Posts Tagged With: Tokyo

Things to do this weekend in Tokyo Friday February 7th – Sunday February 11th

Abracadabra

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Saloon

Abracadabra

Daikanyama’s Saloon welcomes Tokyo resident Englishman Max Essa for this intimate Friday-night bash, where he will be joined by house veteran Toshiyuki Goto.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 11pm

Admission ¥1,500 (¥1,000 with flyer)

Venue Saloon

Address ZaHouse Bldg. B3F, 1-34-17 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama Station (Tokyu Toyoko line); Nakameguro Station (Tokyu Toyoko line, Hibiya line); Ebisu Station

 

Tokyo Grand Shopping Week

Thu Jan 23 – Wed Feb 5, 2014 Laforet Harajuku , Omotesando Hills, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, and other area shops and restaurants
Tokyo grand shopping week
Now this is a sales bash that no tourist can miss! Around 260 shops and restaurants in the Harajuku-Omotesando area will be participating with bargains and much more during Grand Shopping Week, a massive sales event that sees a total of 183 stores in the shopping centres Laforet HarajukuOmotesando Hills, and Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku holding sales with discounts of up to 90%. In addition, 79 area shops will advertise specially recommended souvenirs for foreign tourists, while 23 restaurants, including ’takoyaki’, ‘okonomiyaki’, and crepe shops popular with tourists, participate in Restaurant Week with special offers such as free drinks, 10% off the final bill, and free sweets.

Pick up the official Time Out Tokyo-produced leaflet and map for full information on all discounts, souvenir recommendations, and Restaurant Week offers. During the event, foreign tourists who spend ¥1,000 or more at any of the participating shops receive a scratch card, thus participating in a lottery with prices including gift vouchers and gift items. Shoppers who pay with an overseas-issued Visa card also receive an additional scratch card at the time of purchase.

On February 1 and 2, visitors can experience Japanese culture at workshops, with alternatives including trying on anime and manga character costumes or kimonos, traditional ink marbling, origami paper folding, ‘kendama’ (a Japanese ring-and-pin game), and handkerchief decoration. Guided tours of the Harajuku-Omotesando area will also be available.

Details

Open Jan 23-Feb 5

Time Varies by store

Venue Laforet Harajuku , Omotesando Hills, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku, and other area shops and restaurants

Address 1-11-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (JR Yamanote Line), Takeshita Exit, Meiji-Jingumae station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda, Fukutochin Lines), exit 5.

 

The 88th Kokufu Bonsai Exhibition

Until Wed Feb 12, 2014 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Kokufu bonsai exhibition
 Hobbyists battle it out for years just to get their trees accepted for judging at Japan’s (and the world’s) premier bonsai exhibition, first held in 1934. If you attend both parts, you’ll see over 500 of these fascinating little masterpieces.

 

Details

Open Part 1: Feb 4-7, Part 2: Feb 9-12

Time 9:30am-5:30pm

Admission ¥1,000 (students ¥500)

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Address 8-36 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ueno Station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit

 

High Street feat. DJ Craze

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Sound Museum Vision

High street DJ Craze

High Street, a ‘street-style party for adults’, returns from a 10-month slumber with a bang. Master turntablist DJ Craze and former DMC world champion Kentaro bring the heat to Shibuya’s Vision with their unrivalled scratch skills – a can’t-miss opportunity for any and all aspiring DJs and friends of technical electronic music.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 10pm

Admission Adv ¥3,000; same-day women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Sterne

Fri Feb 7, 2014 Womb

Sterne

The stars will truly be out tonight at Tokyo techno emperor Takkyu Ishino’s regular party, as Germany’s mysterious and masked house maniacs Snuff Crew take over Womb. Minimal techno master A. Mochi will be responsible for keeping the party going in the lounge area.

Details

Open Fri Feb 7

Time doors 11pm

Admission ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer)

Venue Womb

Address 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

 

The Mastery of Time

Fri Feb 7 – Wed Feb 12, 2014 Roppongi Hills

clock

2014 marks the 150th anniversary of Swiss-Japanese diplomatic relations, which is the perfect excuse to celebrate something both countries do extremely well: keep time. This exhibition traces the evolution of timepieces from ornate table clocks to modern-day smartwatches, and also displays traditional Japanese-style clocks.

Details

Open Feb 7-12 2014

Time 11am-6pm

Admission Free

Venue Roppongi Hills

Address 6-10 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Roppongi station (Hibiya line), exit 1C; (Oedo line), exit 3.

 

Sarabeth’s Daikanyama Special Valentine’s Day Menu

Until Fri Feb 14, 2014 Sarabeth’s Daikanyama
Chocolate explosion

Owing to its heavenly french toast and pancakes, Sarabeth’s morning offering is known as the ‘Queen of breakfasts’. This special Valentine’s menu – ‘Chocolate Explosion’ – is only available at the Daikanyama location, and features a harmonious mixture of fluffy pancakes topped with chocolate sauce and marshmallows, finished off with a small explosion of chocolate sauce.

Details

Open Feb 3-14

Time 9am-10pm
(Last order for food 9pm, for drinks 9:30pm)

Venue Sarabeth’s Daikanyama

Address 1-35-17 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama Station (Tokyu-Toyoko line)

 

Chinese Spring Festival 2014

Until Fri Feb 14, 2014 Yokohama Chinatown
lanterns

While it’s fun to visit whatever the season, Yokohama’s Chinatown district is never livelier than during its New Year festival. The two weeks of festivities include traditional lion dance performances and music on February 1, 2, 8, 9 and 11 (at Yamashitacho Park), as well as a parade of traditional costumes on the afternoon of February 8.

Details

Open Jan 31-Feb 14

Time Various times

Venue Yokohama Chinatown

Address Yamashitacho, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Transport Motomachi Chukagai Station (Minatomirai line), Ishikawacho Station (Keihin-Tohoku, Negishi lines)

 

The Lumineers

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Shibuya AX
The lumineers
Ever since ‘Ho Hey’ became our resident earworm, we’ve been waiting for this folk-pop outfit to make their way to Japan. Nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2013 and familiar faces at Coachella and Glastonbury, The Lumineers are easy on the ears (and eyes). Don’t miss them at Shibuya AX.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8 2014

Time Show starts 6pm (venue opens from 5pm)

Admission 1/F Standing: ¥6,000 (advance tickets) 2/F Reserved seats: ¥6,000 (advance tickets)

Telephone 03-3444-6751

Venue Shibuya AX

Address 2-1-1 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (Yamanote line), Omotesando exit or Meiji-Jingumae station (Chiyoda line), exit 1.

 

Acid City

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Air
Acid city
 As last year’s ‘Acid City’ album proved to be a success, veteran producer DJ Emma decided that a regular acid house-themed party was in order in Tokyo. His plan has now been realised, and this first date at Air will feature Hokkaido’s deep house star Kuniyuki.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8

Time doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,000 (¥2,500 with flyer, under-23s ¥2,000)

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

Off The Rocker & Verbal present Rad

Sat Feb 8, 2014 Sound Museum Vision
Off the rocker
Shinichi Osawa’s and Masatoshi Uemura’s DJ unit Off The Rocker teams up with big-time rapper and producer Verbal to bring you Rad, an ‘exciting and chaotic’ party, where they’ll be joined by 80Kidz and DJ Kyoko. Join the madness at Shibuya’s Vision.

Details

Open Sat Feb 8

Time doors 11pm

Admission Women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Little Nap Music Stand

Sun Feb 9, 2014 Vacant
Little Nap Music Stand
 Yoyogi Park’s Little Nap Coffee Stand celebrates its third anniversary with an evening of music, with performances by artists Tica and Kyo Sakurai, as well as DJs Shunji Mori, Michiharu Shimoda, and Pepe California. Jinnan bistro Rojiura provides the food, and interestingly-named pastry makers Mad Donuts Riot serve their signature delicacy. Special t-shirts and prints are also available for purchase. Reservations are required – send an email titled ‘Little Nap Music Stand’ to the address below, and write down your names and contact details.

Details

Open Sun Feb 9

Time doors 4pm

Admission ¥3,000 (includes a cup of coffee) ※Reservation required – email booking@n0idea.com

Venue Vacant

Address 3-20-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku station (JR Yamanote Line) or Meiji-jingumae station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)

 

Zoushigaya Handicraft Market

Sun Feb 9, 2014 Kishimojindo , Otori Shrine
Zoushigaya handicraft market
 This handicraft market runs once a month at Kishimojindo shrine, selling everything from pottery and woodcrafts to bags and accessories. Browse the stalls while chatting to the artists over a slice of delicious cake and home-roasted coffee.

Details

Open Sun Feb 9

Time 9am-4pm

Venue Kishimojindo , Otori Shrine

Address 3-15-20 Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku

Transport Kishibojin-mae Station (Toden Arakawa line) or Zoushigaya Station (Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin line)

 

Chocolate Making at Lindt Jiyugaoka

Sat Feb 8 – Sun Feb 9, 2014 Lindt Chocolat Café Jiyugaoka
 Lindt jiyugaoka
 Everyone knows Lindt, and everyone wants some of their goodies for Valentine’s Day. Not only can you get the classic heart-shaped gift box for your beloved one, you can also drop by the café in Jiyugaoka to try making your own matcha or raspberry chocolate. Events are held twice on both Saturday and Sunday, and up to eight people can participate in each event (a minimum of four people are required). Reservations are essential.

Details

Open Feb 8-9

Time 10am-noon, 2-4pm on both days

Admission ¥5,000 (includes ingredients and box)

Telephone 03 5726 8921

Venue Lindt Chocolat Café Jiyugaoka

Address 2-9-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Transport Jiyugaoka Station (Tokyu Toyoko line)

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Categories: Must see, Things to do, Where to eat, Where to shop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Got hay fever? No fear, the new ‘Pollen Robo’ is here!

For several years, Weather forecaster Weathernews Inc. has deployed a special robot at this time of the year to help Japan’s hay fever sufferers better navigate the pollen season.

The new Pollen Robo designed for this year will be capable of collecting data on not only pollen, but also on PM2.5 particulate matter and yellow sand that blows across the sea from China.

The company is dispatching 1,000 units across the country.

Hay fever sufferers will be able to access the information online in real time, allowing them to know where the levels are highest and plan their days accordingly.

Weathernews said pollen levels started climbing in the Kanto region (the Kanto region is where Tokyo is located)  from late January, and will greatly increase from around mid-February.

The amount of airborne pollen is expected to climb by 10 percent this year from an average year.

The spherical Pollen Robo measures 15 centimeters in diameter and has human facial features such as eyes, nose and a mouth. The eye color also changes according to the amount of pollen it detects.

Weathernews Inc.’s new Pollen Robo will monitor pollen and PM2.5 levels.

Weathernews Inc.’s new Pollen Robo will monitor pollen and PM2.5 levels.

Categories: Japanese technology, Must see, News about Japan, Stories about Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do this week in Tokyo: Tuesday January 28th- Sunday February 2nd

of Montreal

Tue Jan 28, 2014 Tsutaya O-West

Of Montreal

Funky indie rockers of Montreal (actually of Athens, Georgia) return to Japan after a five-year absence, during which time their style has gone through a number of mutations, most recently returning to a form of classic, straightforward rock with the 2013 ‘Lousy with Sylvianbriar’ album.

Details

Open Tue Jan 28

Time doors 6pm, show 7pm

Admission Adv ¥5,000, same-day ¥5,500

Venue Tsutaya O-West

Address 2-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

 

Akiko Endo exhibition: ‘Opening the Abyss of the Soul’

Until Tue Jan 28, 2014 Ueno Royal Museum
The evening bell has gone
 Renowned contemporary Tokyo artist Akiko Endo’s work has been compared to Escher’s for its layered complexities. Visit her solo exhibition at Ueno Royal Museum for a retrospective of her work, including a new film ‘depicting the four seasons’ and a talk by the artist herself.

 

Details

Open Jan 15-28 2014

Time 10am-5pm daily (until 6pm during special exhibitions).

Admission ¥600 adults, ¥400 university students, free for high school students and children

Telephone 03 3833 4191

Venue Ueno Royal Museum

Address 1-2 Ueno Koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ueno station (Yamanote line), park exit; (Ginza, Hibiya lines), Shinobazu exit.

 

Jamie Cullum

Wed Jan 29 – Thu Jan 30, 2014 Orchard Hall
Jamie Cullum
Standing at around 5’4″ and with a six-album discography of easygoing swing-pop, Jamie Cullum has become known as the ‘jazz hobbit’ – a nickname that was reinforced when he married the rather taller author and model Sophie Dahl in 2010. Matters of height aside, Cullum is eminently likeable on stage and has branched out musically in recent years to embrace house and trip-hop – there’s even a guest vocal spot by Roots Manuva on his new record Momentum. This Tokyo date, his first visit to Japan since playing at Fuji Rock in 2010, kicks off a nationwide tour including gigs in Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Tickets go on general sale on July 20.

Details

Open January 29-30

Time Doors 6pm. Gig 7pm

Admission ¥6,500 adv

Venue Orchard Hall

Address Bunkamura, 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon lines), Hachiko exit.

 

Positive Short Films Program

Until Fri Jan 31, 2014 Brillia Shortshorts Theatre
Positive short films program
This program includes five short films with positive or otherwise light-hearted messages, allowing visitors to escape their daily troubles and emerge from the theatre with smiles on their faces. Check out the German flick Dear Mr Starr, a thoughtful story about a hairdresser in early 1990s Germany who admires the Beatles drummer.

Details

Open Jan 2-31 2014

Time 5:30pm-7:30pm

Admission Adults ¥1,000, children & seniors ¥800

Venue Brillia Shortshorts Theatre

Address Filmee 2F, 5-3-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa

Transport Shin-Takashima Station (Minatomirai line)

 

Los Lonely Boys

Thu Jan 30, 2014 Liquidroom
Los Lonely boys
Get a swinging introduction to ‘Texican’ rock ‘n’ roll with Los Lonely Boys tonight at Liquidroom. Hailing from the great state of Texas, the three Garza brothers won a Grammy in 2005, and captured the hearts of many Japanese listeners at the 2012 edition of Fuji Rock. Anyone partial to classic rock should enjoy this trio’s version, which is further flavoured with country and tejano influences.

Details

Open Thu Jan 30

Time doors 6.30pm, show 7.30pm

Admission ¥6,500

Telephone 03 3444 6751

Venue Liquidroom

Address 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote, Hibiya lines), west exit.

 

Asobinite with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Fri Jan 31, 2014 AgeHa

Asobinite

Celebrate the 21st birthday of Harajuku pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu at this AgeHa bonanza. The lineup is of course led by the birthday girl herself, while other performers include Yasutaka Nakata‘s Capsule, DJ Kyoko, and rapper Verbal. Advance tickets are on sale now.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 9pm

Admission Adv ¥3,000, same-day ¥4,000, couple ticket ¥5,400

Venue AgeHa

Address 2-2-10 Shinkiba, Koto-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinkiba station (Rinkai, Yurakucho lines).

 

Alien Radio feat. SIS

Fri Jan 31, 2014 Sound Museum Vision

Alien radio

Vision’s underground techno party ‘Alien Radio’ returns with a bang after an all too long absence and welcomes Berlin native SIS of ‘Trompeta’ fame. Dance your socks off to his original but easily digestible beats.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 11pm

Admission Women ¥3,000, men ¥3,500 (one drink included)

Venue Sound Museum Vision

Address 2-10-7 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Shonan-Shinjuku, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)

 

Hyperdub 10

Fri Jan 31, 2014 Unit
Hyperdub 10
Feel the beat at Daikanyama’s Unit tonight, as London-based dubstep and bass label Hyperdub showcases some of its representative artists at this 10-year anniversary party, which will see appearances by heavy hitters like owner Kode9, DJ Rashad, and Laurel Halo.

Details

Open Fri Jan 31

Time doors 11pm

Admission Adv ¥3,800, same-day ¥4,500

Venue Unit

Address Za House Bldg, 1-34-17 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

No Age

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Shibuya Club Quattro

No age

The LA-based based punk duo No Age recently released their fourth studio album, and seem to be getting closer and closer to perfecting their innovative sound that combines noise, psych, and hardcore elements with an honest punk attitude. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, this Tokyo gig’s a great chance to see what you’ve been missing out on.

Details

Open Sat Feb 1 2014

Time doors 6pm, show 7pm

Admission Adv ¥5,000

Telephone 03 3444 6751

Venue Shibuya Club Quattro

Address 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit

 

Cocoon / Sven Väth

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Womb
Cocoon
German techno godfather and Cocoon record label founder Sven Väth has been doing his thing for over three decades now, including running the annual ‘Cocoon Ibiza’ bonanza at the party island’s Amnesia club since 2000. The legend now brings his stuff to Tokyo, hopefully treating fans to one of his famed extended-length sets.

Details

Open Sat Feb 1

Time doors 11pm

Admission Same-day ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer)

Venue Womb

Address 2-16 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza lines), Hachiko exit; (Hanzomon line), exit 3A.

 

Gift feat. Cassy

Sat Feb 1, 2014 Air
Gift
 Minimal techno master DJ Masda is one of the ever-presents in the Tokyo underground scene, having attracted some of the world’s top talent to the city with his long-running ‘Cabaret’ party. His new creation ‘Gift’ now welcomes Berliner Cassy, a regular at the German capital’s famed Panorama Bar, who will be joined by Japanese talents Kabuto and Ryosuke.

 

Details

Open Sat Feb 1

Time doors 10pm

Admission ¥3,500 (¥3,000 with flyer, under-23s ¥2,500)

Venue Air

Address Hikawa Bldg B1F-B2F, 2-11 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Daikanyama station (Tokyu Toyoko line).

 

Yun*chi & Una at Tokyo Grand Shopping Week

Sun Feb 2, 2014 Omotesando Hills Space O

Yun*chi

Tokyo Grand Shopping Week, a massive sales bash for foreign tourists, is in full swing all over the Harajuku-Omotesando area. On February 2, Harajuku-associated singers Yun’chi (about to release her first album this month) and Una will perform at Omotesando Hills’s Space O, flanked by ‘kendama’ performance unit Zoomadanke. Yun’chi will take the stage first, at 2pm, followed by Zoomadanke (from 3.45pm) and Una (from 5.15pm).

Details

Open Sun Feb 2

Time 2pm-6pm

Venue Omotesando Hills Space O

Address 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda lines), Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines)

 

Fuji in the Bakumatsu and Meiji Eras

Until Sun Feb 2, 2014 JCII Photo Salon
Mt Fuji
Continuing the JCII gallery’s series of historical photo exhibitions, this show displays around 100 shots of Mt Fuji, taken in the early years of photography that coincided with the beginning of Japan’s Meiji era. Pictures by Felice Beato, von Stillfried, Wilhelm Burger, Renjo Shimooka, Juzaburo Usui, and other great photographers of the time show the sacred mountain and its surroundings from angles that have become inaccessible in modern times, while also documenting the unchanging beauty of Fuji, recently registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Details

Open Jan 6-Feb 2 2014 (closed Mon)

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Free

Telephone 03 3261 0300

Venue JCII Photo Salon

Address JCII Bldg., 25-banchi, Ichiban-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hanzomon Station (Hanzomon line), exit 4

 

Shinro Ohtake: Documenta 13 – Materials

Until Sun Feb 2, 2014 NADiff Gallery
Shinro Ohtake
Contemporary artist Shinro Ohtake was one of the contributors to last year’s documenta, the world-famous modern art exhibition taking place once every five years in Kassel, Germany. This Ebisu gallery exhibition takes a closer look at his documenta piece ‘Mon Cheri: A Self-Portrait as a Scrapped Shed’, and also marks the launch of a special-edition materials publication by the artist.

Details

Open Dec 20-Feb 2 2014 (closed Mon)

Time noon-8pm

Telephone 03 3446 4977

Venue NADiff Gallery

Address B1F, 1-18-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu Station

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An office for everyone: 5 share spaces in Tokyo for creatives and freelancers

With the cost of property in Tokyo so high, and an estimated 6,000 people squeezed into every square kilometre of the city, more and more urbanites are starting to think small. As well as choosing tiny houses that provide everything required for living but with none of the clutter, people are learning that life is far easier if, rather than yearning for their own private spaces and a multitude of possessions, they learn to share.

Following in the footsteps of movements such as last winter’s Warm Share, which offered incentives to members of the public who frequented designated–heated–public areas instead of sitting at home with their air-con cranked up, a number of “share spaces” are cropping up all over Tokyo, inviting both business people and freelance workers to use their facilities rather than staying in an office or cooped up at home.

So throw your laptop in your bag and come with us as we take a quick look at eight of Tokyo’s trendiest shared places to work.

Offering a wide variety of workspaces and the facilities you’d find in most modern offices but with a cooler, comfier vibe, share spaces are a sign of things to come in urban Japan. With high-speed internet access practically everywhere, ultra-portable computers, and data always obtainable from the cloud, many jobs can be done without the need for a dedicated office. But when team members need to get together, or when individuals simply need a place to work other than their own home, where can we turn?

Enter share spaces.

  • 1. The Terminal Harajuku

The terminal Harajuku

It might look a little bit like an Internet cafe, but you won’t find anyone playing WoW here. For 380 yen (US$3.80) per hour or 1,000 yen ($10.15) for three, freelancers at The Terminal can enjoy the facilities of a typical office without needing to suit up or clock in. Those with a lot of work to get through can pay 2,000 yen and remain glued to their computer for the entire day, while business types can rent private meeting rooms for 5,000 yen per hour.

Other facilities on offer include: space for giving presentations, copy machine access, access to additional power outlets, space for relaxing and reading, drink service, a roof garden for smokers, and of course wireless internet access.

The terminal

▼ A cute and cosy presentation room, complete with projector.

presentation room terminal

  • 2. Portal Point Kita Aoyama

Portal Point Kita Aoyama

Situated between trendy Omotesando and Gaienmae Station, “Transit Sharestyle Office” Portal Point is a sophisticated blend of a hotel, business centre, and cafe. One of the most extravagant of Tokyo’s newest share spaces, a hotel-style concierge service is available at reception, with staff on hand to direct groups or freelancers to the area best suited to their needs and handle future bookings.

With a dedicated conference room, long, well-lit tables for team-based tasks, personal booths for those who prefer cubicle-style office spaces, and even low chairs with coffee tables for those caffeine-fuelled tete-a-tetes, there’s something here for everyone. Beware, though, these facilities won’t come cheap; prices range from 52,000 yen (US$527) per month for personal-use desks with standard office equipment, to 399,000 yen ($4,000) for offices suitable for small businesses.

Aoyama

  • 3. Academy Hills Roppongi

Academy hills Roppongi

Another marvellously trendy and expensive workspace is Academy Hills, which can be found on the 49th floor of Roppongi Hills‘ iconic Mori Tower and aims to bring together “space, books, and opportunity.” Private study/work spaces can be rented for just 10,000 yen ($100) per month, with creatives and businesspeople alike given full access to an enormous library, desk and meetings spaces, and of course those absolutely stunning views of the surrounding city to take in while getting creative. You’ll need to be a ‘community member’ to gain entry to the facilities, but then if you’re hanging around one of Tokyo’s poshest areas, chances are you already are!

  • 5. Creative Lounge MOV Shibuya

Creative lounge MOV Shibuya

Soft sofas, armchairs and expensive-looking bicycles brought indoors, Creative Lounge MOV is something of a trendster’s dream. Boasting nine uniquely decorated meeting rooms costing between 6,000-16,000 yen ($60-162) per session, a spacious, comfortable lounge with rows of private booths, and a “residents’ area” which is made up of small rooms designed for individuals or pairs to use on a daily basis, MOV can be forgiven for looking a little like a hangout for the those who refuse to ride anything other than fixies and only listen to bands that no one else has heard of.

Categories: Must see, Things to do, Workspaces in Tokyo | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do this weekend in Tokyo October 18- October 20

Innovative Sweden

innovative designs
This touring show of innovative designs has arrived in Tokyo, having already visited a number of countries, including the US, China and Brazil. Expect innovative design and technology from 20 up-and-coming Swedish companies in the fields of ICT, cleantech, gaming and life sciences, with the likes of eye-controlled computers and green mobile phone chargers on the bill.

Details

Open Oct 2-18

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Adults ¥600, 18 or under ¥200

Venue National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation

Address 2-3-6 Aomi (Odaiba), Koto, Tokyo

Transport Funeno-Kagakukan station or Telecom Center station (Yurikamome line).

 

The Trojans

Fri Oct 18, 2013 Shibuya Club Quattro
The trojans
Celebrating the first new Trojans album in 14 years, frontman Gaz Mayall brings his ska rockers back to Japan and to Shibuya’s Club Quattro. Members and times have changed, but the Trojan sound remains something truly special, combining ska and reggae with Celtic tunes and more. The band will be joined by guest vocalist Hollie Cook and trumpeter Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton.

Details

Open Fri Oct 18

Time 7.30pm (doors open 6.30pm)

Admission Adv ¥6,000

Venue Shibuya Club Quattro

Address 5F, 32-13-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines), Hachiko exit

 

Tokyo Vegefood Festa 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)
Tokyo vegafood festa 2013
Throughout the year, Yoyogi Park serves as a gathering point for Tokyo’s various ethnic minorities and special interest groups. This weekend, one of the more long-suffering communities gets its moment in the sun: the vegans. Tokyo Vegefood Festa boasts roughly 100 stalls, ranging from macrobiotic cafes to vegetable vendors to fair trade goods. Though the event hopes to convert a few carnivores to the cause, it’s probably the people who’ve already sworn off meat, fish and dairy that’ll enjoy it the most.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 10am-5pm

Admission Free

Venue Yoyogi Park (Keyaki Namiki Road)

Address 2-1 Yoyogi Kamizounocho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Harajuku Station (Yamanote line), Yoyogi-Koen Station (Chiyoda line), Yoyogi-Hachiman station (Odakyu line)

 

Tokyo Meat Market Festival

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Tokyo Central Meat Wholesale Market
Tokyo meat market festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once every year, and perhaps as a rebellious answer to Yoyogi’s Vegefood Festa, this unique wholesale market opens its doors for one meaty festival. This is your chance to try free samples, buy special wares at reduced prices, and marvel at the various animal flesh-related exhibits. The focus is squarely on the good stuff: shabu-shabu, tonkatsu cutlets, yakiniku, and so on.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 10am-3pm

Admission Free

Address 2-7-19 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Transport Shinagawa Station (JR lines)

 

Japan Hoop Dance Championship

Japan hoop dance championship
The time has come to give credit to the most talented hoop dancers in the land. Although relatively popular in the West, hooping has failed to break out on a large scale in Japan so far. However, the community keeps growing and this event brings together the best dancers from all over the country. Marvel at the finalists’ performances at the main gala show and get acquainted with this energetic form of expression.

Details

Open Sat Oct 19

Time 1pm-3:30pm

Admission General admission ¥1,500, children ¥500 (first-come, first-serve)

Venue Ushigome Tansu Citizens’ Hall

Address 15 Tansumachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ushigome-kagurazaka Station (Oedo line), exit A1

 

Sancha de Daidogei

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower
Sancha de Daidogei
Though Sangenjaya is always nice for a wander, there’s no better time to visit than during this two-day street performance festival, in which acrobats, clowns, musicians, dancers and assorted costumed freaks ply their trade to a gawping public. Keep an eye out for the international visitors including France’s aerial hoop artist Julot and the stilt-sporting Nani-Sole (who, at about 10 feet tall with enormous wings, is pretty hard to miss).

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Setagaya Public Theatre , around Carrot Tower

Address 4-1-1 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo

Transport Sangenjaya station (Tokyu Denentoshi line) Sancha Patio exit.

 

Nezu-Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri 2013

Sat Oct 19 – Sun Oct 20, 2013 Nezu Shrine
Nezu Sendagi Shitamachi Matsuri
Nezu flaunts its shitamachi (downtown) roots at this autumn festival, a relatively recent invention that marks its 15th edition this year. The action centres around Nezu Shrine, which will be hosting concerts and performances throughout the weekend, accompanied by a flea market and stalls selling traditional goods. The rest of the neighbourhood follows suit, with attractions including a Sunday afternoon parade, and performances of traditional Japanese music and various dances at the Fureai-kan on Shinobazu-dori.

Details

Open Oct 19-20

Time 6pm-8pm

Venue Nezu Shrine

Address 1-28-9 Nezu, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Transport Nezu Station or Sendagi Station (Chiyoda line), Todaimae Station (Namboku line)

 

Kagurazaka Bakeneko Parade

Sun Oct 20, 2013 Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori
Kagurazaka Bakeneko parade
Kagurazaka will again play host to the Bakeneko Parade, one of the more curious Halloween-related events in the city. Everyone is welcome, all you have to do is dress up as a cat and bring a feline attitude. You can get a cat makeup done for ¥100 before the parade, and there are also costume-related goods available for purchase in case you feel the need to complement your outfit. The parade route reaches along Kagurazaka O-dori toward Iidabashi Station and back again.

Details

Open Sun Oct 20

Time 2pm-3.30pm
participant registration 10am-1pm at Kagurazaka Nursing Home

Admission Free

Venue Kagurazaka Nursing Home, around Kagurazaka O-dori

 

Shimokitazawa Curry Festival

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 Shimokitazawa area
Shimokitazawa curry festival
‘Making Shimokitazawa the holy ground of curry’ is the motto of this spicy ten-day festival, in which participating restaurants (over 70 in total) tout their specialty curries in all corners of the trendy neighborhood. Meet the ‘Curryman’ mascot, see who gets crowned ‘Miss Curry’, and use the curry map (available for free around town) to discover the tastiest curry joints.

Details

Open Oct 11-20

Time Varies by event

Twitter CurryShimokita

Venue Shimokitazawa area

 

Rhizomatiks Inspired by Perfume

Until Sun Oct 20, 2013 NTT InterCommunication Center
Rhizomatiks inspired by perfume
Creative group Rhizomatiks – best know for their work on the stage productions of J-poppers Perfume – will be displaying their work in an exhibition. This group of creators and engineers have garnered attention around the world for their original production methods and use of cutting-edge technology – including 3D scanning and data visualisation. This exhibition will introduce visitors to their production techniques, and showcase costumes and equipment from Perfume’s music videos and stage performances, as well as 3D models of Perfume group members.

Details

Open Sep 21-Oct 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

Time 11am-6pm

Admission ¥500

Telephone 0120 144199

Venue NTT InterCommunication Center

Address 4F Tokyo Opera City Tower, 3-20-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Transport Hatsudai Station (Keio line)

 

Mitsuaki Iwago: Cats & Lions

Mitsuaki Iwago
Popular wildlife photographer Mitsuaki Iwago just can’t seem to get enough of milking the internet’s favourite meme. Following his Go With Cats show at Mitsukoshi Nihombashi, the avid snapper heads to the more highbrow Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography for another exhibition devoted to all things feline. This time around, Iwago will be juxtaposing photos of domestic cats with similar images taken of lions in the wild. ‘Cats are just small lions,’ he observes. ‘Lions are just big cats.’ Deep.

Details

Open August 10-October 20 Closed Mon (Tue if Mon is a holiday)

Time Tue-Sun 10am-6pm (Thu, Fri until 8pm)

Admission Adults ¥800, students ¥700, over 65s, high school & junior high school students ¥600

Venue Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Address Ebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo

Transport Ebisu station (Yamanote line), east exit; (Hibiya line), exit 1.

 

 

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Things to do: Have birds eye view dinner in the Tokyo Skytree

Taste of sky: Shokkan Solamachi-ten is located on the 30th floor of Solamachi's East Tower, and serves family-friendly Japanese cuisine.

Taste of sky: Shokkan Solamachi-ten is located on the 30th floor of Solamachi’s East Tower, and serves family-friendly Japanese cuisine.

Timing is everything at Tokyo Skytree. in daylight the urban sprawl below just looks banal; at night, the city lights gleam with romance, but you can’t see to the far horizons. get there for sunset, though, and if conditions are right, the view can be little short of magical.

The same applies when you pick a place to eat at the city’s most popular tourist attraction. At peak meal times there are waits of up to an hour. But arrive early or as the crowds are thinning, and there’s every chance you will waltz straight in.

That’s definitely the way to do it at Shokkan Solamachi-ten. Dinner service opens from 5 p.m., which at this time of year is right around sunset. While most other visitors are taking in the view as the city lights up for the evening, you can claim pole position right outside the restaurant’s front entrance.

Almost invariably there will be a few places unreserved, if not at the most coveted tables right by the floor-to-ceiling picture windows, then at the counter, where you sit right in front of the busy open kitchen watching your meal being prepared. If, like me, you enjoy the theater of a Japanese kitchen, those are the best seats in the house.

As at the original branch in Shibuya Shokkan serves Japanese cuisine with a casual, contemporary inflection. Stylish, relaxed and affordable, it offers enough creativity in the kitchen to draw in a youngish crowd but without alienating those with more dyed-in-the-wool tastes.

The menu may be nigh-on identical, but the demographic is anything but. Skytree is a magnet for visitors of every age, and Shokkan, which is located on the 30th floor of a building adjacent to the tower, serves them all: dating couples, groups of old codgers, parents with adult children, and extended families with kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers. It also has a comprehensive, well translated English menu to ensure everyone’s taken care of.

And for that reason, there are different strategies for approaching the menu. Those with children in tow mostly pick out a couple of dishes to share, followed by a more filling rice or noodle dish, and close with a dessert. Then there are omakase (chef’s choice) set meals (¥5,000 or ¥7,000) for those who want a little taste of all the trademark Shokkan dishes.

But there is also a third approach, and this can be the most rewarding. You can treat Shokkan as an izakaya (tavern), ordering a couple of dishes at a time in tapas style, to go with your sake or shōchū (or beer or wine).

Where to start? Well, just about everyone goes for the house-specialty appetizer, slices of raw vegetables served with a dip of tomato-miso. The thick paste of vivid red is one of the original ideas that helped put owner-chef Kan Sato on the map, and its intriguing savory-sweet flavor is a surprising hit.

Alternatively, try the rolls of crab and wakame (seaweed) wrapped in yuba(soy-milk skin) and topped with a tart, refreshing gelee of ponzu (rice vinegar mixed with soy sauce and dashi stock). Other options as nibbles include deep-fried ginkgo nuts or slices of lightly smoked duck breast.

There is also a list of seasonal specials (in Japanese only). Current offerings range from plump oysters on the half shell, freshly flown down from Hokkaido, to lightly seared anago (conger eel), in bite-sized morsels served with small dabs of aromatic sanshō pepper paste.

These are all ideally suited to the extensive sake selection. Some 17 regional brews are kept in the refrigerated cabinet by the entrance — recommendations here would include Kikuyoi, Tengummai Gorin and Kokuryu — which are available in either one- or two-person servings.

At this point, food with a bit more heft is called for. The “Grilled” section of the menu obliges with miso-marinated chicken, Platinum pork (it’s a breed from northern Japan) and steaks of tender, well-marbled premium Kuroge wagyūbeef. A small steak is included in the more substantial ¥7,000 course, though if you don’t like yours rare, you will need to specify otherwise.

The other signature dish comes toward the end of the meal: kamameshi rice, prepared in small individual pots together with seafood or vegetables. Salmon and ikura (salted salmon roe) is a great combination, and so is zuwai crab cooked with mushrooms and butter.

The top-of-the-line item is Shokkan’s self-described “famous seafood paella.” This is cooked in a wide earthenware donabe casserole, and comes laden with generous amounts of salmon and its roe, clams, mussels and small, pinksakura-ebi shrimps. Just as you’d get in Spain, the rice is cooked with a nice crisp brown crust at the bottom.

By this time, night will have fallen, and the glitter of the low-lying city below will be matched by the lights reflected in window glass from the open kitchen. With the effects of the sake kicking in, everything takes on a cheerful glow.

The wait staff make up for their hesitations with a genuine desire to please. The food is not premium high-end fare — in fact, at times it seems a bit soulless — but it’s perfectly suited to the easygoing atmosphere.

Best of all, though, Shokkan is child-friendly, no-smoking, wheelchair-accessible and open year-round without any holidays (not even New Year’s Day). There are few restaurants in the city that can match that.

SHOKKAN SOLAMACHI-TEN
 Address
Tokyo Solamachi East Tower 30F, 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo;
 Website View URL
 Phone 03-5809-7251
 Nearest Station Oshiage Skytree (Hanzomon, Toei Asakusa and Keisei-Oshiage lines); Tokyo Skytree (Tobu Skytree Line).
 Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (L.O.) and 5-9 p.m. (food L.O.).
 What Works Casual, creative, family-friendly Japanese fare with a stupendous view.
 What Doesn’t The specials of the day are only written in Japanese.
 Smoking Not permitted
 Price per head Set lunch from ¥1,200 (kid’s plate ¥800); dinner menus from ¥5,000, also a la carte.
 Credit Cards Major cards accepted.
 Language English menu available; a little English spoken.
Categories: Things to do, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ‘king of infidelity’ has landed in Tokyo!

ashley_madison

The ‘king of infidelity’ has landed in Tokyo. After finding that enabling affairs can make money in 27 countries, Noel Biderman is bringing Ashley Madison — the world’s largest dating website for married men and women who want a little something on the side — to Japan, his first launch in Asia.

Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, Inc., which operates ashleymadison.com, the world’s largest dating website for married men and women.

Noel Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, Inc., which operates ashleymadison.com, the world’s largest dating website for married men and women.

The website of Mr. Biderman, CEO of Avid Life Media, Inc, has logged 230,000 visits and 70,000 members as of Thursday, only four days after its Japan launch, and Mr. Biderman said he got an early morning phone call from company headquarters saying that members were signing up faster than customer care could screen them. The company had targeted 100,000 members in the first month, and 1.2 million in the first year.

“This might be bigger here than in America,” he said. “We totally underestimated the desire here.”

Why Japan? Mr. Biderman said that infidelity is an inevitability (read: business chance), as well as a cultural constant. Tokyo’s innumerable massage parlors and “love hotels” — short-stay hotels that cater to couples – are encouraging signs of potential demand, he said.

But Ashley Madison doesn’t intend to compete with Japan’s sex industry, which is largely an outlet for male desire, Mr. Biderman stresses. Everything about the site – the name, the pink color scheme, the female-centered advertising – is aimed at drawing in women. The men will find their own way, he said.

In terms of competing with established domestic services, including dating or marriage-service websites, Mr. Biderman says he sidesteps the competition by directly targeting married people looking for something “extracurricular.”

Since Ashley Madison is created specifically with cheaters in mind, members are ensured secrecy and have the ability to completely erase their activity on the site if they choose. Furthermore, members can tap a global network. An Ashley Madison user in Sydney who comes to Tokyo, for instance, can line up a date even before she arrives.

Though the site has officially launched, Mr. Biderman says he’s still working out how he’ll market the service. People aren’t going to blab to their friends about using Ashley Madison, so creating clever advertising that works as a “conversation piece” is key to getting the word out, he said.

The marketing campaign “is clearly going to be around women, in a culturally sensitive way and yet in a way where it becomes viral,” he said. “We’re going to position ourselves as a marriage-saving site, a social network for married people. I think they’ll understand that concept.”

Despite an unexpectedly strong response in Japan, Ashley Madison has yet to score another badge of membership in the Japanese philanderers’ club: a tie up with the country’s infamous “infidelity phone,” an older-model cellphone from Fujitsu Ltd. with industrial-strength privacy settings.

“We’ve been trying to reach out to them and get some sort of Ashley Madison software preloaded on the phone, but we haven’t been able to crack them,” said Mr. Biderman. “They don’t want to be associated with (cheating). I’m familiar with that. People don’t want to be associated with me. Sometimes even my own wife shakes her head at me,” he said with a smile.

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All the rage: animal cafes

In a vibrant city such a Tokyo, many people live in small apartments stacked up on each other creating plenty of high-rise buildings. Because these apartments are often rented, the people are prohibited to own any pets and even if it wasn’t prohibited the places would just be too small. But Japan would not be the modern country as we know it if it had not come up with a solution; animal cafes!

The first animal café was a Neko café (neko means cat) and was neko cafesestablished in 2004. Ever since, the cafes started to gain more popularity and nowadays Japan is full of them.

Cats are not the only animals with cafes dedicated to them, Japan also features dog, goat, rabbit and snake cafes. All of these establishments are created to satisfy the need of the animal lover. People who only like to watch can settle in the café area and look through the glass while enjoying their cup of coffee. But what differs these cafes from a zoo, is that people can actually come in and play or cuddle with their animalistic little friends.

Recently I had the opportunity to check out one of the Neko cafes myself near Ōmori Station (Ota-ku). Before stepping in to the place I had to put on special slippers due to sanitary reasons. I drank some juice while talking to the owner and another guest while in the background the cats were either sleeping or running around, waiting for some attention. The cat area could not be entered without thoroughly washing the hands and putting some kind of sanitary lotion on them. The furry little animals were quite relaxed as I came up to them. It was immediately noticeable which of them were into some quality time and which were not, they turned their heads as I let them smell my hand. In total, the place consisted of approximately 15 cats of which three kittens.

nekonekoneko

While some remained sleeping (in the most uncomfortable positions) the entire time I stayed there, others played around and came to me. All cats looked healthy and happy, which was something I was a little worried about to be honest. Luckily, regulations for animal cafes have recently been changed, some cafes used to stay open until past midnight but they now have a limited amount of opening hours per day. Also, cafes where it gets really busy have created shifts for their cats so they get some rest.

For the first half hour, I spend 600¥. Had I stayed longer than I had to pay per every 10 minutes. The café itself is free of charge, excluding the drinks naturally.

While cat cafes are for non-owners who still want to enjoy their furryIMG_1383 friends, dog cafes are a complete different thing. Here, people bring their own dog to be able to eat with them or spoil them with treats on their birthday. For non-dog owners, there are special places renting dogs for an hour or part of the day, giving them the opportunity to walk the dog around town.

While it probably wouldn’t work anywhere else in the world, animal cafes are all the rage in Japan.

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Japanese Part-Timers ‘Terrorize’ Employers with Pranks

prank

Stuffing out cigarettes in sushi, wearing pizza dough as a mask and cleaning feet in the dishwasher – these are just some of the stunts part-time workers are pulling to the delight of their Twitter followers and the chagrin of their employers.

While the part-timer pranks may not seem particular unusual to readers outside Japan, the behavior has raised eyebrows in Japan – a nation that takes dedication to work and strict discipline very seriously.Since a man posted a picture of himself lying inside a refrigerated ice cream case at his convenience store job online, local media have unveiled a new case of an employee documenting mischief on Facebook or Twitter almost daily. The trend has even spawned a new expression brimming with hyperbole: “baito tero” or “part-time job terrorism.”All the cases so far have involved workers at fast-food restaurants and convenience stores, sparking conjecture that the real cause underlying the misbehavior is the frustration of employees with low-paying, part-time jobs.

Other commentators, however, say social media is to blame.

 

Crazy Japanese part timers“For young people, the most important thing is to stand out and be noticed. For example, since social networks have become popular, cute girls have tried to attract attention knowing that some have become models after being discovered through social media. Whereas in the past, those girls would have been scouted when they were out and about walking around,” Britney Hamada, a comic book artist and television personality said on a television program last week. “That’s just escalated more and more and translated into these kinds of ‘crimes.’”

Nearly a quarter of high-school students in Japan use Twitter, while only 14% use Facebook, according to a September survey of over 4,500 students by ZKAI Co.

Whether the clowning around is down to part-time job dissatisfaction or social media overload, employers have been less than understanding, sometimes taking action that has arguably caused greater inconvenience to customers.

Nagoya-based chain restaurant Bronco Billy Co closed a Tokyo branch in early August to retrain staff after an employee uploaded a picture of himself sitting inside a refrigerator on the job.

Only a week after the closing, however, the company decided to permanently close the branch out of consideration for its responsibility to “provide a comfortable moment for the customer through delicious food, good service and a clean and fun restaurant.”

At a Lawson convenience store where an employee climbed into the refrigerator, Lawson, Inc. removed all ice cream products, dismantled the offending ice cream case and temporarily closed the store. Photos uploaded by curious neighbors show the windows shuttered and the parking lot closed off.

“All our employees and affiliate stores will work as one to regain customers trust so that this kind of thing never happens ever again,” the company said in a statement.

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Things to do: Have your dinner blessed by a Koyasan monk

jingumae_koyakun-640Monks have taken over the menus at restaurants in the posh Shin-Marunouchi building in Tokyo to offer real soul food.

Throughout the weeklong Koyasan Cafe event, diners can fill their stomachs and their spirits with Buddhist-inspired dishes.

Koyasan Cafe takes its name from the spiritual center of Japanese Buddhism, Koyasan in Wakayama Prefecture. Also known as Mount Koya, it is the last resting place of the eighth-century monk Kukai, the headquarters of the Shingon sect he founded and, as of 2004, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Nankai Railway brought the event to Tokyo six years ago, aiming to attract visitors and pilgrims to Koyasan.

The participating monks also hope to deliver some of the values from their holy mountain to busy urban dwellers who have come to take the dining experience for granted.

“ ‘Shojin ryori‘ doesn’t simply mean abstaining from meat and fish,” for religious or health reasons, says Hogen Yabu, one of the monks. “Behind it is the concept of striving to bring oneself to higher enlightenment.”

buddhist monks

Nine restaurants and bars in the Shin-Marunouchi Building, located opposite Tokyo Station, are involved in the project. In addition to the food, there are chanting performances, meditation lessons and opportunities to sit down and ask questions directly to the monks.

Among the eateries are Henry Good Seven, So Tired, Tiki Bar Tokyo and Rigoletto Wine and Bar. But don’t be surprised that their names don’t exactly hint at Buddhist ascetic. Each place has gone to town with its own version of Japanese shojin ryori, once simple but now elaborate meals forgoing meat and based around vegetables and tofu. Henry Good Seven for example offers chilled cappellini with yuzu and fruit tomatoes; So Tired offers Chinese-style sweet-and-sour “pork” (made from soybeans); while Tiki Bar Tokyo presents shojin tacos and terrine made from tomatoes, cucumbers and kanten (agar-agar) gelatin. Then there are desserts such as a blancmange of mango, kiwi, kanten and soy milk available at the European-inspired Japanese restaurant Sawamura. Altogether there are 35 original shojin ryori dishes to savor.

It all sounds tempting, but eating the bare minimum is one of the first lessons that the monks hope to teach.

“So much food goes to waste these days,” Yabu says. “We want Japanese to re-examine what it really means when they say ‘itadakimasu’ (‘I receive humbly’) before eating a meal–to show gratitude to the food itself by controlling your passions and taking just enough.”

For details and schedule see the official website at (http://www.nankaikoya.jp/cafe).

 

 

Categories: history of Japan, Japanese customs, Must see, Stories about Japan, Things to do, Where to eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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