Travel Japan #1: An Organic Morning Welcomes Me to Kyoto

16.January.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT / Uncategorized

Passing over the crystal blue ocean and through the snowy white clouds, I finally arrived in the country I had longed to visit.

 

The destination I chose is a town in located in the west of Japan, one steeped in history. The first morning to welcome me in Kyoto came through the steam of my mug which rose beautifully, almost transparent. It all appeared mysterious. Just what was I going to discover on this trip?

 

This is the story of one girl who came to visit Japan from her home country.

The morning coffee I will drink in my hotel room is like a good luck charm. It’s a requisite ritual of all my mornings, something that gives me a bit of courage.

 

“I hope today is like no other.”

Whispering this quietly to myself, I pour the hot water into the filter.

 

As the water slowly drips I smell the rich notes of the coffee.

 

The heat from the mug warms me up from the inside like a gentle caress.

Right now, in this moment, I want to tear the view outside the window and put it in my coat pocket.

 

I sip my coffee as I feel gratitude for the beautiful morning and anticipate the adventure that is about to begin.

The light, the warmth and the smell. Just quietly admiring this scene – that’s my morning ritual.

 

“I have to get going already,” I murmur. I look to myself in the future a little.

 

I wear a small handbag with my mint coloured coat. Let’s put this morning scene in one of them, because it was a fitting and refreshing start to the start of my trip.

I swing my eyes to the view outside the window once more and leave my room.

 

“I feel that I’ll have become a different me when I return to this room.”

 

Model: Mala Morgan

 

 

These are the organic items for my morning in Japan.

TOPVALU GURINAI – Organic Original Blend Drip Coffee:¥298 (Before Tax) /¥321 (Tax Included) 64g(8g×8count)

The green items sold by AEON’s private brand TOPVALU are good for both me as well as the environment. Organic drinks are like good luck charms that make your body healthy and beautiful from the inside. This organic drip coffee has a full-bodied flavour, and it’s easy to make, making it perfect for mornings when travelling.

 

TOPVALU ORGANIC ORANGE 100 – 100% Straight Organic Orange Juice:¥298 (Before Tax) /¥321 (Tax Included) 750ml

If my body craves fruit the moment I wake up, I sometimes go for orange juice. The refreshing sour taste of 100% organic orange juice makes me feel a little indulgent. Organic oranges that have been squeezed within 24 hours of picking are rich and very delicious.

 

We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

 

🎁 5% Coupon:
https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

 

ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Travel Japan #2: A Peaceful Breakfast Basked in the Sun at Kyoto’s Kamo River

    01.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    I left my room, and what stood in front of me calling like some outside force was the riverbed of Kamo River, a symbol of Kyoto. My plan for the day is still a blank sheet. If I listen carefully I can hear the calm flow of the stream. Where I’m meant to go will become clear in my mind’s eye, I’m sure of it.

     

    I didn’t know the reason, but I felt that if I inhaled the morning air with all I had I would come to know.

     

    “Where should I go first?” Thinking that, I set off to begin the story of my trip with all the freedom in the world.

     

    The surface of the river is like a mirror, reflecting Kyoto’s changing seasons all year round. No matter the season, the world through that streaming looking glass is sure to be beautiful.

    Standing under the bridge was like being in a hiding place. It made me think of the first time I felt excitement when I was little.

    “I wonder what I’m searching for on this journey?”

     

    These are the words I thought this to myself while walking back and forth. This was a city that I instantly grew attached to.

     

    Is it something I want to find myself; or is it something I want somebody else to find for me? Someone I don’t know from in a city I don’t know in a country I don’t know.

     

    The answer can only be found by working up the courage to knock on the door. Hints are hidden amongst the people and scenery I have yet to encounter in Kyoto.

    I laid out my blanket at the riverside and gazed across the Kamo River.

     

    I took my breakfast out of my bag.

     

    Bread and milk: my morning meal whenever and wherever I am. It’s a very natural cycle just like the blue sky, white clouds and unchanging scene before me.

    I feel myself becoming hydrated at the silky taste of my almond milk.

     

    I stuff my cheeks slowly with bread and a Danish pastry while painting a picture of the day I will have today.

    It was the flowing river that laid it out to me as if singing me a sing.

     

    It said, “When you get going, still with that curiosity inside you, you’ll meet a you who you haven’t met before.”

     

    As if someone had gently flicked a switch in my mind, my half-asleep body began to move.

     

    I decide to set off after eating my breakfast. The map of my trip lies in my heart.

     

    Model/ Mala Morgan

     

     

    Incorporate beautifying foods into your breakfast.

    TOPVALU 35% Reduced Sugar Soy Flour Danish Panettone:¥128 (Before Tax) / ¥138 (Tax Included) *Includes 2

    TOPVALU Fluffy Onion Cheese Bread:¥98(Before Tax) / ¥105 (Tax Included) *Includes 1

     

    Food from ÆON’s TOPVALU range makes my breakfast tasty and refreshing. The danish pastry is fermented over a long period of time before being folded repeatedly to give it its moist texture.. The crunchy texture brings a satisfied smile to your face when chowing them down.

     

    This bread contains sliced onion and black peppered ham dressed with mayonnaise as well as a sprinkling of shredded and melted Gouda cheese. The fluffy bread is just heavenly.

     

    TOPVALU Almond Milk (Left):¥88円 (Before Tax) / ¥95(Tax Included) – 200ml 

    TOPVALU Sugar Free Almond Milk (Right):¥88円 (Before Tax) /¥95(Tax Included) – 200ml

     

    Packed with vitamin E, the highlight of this almond milk is its low calorie count. Its subtle sweetness and smooth texture complements the bread perfectly.

     

    We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

     

    🎁 5% Coupon:
    https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

     

    ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

  • Travel Japan #3: A Peaceful Mind and Time at Higashi Honganji Temple in Kyoto

    08.February.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    I began my walk through the streets of Kyoto which since long ago have been at the height of prosperity in Japanese history. I understand the marvel and easing of the heart from strolling around the numerous majestic temples.

     

    The fallen maidenhair tree leaves which had changed colour beautifully were spread across the ground like a carpet leading up to a sacred place. Each step felt precious and cleared my mind.

    And there I stood before it, overwhelmed at its magnificence.

    This is Higashi Honganji Temple. Inside is a portrait of Shinran, a Japanese Buddhist monk and founder of the Jōdo Shinshū sect of Buddhism. The temple grounds are home to historical architecture, every piece of which stirred my soul as somebody who does not know Japan.

    Despite it being my first time here I felt like I had returned once more. I wonder why?

    I gave a respectful bow to this temple and its long history while feeling the breath of the people who once lived here.

    My heart feels at peace when placing my hands together.

     

    The act of praying may be one that has you facing yourself.

    I drank my genmaicha tea and hydrated myself from the dry air while strolling through the temple grounds.

     

    Kyoto is a mysterious place. It has a tolerance to accept anything. It was like the old buildings were talking to me―like they knew me from long ago.

    In response and in a trance, I snapped a photo with my camera.

     

    I wanted to burn the beauty of this temple into my memory so I will never forget it.

    I was captivated by the sight of the falling leaves. I stood under the maidenhair and gazed as they fluttered. I wonder if somebody else from another time stood here and felt the same as I did as they looked on at Kyoto in fall.

    The just-right bitterness and gentle sweetness of my almond chocolate stirs my imagination. The yellow leaves of the maidenhair dyed the path a golden road.

     

    The grand temple and the maidenhair tree. My existence at this moment piles on top of Kyoto’s unimaginably long history as a single instant.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    Add rich taste to your walk

    TOPVALU Almond Chocolate Bitter 70%: ¥198(Before Tax)  ¥213 (Tax Included) – 70g

    A box of ÆON’s private brand TOPVALU 70% almond dark chocolate is always hidden in my bag. The flavour is moderately sweet and has just the right amount of bitterness perfect for those times when I’m lost in thought. I feel that every time I taste the almond in this chocolate now I will remember the carpet of maidenhair leaves.

     

    TOPVALU Organic Genmaicha: ¥78(Before Tax) ¥84 (Tax Included) – 500ml

    This tea is made from 100% organic tea leaves grown in Kagoshima Prefecture. It is a refreshing blend of green tea and flavoursome rice. The healthy ingredients in this tea are good for the body and when they hit every nook and cranny inside me make me want to take a walk anywhere in Kyoto.

     

    We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

     

    5% Coupon:
    https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

     

    ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

  • Travel Japan #4: Magic Items to Heal My Tired Skin and Body

    21.February.2019 | FASHION / FEATURES

    After my stroll around Kyoto I head back to my hotel for a break and think back over my day. My curiosity is piqued – I want to know more about the history of this place.

     

    Laid sprawled across my bed I picture myself walking through the city, the seasons changing, giving a sideways look at an elegant temple. The vivid cherry blossoms of spring, the cool riverbeds in summer, the autumnal orange hues, and the snow-beds of winter. All of these moments provide a spectacle that cannot be overlooked.

     

    I feel that more wonderful things are still yet to occur. It’s nighttime, and my mind wanders at these thoughts, so I can’t sleep.

    I take out the Kyoto guidebook from my baggage. I trace the path I traveled today in my head which vividly brings the sights I saw to my mind’s eye.

    I let my body sink gently into the bed and absorb myself in reading, checking all the nooks and crannies of the book.

    This ancient city boasted by the island country of Japan, which I crossed the sky and sea to arrive at, is more wonderful than I expected. The orderly townscape makes me sit up and feel tense, in a good way.

     

    My mind becomes clear. It feels as if I have been looking far into the distance for a long time.

     

    “I feel the path I am heading for is beyond that beautiful landscape.”

     

    My heart beats fast at that hope.

    I walked a lot today, so I give myself a treat.

     

    I bask in the aromas of the cool sheets I place on my legs and heal my body to the core.

    I add to that a touch of permeating organic oil that’s both moist and gentle on the skin. When my skin is happy my heart too benefits.

    The night is still young. I enjoy some me-time with my makeup-less skin and heart. Resting like this is another important part of travel.

     

    I flick through the guidebook over and over again and visualise the routes of the places I want to visit. A magic-imbued miracle occurs and I feel this room directly connecting to the places I wish to go to.

    Afterwards I enjoy a late-night retro movie. I am sure my coming to love alone-time is thanks to this trip. I also feel I have become a little stronger than I was. I try praising myself as my heart throbs at my favourite scenes which I watch over and over.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    Give your tired body the luxury time it deserves

    TOPVALU Leg & Calf Adhesive Cooling Sheet
    ¥460 (Before Tax) / ¥496 (Tax Included) – 18 Sheets (14cm x 10cm)

     

    On days where my legs become swollen from walking I like to massage my legs in the bath. I then use ÆON TOPVALU’s calf sheets which refresh my legs with the power of their aroma and give them care for the next day. I step into a new world with this body.

     

    TOPVALU GURINAI Organic  geo organics Moisturizing Lotion
    ¥1,800 (Before Tax) / ¥1,944 (Tax Included) – 150ml

    TOPVALU GURINAI Organic geo organics Pure Oil Macadamia
    ¥1,800 (Before Tax) / ¥1,944 (Tax Included) – 27ml

     

    This Geo Organics certified skin location uses orange fruit extract as its base which moisturises and is astringent. It steadily permeates the skin and leaves it glowing. I use it together with the organic certified Pure Oil Macadamia. It maintains a balance of normal bacterial flora of the skin and contains lots of palmitoleic acid which is said to enhance barrier function. The power of the macadamia nuts also grants lively skin. I don’t want to mess up tending to my skin even when traveling.

     

    We are handing out coupons for the products mentioned here. Be sure to use them the next time you visit ÆON for great discounts.

     

    🎁 5% Coupon:https://www.welcome-aeon.com/coupon/web_coupon.html

     

    ÆON Store Search: https://www.welcome-aeon.com/storesearch/index.html

  • Travel Japan #5: Experiencing Everyday Life in Japan at a Supermarket in Kyoto

    25.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    After getting to know some Kyoto history I wanted to know more about today’s Kyoto. The enormous and modern terminal of Kyoto Station contrasts with the temples I’m so interested in. The two co-exist in harmony. I could see Kyoto Tower through the glass – it stood tall like it was watching over this ever-changing city. I will change my perspective today and walk the streets like the locals who live here in Kyoto.

    My destination is undecided. It’s nice to surrender yourself to the flow of the people once in a while and head towards your goal as in Amidakuji (Ghost Leg lottery). Because I’ve learnt on my trip that you can encounter wonderful things by chance on occasion.

    The glass walkway is like a tunnel into the future.

    I look at my reflection in the window and see I have become more of an adult.

    Stood there I gaze for a long time up at Kyoto Tower. As I stare I think about how the city changes, people change, the days transition, but how there are also things I want to stay the same.

    The next place I head to is Aeon Mall, a shopping centre close to Kyoto Station. This is a foreign supermarket to for me, so I get excited. It’s like sifting through a toy box.

     

    An ordinary day for the people living in this country is an extraordinary day for me.

    Each and every thing in there is something I’ve never laid eyes on before.

     

    I walk around, forgetting about the passage of time, and get a glimpse into the simple yet happy lifestyle of people.

    There’s a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in the mall, something I had been yearning for.

    I wonder if my friends would laugh if I told them that the sushi coming round on a conveyor belt is like something out of a Tim Burton movie?

    I feel like the protagonist of that film as I eat the sushi that rolls on by.

    I visited a general store where everything is sold for ¥100.

    I bought a letter set from here and wrote a letter to my precious friend.

     

    To my beloved friend,

     

    Japan is a really wonderful place.

    I’m determined to absorb everything I see and experience in the limited time I have here.

    I don’t know what I will discover on this trip, what I am heading towards.

    It’s hard to describe in words, but I will continue my travels.

     

    Model: Mala Morgan

     

     

    Aeon Mall Kyoto: A Japan-packed shopping mall 10 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station

    Aeon Mall Kyoto is just a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station. Its shelves are lined with daily necessities, you can dine there, buy souvenirs and more. On Weekends and national holidays there are free shuttles bus that runs every 15 minutes from Kyoto Station’s Hachijoguchi Exit which is very convenient for travellers with heavy luggage.

     

    I really recommend visiting if ever you’re in Kyoto.

     

    Aeon Mall Kyoto

    Address: 1 Nishikujō Toriiguchichō, Minami Ward, Kyoto

    Business Hours: Different for each store. Please visit the mall’s website below to check opening hours.

    Website: http://kyoto-aeonmall.com/

     

    KOHYO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 1F)

    KOHYO is a supermarket that sells various Japanese goods. I get my hands on a range of daily necessities and ingredients as I feel with my own skin what it’s like to real live life in Japan.

     

    Business Hours: 9:00-22:00

    Website: http://www.kohyo.co.jp/

     

    Kaiten Sushi Uogashi (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Sakura Building Floor 4F)

    Kaiten Sushi Uogashi is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant that sells over 20 types of seafood everyday. The ingredients change each day. I reconfirm that I really am in Japan as I tuck into my delicious sushi.

     

    Business Hours: 10:00-22:00 (Last Orders 21:30)

    Website: http://www.maruchu-sushi.com/

     

    DAISO (Aeon Mall Kyoto – Kaede Building Floor 4F)

    DAISO stocks new products every single day. There are ¥100-type stores in every country, but the ones in Japan really are something special! They have so many items that make for perfect souvenirs. It’s an irresistible place for girls who love shopping so I’ve got to tell my friends about it.

     

    Business Hours: 10-00-21:00

    Website: http://www.daiso-sangyo.co.jp/

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Cute and Colourful T-Shirt Collection by AEON Collaborates With Popular Brands

    22.February.2021 | FASHION

    AEON has revealed a collection of 31 T-shirts that will be released via their casual fashion brand Doublefocus in collaboration with popular brands in Japan at 300 AEON and AEON Style stores across Japan on Friday (February 19).

     

     

    Doublefocus Collaborative T-Shirt Collection

    The pandemic forcing many people to stay at home has seen an increase in demand in Japan for more casual clothes and loungewear. Doublefocus, a casual fashion brand managed by AEON, has been collaborating with food companies, stationery makers, and other businesses since 2016. It has collaborated with over 100 brands to date and has seen much popularity from its fun and colourful line-up of T-shirts.

     

    Doublefocus is now releasing a new collection of unisex T-shirts in six sizes, from SS to 3L, featuring iconic logos from famous brands in Japan. Let’s take a look.

     

    The Line-Up

    Releasing Late March 2021

     Country Ma’am / Nectar / Milky / LOOK – ¥880 Each (Before Tax)

     

    Sushiro A / Sushiro B – ¥880 Each (Before Tax)


    Lotteria Shrimp Burger / Lotteria Zeppin Ultimate Cheeseburger – ¥880 Each (Before Tax)


    Campus x Soft Ring Notebook – ¥880 Each (Before Tax)


    Coupy Pencil / Craypas – ¥880 Each (Before Tax)

     

    This is just a select look at the diverse line-up of fun T-shirts to be released. Check out the links below for the full list.

  • Japanese Organic Face Mask Sprays Ensure Your Mask Stays Smelling Fresh

    17.February.2021 | FASHION

     

    Japanese company Global Product Planning released a collection of face mask sprays on February 10 which are made using naturally-derived ingredients.

     

    The sprays are made for daily use and ensure any unpleasant odours on your mask are erased and replaced with a fruity fragrance.

     

    Left: Orange & Lavender / Right: Eucalyptus & Lemonrass – ¥980 (Before Tax)

     

    Both fragrances are made with a mix of 100% natural essential oils and menthol, resulting in a refreshing finish.

    Orange & Lavender: Orange Skin Extract, Lavender Oil, Menthol

    Eucalyptus & Lemongrass: Eucalyptus Leaf Extract, Lemongrass Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Menthol

    And since these sprays are applied to an item that touches the skin, the fragrances are made with 99% naturally-derived ingredients.

     

    How to Use

    Spray 2-3 times onto the mask from a 10cm distance. After spraying, allow to dry, and you’re ready to go.

     

  • ROSE LABO Reveals Luxury No-Pesticide Rose Products

    17.February.2021 | FASHION

    “Become beautiful, healthy, and happy with edible roses.” That’s the concept of ROSE LABO, a brand that promotes a beautiful lifestyle for women. The company has revealed two new makeup products, the Rose Booster Serum and Rose Barrier Lotion, both of which will have pre-sales at Isetan Shinjuku beginning on March 17, 2021.

     

    The Line-Up

     

     

    Rose Booster Serum | ¥4,950 (Tax Included)

     

    The Rose Booster Serum is a skincare liquid made with edible roses that are grown without any pesticides by ROSE LABO. The serum is a mix of 20 high quality plant-based ingredients, extracts of 7 different plants, vitamin C, 5 ceramides, komenuka rice bran, and more, all of which lead to a beautiful finish on the face. It gently hones in on areas of the face that are affected by external factors and stress to support the skin’s rhythm and have it bloom like a beautiful rose itself. You are left with a healthy complexion and shining gleam that is sure to have you double-taking in the mirror. Plus, you can enjoy the faint scent of rose to finish.

     

     

     

    Rose Barrier Lotion | ¥3,080 (Tax Included)

     

    The Rose Barrier Location is a face lotion also made with edible roses that are grown without any pesticides by ROSE LABO. It contains a mix of 10 ingredients such as rose water and rose extract. It hydrates and moisturises the skin while also protecting it, making it stronger, and more flexible. This product also has a faint rose scent.

     

    If you’re looking for organic, plant-based beauty products, then you won’t want to miss ROSE LABO’s line-up.

     

  • Sendai Stroll: Taking a Walk Around Japan’s City of Trees With Chinese Influencer Etsuna

    27.November.2020 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, is a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. The city has earned the nickname Mori no Miyako, or ‘City of Trees,’ due to the abundant rows of zelkova trees lining many of its streets. It bustles with charm and is enjoyed by locals and tourists for its history, sights, and events, such as its associations with the Japanese regional ruler Date Masamune, the famous Sendai Tanabata Festival, and more. However, there are many other incredible locations that Sendai has to offer that aren’t as well known as the popular sites, so today we are joined by Etsuna who is giving us the latest in what can be found in the city.

     

    Along The Coast

    The coast of Sendai was struck by a tsunami when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck back on in March 2011. Today, the area is continuing its re-development efforts. New facilities have and are being built, including plenty of new spots the area never had before. Sendai is home to a memorial hall for remembering those affected during the disaster which is a must-visit if travelling to Sendai.

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Feel the sea breeze and ocean water of Tohoku against your skin

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium opened in 2015 as the larrgest aquarium in the Tohoku region. The first floor is themed on the waters of Tohoku where many rare aquatic species from the Sanriku Coast are housed. The second floor is centred on sea creatures found in the oceans around the world such as tropical fish, jellyfish, marine mammals, and other familiar faces.

     

    Visitors can even meet ascidians there which are famous in the Sanriku Coast.

    The large fish tanks let in a lot of natural light, recreating the beauty of the Sanriku sea.

    There’s also a special spot where you can get up close to some of the fish!

    The aquarium offers an optional program where visitors can feed the penguins.

    “It’s a pretty big aquarium,” said Etsuna. “It was great to see all of the different things they have on display. I had a lot of fun feeding the penguins too!”

     

    Sendai Umino-Mori Aquarium

    Address: 4-6 Nakano, Miyagino-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00 (May change depending ont he season)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-2222
    Access: 10-minutes by shuttle bus (free ride) from JR Nakanosakae Station
    Price: Adults ¥2,200 / Seniors, High School and Junior High School Children ¥1,600 / Elementary School Children ¥1,100 / Infants ¥600 (All Tax-Inclusive)

    Official Website: http://www.uminomori.jp/umino/

     

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market

    Fresh fish at an affordable price

    Sendai Chuooroshiuri Market is like the kitchen of Sendai. The food shops there were opened by locals. Visitors will find many different bites to eat when visiting. Etsuna visited Sushi Yoshi, a restaurant in the area so popular that there’s always a line.

    The restaurant’s name, Sushi Yoshi, suggests that it’s a sushi restaurant, but they actually serve common delicacies like rice bowls and set meals.

    Maguro Sanshudon | ¥1,500

    This rice bowl contains three kinds of maguro tuna, so much in fact that you can’t even see the rice!

    “You can enjoy delicious fresh fish at a reasonable price. You might have to wait in line, but it’s totally worth it!”

     

     Sushi Yoshi
    Address: 4-3-1 Oroshimachi, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 6:30-13:30
    Closed: Wednesdays and Sundays
    TEL: 022-232-8042
    Access: 20-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center

    Learn the story of the disaster

    Inside Arai Station, which is the last stop on the Tokyo Metro Tozai Line, you can find the Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center where visitors can learn all about how the Great East Japan Earthquake affected Sendai through the exhibition rooms and in the communal space.

    The first floor features a panel with a 3D map of how the tsunami inundated the region as a result of the earthquake.

    Up on the second floor is a permanent exhibition showcasing the restoration and restoration efforts of the community as well as real photos from around the time of the disaster.

    There are also staff members there who survived the disaster and can describe their experiences as well as current issues facing Sendai.

    “I got teary when the speaker told me about the hardships they faced at that time,” explains Etsuna. “The people of Sendai are living their lives looking forward, and I have a lot of respect for them.”

     

    Sendai 3/11 Memorial Community Center
    Address: Kutsugata-85 Arai, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
    Closed: Mondays (or Tuesday if the Monday falls on a public holiday) / Day after public holiday / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-390-9022
    Access: Arai Station
    Entry: Free

    Official Website: http://sendai311-memorial.jp

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School

    The school that still stands after the earthquake disaster

    On the day of the Tohoku earthquake, many local residents fled to Sendai Arahama Elementary School where 320 people were trapped including the evacuees, children, and teachers, before managing to escape safely to the roof. The school is now open as a memorial to preserve the memories of those who survived.

    The tsunami that struck after the earthquake made it to the second floor of the school. These first two floors have been kept untouched and are as they were on the day.

    There are photos as well as video footage exhibited on the fourth floor where the tsunami didn’t reach.

    From the school building’s roof you can gaze at the peaceful coastline.

    “Seeing the place that was hit by the tsunami up close has really changed my outlook on life. There is green in the surrounding area. I felt life budding all around.”

     

    Sendai Arahama Elementary School
    Address: Shinborihata-32-1 Arahama, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 9:30-16:00
    Closed: Mondays / Every 4th Thursday of the month / New Year Holidays
    TEL: 022-355-861
    Access: 15-minutes by bus from Arai Station
    Entry: Free

     

    Akiu Area

    Akiu Onsen is a spa town known to locals as the ‘living room’ of Sendai. It’s a 30-50 minute bus ride from Sendai Station. It has been nicknamed one of Japan’s Three Baths alongside Bessho Onsen and Nozawa Onsen, both in Nagano Prefecture. It’s another place that Date Masamune frequented many times.

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    A stroll along the gorge path

    Rairaikyo Gorge gets its name from the abundance of enormous rocks that have been eroded by the Natori River and given them strange shapes. The Kanji ‘rai’ used in the gorge’s name literally means ‘many rocks.’ The gorge is home to a 1-km path that people can walk along and soak up the incredible natural environment that offers sights to behold throughout the year. From late October to mid November, when the autumn leaves are in bloom, the area is also lit up in the evenings.

    The heart-shaped hollow in the rocks as pictured above is considered a sacred place for couples.

    Taking a stroll along the path one sees maple trees aplenty. Visiting during the height of autumn graces you with a colourful scene you wouldn’t want to miss.

    “I feel healed having gotten to take a leisurely stroll through nature,” explained Etsuna. “The rocks of Akiu have some interesting shapes.”

     

    Rairaikyo Gorge

    Address: Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Access: Approx. 40 minutes by bus from Sendai Station

     

    Akiu-sha

    A stylish, old fashioned cafe in the hot spring town


    When taking a trip to Akiu Onsen, one hot spot that’s a must-visit is Akiu-sha, a restaurant that was renovated from an old private farm house from the Edo Period. During the day it serves lunch food and drinks while in the evenings it’s used for events like private parties.

    There’s an open garden at the site which is sometimes used for weddings. At the back are vegetable plots tended to by the restaurant.

    Akiu-sha Lunch | ¥1,280 (Before Tax)

    The Akiu-sha Lunch is made with fresh vegetables grown in both their own plot as well as from around Akiu.

    Akiu Saiseki Chocolate | ¥850 (Before Tax)

    A white chocolate dessert inspired by the unique rocks of Akiu. Customers can use the little wooden hammer to break apart the dessert to create a rubble of chocolate.

    The inside of the restaurant is spacious with towering beams holding it up.

    “The vegetables are so fresh, I couldn’t believe how tasty they were! This flavour is unique to this place.”

     

    Akiu-sha
    Address: Nozoki-9-4 Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00 (Last Food Orders 14:30 / Cafe Last Orders 16:00)
    Closed: Tuesdays
    TEL: 022-724-7767 (Bookings not possible)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station

    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

     

    Akiu Winery

    Taste and compare different original wines

    Akiu Winery in Akiu Onsen was the first winery to open in Sendai. It’s home to an enormous grape field, and inside is the brewery itself as well as a dining area and shop. They serve an array of original wines.

    As well as originals, Akiu Winery also stocks famous wines from Sendai.

    Merlot Red Wine 2018 (Sample) | Koshu Sur Lie 2019 (750ml) ¥2,300 | Steuben Rosé 2019 (750ml) ¥2,000 (All Before Tax)

    Akiu Winery’s line-up of wines are famous in Sendai.

    At the back of the winery is the expansive grape field.

    Craft Grill | ¥1,330

    At the outdoor terrace you can enjoy a BBQ grill together with a glass of wine.

    “The sight of the grape field made me feel like I was in France. You can enjoy a BBQ too so I definitely want people to come here!”

     

    Akiu Winery
    Address: Biwaharanishi-6, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    Official Website: http://akiuwinery.co.jp

    Akiu Great Falls

    The Three Great Waterfalls of Japan

    Akiu Great Falls is considered one of Japan’s three most famous waterfalls alongside Kegon Falls in Tochigi Prefecture and Nachi Falls in Wakayama Prefecture. It’s about 15-minutes by car downstream from Akiu Onsen and is also accessible by bus.

    They have a retro shop at the entrance of the waterfall.

    Also located next to the waterfall is Akiu-Otaki Fudoson, a temple surrounded by dense green foliage and enormous gingko trees.

    “Being in nature really relaxed me and took away the day’s stress! It’s quite a walk to the waterfall basin so you get plenty of exercise too.”

     

    Akiu Great Falls
    Address: Otaki Akiumachi Baba, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-398-2323 (Akiu Onsen Tourist Information Center)
    Access: 50-minutes by bus from Sendai Station (Running on weekends and public holidays only)

     

    Around Sendai Station

    Sendai Station can be considered as the doorstep of Japan’s Tohoku region. It of course runs JR East’s Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains as well as operates Sendai Subway services and buses. The area around the station is great for finding tasty local delicacies, shopping, and souvenir-buying.

     

    WANOSHOKU NIKAI

    Seri-nabe is Sendai’s new specialty food

    If you’re asked to give an example of a famous speciality food product from Sendai, chances are people will jump straight to the city’s gyutan beef tongue, but what has been the talk of the town recently is seri-nabe. Seri-nabe is a type of hotpot cooked with Japanese parsley (‘seri’) – one of Japan’s seven spring flowers. Miyagi Prefecture boasts as a top class producer of Japanese parsley. The hotpot is served in a simple duck broth which allows the fragrance of the parsley to come through.

    “I can’t get enough of the crunchy texture of the [parsley] roots! It was delicious, I had a refreshing soy sauce soup finished with ramen.”

     

    WASHOKU NIKAI
    Address: 2-5-15 Ichibanchō, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 17:00-Midnight
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-224-6040

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Bar crawl deep into the back streets

    The side streets of the Sunmall Ichibancho arcade have a retro Japanese vibe to them, packed full of shops that make one feel nostalgic.

    The long, winding alleys feature plenty of Instagram-worthy spots.

    “This is a great spot for enjoying a bar crawl, just having a light drink and then moving onto the next place. Even if you don’t drink there’s tasty food to enjoy too!”

     

    Iroha Yokocho

    Address: 2-3-28 Ichibancho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    TEL: 022-223-3151

    S-PAL Sendai

    A fashion mall connected to the station

    S-PAL is a fashion mall directly connected to Sendai Station, home to apparel stores, restaurants, souvenir shops, sundry sellers, and more. Here are some sundry stores selling a variety of miscellaneous items perfect as souvenir purchases.

     

    Nakagawa Masashichi

    This is an old-time chain that has been around for 300 years. Specialising in lifestyle goods, this S-PAL branch is the only one in all of Tohoku.

    Its interior design has a retro feel to it with shelves and tables piled with cute bits and bobs.

    Kaya-ori Tea Towel | ¥440 (Tax Included)

    A specialty product of Tohoku, this tea towel is made using the traditional weaving technique of kaya-ori. Exclusive to Tohoku.

     

    IORI

    IORI is another shop you’ll only find in the Tohoku area. They sell imabari towels which are perfect as gifts to yourself or another.

    Handkerchiefs | ¥600 Each (Tax Included)〜

    These handkerchiefs are only sold in Sendai and feature a variety of embroidered motifs like the windsocks of the Sendai Tanabata Festival, kokeshi dolls, the helmet of Date Masamune, and more.

     

    KANEIRI STANDARD STORE

    A select shop stocking stationery and other trinkets that promote the culture and craftsmanship of Tohoku. This store is right next to Sendai Station and has plenty of souvenir-worthy items, so it’s absolutely worth a visit.

    As well as lifestyle goods, the store also sells items made in Miyagi, like kokeshi dolls.

    Matsukawa Daruma | ¥1,300 (Before Tax)

    These Matsukawa Daruma are super cute, especially the blue one which is inspired by the Sendai Domain, also known as the Date Domain.

     

    Dagashiya Zousan

    Dagashiya Zousan sells old-time Japanese sweets and confections, stocked with many popular treats from Tohoku adored by both kids and adults alike.

    The traditional sweets are all packed together along the shelves and up the walls.

     

    The popular souvenir shops of Sendai

    You can’t go home after a fun trip without picking up a souvenir, so here’s s line-up of shops that have been surging in popularity recently in Sendai, all of which sell Sendai-specific items.

     

    Drinkable zunda at Agurienomori Mitte

    Drinkable Zunda | ¥370 (Before Tax)

    Zunda are mashed green soybeans boiled and turned into a sweet paste. They are also a local delicacy. Zunda mochi are very famous, but zunda beverages are popular too. This shop sells a variety of zunda treats to pick from.

     

    Bamboo grass kamaboko at Kanezaki-ya

    There are many makers of sasa-kamaboko, or bamboo grass fish paste, but what makes Kanezaki-ya’s so great is how it retains the original umami flavour and plump texture of the fish.

     

    Zaou cheese at Tohoku Meguri Irotoiro

    Zaou Cream Cheese, Vanilla Cream Spread | ¥557 Each (Before Tax)

    A food select shop selling a range of different ingredients. Their kaou cheese with sweet vanilla is their most popular item.

    “It’s a fashion mall so of course they sell clothes, but they had a bunch of other stuff too, everything from traditional Japanese daruma to food. I really recommend S-PAL Sendai if you’re searching for souvenirs!”

     

    S-PAL Sendai
    Address: 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
    Opening Hours: 10:00-20:00 (Restaurant wing open 11:00-22:00)
    No Fixed Holidays
    TEL: 022-267-2111
    Access: Connected directly to Sendai Station
    Official Website: https://www.s-pal.jp/sendai/ 

     

    “Sendai looking and progressing into the future as it overcomes the effects of the disaster. It’s a place with amazing food, fun shops, and is teeming with nature. If you’ve never been to Sendai before, then be sure to visit and have fun!”

  • My Recommended Outfits: Enjoy the Lolita Style Throughout the Year With These 4 Looks

    30.September.2020 | FASHION / FEATURES

    ASOBINEXT is a new project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. In this edition, we are joined by ASOBINEXT’s Izumi Aine, who performs on live streams and is active on social media in the hopes of becoming an idol. Today, she is showcasing a selection of different outfits.

     

    The four looks she has put together are focused on the jumper skirt, a versatile clothing item that can be worn in a multitude of ways, no matter the season.

     

    Black Half-Sleeve Blouse x Jumper Skirt

    Both the blouse and skirt have a black base. This, together with showing a bit of arm and leg, keeps the look tight without being over the top. And I keep the look fresh by styling my hair in curled twintails!

     

    White Long-Sleeve Blouse x Jumper Skirt

    A highlight of the jumper skirt is how you can change the impression you’ll leave by having the blouse just one tone. A black one piece, too, can give you a cute look like that of sweet and classic lolita fashion. I tried combining that with curly hair and a lace rose headdress. Going half-sleeve can be chilly in the spring and autumn, so I recommend this one for those seasons!

     

    Jumper Skirt x Trench Coat

    If we’re talking lolita coats, then you often get those with fur on the sleeves and collar, but putting a look together with a trench coat looks great too.

    Coats with lots of fur on them and warm, fluffy, and cute, but they can be difficult to pull off well.

    Trench coats, on the other hand, let you have the front unzipped and open so you can show off a one piece. And if it gets cold, you can zip it up. This means there’s two different ways you can wear a trench coat, making it very versatile. You can clad yourself in one during the cold spring and autumn days to keep warm.

     

    Jumper Skirt x Grey Vest

    “Thank you for visiting So-And-So Tower today. The observation deck is located on the 7th and top floor, up 356m high. It takes 120 seconds to reach it.” You can just hear the announcement with this look which gives off elevator-girl-in-front-of-the-department-store vibes. If you’re tired of the same old lolita looks, or are stuck on how to change things up, then I recommend this one to you.

     

    Bonus: Jumper Skirt x Cardigan

    For this bonus look I put my all into creating a casual lolita outfit. Wearing the cardigan without having a pannier on brings volume to the skirt and brings together its design, making it a lolita outfit that’s not too in-your-face. This one’s perfect for beginners who want to try out lolita fashion but are still a little apprehensive.

     

    What does lolita fashion mean to Izumi Aine?

    I put together four looks plus a bonus one for you all today. What did you think? When I was little, I was influenced by a manga series called Hime Gal Paradise which I used to read in Ciao Magazine. It opened my eyes to lolita fashion and all of its enchanting lace designs and patterns.

     

    In today’s internet society, the world has become a place where you can see things you don’t want to, like mental abuse and insults, which I feel is making it harder to shout about the things you love. But it’s been a while since smartphone have been around now, so I feel the time has come to talk about the things you love and respect our individualities! That’s the kind of world I want to aim for! And my first step towards that is promoting lolita fashion.

     

    Brand featured in this article: axes femme / BODYLINE

     

    Izumi Aine

    Worked as a model from a young age. Appears in newspaper ads, TV VTR, fashion catalogues, and other places. She stopped her activities for a while to focus on her studies, but after graduating school, she is now back at it after passing the ASOBINEXT auditions. She dreams of becoming an idol and is taking lessons and performing live on livestreams towards that goal. “Once in a lifetime” is her motto, and she lives up to that by challenging herself at things she wants to do. For her, enjoying life means you’re winning.

  • My Film Recommendation: Pulled Into the Story by Minami Hamabe’s Character in Let Me Eat Your Pancreas

    29.September.2020 | FEATURES / MOVIE

    ASOBINEXT is a new project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. Today, we are joined by ASOBINEXT’s Haruna Tamura, an actor and YouTuber, whose film recommendation in this edition is the live-action adaptation of Let Me Eat Your Pancreas.


    Synopsis

    The story is centred on two individuals who, at the start of their relationship had never really spoken about anything in particular… initially. “Me,” the male protagonist in the film, comes across a diary in a hospital waiting room and discovers it belongs to his classmate Sakura Yamauchi. He learns in the diary that she has a pancreatic illness.

    Sakura is a very popular girl in Me’s class, and he never thought she would be suffering from such a fatal illness. She had kept it a secret, with only the people in her family knowing about it. And so begins a bittersweet love story between the plain and simple Me and Sakura, his complete opposite who is the popular one of the class.

    Cast 

    There are different cast members in Let Me Eat Your Pancreas for playing both the present and past selves of the characters.

     

    The characters of the past, 12 years ago, are played by the following: Minami Hamabe as Sakura Yamauchi, Takumi Kitamura as Me/Haruki Shiga, Karen Otomo as Kyoko, and Yuma Yamoto as Gamu-kun.

     

    This film marked the first time Minami and Takumi had starred in film together, and it was a huge success amongst viewers who shed tears at the relationship between the ill-stricken girl, and the boy who found her diary that details her experiences of living with said illness.

     

    Playing the characters of the present is: Shun Oguri as Haruki Shiga, Keiko Kitagawa as Kyoko, and Yusuke Kamiji as Gamu-kun. Comments from viewers who have watched the film often pointed towards how Shun and Yusuke gave authentic performances of Haruki and Gamu-kun grown-up together, and how they Keiko Kitagawa’s dress was spot on. I was drawn in by how they all knew each other at school.

    My Favourite Part

    The highlight of the film for me which I want to point out to everyone is Minami Hamabe’s portrayal of Sakura Yamauchi. She purposely puts energy into her performance, and that really left an impression on me. The world of the movie and the real world are two completely different things. Of course, this character doesn’t really exist, but when I watched the performance I felt I understood her. There was a real affinity there. As the story progresses, so too does the illness grow more serious, so what I want is for people to pay attention to her facial expressions, her demeanour, and such, as that happens.

     

    Wrapping Up

    I first watched this film when I was a 3rd year high school student. Since the film is set in the same school year, the story had an even greater impact on me. I was able to learn the bittersweet-ness of romance as well as the preciousness of life. To this day, I think it remains my favourite film.

     

    I was captured by the array of emotions that Minami Hamabe portrays in particular. There are a lot of parts that I can relate to from being a student to becoming an adult. It’s a very easy story to get behind, so if you’re reading this, I’d love it if you checked it out.

     

    Minami Hamabe and Takumi Kitamura are also starring in the film Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare which is showing now too. I want to go and see it for myself to see how they have both grown.

     

    Haruna Tamura

    Actor and YouTuber. He has played major roles in drama series and films and has over 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. He is working towards appearing at Fun Fest. He’s skilled at baseball and his hobbies include watching movies and playing games.

  • My Recommended Outfits: How to Style Colourful Clothes Fitting For Summertime

    13.August.2020 | FASHION / FEATURES

    ASOBINEXT is a project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

     

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. Today, Fairy Kano is showcasing a colourful wardrobe of outfits for summer. Fairy Kano is a member of ASOBINEXT who posts her lifestyle on her social media pages.

     


     

    Hello World!

     

    I love colourful perspectives and interpretations—they just explode with personality! I’m Fairy Kano—no matter the colour, I can make it work, and I’m a pro at finding good quality items at a cheap price.

     

    Don’t you ever get it where you’re stuck on what colours you want to wear in summer, or what patterns to coordinate in your outfit? For those of you who answered yes, I’ve put together a list of styles using different colours—my forte—and divided each outfit by colour.

     

    Yellow Edition

    I combined a cream-coloured top with white jeans♡ Simple but it flaunts self-assertiveness!

    The denim-on-denim creates a balance that’s really cute. Adding yellow into the mix creates a happy, energetic vibe.

    This top has a flower pattern design which I combined with a yellow checked skirt. Don’t forget to dress to impress, even if its for yourself at home.

     

    Green Edition

    This look is so cute it makes me want to use run around with vim and vigour♡ The floral top is see-through, and the green overalls have a Mickey Mouse print on the front.

    Dayum, were short pants always this comfortable? This hand-knitted beret goes well with everything!

    The pants are green which is a hard colour to pull off. I added a baseball loose-fitting shirt on top of them with Betty Boop on it. This outfit has a hip-hop vibe to it, which looks stylish, don’tcha think?

     

    Pink Edition

    To add a sweet colour on top of the white T-shirt I went with a pink camisole. To complete the look, I donned short pants so the look doesn’t become overly-cute.

    I bought this pink T-shirt from Dole in Hawaii. Try combining 80’s shorts pants like this with something similar yourself.

    The floral shirt is actually a one piece. I made use to make my bottoms and headband the same colour to balance the look. Having that mix of rough and feminine is good!

     

    What does fashion mean to Fairy Kano?

    There are a lot of clothes out there, and there are a lot of outfit combinations out there. But there’s no ‘right’ way to do fashion. Don’t just follow what’s popular; put together something that makes you feel good, with your favourite colours, and create your own unique look. I believe that as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. That’s something I always think about whenever I’m enjoying fashion. So let’s all go with choosing what makes us happy!

     

    Fairy Kano

    Trainee idol at ASOBINEXT. Won the Popular Award at the National K-Pop Cover Contest hosted by the Korean Cultural Center. She loves to sing and is known for always singing ‘Part Of Your World’ from The Little Mermaid. She is particular when it comes to editing on Instagram where she posts her own unique content. Her dream for the future is to become a world famous artist known for their high performance level once she has come to the end of the road as an idol. She also wants to challenge herself to singing and performing in Broadway and Hollywood someday.

  • My Band Recommendation | SEKAI NO OWARI: Captivating the Crowd in a Dreamlike World

    12.August.2020 | FEATURES / MUSIC

    ASOBINEXT is a project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. Today, we’re taking a look at a Japanese band recommended by ASOBINEXT’s Kanon Aihara, a dancer and vocalist.

     


     

    My name is Kanon Aihara, and I’d like to share my perspective on why SEKAI NO OWARI is such a great band—one that was born from a desire to deliver entertainment to people through music.

     

    Incredible live performances

    SEKAI NO OWARI’s stage sets are otherworldly. They pull the crowd into a dreamlike place away from reality. I remember how moved I was being in that bright and shining place even for a moment with the towering tree, the owl, the dancing fireworks, the trains dashing past on the ceiling. How much time and effort it must have taken to create a set like that.

     

    Band vocalist Fukase once said on a TV show that if they can’t do the kinds of live performances they love, then they may as well disband. I really feel how great SEKAI NO OWARI when I see them wanting to continue making everyone smile and feel something deeply, and not compromising when it comes to doing the things they want to do.

    The music

    It’s truly a difficult task to understand each and every lyric; and I find it difficult to cover their music. Despite this, even if I don’t understand something in a song, I find that each and every track really gets through to me.

     

    Their music speaks to and is loved by men and women of all ages, whether it be their song RPG Ya which was used as a theme song for the Crayon Shin-chan anime series, the main theme song RAIN for the film Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Sazanka which was used as the theme song for the NHK broadcast of the Winter Olympics Paralympics, and so on.

     

    SEKAI NO OWARI – “RPG” Music Video

     

    SEKAI NO OWARI – “RAIN” Music Video

    The band members

    SEKAI NO OWARI is formed of four members. There was actually a time when all of them shared a house together. On a TV show the band appeared on, all of the members excluding the vocalist Fukase said, “We want to create live performances that Fukase enjoys.” Hearing those words really made me feel the love and connect the band has for each other.

     

    For me, SEKAI NO OWARI is a place that lets me sees dreams. It also makes me feel strongly that I want to do the kinds of things they do too!

    I believe that a lot of things are born from live performances when the artist and fans become one. Like SEKAI NO OWARI, I’m aiming to create live performances that are like going to a theme park too. The band are fun, cute, and cool, and are everything I aspire to be.

     

    The one thing I always want to keep doing through music is performing live. That feeling of being one with the crowd. Seeing all of their smiles fills me with a happiness I’ve never felt before. Music is expression and is free to mean whatever you want. That’s why the thing I want to do is to put my all into it for so that people enjoy themselves for all of time. I want to continuously think of and put out new, entertaining things in the future.

     

    Kanon Aihara
    Dancer and vocalist. Made her debut as a child actress. Currently active as a tarento (talent) with a focus on music. Since starting her music career, she has toured around all of Japan and up to now has held performed 4 solo concerts and released 4 singles. She is very particular when it comes to her live performances, and more than anything wants people to have fun and to put on theme park-like shows. Her hobbies are watching comedy programmes. She’s also a skilled snowboarder and surfer.

  • Chawanmushi Recipe: Savoury Dessert Made With Carrots, Cream Cheese & Mirin

    31.July.2020 | FEATURES / FOOD

    Together with soy sauce and miso, mirin is a fundamental condiment in the Japanese kitchen and for many recipes for Japanese food. It’s a sweet rice wine that has lower alcohol content and higher sugar content when compared to sake, adding a sweet flavour to dishes.

     

    Today, we’re taking a look at a recipe that uses “Mikawa Mirin,” a brand of mirin made from high quality rice, to make carrot and cream cheese chawanmushi. Chawanmushi is a savoury egg custard dessert eaten in Japan.

     

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

    Chawanmushi is made using mirin and has a smooth texture to it as well as a subtly sweet flavour. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer’s day.

     

    Ingredients (Serves 1)


    ●Chawanmushi
    60g carrots
    240ml dashi
    20ml soy sauce
    120ml Mikawa Mirin
    8g sugar
    18g cream cheese
    1 egg

     

    ●Okra-an
    Okra
    30ml dashi
    0.5g salt
    3ml Mikawa Mirin

     

    Method

    We will start by making the chawanmushi.

    1. Slice the carrots and boil them until they become soft.

    2. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and lots of mirin and cook through the dashi.

    3. Cook for approximately 20 minutes on a medium heat, then cool with ice. Add the cooled carrots, cream cheese, and 20ml of the dashi into a blender and bend.

    4. Add the egg to the mix and steam the mix for 12 minutes on a medium heat.

     

    While the chawanmushi is cooling, we’ll make the okra-an.

    5. Mix together the okra-an dashi, mirin, and salt together. Add watered potato starch and thinly sliced okra. Leave to cool in the refrigerator.

    6. Add the okra-an to the cooled chawanmushi and tuck into your cute two-layered dessert.

    Carrot & Cream Cheese Chawanmushi

    The dessert is an enjoyable mix of the sticky texture from the okra-an and smooth chawanmushi. It’s great to have not only at lunch or dinner, but at home parties with friends too.

     

    –How’s the taste?


    Misa Kimura: “It works really well with the mirin. The chawanmushi is like a sweet treat. It’s super easy to make too, so I think I’ll be making it at home!”

     

    Mirin is indispensable to any Japanese cupboard and can be used in many ways, whether it be a classic Japanese dish or a dessert like this one.

    Mikawa Mirin 700ml: ¥1,122 (Tax Included)

    This authentic brand of mirin is made using a traditional method of Japanese brewing which blends in the delicious taste of rice. It’s so delicious that you just want to drink the whole bottle. A high quality mirin, it has a distinct sweetness, colour, and texture. It has a rich flavour, and the taste of the rice elevates the flavours of its ingredients.

     

    Mikawa Mirin Official Website: http://www.mikawamirin.jp/
    Official Online Store: http://mikawamirin.jp/product/product_step1.php?m=n
    Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikawamirin

     

    Recipe


    This recipe was conceived by ITEMAE, a famous restaurant serving Japanese cuisine that is listed in the Michelin Guide.

     

    Model: Misa Kimura
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

  • My Film Recommendation | 5 Nostalgic Japanese Movies

    01.July.2020 | FEATURES / MOVIE

    ASOBINEXT is a new project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. Today, we take a look at 5 recommended nostalgic Japanese films from ASOBINEXT’s Mirai who makes sure to watch at least one film a week.

     

    Our Little Sister

    ©2015 吉田秋生・小学館/フジテレビジョン 小学館 東宝 ギャガ

     

    ・Film Summary
    The film follows three sisters: Sachi, Yoshino, and Chika who all live in the house of their grandparents in Kamakura where they all grew up together. One day, they receive news of the death of their father. At his funeral, they meet their 14-year-old half-sister Suzu for the first time, whose mother is already dead. She had been living with their father and her stepmom after he remarried. When the eldest daughter Sachi looks at Suzu as the sisters are saying goodbye to her, she invites Suzu to go and live with them in Asakusa. Suzu agrees to go, and thus begins the sisters’ journey together to deepen their relationship with Suzu. Its a very ‘Japanese’ film in many ways, and has a nostalgic Asakusa feel to it from the scenery and how people interact with one another.

     

    ・Why I Chose This Film
    The story really gripped my heart. It’s heartwarming, sad, and has a kind of nostalgia I can’t quite put my finger on which makes me want to go back home. I love Asakusa, the setting of the movie, and go there every year to have fun with my family. We’re also four siblings, brothers and sisters, so this film felt more relatable to me as I watched it. If you’re someone who feels like they want to return to their hometown, or see someone you treasure, or want to feel something Japanese, then I recommend giving this film a go!

     

    My Neighbor Totoro


    ・Film Summary
    In the early summer, Satsuki and her younger sister Mei move into the countryside with their father to be closer to their mother who is hospitalised. They meet a mysterious creature who Mei gives the name “Totoro,” a being which cannot be seen by adults. Satsuki and Mei get whisked into a fantastical world as we see them grow.

     

    ・Why I Chose This Film
    I’ve loved it since I was a kid. It’s one of Ghibli’s films I’ve always watched. The film is set to be set in 1952 during the Showa Period. I was born in the Heisei Period so I wasn’t even born yet when the film was released. Even so, this is a film that continues to receive love, so much so that it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s known to all in Japan, and all have seen it. I believe there are still lots of kids who are watching Totoro even now. This film is an emotion that continues to live in our hearts as a memory, one that’s like a dream we had when we were young. I want the people of the world to watch this regardless of their age or gender!

     

    Always: Sunset on Third Street

    ・Film Summary
    Mutsuko Hoshino arrives in Tokyo from Aomori Prefecture to begin her employment at the auto repair shop Suzuki Auto. Captivated by the prospect of living and working in the sparkling city of Tokyo, Mutsuku is disappointed to find that Suzuki Auto is actually a rundown shop in Tokyo’s lower districts. Despite this, she goes into her job with will-power and positivity, and finds herself becoming a member of the Suzuki family. There is also the struggling writer Ryunosuke Chagawa, who accepts the custody of Junnosuke from Hiromi. Junnosuke is the orphaned offspring of the previous tenant of the building where Hiromi opens a bar. All of the cast members convey love, courage, and warmth in this story about being human.

     

    ・Why I Chose This Film
    The moment I saw this film, it felt like I had been transported back in time to 1926, even though I was born in the Heisei Period and not the Showa Period. Despite that, it still fills me with a sense of nostalgia, and it makes me well up with a feeling of courage. The film is set in a time where smartphones, PCs, and TVs aren’t a thing yet, so it really made me realise the importance of our connection to others. I want to recommend this film to anyone who wants to know about old time Japan, or is looking for a film with heart!

    Kimi ni Todoke

    ©2010映画「君に届け」製作委員会 ©椎名軽穂 / 集英社

     

    ・Film Summary
    Sawako is avoided by her classmates in elementary school because of her appearance which leads them to name-call her “Sadako,” the main character from the film The Ring. They also call her a zashiki-warashi, a child spirit. But her father teachers her that a zashiki-warashi is a spirit that actually makes people happy. This makes her happy, since her motto is to “do one good thing a day.” When she becomes a high school stduent, she meets a certain boy, which marks the start of this cute and pure love story.

     

    ・Why I Chose This Film
    This is my favourite of Japan’s love stories. It makes you feel that pure, butterfly stomach kind of youthful love. The music and the backgrounds in the film serve to add another layer to their relationship too. The film makes you want to cheer the two of them on from the shadows as they come to face complicated emotions they have never felt before. Everyone should check this out, regardless of age or gender, if they’re wanting a heart-throb story or feel like returning to their youthful days!

     

    Korede iinoda! Eiga Akatsuka Fujio

    ・Film Summary
    This film covers the life of manga artist Fujio Akatsuka—known for such popular series as Tensai Bakabon—and his 35 year relationship with his editor Toshiki Takei. You get to learn about the unique life of the manga artist, who has been called a genius.

     

    ・Why I Chose This Film
    This comedy film is set in the 1970s and shows how the popular weekly manga magazine Weekly Shonen Sunday came about, a magazine which it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the start of Japanese manga. Of course, if you love Japanese manga, you should watch this, but I want all of the people of the world who are interested in the history of Japanese anime to see it!

     

    Mirai

    A 19-year-old affiliated with ASOBINEXT and known for her trademark black bob hair. Her hobby is watching movies—she watches one a week. Her goal for the future is to become an idol that stands out from the crowd and can work not just in Japan but around the world. She wants to work in many areas and endeavours to become a person that people look up to.

  • My Anime Recommendation | Darling in the Franxx: Children Paving the Way For Their Future

    30.June.2020 | ANIME&GAME / FEATURES

    ASOBINEXT is a new project launched by event management and talent agency ASOBISYSTEM, which is known for managing artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. The project aims to create next generation icons who will promote their unique personalities and outlooks to the world using social media and in turn bring about new forms of culture.

    As part of ASOBINEXT, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON will be publishing content from each talent that is tied to ASOBINEXT in the form of their favourite and recommended things. Today, we take a look at a recommended anime series by ASOBINEXT’s Yuka Koyama who always watches anime on the weekend without fail and is always on the lookout for new series.

    ©Darling in the Franxx Production Committee

     

    Darling in the Franxx’s Story

    The story is centred on children who are deprived of individuality and are raised solely for piloting Franxx, giant robot mecha, in boy-girl pairs. These children fight against strange creatures known as Klaxosaurs and various other kinds of enemies.

     

    What led you to watch Darling in the Franxx?

    I decided to watch it after seeing the character Zero Two in the recommendations column of the app I always use when I’m watching anime. Her pink hair really left an impression on me.

    Why do you want to recommend the series?

    The children in the series face many different emotions and conflicts. It’s a wonderful story about their growth. The art style an animation is really beautiful too, so if you’re stuck on what anime to watch next, I recommend trying this one out.

     

    Who is your favourite character?

    The pink-haired Zero Two. She’s a cute and mischievous girl, and I find myself really drawn to her merciless side which she shows on occasion. In this anime, where we see the kids experience numerous conflicts while growing as individuals, Zero Two, who used to be a loner, experiences what it’s like to treasure friends and enjoy being around people, as well as at times feel the bitterness of losing friends. She’s a very human character, and really like that.

     

    What’s your favourite scene?

    The scene where Zero Two and Hiro run away from the adults when they’re young kids. The adults restrict their freedom, but the two of them frantically escape the facility when they are young to find their freedom. It moved me in a big way, since I’m one to normally hesitate when it comes to something big.

    Who do you want to watch it?

    I definitely want anyone who is challenging themselves to something new, or anyone who is going through something right now, to watch it. The kids really go through a lot but carve out their own path in the process. Seeing that really gives you courage.

     

    Any final comments?

    You end up empathising with the characters in Darling in the Franxx without even realising. It’s a story of war with romance and friendship built into it. You always want to know what happens next, so I really recommend it. A second season is coming too, so be sure to check it out.

     

    Yuka Koyama

    16-years-old and a second-year high school student. Affiliated with ASOBINEXT. Currently taking lessons with the goal of becoming a model. Her hobby is discovering anime she hasn’t seen yet. She’s part anime otaku, never failing to watch anime on the weekends. In the future, she aims to become a regular model of a magazine that people admire and feature on the front cover. She also wants to expand her talent not only to magazines but TV too.

  • Winners Announced For The 7th Washoku World Challenge Competition

    03.March.2020 | FOOD

    The final round for the 7th Washoku World Challenge Competition was held in Tokyo on February 20 and 21, which saw WANG Wei Ping of China, and chef at SUN with AQUA JAPANESE DINING SUNTORY, as the winner.

     

    The two-day event brought together five chefs from Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris, Donostia-San Sebastian, and New York come together to compete and show their skills create dishes based on the competition’s main theme of “Umami” and this year’s theme of “Texture and Mouthfeel.”

    The judges said: “This 7th edition demonstrates that the finalists’ technical level keeps improving every year. Creating Japanese dishes that incorporate the characteristics and unique ideas of other countries’ culinary cultures, while respecting the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine built on the concept of umami, expands the potential of Japanese cuisine. The creations of each one of the finalists embodied this notion.”

    Middle Contender: WANG Wei Ping, 1st Place Winner

    WANG Wei Ping’s Dish

    On the first day, the chefs used the same ingredients to create a “nimonowan.” On the second day, they forged their own original dishes using five or more ingredients which they arranged on a Japanese “hangetsubon” tray.

     

    When reacting to his victory, Wang Wei Ping said: “I thank the owner and other members of my restaurant. After returning to Shanghai, I would like to continue conveying the excellence of Japanese cuisine, which is both healthy and tasty.”

     

    Finalists

    Hong Kong

    First Place: WANG Wei Ping (China, SUN with AQUA JAPANESE DINING SUNTORY)

     

    USA

    Second Place: Yael PEET (USA, Fury’s) *The restaurant will be open this summer.

     

    Singapore

    Third Place: Loh Man HONG (Singapore, FAT COW)

     

    Paris

    Wojciech POPOW (Poland, Beaverbrook)

     

    Judges

    – Head Judge: Mr. Yoshihiro MURATA

    (Chairman of Japanese Culinary Academy, Owner and chef of Kikunoi, Japanese Cuisine Goodwill ambassador)

    – Deputy Head Judge: Mr. Masahiro NAKATA

    (Director of Taiwa Gakuen Education Inc. President of Kyoto Culinary Art College)
    – Judge: Mr. Hideaki MATSUO

    (Owner of Japanese Cuisine KASHIWAYA, Japanese Cuisine Goodwill ambassador)
    – Special Judge: Yoshio KOJIMA

    (Comedian)

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