived in the 12th century, nowadays a popular figure in Japanese folklore and legends related to the hero Minamoto no Yoshitsune.*2… Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694), haiku poet whose work was decisive for the establishment of haiku as a poetry form.Read also:With Bashō On The Narrow Road To The Deep North – A Visit To ObanazawaKamo Aquarium – Welcome to the World of Jellyfish! Smitten by a craving for unusual foods, or for those willing to try anything once, the Kurage restaurant menu offers crunchy jellyfish in various forms – in ramen, and even ice cream.Education and Outreach Tsuruoka City Kamo Aquarium View Informationaquarium ©JNTOThen, twenty-five blue jellyfish were released into the tank and the numbered cages first entered by the jellyfish determined the initial winners of the lottery. The remaining eligible investors were selected in a later lottery. The plight of the well-loved Kamo Aquarium resonated with the public and 3.5 billion yen was raised. Earlier, in April 2013, 300 million yen worth of “Jellyfish Dream Bonds” was issued and the bonds sold out within 20 minutes.Serendipitously, in 2008, Osamu Shimomura, along with Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on bioluminescence, specifically Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). The research on GPF sparked the development of a variety of medical and technical applications. At the time, Kamo was the only aquarium in Japan breeding Aequorea Victoria, the tiny jellyfish that enabled the GPF breakthrough.Highlights of the Jellyfish Dream TheaterThe Jellyfish Dream Theater, re-opened in 2014, showcases the suddenly famous jellyfish in a huge, 5-meter-wide tank. There are seats so that visitors can sit and watch the beautifully mesmerizing floating movements backlit against colored light. Jellyfish is eaten by many people and particularly appreciated in Asian countries. It is very healthy, being high in protein and collagen with zero cholesterol. You may have painful memories of being at the beach and getting the tentacles of a jellyfish wrapped around your ankles, or surprise at finding yourself swimming amidst a smack of jellyfish drifting along with the current.A visit to the Kamo Aquarium – Jellyfish Dream Theater (or Kurage Dream Theater) in Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture, will delight, and enhance your image of these mysterious creatures.center_img In spite of the fact that they are delicate and do not live long, jellyfish have emerged from the ocean and can now be seen in tanks at the local library or other public facilities. Their rhythmic movements are calming and therapeutic and they create engaging environmental design elements.Jellyfish on the Menu A fugu set meal at the Kamo restaurant. First put on the menu to celebrate a visit of the Imperial Family to the aquarium. The Kamo Aquarium has active educational programs to engage a wider public in knowledge of sea ecology. There are other fish and sea creature exhibits, including sea lion shows four times a day. It is open all 365 days of the year, so any day is a great day for a visit!Recommended articles by the same author:With Bashō On The Narrow Road To The Deep North – A Visit To ObanazawaSakata – The Unique Appeal Of A City With A Rich HistoryShinjo Matsuri – Join One of Tōhoku’s Vibrant Summer Festivals!Visit Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture’s Fun Port City Kamo Aquarium had been an aging facility with the charm of unassuming neglect where locals stopped in for the seal lion show and otter feeding while researchers got on with their work.However, rumors of bankruptcy spread and the possibility that the somewhat run-down facility might have to be closed permanently was discussed. The Director, Tatsuo Murakami, boldly threw all his eggs into the jellyfish basket and decided to focus on what was special to Kamo.In 2014, money to finance a renovation was quickly raised through a surprisingly emotional sale of municipal bonds. Tsuruoka City arranged an unusual procedure. Eligibility to buy the “Jellyfish Dream Bonds” was determined by a lottery at which jellyfish participated in the random selection process. A tank was bought to the 6th floor conference room of the municipal office and 16 numbered cages set in the tank for correspondingly numbered groups of bond purchase applicants.last_img read more

Thirdparty election activities under scrutiny as complaints rise

first_imgOTTAWA – The number of complaints about third-party activities during the last federal election jumped almost nine-fold over the previous one, prompting the elections commissioner to suggest an update of the rules.A spokeswoman for Yves Cote, the commissioner of Canada Elections, told The Canadian Press there were 105 complaints related to third-party activities in the 2015 campaign.After the 2011 ballot, the number of complaints was just 12.The latest statistics come as another complaint is filed by Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, who alleges in a letter this month to Cote that in 2015 the U.S.-based Tides Foundation donated nearly $700,000 to eight organizations that registered as third parties for the 2015 campaign.Cooper doesn’t know when in 2015 the donations were received, which is potentially the critical element to his complaint, because the law only prohibits foreign donations to registered third parties six months before the campaign begins.Cooper however said the timing shouldn’t matter because Canada Elections Act also prohibits non-residents from doing anything to induce a Canadian to vote for or against a person or party.“Foreign influence is a serious issue,” he said. “Canadians deserve elections that are free from foreign interference and influence.”To date Cote hasn’t laid any charges from any of the complaints about third parties.In an appearance at a Senate committee last month, Cote said he thinks it’s time Parliament takes a look at the rules for third parties, noting they haven’t changed in 17 years.The number of third parties that registered more than doubled between 2011 and 2015, to 114 from 55.The Canada Elections Act only applies to third parties with regard to advertising activities. Third parties, including unions and corporations barred from donating directly to political parties, can do as much direct calling, door-knocking and polling as they like.Concerns about foreign influence during an election are high after the U.S. election and the investigation into alleged Russian interference to help Donald Trump win. The Canadian government has asked the Communications Security Establishment to look at whether the 2019 federal election is vulnerable to outside influence, particularly through cybercrimes such as hacking.Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said in a statement Tuesday the government plans to review the spending limits placed on political parties and third parties during an election, as well as introduce new spending limits for advertising between elections. She did not specifically mention whether the review will look at the scope of third parties, or whether the Canada Elections Act laws for third parties should be extended to activities other than advertising.Jessica Clogg, executive director at West Coast Environmental Law, called Cooper’s complaint “one more poorly informed witch hunt designed to undermine the work that charities and non-profits do on behalf of Canadians.”She said the West Coast Environmental Law Association and the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation registered under third-party provisions only to be able to continue to take positions on environmental law issues during the campaign period, and never supported or opposed any particular candidate or party. All advertising done during the writ period was paid for by Canadian donors, she said. The Tides Foundation donations the two bodies received were unrelated to elections work entirely.Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said in a written statement that Greenpeace — which also received Tides Foundation money — spent just $3,000 on election-related advertising, and all of it came from Canadians.Conservative Senator Linda Frum intends to introduce her own legislation to ban Canadian organizations from accepting foreign donations to use for political activities within Canada. A phone call to her office Tuesday was not returned.— Follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more

Neurofibromatosis NF Hope Concert To Feature Broadway Stars

first_imgAn impressive collection of Broadway talent will come together Sunday, May 20th, 2018 for New York City’s second annual NF Hope Concert at SubCulture New York.Neurofibromatosis Benefit Concert Featuring Broadway StarsBenefit organizer Jeff Leibow, formerly of Jersey Boys, has brought together an incredible list of Broadway performers including Jeremy Stolle (Phantom of the Opera), Quinn VanAntwerp (The Play That Goes Wrong), Peter Saide (Desperate Measures), Ava Della Pietra (School of Rock), Laura Nicole Harrison (The Art Couple) and Keith Harrison (Million Dollar Quartet) and NYC Downtown performer, Migguel Anggelo (Welcome to La Misa, Baby), for a spectacular evening of entertainment to raise awareness and financial support for Neurofibromatosis Network, an organization dedicated to families and individuals suffering from Neurofibromatosis (NF).“The Broadway community is very close-knit family,” says Jeff. “Even so, I am awed by the number of performers who want to help make the NF Hope Concert a success in every way possible.”Tickets start at $40 and are available online at: inaugural NF Hope Concert took place in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2011. Since then, the event has grown by leaps and bounds and is now expanding into new markets, increasing its reach to raise awareness for Neurofibromatosis research and advocacy. Last year, the NF Hope Concerts in Las Vegas and New York City raised $150,000. Advocacy efforts funded by NF Hope Concerts in 2017 played a vital role in federal legislation that provided $15 million for NF research (Army-run NF Research Program (NFRP)).NF is a genetic disorder of the nervous system characterized by tumors, which can grow on any nerve in the body without warning. Leibow’s young daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with this condition in 2010 when she was just nine months old. As Leibow and his wife, Melody, learned more about the disorder’s devastating effects, they conceived the idea for the concert with the realization that they had an obligation to Emma and the nearly 130,000 people living with NF to educate others about the disorder. Although it is a very common genetic disorder, most people are unaware that NF affects 1 in 2,500 people, making it more prevalent than Cystic Fibrosis, hereditary Muscular Dystrophy, Huntington’s Disease, and Tay Sachs combined.Every year, Emma has supplied Leibow and his wife all the inspiration they need to make this event a success, but complications in the last eighteen months have given them even more to fight for.“The last year has brought numerous challenges for Emma,ˮ said Leibow, “including a surgery on her leg resulting from a massive tumor that stretches from her hip to her knee. This reminder of the disorder’s unpredictability has only fueled our drive to support this incredibly personal cause. When Melody and I founded the NF Hope Concerts in 2011, we dreamed of expanding it to new markets. We are seeing that come to fruition with New York and earlier this month in Chicago. We now have our sights on making an even bigger goal a reality, funding the search for a cure.”The event will include a silent auction, featuring items such as posters signed by the casts of current hit Broadway shows, house seats to Hamilton, The Play That Goes Wrong and Phantom of the Opera, and an evening at Bubby’s Restaurant and The Odeon. Register for the auction here.New York City’s 2nd Annual NF Hope® Concert Sunday, May 20, 2018 @7:30 PMSubCulture (45 Bleecker Street)last_img read more

Iroquois Nations hold summit to talk about who and who shouldnt belong

first_imgTom Fennario APTN NewsA number of Iroquois Nations are holding a summit in Akwesasne to discuss who should and should not be considered part of the Iroquois community.At the root of the issue is Canada’s legislation that will allow more people to become Status Indians.tfennario@aptn.calast_img

Gas prices spike

We’re still a couple days away from the Easter long weekend, but drivers’ wallets are already getting drained at the pumps. Gas prices are at near record highs in southern Ontario, and some analysts say by the end of the month we could be paying the highest prices yet. Melissa Raftis has driver reaction.

Sri Lanka and Cuba discuss priority areas to boost cooperation

Prior to the visit to the National Assembly, a floral wreath was placed by the State Minister at the monument of Jose Marti, the National Hero of Cuba. The State Minister held bilateral discussions with his counterpart Marcelino Medina Gonzalez, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs where they discussed matters of mutual interest identifying priority areas for more robust sectoral cooperation. Both sides agreed that there has been a significant qualitative leap in the bilateral sphere over the years which have been underpinned by mutual respect and understanding. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and the Raul Roa Garcia Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba was signed at the bilateral meeting. The MoU is expected to develop the academic and scholastic cooperation and research initiatives between the two Institutes. Sri Lanka and Cuba have discussed priority areas to boost future cooperation.State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake, undertook an official visit to the Republic of Cuba from 25 to 29 June to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Cuba, the Foreign Ministry said today. A Sri Lankan Food Festival was opened by State Minister Senanayake on the evening of the 28th organized by the Sri Lanka Embassy at the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinsky  with Head Chef Publis Silva from the Mount Lavinia hotel.Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba A.L. Ratnapala and Director General Shanika Dissanayake of the Foreign Ministry were associated with the official visit and the ensuing discussions. As a token of solidarity with the Government and people of Cuba, a donation of US $ 50,000 was handed over by State Minister Senanayake to the Government of Cuba towards reconstruction work in the affected regions in the Regla and 10 de Octubre municipalities in Havana which were extensively damaged by a tornado that struck Cuba on 27 January this year, the strongest tornado to affect Cuba in 81 years.  The donation was warmly welcomed by the Cuban government as a testament to the strong bonds of solidarity and friendship.A donation of 200 coconut seedlings of the dwarf X Tall hybrid variety was also pledged during the discussions for replanting in the coconut plantations in the affected regions. Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was the first Asian country to recognize the legitimacy of the Cuban government in the immediate aftermath of the Cuban revolution in February 1959. Speaking at the commemorative event organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People (ICAP), State Minister Senanayake spoke on the historical ties between the two countries which though separated by distance and language, have strong common bonds. The State Minister recalled the Sri Lankan lives touched by the friendship and generosity of Cuba, which are many, ranging from the students who have studied in Cuba to those who have been treated by Cuban doctors, who first visited Sri Lanka in the early 80’s. The State Minister also held discussions with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Anayansi Rodriguez and President of ICAP Fernando Gonzalez Llort on the sidelines of the ICAP event.State Minister Senanayake also undertook a tour of the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre in Havana where discussions centered on obtaining assistance for Sri Lanka’s health sector, particularly in the field of R & D.  Director General Luis Herrera Martinez expressed keen interest in assisting Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health through the transfer and exchange of technology for the treatment of various diseases.Visiting Santa Clara on 28 June, the State Minister planted a tree at the Che Memorial to signify the deep rooted and everlasting ties that exist between the two countries. In August 1959, during Che Guevara’s visit to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, a Mahogany tree was planted by Che at the Yahalakele Estate in Horana. During the visit, State Minister Senanayake also held meetings with the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Antonio Carricarte Corona to discuss concerted action towards enhancing trade and commercial ties between the two countries. State Minister Senanayake recalled the First Trade and Payments Agreement signed between Che Guevara and R.G. Senanayake on 8 August 1959 during Che’s visit to Sri Lanka, then Ceylon.At an interactive RoundTable discussion at the Havana Chamber of Commerce with Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, the State Minister underlined the importance of exploring and identifying the potential in the Cuban market for new products.  Sri Lanka would also be participating in the FIHAV Trade Fair, Cuba’s largest multisectoral platform, scheduled for the first week of November 2019 in Havana.State Minister Senanayake, during his visit, met with the Chairperson of the International Relations Commission of the Peoples Power National Assembly Yolanda Ferrer Gomez during a visit to the National Assembly of Cuba. Both sides emphasized the importance of strengthening parliamentary exchanges in the context of the Sri Lanka- Cuba Parliamentary Friendship Group. read more

Tories NDP warn power rates will soar if Liberals sell 60 per

TORONTO – The Liberal’s plan to sell a majority of Hydro One will drive up electricity rates, cut government revenues and reduce public control over the transmission utility, Ontario’s opposition parties warned Monday.A government-appointed panel that reviewed Crown assets to squeeze out their maximum value for the cash-strapped government concluded the province could raise $9 billion by selling 60 per cent of Hydro One.The Progressive Conservatives aren’t opposed to privatizing Crown assets — they tried to sell stakes in Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation when they were last in power — but said government should always maintain majority ownership.“By selling a majority stake in Hydro One, Ontarians will lose control of this asset, and prices will skyrocket to pay for the last 12 years of this government’s mismanagement,” said interim PC Leader Jim Wilson.The New Democrats want Hydro One to stay 100 per cent government owned, and warned giving up 60 per cent of future revenues will only put more upward pressure on Ontario’s already high electricity rates.“Before last week, the premier hadn’t even actually talked at all about a plan to sell off the majority of Hydro One,” NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in the legislature. “Does the premier honestly believe that she has a mandate to sell off Hydro One to Bay Street?”Premier Kathleen Wynne insisted ratepayers would be protected after a Hydro One sale because the Ontario Energy Board will continue to set electricity prices, but the opposition said the OEB has approved huge increases in rates.The government intends to spend billions on transit and infrastructure projects, and selling a majority of Hydro One will help pay those bills, added Wynne.“What I believe I have a mandate to do is to invest in the future of this province, to invest in the transit and transportation infrastructure that will allow us to thrive,” she told the legislature.Former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty warned ratepayers would be hurt when the previous Tory government tried to sell a portion of Hydro One, said Wilson.“The Liberals agreed with us when we last looked at this and came to the decision that you should always keep a majority share in the company so you have some control,” he said.The opposition parties said the government could be out-voted on any Hydro One decisions by private sector companies who will own 60 per cent of the shares, even though no one owner can hold more than 10 per cent.“There will be a minimum of six other partners come in to out-vote you, and they’re going to want maximum value for their shareholders, which is going to mean higher prices,” said Wilson.The government plans to appoint a special ombudsman for Hydro One, taking away oversight from the provincial ombudsman’s office, which is investigating more than 10,000 complaints about the utility’s billing practices. The provincial auditor general will also lose oversight of Hydro One six months after the legislation enabling the sale is passed.“Does the premier really think that, along with less control, Ontarians want less oversight as well,” asked Horwath.Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 20, 2015 1:25 pm MDT Last Updated Apr 20, 2015 at 4:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Tories, NDP warn power rates will soar if Liberals sell 60 per cent of Hydro One read more