Fireworks are one of the highlighted popular events of joy for Japanese people in summer for hundreds of years. This year about 1,000 firworks displays are being held all over Japan especially in July and August. (http://hanabi.walkerplus.com/)
The main building of Hotel Okura in Tokyo is going to be closed at the end of thsi August and a reconstruction will take place which will have finished by the coming spring in 2019 in order to meet the timing of preparation for the Tokyo Olympic games in 2020. (http://www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo/en/)
The current main building of 11 floors with 408 guest rooms will be replaced by two new buildings of 41 floors and 16 floors with 510 guest rooms due to decrepitude. The current one was open n 1962, two years before the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 as its preparatory inflastructure and now the new ones will be created as a preparation for another Tokyo Olympics in 2020. However, a lot of people including foreign celebrities who have stayed at the hotel are reluctant to accept the reconstruction and against the plan of demolision because of their sweet memories with building of the beautiful conbinations of traditional Japanese artistic and western modernism. Famous writers, foreign monarchs, well-known business people and so forth enjoyed the lavish stays at the hotel in the past 50-year history and some of those influential foreign visitors even conduct protest sign-in campaigns against the demolision plan. The culturally important asset of the hotel building might be spared and might be preserved in some other way due to the passions of those who love those works and facilities.
At any rate, the hotel will remain open in business operation even during the reconstruction utilizing its annex building.
The 70th Peace Memorial Ceremonies were held at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima City,Hiroshima pref. on the Aug.6th and Nagasaki Peace Park in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Pref. on the Aug 9th. The two dates were the very dates the two atomic bombs were dropped at the two cities respectively just 70 years ago. (http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/1342505253394/)
PM Abe attended the two ceremonies and gave remakes wishing peace and keeping peaceful world. So did the city mayors. What was especially notable was that for the first time in history of these 70 years, a higher official of the US government along with the current US ambassador attended the ceremonies. Rose Gottemoeller, Under-secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security , attended the ceremonies with US Ambassador Kennedy on behalf of the US government.
The two venues of the ceremonies including peace memorial museums, the Atomic Dome there are quite popular tourist destinations and a lot of people including foreign tourists visit everyday. Peace prevalence is,needless to say, essential to retaining and growing of tourism.
The Nebuta Festival, one of the six major festivals of Tohoku region, was held and new type images such as thoses of Star Wars series were displayed among other traditional images of floats in Aomori City, Aomori Pref. Aug.2-7. (http://www.nebuta.or.jp/)
7-11 Japan announced to expand their tax free service for foreigners and tourists. Having about 30 tax free 7-11, it will increase to 100 by the end of July. They are installing new cashier system with reduced time in tax free registration and making “convenience store” aptly named than ever.
Not only do they have information and product explanations in English, Chinese, Korean and other languages, they also have the “7 spot” which offers free Wi-fi. Another good news is that language selection for the ATM machine will increase from 4 to 12 with in 2015.
Their strategy is great. They have products that sells like cake by the register. It only takes about 3 minutes for the tax free registration to finish, which is 1/3 of how it was. With their rival stores Lawson and Family Mart only installing tax free in few stores, 7-11 is taking a great lead.
With having tax free system for some of the stores, average spending cost goes up to 70,000 yen. The most popular products include the 7-11 limited Kose skin care products which sell few hundreds of their hit washing foam in a day. 7-11 will continue to impress foreigners and make it even more convenient for everyone.
JNTO (http://www.jnto.go.jp/) announced the number of foreign tourist to Japan of 9,140,000 in the first haf year of 2015 (Jan.-Jun.) marked the record high.
The number of 9,140,000 is a 46% increase compared to the number which had marked the record high at the same timing last year. The number of Chinese tourists,who are of the top number, hasincrease by 2.2 times compared to the number last year at the same timing. Shigeto Kubo, the Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency gave comment that the total number of foreign tourists to Japan in the end of this year 2015 would have reached about 18,000,000.
A Chinese first-rate big luxury cruise ship,”Mariner of the Sea” arrived in the port of Sakaiminato City,Tottori Prefecture on Jul.22.
About 3,400 Chinese tourists, who are its passengers, visited the city and were taken to tourist destinations,such as Matsue Castle, landscape gardens, sourvenir shops, restaurants, and so forth in about 90 sightseeing buses. They enjoyed sightseeing, shopping, eating and various activities and made whirlwind and passionate situations.
An examination fair to rate and select excellent summer plants was held at a metropolitan park in Koto ward Tokyo on Jul.24. This fair was to choose good plants or flowers in respect of beauty and perservarnce to survive in vivacity in a hot mid summer time as a part of preparation for the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.
About 200 types of plants were exhibited and examined, which had been grown by producing companies or horticulturists including cultivar improved ones. The fair will have been held until September three times in total to decide excellent plants which are to decorate places around the Olympics venues and areas along the marathon courses in the big events in five years.
The officilal emblems of the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2020 were released by The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and paralympic Games at a special huge eventatteded by many people and athletic celebrities held at the front square of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office Building in Tokyo on Jul 24, which was just the date to five years for start of the Tokyo olympic Games 2020.
The emblems were chosen out of 104 candidates in the design contest for this purpose. The Olympics’ emblem uses “T” form as its basic design, which symbolizes “Tokyo”, “Team”, and “Tomorrow”,while the Paralympics’ is based on a degin of “E” form,which symbolizes “Equal”. The embles will be used for related events, memorial goods, sign borads,and so forth from now on for the upcoming world biggest events in five years.
Yui Shinkawa, not only did she debut as a Non-no (popular fashion magazine) exclusive model, but she is the face for the cover of non-no. You’d be able to get your hands on these copy for the August issue which will were sold on June.20th. It is the first to just debut and have the cover.
The August issue is full of Yui. The contents include her interview for work, family, summer fashion, secret to her beauty, off shots and hobbies. It really goes deep in to Yui’s real life. The editors commented how Yui is probably perceived as cool and casual, but she can actually pull off sweet, mature, feminine and has more dimension than you think. ” We really believe that she can be the true face of Non-no.” the entire editor team left a comment.
Yui herself commented, ” I want to give Non-no my vibe as well as showing off the new me.”.
Born in 1993 December, she won the grand prize of ” Miss Magazine 2010″. In 2011, she won the ” Miss. Seventeen 2011″ and was an exclusive model for Seventeen magazine for 4 years.
She was also chosen as No.1 for ” The model Junior and High school boys want as a girlfriend.”
Not only is she working in the modelling field, but also as a actress for movies and dramas.
Visit Japan Asia Travel Mart 2015 is being held Jun.12-21(familizarization trips on Jun.12-21, business negotiation events on Jun.16 and 17, and work shops on Jun. 16) at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City Chiba pref. (http://www.vjatm.jp/en/index.html) (http://www.m-messe.co.jp/)(http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/index.html)(http://www.jnto.go.jp/)
This big event of inbound tourism always becomes so popular and visited by a lot of foreign buyers, travel agents, and local suppliers, sellers,such as municipalities, bus companies, hotels, guide associations, and so forth. This time 250 buyers are officially invited to the event from 11 countries of China,Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore,Malaysia,Indonesia, Vietnam, The Philippines, and India. The host, Japan Tourism Agency and JNTO expect to have more visitors and energetic promotions and negotiations to take place which are to trigger more momentum in that industry.
The 7th “general Election of AKB48″ was held at “Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome ” in Fukuoka City , Fukuoka pref. on the Jun.6th. (http://www.akb48.co.jp/)
Totally 272 members of AKB48 and its sister groups(SKE48,NMB48,HKT48 and some members from JKT48,SNH48,NGT48, and Nogizaka46) ran for the election and the Selected Members for the new single CD(1st-16th), the Under Girls(17th-32nd), the Next Girls(33rd-48th),the Future Girls(49th-64th),the Upcoming Girls(65th-80th) were announed out of 272 candidate members of the groups. Rhie election event now draws attention of not only fans of the groups but also mass nationwide and the course was broadcast live at CXTV. Rino Sashihara, a memeber of Team H of HKT48 won the No.1 for the first time in two years and regained the “queen’s throne” of the event. Yuki Kashiwagi, a member of Team B of AKB48 rated the second, and Mayu Watanabe, a member of Team B of AKB48 who was the No.1 winner of the event last year got the third and could not get the first position in a row.
The Selected members are as followes; 1: Rino Sashihara(194,049 votes,TeamH of HKT48), 2: Yuki Kashiwagi(167,183 votes,TeamB of AKB48 & NGT48), 3: Mayu Watanabe(165,789 votes, TeamB of AKB48), 4: Minami Takahashi(137,252 votes, TeamA of AKB48), 5: Jyurina Matsui(105,289 votes,TeamS of SKE48 & TeamK of AKB48), 6: Sayaka Yamamoto(97,866 votes,TeamN of NMB48 & TeamK of AKB48), 7: Sakura Miyawaki(81,422 votes, TeamKⅣof HKT48 & TeamA of AKB48), 8: Sae Miyazawa(75,495 votes, TeamSⅡ of SNH48 & Team S of SKE48), 9: Haruka Shimazaki(73,803 votes,TeamA of AKB48), 10: Yui Yokoyama(63,414 votes, TeamA of AKB48), 11: Rie Kitahara(61,566 votes, NGT48), 12: Miyuki Watanabe(55,715 votes, TeamBⅡof NMB48 & TeamB of AKB48), 13: Kaori Matsumura(53,667 votes, TeamKⅡof SKE48) , 14: Akane Takayanagi (52,609 votes, TeamKⅡ of SKE48 ) , 15: Aya Shibata(49,199 votes, TeamE of SKE48), and 16: Tomu Muto(44,637 votes, TeamK of AKB48).
A temporary character goods store, or a “chara-pop store” of “Blood Blockade battlefront”(/血界戦線, Kekkai Sensen), a popular manga and anime work will open Jun.16-Jul.31st on the B1 floor in ”Tokyo Eki Ichibangai(Tokyo Station First Street)” , the biggest station basement shopping arcade zone of Tokyo.(http://kekkaisensen.com/)
This manga and anime work is a fantasy about an imaginary world where the human world and and a fantasy world exist together and describing stories of a secret order. To the work, such a chara-pop store is the first one and is going to sell relating goods to the work. The store will prepare wagons at selling stages and also provide special lottery services whose special goods are available only there.
The new store is located on 3,4,and 5th floor of JTB Shinjuku Kyodo Building near Shinjuku Station, which is the busiest commercial area in Tokyo. The store space is about 2140 ㎡ and the management expects mainly Chinese and Islamic tourists for huge shopping visits.
The store provides wide range of goods, such as PCs, TVs, watches, cosmetics, video games, goceries and so forth. The opening cerempony was held on the opening day and a famous Taiwanese actor, Lin Chi-ling turned up and did promotion of the new store, saying, Laox chain is a well-known and popular duty free and home electric appliance chain even in China. She showed a Chinese character calligraphy, “美 ”（/beauty）.
13 cities and 9 towns in the Harima region in Hyogo Pref. formed a wide-area cooperative conference and set up an inbound tourism project review team to launch various inbound tour projects. As I have written in my last post, Himeji area in the Harima region now enjoys huge popularity with tourists due to the re-disclosure of Himeji Castle to public this spring, whole of the Harima region has been stimulated and energetically conducts broader inbound plans there. (http://www.harima-united.jp/)
The 13 cities, such as Himeji, Kakogawa,Ako, and Akashi, and 6 towns, such as Fukuzaki, Kamikawa, and Kamigoori started inbound tour plans in collaboration with related local businesses such as travel agents and bus companies. In such projects, they plan and implement monitoring tours, such as a tour to experience making abaci called “Banshu Soroban” which is a traditional craft of Ono City and to visit Himeji Castle, or experiencing Zen meditations at a local Buddhist temple, tea ceremonies and Himeji Castle visit. Some American, British, Spanish, Canadian residents in those areas joined the tours and are all satisfied so much. The municipalities are now vigorously continuing the inbound projects to attract and receive much more foreign tourists to reinvigorate the local society.