Archive for 'Shopping Spots' Category

KIRARITO GINZA opened on 30th

By TERRY - Last updated: 金曜日, 10月 31, 2014

A new commericial complex ,”KIRARITO GINZA”(a gleam in Ginza) opened this 30th in 1st block in Ginza, Tokyo.(http://www.kirarito-ginza.jp/)(http://www.kirarito-ginza.jp/pdf/language.pdf)

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The  building is 66m high and has 12 floors, each of which include first-rate stores, restanrants,and  other establishments of totally 52. The basic concept is a bright shiny space like  diamonds and the “brilliant life” image is adopted.  jewelry stores, clothes shops, and even a wedding hall are there.

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Ding Tai Fung, a  popular Taiwanese restraunt chain which was selected one of the top 10 restaurants of the world by New York Times, opened a branch in the new complex and only there special xialongbao(Chinese soup dumplings) whose primary ingredient is truffles are served in Japan. (http://d.rt-c.co.jp/ginza/)

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Visit Japan Travel Mart and JATA Toursim EXPO Japan 2014

By TERRY - Last updated: 火曜日, 9月 30, 2014

Two huge international travel marts were held at Tokyo Bigsight in Tokyo. One was “Visit Japan Travel Mart 2014″(Sep.24-26)(http://www.vjtm.jp/) and the other was “JATA Toursim EXPO Japan2014″(Sep.25-28)(http://t-expo.jp/en/index.html).  2014-09-26-09_06_37-600x450

More than 310 foriegn buyers and about 390 Japanese sellers joined VJTM2014 and had passionate exchanges of information and ideas and hosted busines seccions.  Buyers from Asian countries were especially a lot and about the half of the Japanese sellers were municipalities or relating associations of such local governments.

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On the other hand,  a lot of domestic and foreign sellers and buysers joined  JATA Tourism EXPO Japan 2014. Such participants were embassies, tourism bureaus, travel agents, food companies, municipalities, railroads, airlines, hotels. universities, guide associations and so forth.  The main targets were end users of travel services and a lot of  lay Japanese people visited there and the total number was 157,589.  Upon the opening of the event, an ward ceremony  of  good  services and efforts of related promotions was hosted and the Best Tourism Award was given to The Tourism Authority of Thailand and Embassy awards were for  Thailand and Mexico, the best transporatation award was for Japan Railways East, the domestic inbound award was for  the tourism department of Tokyo Metropolis, the publicity award was for a TV show of CXTV, and the chairperson special award was for Okinawa Convention Bureau. (http://t-expo.jp/en/program/cms.html)   I personally visited the two big events and collected a lot of interesting information and exchanged ideas with the participants, some of whom were my friends or those I sometimes work with. I enjoyed the delicious food provided by tourism- related restaurants and local specialities and impressed by the greatly enthusiastic atmosphere of energies of the expos as well.

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“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in USJ grand open

By TERRY - Last updated: 日曜日, 7月 27, 2014

Universal Studio Japan  in Osaka opened a new theme area of the worldwide popular fantasy series, “Harry Potter” on Jul.15.  (http://www.usj.co.jp/harrypotter/)

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The theme area is 40,000 ㎡ with re-enacted facilities of those in the stories, such as the magic school that wizard children go, and at restaurants and stalls where special food described in the stories  are available.

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On the grand opening day, about 3000 people visited the area  and  everyday it receives a lot since then. USJ made the record high of the number of visitors there with more than 10 million last year and now it expects to have more than 12 million this year with these new attraction services.   About 45 billion yen (≒$440 million )which is equal to  the half amount of an annual budget of USJ  was spent on building this new area.  Some hotels expand their capacities expecting a huge increase in  visitors and job opportuniies are expected to increase as well in Osaka, kobe, Kyoto, and other areas in Kansai, which will surly invigorate economy there.

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Albuquerque

By Kikki - Last updated: 土曜日, 2月 1, 2014

アメ横15

Artisan’s handmade leather goods for long use

トップ画像タイトル画像無題                       

 

Albuquerque is a store specializing in leather goods and Indian jewelries, which has been running business in the AmeyokoPlaza more than 20 years.

The proprietor cares on selecting handmade belts, purses, bags, and other small leather articles for long use. Most popular items in their stock are purses, which count over 100, categorized in styles and leather materials. “ALBUQUERQUE” sells various leather and silver goods under famous brands, such as L.C/Croppers/OPUS /DAKOTA/Silver King/BURN BURN/SPRIT WINDS/SARN/CALF/Taka Fime Leather/Nocona/Natural Hands/LEFTY/One’s WarKer/K’C/BOTA, and American Indian jewelries.

As well as putting names on the leather goods, they accept full-order from their customers and after care service. Indian jewelries are also very popular, which are purchased directly at the American Indian reservations by the proprietor.

 

 

“ALBUQUERQUE” opened in April, 1992.

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At the beginning of their business, the proprietor had really a hard time for running business. They tried to learn ABC of leather from their artisans and makers, and getting know-how from technical books. Sometimes, they could not find any good solution about their customers’ questions on leather. Even that they never give up and trying to learn one by one through their business. Now they are really experts in their business and giving good advice to their customers.

The 2nd shop “Stow”

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Their second shop “Stow” was opened in October, 1998.

 

“ALBUQUERQUE 88”

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In addition, they opened the third shop “ALBUQUERQUE 88” on March 1, 2006. The 3rd shop sells rather small size items, such as leather wallets, belts, buckles, leather bags, and silver goods. Brands are L,C・CROPPERS、Kc’s、Opas、One’s、Natural Hands, and others.

In 2008, “ALBUQUERQUE 88” has been expanded over to next-door space, room 87 in AmeyokoPlaza, and therefore, much variety of items is displayed.

88 expantion

 

As well as in “ALBUQUERQUE”, you can find various kinds of leather goods here. Leather is carefully selected and furnished by skilled craftsmen for each goods. Their hand-made leather goods are very attractive, easy to handle, and durable.

 

The carving corner for “ALBUQUERQUE”

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As the carving corner for “ALBUQUERQUE” new place was opened on April 16, 2010, in the room 108 of the AmeyokoPlaza. However, the corner has been replaced to room 92 in August, 2013. Variety stock of Western fashion items is available here. Orthodox Western style leather goods are all handmade by good skilled craftsmen. High quality of these goods attracts their customers. Leather belts, purses, and bags are manufactured piece by piece by long experienced craftsmen. They occasionally visit USA for purchasing high quality Indian jewelries.

 

Custom-made good

If you could not find any favorable one among ready-made leather goods, or you like to purchase the exact same size and style of leather goods of your old one, why don’t you make special order? Our good craftsmen will make your favorite leather good according to your suggested size, color, and design.

 

After-sale repair service

“ALBUQUERQUE” cares all their goods even after sales and provides good after-sale repair services in very reasonable fees. The fee for repair is depended on how long their customer used or conditions of good itself, and is set after consultation with their artisans. Of course, some of them are impossible to repair because of too long use, but most of them can be revived. Even leather goods purchased at other shops can be accepted for repair. Silver or golden made goods are also acceptable for repair.

 

Albuquerque

Address: 〒110-0005 # 98, Ameyoko   Plaza
Ueno 6-10-7-98, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 03-3836-3386
e-mail: info@goodleather.co.jp
ULR: http://www.goodleather.co.jp/
Business hours: 10:00-19:30
Closed on: 2nd Wed.

 


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Nozawaya/Grocery store

By Kikki - Last updated: 木曜日, 12月 19, 2013

 

Nozawaya/Grocery store

 

 

Entrust “Nozawaya” with every kind of Asian food materials!

 

“Nozawaya” on the basement floor of the Ameyoko Center Building has a large stock of Asian spices and food materials. Its earlier stages of business after the war, “Nozawa” had been a food store for seafood delicacies, but in the 90s, increased number of Asian clients has asked them to provide ethnic food materials. With trying to meet the demand, “Nozawaya” has more than 1,200 imported items in the store which make their clients satisfied. Over 50% of their clients are not Japanese but foreign people from various countries, such asKorea,India, andVietnam. They provide not only professional seasonings but for everyday use home cooking.

 

Variety of spices

 

There are 173 items from all over the world, including characteristic items of curry powder imported directly from each country.

 

Variety of imported beans

 

 

Beans are most common daily food items in foreign countries, especially in Indiaand other countries in the South America. Beans are widely used as an ingredient for curry and stewed dishes. “Nozawaya” sells beans suitable for such daily foreign dishes.

 

Indonesian food

 

When you visit Indonesia, such as Bali, you will be attracted with good taste of their local dishes. “Nozawaya” provide food materials for such beautiful dish.

 

Chinese food

 

 

A proverb in both Chinaand Koreasays that a balanced diet leads to a healthy body, and therefore there is every reason for each food. The Korean dish “Samgyetang” is a typical medicinal chicken dish for apatite your health. It is sure to find any food materials for such a special medicinal dish. You like to eat coolly dishes on hot summer time and hot and warm dishes on cold winter. Yes, you can find such a peculiar ethnic food materials at “Nozaway.”

 

Philippine food

 

Do you really know what Philippine dishes are? Compare to Indian or Thai dishes, rather a few people know what they are. Now a large number of people from Philippine are living in Tokyo. Peculiar food items for those people, such as Halo-halo, Bagoon, and Chicharon are also available.

 

Thai food & Vietnam food

 

Spicy Thai curry and Tom yum goong are really attractive ethnic food. Good fragrant of nam pla and coconut make your appetite increased. These ethnic dishes are competing popularity with Indian curry in home cooking. “Nozawaya” provide various food materials for spicy Thai andVietnam dishes.

 

Indian, Pakistan, and Bangladesh food

 

People in these countries worship Allāh. Halāl food items are essential for their diet. Most food items providing for them have “Halal-mark”.

 

Fresh vegetables and fruits

 

Seasonal Asian fresh vegetables and fruits are available here. You can enjoy real oriental taste and fragrant in fresh.

 

Chinese tea from China and Taiwan

 

“Nozawaya” provide variety Chinese tea leaves imported from the mainlandChina andTaiwan, so you can find favorite items among them.

 

Nuts and miscellaneous cereals

 

“Nozawaya” has a rich stock of nuts and cereals. You will realize good taste of these nuts and cereals when you eat in steamed rice, soup, or salad.

 

Frozen meat

 

Rare frozen meat items are available here, such as hare, edible frog and sparrow, so try it one of them once.

 

Nozawaya
Address: 〒110-0005
  B1F-1FAmeyokoCenterBuilding
  Ueno 4-7-8, Taito-ku,Tokyo,Japan
Phone: 03-3833-5212
Fax: 03-3833-5212
Business hours: 10:00-20:00
Closed on: 3rd Wednsday
URL: http://www.nozawaya.com/

 

 

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B1F in Ameyoko Center Building

By Kikki - Last updated: 土曜日, 12月 14, 2013

 

B1F inAmeyokoCenterBuilding

Grocery stores for ethnic food materials on B1F in Ameyoko Center Building

 

 

Rare food materials are brought from all over the world

 

Some of you like to walk freely around market places in South-east Asian courtiers, India, or the Middle East. There is an ethnic food market in “Ameyoko.” You may be interested in looking something unfamiliar foodstuffs and groceries on the basement floor in Ameyoko Center Building. You must feel like you were in a market place in the South-east Asian country. You can hear no more conversation in Japanese, but in Chinese, Korean, Thai, or Vietnamese instead. Smell from seafood, meat, and spices are different from ours. Variety foodstuffs from Asian countries are displayed at about 10 shops on the basement floor.

 
It is full of exoticism with different smell from ethnic foodstuffs. Nobody doubts that you may in a grocery store in Hong Kong.

 

The basement floor of Ameyoko Center Building is a kind of wonderland where rare food materials mainly from Asian countries, such asChina,Thailand,India, andPhilippines are on sale. You may be choked with something different smell of Asian food soon after the automatic door is opened at the entrance of the basement floor. People usually hesitate to step down to the basement floor.

However, there is a variety of ethnic restaurants nearby JR Ueno Station. The floor is specialized for those restaurant owners.

 

 
Unfamiliar bunches of banana are displayed. Mainly, Chinese foodstuffs are selling here.

 

 
At glance, it looks like a normal Japanese seafood monger’s shop, but something different.

 

 
Chops of unknown parts of meat are roughly displayed at a butcher’s shop.

 

 

 
A variety of groceries are also available here. Packs of “mKfGn” rice vermicelli, “harusame” gelatin noodles, beans, and other items are crammed on the shelves.

 

 
A variety seasonings and different brands of canned or bottled juice are also on display.

 

AmeyokoCenterBuildingCoop
Address: 〒110-0005
  Ueno 4-7-8, Taito-ku,Tokyo,Japan
Phone: 03-3831-0069
Business hours: 10:00-20:00
Closed on: 3rd Wed.
URL: http://www.ameyoko-center-bldg.com/

 


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Shimizu-suisan-shokuhin

By Kikki - Last updated: 月曜日, 11月 11, 2013

 

 

Shimizu-suisan-shokuhin

 

Popular seafood store for “O-toro” and “Chutoro” fatty tuna at competitive prices

 

 

“Shimizu” is running business just near the statue of “nigiwai-zo.” Prices on their seafood is always based on their policy “customer first”, for example, “bachi” big eye tuna 1,000 yen/400-450g, 120g×10 salmon slices.

“Now, it is just 1,000 yen enough!” A vivid voice of the store staff attracts your arrival. A large number of fatty tuna packages are on display, so you are hard to select among them. Most packages have set priced on from 4,000 to 5,000 yen, but they are welling to sell them at 1,000 yen at their bargain sale.

 

 

Conversation between a customer and the store staff goes on like that;

The store staff: “They are all 1,000 yen. It is the best buy.”

While, the customer is confusing,

The store staff: “How about add one more package of “toro” pinky tuna on it. So it will be 2,000 yen altogether.”

The customer: “I won’t be able to finish two packages. I would like to have just one package enough.”

 

The store staff: “They are all good quality tuna. Try to choose good one among them, if you like.” (Citizens in “shitamchi” Tokyo tend to be short-tempered.)

The customer: “I like this.” He could buy the highest price fatty tuna in 1,000 yen, which was priced on 5,830 yen.

 

Shimizu-suisan-shokuhin
Address: 〒110-0005
  #107,AmeyokoPlaza,
  Ueno 6-10-7, Taito-ku,Tokyo,Japan
Phone: 03-3836-4700
Business hours: 9:00-19:30
Closed on: 2nd Wednesday
URL: http://www.ameyoko.net/m/shop/274

 


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Kawatatsu-shoten

By Kikki - Last updated: 月曜日, 10月 14, 2013

 

Kawatatsu-shoten 

Wholesaler for delicacies and nuts at bargain prices

 

The highlight is their rich stock of delicacies such as peanuts, “amaguri” sweet roasted chestnuts, and tidbits in the store. Their prices and volume overwhelm other stores in the area and it is also famed for their vivid “tatakiuri” bargain sale.

Most visitors are surprised on their discounted prices with large quantity of goods.

 

One of the clerks recommended me to buy additional packs of dry fruits or nuts when I tried to buy just a pack of raisin. He gave me his special discounted rate 1,000 yen for additional two more packs. Finally, he outlasted me to buy three packs altogether. So I had to pay 1,000 yen after picking up packs of chestnuts and almond. When I finish paying, he put one more pack of dry banana chips into my plastic bag without additional payment, so I could get four different packs in 1,000 yen.

 
Add one more package on this price! Vivid voice of shop staff attracts your arrival to the store.

 

Kawatatsu-shoten
Address: 〒110-0005
  Ueno 6-11-7, Taito-ku,Tokyo,Japan
Phone: 03-3831-9309
Fax: 03-3831-9309
Business hours: 9:00-20:00
Closed on: None
URL: http://www.ameyoko.net/shop/315

 

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Ameya-Yokocho

By Kikki - Last updated: 水曜日, 10月 9, 2013

 

 

”Nigiwai-no-zo” or stone image of prosperity stands just in front of the Ameyoko Center Building.

 

Ameya-Yokocho

 

More than 400 specialty stores are clustered close together in the discount market where most people lose their senses of prices.

 

Under the viaduct for JR Yamate Line between “Ueno” to “Okachimachi” stations, various kinds of stores are clustered close together. This is “Ameyoko Shopping Street” which is a most famous discount market in Japan.

The Ameyoko Center Building divides into two streets. On the Ameyoko Street, there are a large number of small grocery stores and seafood shops. On the contrary, “Uenka” or Ueno Nakadori Shopping Street is mainly occupied by clothing and fashion related shops.

 

We feel something nostalgic atmosphere even in a milling crowd, this is because we can enjoy shopping while exchanging words with store clerks.

 

“Ameyoko” or “Ameya-Yokochō” is one of the most popular shopping streets in Ueno. It is located under and along the JR line between Ueno and Okachimachi. Its official name is “Ameyoko Shoten-gai Rengokai”(アメ横商店街連合会), but it is often called “Ameyoko,” “Ueno-ameyoko,” or “Ameyoko Shoten-gai,” and most shops in the street put “Ameyoko” beside of their names. The length of the shopping street is about 400 meters and over 400 retail stores are running business here.

 

“Tokyo Edo Theater” in the NHK TV drama

 

The shooting for the recent popular NHK TV drama “Ama-chan” was on location in Ameyoko. In the story, “Tokyo Edo Theater” for the popular singing group “Ameyoko Jogakuen” was located in the Ameyoko Center Building.

 

Brief history of the “Ameya-Yokocho”

 

After World War II, the black market was developed in the area, and a variety of goods were displayed in the street. Especially, more than 200 “ameya” candy shops existed here, so citizens commonly called the shopping street as “ameyoko.” Even now, a few candy shops still running business here.

 

It used to be a very crowded housing area consisted of small private houses and old row houses. During World War II, compulsory evacuation was done because there was the electric substation for JR line and citizens tried to avoid danger from Tokyo Air Raid.

Finally, the area was completely destroyed by the air raid in 1945. Among number of shanties and shops, stall keepers also started business in the district after the war. They were commonly called “yami-ichi” or illegal stall keepers.

Without sufficient moral, there were frequent struggles between outlaws, such as “gurentai” hooligans and “boryokudan” gangsters. Gunfire cases were often seen even in the daytime. Officers from both American MP and Japanese police were in charge against them.

Tokyo municipal government could not govern the aria, and plead with businessman Mr. Hirokichi Kondo for organizing the market called “Kondo Market.” He carefully selected 80 members and excluded dubious people from the market. The area was gradually normalized after that.

Most Koreans were excluded from the market, because they illegally run business in the district. They had no choice but moved to Higashi-ueno for setting up their own market so-called “kimuchi-yokocho.”

As time passed, “Ameyoko Center Building” was built at the old site of JR Electric Substation in 1982, and the area has became the present circumstances.

 

 

“Ameyoko” is still attractive in a bewitching way with the black market period atmosphere

 

Under the JR elevated railway line, a large number of small stores selling for various kinds of food items, such as fresh seafood, meat, groceries, imported candies, are located.

 

At present, according to the type of business, stores are intensively lined in the market, such as food (mainly seafood and groceries), clothes, miscellaneous goods, and jewels and ornaments.

It is just a small scale market in about 10 minutes walk, but you need more than 20 to 30 minutes on the end of the year, because a large number of citizens tend to come arrive and purchase fresh seafood for the new years holidays.

The crowded market in December is often introduced on TV and brings us the real feeling of the end of the year.

During this special season, almost all of stores in the market display food for the New Year holidays, and even some stores dealing in Western-style apparel and accessories stop running business and rent temporally their stores to food dealers. It becomes something like the Tsukiji Fish Market. Compare to “Ameya-yokocho,” the Tsukiji Fish Market is a municipal enterprise under Tokyo-to, and mainly for seafood wholesalers, but not for general citizens.

On the other hand, “Ameya-yokocho” is for citizens and prices will be discounted depending on your negotiations with store clerks.

In 1980s, seafood stores had been reduced in number at the market because of the trend toward the nuclear family. On the other hand, sports supply shops have been increased in 1990s for attracting young people.

On the basement floor of the “Ameyoko Center Building,” there are a number of stores for special ethnic food materials, such as for Chinese and Indian dishes. You can hear different sound of conversation between these Chinese or Indian arrivals and shop clerks.

 

 

You may lose in a maze in the Ameyoko Market. Try to enjoy treasure hunting at each characteristic shop, such as rare brand watches, knives, and lighters.

 

Every day in the yearend, the market will be crowded with 500,000 arrivals including sightseeing people from all over Japan. Of course it is only for the busiest period, and the market normally has about 100,000 arrivals a day. Contrarily to other shopping streets in Japan, it is not depended on local customers.

 

 

If you hear death growl of clerks at seafood shop front, usually salmon or tuna is on sale at the special discounted prices.

Most other seafood is usually dealt with the price tag, and hard to ask discount, but discount sale will be expected in the evening. At the end of the year, most stores display special supplies for the holiday season.

Some general merchandise stores in the market sometimes rent their space for these seafood dealers for this busiest season.

Usually seafood items will be dealt with higher prices, but there are still discount sale on this busiest season.

Excluding some defective article, most items of fruit are not on discount sale.

During the Showa period, most cosmetics were sold at about 20 percent discounted prices.


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Hakone Yuryo open for one-day hot spring bathing tours

By TERRY - Last updated: 火曜日, 4月 30, 2013

Hakone Yuryo, a new  hot spring  facility opened in Hakone Yumoto, the basic station area of Hakone resort area on March 27th. (http://www.hakoneyuryo.jp/  or  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.488238681231944.1073741826.442578639131282&type=3)

Hakone Yuryo(/箱根湯寮, a hot spring facility in Hakone) is established for visitors who would like to enjoy hot spring baths and related services of relaxation in one-day tours.

Hakone Yuryo is located in the vicinity of Hakone Yumoto station and free shuttle buses can take you there taking just 3 minutes.  The facility is equipped with big public bath, 19 private open-air baths, some other types of bath items, a restaurant, souvenir shop, a massage parlor ,and stuff.  The basic fee of an adult visitor(13 years or older ) is 1300 yen (≒$13 )and of a child is 650 yen, and additional services require surcharges respectively.

 

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The 120th anniversary of pearl- cuturing technology

By TERRY - Last updated: 木曜日, 1月 31, 2013

This year 2013, the pearl industry commemorates the 120th anniversary of  pearl-culturing technology. 

 

Koukichi Mikimoto, the founder of  MIKIMOTO (http://www.mikimoto.com/jp/) whose flagship store is located in Ginza Tokyo succeeded in culturing pearls as the first case in the world in 1893.  Since then Koukichi was called “The King of Pearl”.

On this 30th  MIKIMOTO released a special accessory with pearls and jewels called “MIKIMOTO Pearl Crown “DREAMS&PEARLS”- twelve pearls and dreams”.

the item can change its form between a “crown” and a” necklace” and  has a shape of  12 flower blossoms made of big natural pearls of 5 different types and 3400 diamonds.  The designers took more than 2 years to complete this breathtaking and splendid pearl treasure.

To tell the truth, I am a distant relative of koukichi Mikimoto and recently on 18th this month, I learned a basic concept of pearls  at a  lecture program for tour guides jointly hosted by JGA(Japan Guide Association), the oldest and biggest guide- interpreters organization, and  TASAKI, a major pearl and jewelry store company like MIKIMOTO.  (http://www.tasaki.co.jp/)

Therefore, I am so happy I learned ABC of the concept of pearls in this special year to pearl industry.

 

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IMF/WBG Annual Meetings in Tokyo

By TERRY - Last updated: 水曜日, 10月 31, 2012

IMF(International Monetary Fund) and WBG(World bank Group) Annual meetings were held in Tokyo  for the first time in 48 years Oct.9-14.(http://www.imf-wb.2012tokyo.mof.go.jp/en/index.html)

Japan hosted such meetings 48 years ago which was the very same year that Japan  hosted Tokyo Olympics, which was a remarkable symbolic event of Japan’s successful recovery form the economic recession due to the post war aftermaths of WW2. Now, the Japan’s economic, political, and social positions and international community’s situations have drastically changed as well. This time the second  time’s phases have shown the historic exaltation of the country.

There were four venues of the event, namely, TIF(Tokyo International Forum),IM(Imperial Hotel),Hotel Okura, and  TCCI (Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry), all of which are located in the very center of this capital of Japan .    Totally official participants were from 187 countries and registered visitors and participants , their dependents amounted to about 20,000.   Top economic leaders of the world got together and Tokyo soaked in the heat and excitement of  the great festivity.  On the 12th, the plenary and official banquet hosted by Noda, the prime minister of Japan were held.

There were about 20 official hotels designated as official accommodation for the participants and dependents and  special hospitality programs were prepared which provided them with  various short trips such as on-day visit to Yokohama,  visiting Tsukiji  Fish Market,  Tokyo Sky Tree just built in this year, shopping at depachika (basement floors in  department stores ),cultural experience tour such as a tea ceremony,  learning how to wear kimono, and so forth. A lot of  participants and other registered visitors enjoyed those short tours or traditional Japanese cultural experiencing events.

The local host of the Annual Meetings were MOF (Minister of Finance) and Bank of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government ,and so many people including volunteer staffers,  pro tour guides, escorts and others attended the visitors from all over the world.  The hosts, the government, and  others say more than 10 billion yen  revenue can be expected from this greatly worldwide financial series of events.  We hope this has influenced  betterment of Japanese economy, tourism, and society as a whole.

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Tokyo Station renovated and re-open

By TERRY - Last updated: 水曜日, 10月 31, 2012

Tokyo Station, located in Chiyoda-ward near the Imperial Palace and some of national governmental organizations offices, and one of  the symbols of Tokyo and Japan, re-opened  on this Oct,1st after a big renovating construction of a few years. http://www.jreast.co.jp/press/2012/20120403.pdf

    

The original building of the station was built in 1914 and parts of it were destroyed in the air-raids in WW2. The damaged parts were left untouched for several decades but finally they were repaired completely and the building has restored its original style and structure for the first time in 67 years this time.

The central part of the building had lost its dome- shape roof in the raid until it regained the shape upon the completion of the reparation. And some North and South dome parts have remodelled to have their original beautiful design and decorations inside, which a lot of people visit and take photos of every day since the reopening.

The huge underground  malls and streets have been much more widened so that they can receive even more visitors with better conveniences.

The central part now has a new facilty of  “Travel Service Center” (http://www.mapple.net/sp_spot/201210_1/cnt_05.html )  , a information center of travel related matters, tickets trades, luggage lockers, and so forth  being available in 4 languages of  Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean. The walls are partially made of the originally- used very old bricks of the buildng.

 

Before the Grand Opening, there held a special eve festival of “Tokyo Station Vision”, a huge projection mapping show on Sep.22-23. The station building became a huge “screen”  on which artistic movies were played, most of which implied historical backgrounds of of the station.

In addition, the building includes a hotel named Tokyo Station Hotel in its central parts. http://www.thetokyostationhotel.jp/  The hotel was also renovated radically and  royal suite room which cost more than 800,000 yen just for one night is fully booked for more than several months since the reopening. the minimum charge for a basic guest room is about 30,000. The hotel remodelled its basement floors and restaurants arcade as well.

These restaurants, hotel rooms, mall stores and shops are quite popular which receive a lot of  customers everyday these days.

The construction project  cost  50 billion yen in total and such a huge budget was covered  by  clever idea of  selling  the “air rights” of the JR East, the owner of the building and the land  to surrounding buildings an their owners. Those other owners were able to  construct much higher buildings than they had originally planned in return.  All those drastically remodelled facilities in the Tokyo Station “complex” are expected to work as a quite useful and effective institutions to collect a lot of visitors and tourists. Actually, since the grand opening, so many people keep visiting  the restored new heart  of  tourism and commerce in the very central area of Tokyo and Japan.

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“TGS 2012” marked its record high of the number of visitors

By TERRY - Last updated: 金曜日, 9月 28, 2012

“Tokyo Game Show 2012″(TGS 2012) was held Sep.20-23 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City.http://tgs.cesa.or.jp/index.html

This time the show marked its record high of the number of visitors with 223,753. This year the event was the 22nd and gradually it has received increasing number of visitors every time. Every time  new  video games are introduced or demonstrated at TGS and this time, new popular game soft wares such as,”Monster Hunter4″,   “Ark Sphere” and others. The number of the companies joining the event was also a record high with 209 and the number of the games was a record high with 1043. 

70% of the game titles introduced at TDS 2012 were so-called “social games”,which implies a game played by multi players through their mutual communications via such as smartphones or tablet computers.  There were also some stage performances of such as cos-play.  young female staff clad in colorful attires of video-game- world- like manner served the visitors.

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Atsuko Maeda’s graduation from AKB48

By TERRY - Last updated: 金曜日, 8月 31, 2012

Atsuko Maeda, so-called “the steadfast center” ,or, “the absolute ace” of AKB48, graduated from that top female idol group of Japan at the moment on this Aug.27th.

Maeda was one of the original members of the group since its start on Dec.8th 2005, and  almost always performed at the central postition of singing and dancing formation on stage.   

On the very next day of the end of a series of live concerts at Tokyo Dome(http://www.tokyo-dome.co.jp/e/) Aug 24-26 so successfully, which about 144,000 people had visited in total, AKB48 hosted the “graduation memorial concert of Atsuko Maeda” at AKB 48 Theater in Akihabara on 27th. The former was a glorious realization of  AKB’s dream-come-true since its foundation. And there had been a plan of Maeda entering the Theater for the concert after showing herself from a car in a parade on nearby roads of the area in Akihabara, which unfortunately aborted due to an instrcution of the police  for security’s reason.

On that day there was  a crazy situation of  so many passers-by and fans in Akihabara area. 

A lot of  posters of Maeda was put on various places in Akihabara station, special books, photo collections, items said to be available only on that day were sold at boolstores, AKB48 Cafe &Shop and other stores there.  The available number of  the tickets of  the graduation concert was just 250, and  more than 230,000 people applied for , so, the winning rate was  about one out of  916  !    Agter the concert, Maeda showed up on a balcony of the building and waved good- by and sent her final salute as a AKB member to the people there.

Coincidentally, I was in Akihabara on that very day, and bought a Maeda’s memorial photo collection for graduation at a special stall of  a bookstore in the station building. I felt  sepecial atmosphere of excitement in the town.

In addition,  three days later , to my huge surprise, I  just happened to witness two AKB48 members,namely Mina Ohba and Suzuran Yamauchi in Shibuya near the station while walking down there. Actually they didn’t stand out so much in the huge crowd there, but  accidentally my shoulder and Yamauchi’s shoulder touched in the busy crowd, when we passed each other. In that place Maeda’s big billboards were on the walls of nearby buildings, and ad-buses of the newest AKB’s song “Gingham Check” were driving around and their music was heard everywhere…  That was a quite strange and impressive situation ,and I have found Shibuya is also  an “turf”(?) of  AKB48 groups or popular idols in general.

 

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