Interview: Go! Go! Curry President Hirokazu Miyamori & Sakura President Toshiaki Yuasa Discuss Progressive Innovation and Generating Added Value

28.November.2019 | BUSINESS / FEATURES

Kanazawa, also known as Kaga Hyakuman-gokuーan old name with a long history that originally marked the city’s tradition of wealth, and can also be used to refer to anything that is quintessentially Kanazawa. Capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, the city of Kanazawa is known as a place rich in art and traditional culture, and enjoys no shortage of popular tourist and sightseeing spots. At the core of all of this is the creative mind of the Kanazawan people from which these things have formed. We had the chance to speak with two company presidents, both of whom were born in Kanazawa: Hirokazu Miyamori of GO GO CURRY GROUP CO.,LTD., and Toshiaki Yuasa of Sakura Inc.

 

The interview was carried out at the Show House Gallery at Sakura Inc.

 

ーーーMr. Yuasa, this is a really wonderful place, isn’t it? I’d like to begin the interview by asking for a brief explanation of each of your companies.

 

Yuasa: Thank you very much. My name is Yuasa, and I work at Sakura. We are a company specialising in custom housing, and have done so for the past 26 years since establishing. We centre on the Ishikawa Prefecture area, but also have galleries in Toyama, Gifu, and Kyoto.

 

Miyamori: I’m Miyamori, and I work at Go! Go! Curry Group. We opened the first Go! Go! Curry branch in Shinjuku in May 2004. We specialise in curry and sell pre-packed curry products. Today, we have restaurants not only in Japan, but America, Brazil, and elsewhere too.

ーーーIf I’m not mistaken, you were both born in Kanazawa, correct?

 

Miyamori: Yes. I’ve had “The Nation of Kaga Hyakuman-goku” chiseled into my head since I was small. I didn’t know what it meant back then, but after I travelled to Tokyo and went overseas, I realised how beautiful a place Kanazawa is for its history, traditional arts, and culture. Those two characters* had more meaning than I thought. They have weight, are a brand, and contain soul and spirit.

*Referring to the Japanese reading of Kanazawa, “金沢.”

 

Yuasa: It’s just as Mr Miyamori says. I feel a yearning when hearing the word Kanazawa. I believe anyone and everyone there has an interest in its traditions and culture. And that’s because Kanazawa is a region with history, with style.

 

Miyamori: From being a young age, it’s been normal to know and have artisans around you. For instance, you go to someone’s house, and their father would be a yuzen fabric weaver. When we would go on field trips, we would go to facilities specialising in traditional crafts, go to see a Noh play at a Noh theatre, get involved in various cultural and seasonal events. But these days, those kinds of things aren’t as tied to people anymore. It’s something I realised by going outside.

 

ーーーーI feel like I now understand a little more the reason behind why there are so many creative people in Kanazawa. Both of you are founders, correct?

 

Miyamori: When I was 20, I went to New York. I said to myself that I would definitely go back there again. It was a dream of mine. But I ended up forgetting about it when I became a member of society. One day, I saw that a local [baseball] player and star transferred to the New York Yankees. I was so happy hearing that, and at the same time I remembered, “Oh yeah, I went there one time too.” I had no intention of opening a curry shop or becoming a company president. I just wanted to go to New York.

 

Yuasa: I completely get that <laughs>. I worked for a local company for 15 years, and had some unexpected luck which led to what I’m doing today. I established the company in the latter half of my 30s, but at the time I really had the same kind of authority that Mr Miyamori has <laughs>. Being young is scary in a sense. ‘Management’ has a generational appeal to it, but Mr Miyamori is young, so I think he’s got much more to offer yet!

 

Miyamori: Haha!

 

Yuasa: When I look at Mr Miyamori here, I can tell he’s really close with his staff. Do you wear this uniform in Tokyo, too?

 

Miyamori: I do. I go about like this on the bullet train and plane too! The people in New York get me pretty well as well.

 

Yuasa: I bet! <laughs> You’re a man of nerve.

 

Miyamori: We’re a team, so even at this moment in time, my heart is connected to the hearts of all my hardworking staff across the country. They wear the same thing too. I don’t think of myself as a company president or an employee. I think I’m more of a captain.

 

ーーーーTell me about how you’re putting strength into each of your businesses today.

 

Miyamori: Up to now we’ve focused our efforts on opening more stores, but now we’re pouring our energy into building our brand. We now have consignments not only for Go! Go! Curry, but Turban Curry, Hot House, and Samrat too. And all of these brands have real soul. That’s why I don’t only want to open restaurants. I also want to sell pre-packaged curry and curry for business use, as well as polish our brand to attract more customers.

 

Yuasa: I too am putting the majority of our attention into our brand. Branding involves a lot of things, like the image our customers have of us, and putting value in various different things, and by not responding to that structure when running a company, I believe there is no future for you. It’s difficult to find the right words to convey to customers who are particular about things, but is that feeling that the customer has not important?

 

Miyamori: You’ve got to show them, don’t you?

 

Yuasa: That’s right. There are many things here in this gallery like that which have added value, but even if I were to put them into words it would be difficult to get through, so I want to actually show them by preparing land and buildings. By adopting new things people have never seen before in properties, it adds value for customers so they don’t see it as just a building. To do that, it’s important to keep our eyes open and always work on innovating. If you want to innovate, but don’t have a clear vision or concept, your mind will become clouded before you can achieve it. And even when you do, every day is still a struggle.

 

Miyamori: Everyday, that’s for sure. <laughs>

 

Yuasa: Speaking of which, I’m the only impatient one. I leave it to my employees. Akira Yoshino, who won the Nobel Prize [in Chemistry] this year, also said it was for research for the generations of young people to come. He was right.

 

Miyamori: If there’s no challenge, there’s no growth, and it’s not fun. It’s blood, sweat and tears. I’m taking part in the next Kanazawa Marathon, and training for it has been really tough.

 

Yuasa: You’ll be running in that uniform, right? You’re sure to stand out from the crowd!

 

Miyamori: The people along the roadside cheer you on. That’s a huge source of strength. I can only relax once the run is over. That sense of accomplishment when you reach the goal is difficult to put into words. I want young people to experience this same feeling.

 

Yuasa: That sounds really good. If one of our workers signs up for the Kanazawa Marathon, I wonder if they’d be able to borrow a uniform from you?

 

Miyamori: If you’ve got someone who’d bear the responsibility of our company I’ll be sure to cheer them on! The people being cheered on, too. Even if it looks like you’ll be crushed, you keep at it. You’ll make bonds in the company. It’s the same with managing too. It’s tough to keep going, but when you achieve that goal, all of those troubles and hardships disappear in an instant.

 

Yuasa: It’s a cycle of achieving, and then aiming toward your next objective.

 

Miyamori: You completely forget about the troubles, don’t you? <laughs>

 

ーーーI see. And do you ever feel a sense of fulfilment at work?

 

Miyamori: It makes me happy when the customers call the curry we serve delicious. Other things too, like our curry being the first curry a child has ever eaten, or a family coming together again over it. We distribute curry to disaster-stricken areas, so we’re happy if we can become a source of energy for people too. I feel happy when our workers set high goals, we achieve them and grow from it, too.

Yuasa: It really makes me happy when I meet with a customer who bought a house from us a year later and they say that it’s a really great house. A house isn’t something you go and buy multiple times, so I feel relieved when they are satisfied. And although we’re a small company, I’m happy I can leave it to my staff so that they can grow. Because they try and they move forward, then the future will open for them. And with that, it’s the responsibility of the company president to bring about results from their hard work. Managing such a task is a tough job alone, but that’s what being a company president is. And if you don’t have that, you’ll fail.

 

Miyamori: I get that. You’ve got to pour in blood, sweat and tears if you want to grow. If you don’t go all out, you’re not going to sweat. You will grow greatly if you continue to go all out with everyone involved and achieve a monumental goal.

 

ーーーYou both have warm feelings towards your staff and workers, don’t you?

 

Miyamori: They feel like my own children. So it makes me really happy when they get married, have kids, and build a home.

 

Yuasa: That’s true. And also, if your company doesn’t grow, you can’t continue to exist. It’s important to always look towards growth and strive with everyone.

ーーーFor my last question, I’d like to ask you about your visions for the future.

 

Miyamori: Curry will save the planet! I’m aiming for the world with curry! For instance, if we were talking about ramen, and someone asked me which is more deliciousーeating ramen at a restaurant or at homeーI’d say eating it at a restaurant. But when it comes to curry, your mother’s is the most delicious. Basically, the curry you eat out isn’t growing or improving. Just like how Starbucks serves delicious coffee all around the world, I also want to serve delicious curry around the world.

 

Yuasa: Your vision is really easy to understand <laughs>.

 

Miyamori: Curry is actually a delicious form of Chinese food therapy. We can divide up allergies, so we make it delicious for everyone from children to the elderly. Also, when you eat curry, your bowel warms up, so with curry you can also look at increasing healthy life expectancy, building immunities, and fighting cancer. This curry is a Nobel Peace Prize meal! How about you, Mr Yuasa? What are you looking towards for the future?

 

Yuasa: I want to build a company that tackles problems faced by customers, like adding value to buildings by making them earthquake-proof and lowering electricity costs, as well as seeing how to incorporate that into housing. Our customers are valuable so we’re seeking value. We want to make lots of houses that answer the question, “How can I live happily in this house?” I believe how people live happy lives in a house changes generation by generation, so I want to catch onto that and keep up with the times.

 

Miyamori: You really are a company president, Mr Yuasa! I don’t even think of myself as well, and I don’t think my employees do either <laughs>. But it’s amazing how much thought you’re putting into ways of living, and I think that’s wonderful.

 

Yuasa: Thank you. Before I met you, I thought you were a nonstandard person, but after listening to your story today, and seeing you in that uniform, my opinion has changed to conviction. It’s not everyday something like the Nobel Prize comes into conversation <laughs>. I believe things will get better for both yourself and your employees!

 

Curryーand property. Two completely different worlds, but two company presidents hooked on innovation and growing their brands. Their ambitions and warm feelings they have towards their staff will encourage the people they work with and pave the way for new challenges brought about by adding new value to their companies. The day when the people of Japan are living in their wonderful Sakura homes and eating delicious Go! Go! Curry in them may already be on the horizon.

 

 

Interview & Text: Yuki Yokoo

Photographer: pon

Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

RECOMMENDED ENTRIES

  • Interview: The Future of Kawaii Construction Sites Discussed by ASOBISYSTEM & kajikawa Construction’s Company Presidents

    15.May.2019 | BUSINESS

    kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD was established in Hekinan, Aichi 114 years ago, and throughout its long history it has sought to break down existing conventions and innovate within the industry. Last year, the company began its collaboration with ASOBISYSTEM. For instance, kajikawa built and set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 while ASOBISYSTEM worked on the design of kajikawa’s company logo and company brochure. This year, both companies are set to strengthen their partnership as they announce a large-scale construction project centred around kawaii (cute) designs. I spoke to Yusuke Nakagawa (President, ASOBISYSTEM CO., LTD) and Mitsuhiro Kajikawa (President, kajikawa Construction CO.,LTD) about their thoughts and shared values on the project.

     


     

     

    ――I would first like to begin by asking for a brief summary of your respective companies and what led to this collaboration.

     

    Mitsuhiro Kajikawa: We are a construction business operating in Aichi Prefecture’s city of Hekinan. The company was founded in 1905 when it was first called Kajikawa Zousensho. In 1959 we began work in the construction industry when Typhoon Vera struck the Tokai region in an effort to help with reconstruction. In recent years, we have worked on many designs for earthquake resistance. One thing in particular is the “Implant Levee” which integrates with the earth. We get many orders to construct infrastructure that ensures structures hold steadfast against earthquakes and tsunamis.

     

    Yusuke Nakagawa: How many employees do you have?

     

    Kajikawa: As of now, 96. Around the time I became Company President there were around 50 but since then it has nearly doubled. Of course I still hold Aichi Prefecture near and dear to my heart as it is our roots, but I also have a desire to offer our services to many other places. Right now we are active up and down Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

     

    Nakagawa: Besides the main office do you have branch offices outside of Hekinan?

     

    Kajikawa: We have a branch in Takadanobaba in Tokyo. We’re also making preparations for Osaka Expo [2025], so to ensure that we can build infrastructure in the Kansai region we also opened an office in Osaka in March of this year. Infrastructure development is absolutely essential to winning influence with people. Even in Tokyo, the roads and other facilities are wearing out. We do of course reconstruct things, but I also think it’s also important to carry out earthquake resistance with what we already have to ensure their longevity.

     

     

    Nakagawa: Our company started out as an event organiser, but our focus gradually became acting as management for people. We have grown even further from that now; the various number of people and things we produce is increasing. This puts us in a position where we are very different from the rest, so I was very surprised at first when I saw a request had come from kajikawa Construction.

     

    Kajikawa: I had heard about ASOBISYSTEM by chance through agencies, but I knew you [managed] many famous names including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. My image of you was also that you are a central figure in creating “Kawaii” which is a representative culture of Harajuku. Though I look like this, I’ve actually always loved kawaii things since I was young. But I can’t show that when it comes to things work-related. Getting the opportunity to do this and use the word “kawaii” feels very liberating for me [laughs].

     

    Brochure

     

    ――You started collaborating with each other last year. It began with ASOBISYSTEM designing kajikawa Construction’s company logo and company brochure. It has received quite the revamp, hasn’t it?

     

    Nakagawa: I spoke with President Kajikawa and wondered whether he knew that the word “Kawaii” doesn’t apply solely to things like fashion. We too don’t take “Kawaii” as something superficial, we treat the concept closer to what it actually is. The essence of “Kawaii” is something that brings a smile to and brightens people then and there. I feel that President Kajikawa understands that concept and that’s why he sent us an offer. So I want to invest in our “Kawaii” and and return the favour with a lasting relationship.

     

    Kajikawa: When I took a look at the design of the company brochure I was surprised to see two of my favourite elements in there. The first were my favourite colours, pink and and green. The second was the use of traditional Japanese patterns. You took those traditional patterns and made them into a more contemporary pop design. You were kind enough to put all of my wishes in there, so much so that I was left wondering if we’d had a conversation about it beforehand.

     

    Nakagawa: I was happy that you liked it and admired that you accepted the design. The construction industry is a world I’m unfamiliar with, so I was worried what kind of reply I would get. Your openness to upturn the conventions of the industry and make it into something tangible I felt was wonderful.

     

    Logo

     

    ――Your company logo has changed too.

     

    Kajikawa: We are enthusiastically using all the new things we are incorporating. The design will be a hit with younger people. I believe we are breaking out of our old shell and taking new steps forward. It’s a trigger that’s making me feel we are a company to have great expectations for in the future.

     

    Nakagawa: When you look at the construction industry from the outside, your perception of it ends up being just what you imagine it to be. But by simply changing the logo and the brochure that perception can change. I believe the role of a simple brochure can add more value. It is really difficult to realise that adding value is important and then to put money into it. President Kajikawa is a symbol of looking forward.

     

    Kajikawa: The main mission of the construction industry is to adhere to and build what the government office has planned which means we are unable to suggest anything ourselves. It’s for that reason we are receiving help from ASOBISYSTEM, because I want to add our own unique values. By no means are we able to do it on our own. Our ideas end up coagulating and we can’t move on from there. I am grateful to ASOBISYSTEM for giving us a good incentive and for making us feel that we are able to do something if we strive to make that effort.

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FESTIVAL 2018 Photo Booth

     

    ――You worked together to set up a photo booth at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON FES 2018. This was designed by ASOBISYSTEM with design checks by President Kajikawa.

     

    Kajikawa: I was very interested in it because the word “Kawaii” is used in designs all around the world. It has a strong message, doesn’t it? It felt unpredictable at first, but when I saw so many people standing in front of the panel taking photos it made me realise that leaving it up to top class designers can influence people.

     

    Nakagawa: We were particular about the colour combinations, weren’t we? You are particular about colours. I’m the same. We also endeavoured to make the design something that conveys the strength of kajikawa Construction as a construction business.

     

    ――Your collaboration together is set to continue throughout the year. It seems you are pressing forward with your large-scale “Kawaii” construction project.

     

    Kajikawa: In order to raise the added value of our company, it’s necessary that we change the way all of our employees think. It’s important to that we have them fully understand what we are doing with ASOBISYSTEM. The best way to do that is to show them a finished product. So our next step will be to forward the project by changing the design of our construction sites. For example, making cones, poles and fences pink. We will show them something they can see with their own eyes.

     

    Nakagawa: There are construction sites even in Shibuya that have character designs on them. They are becoming photo spots [for people]. It’s important to appeal to your employees too, but the effect of purely adding value to your construction sites feels promising.

     

    Kajikawa: It’s promising that our construction sites will become photo spots. Another one of our objectives is to make working people feel happy and make them feel like what they’re doing is worth it. Construction sites are isolated places. Them being dangerous is a real reason for that. Though people aren’t actually allowed to enter, by making the design “kawaii”  we can remove that unwelcoming feeling locals have for [construction sites], and that’s wonderful. Business meetings have only just begun but I hope for it to come to fruition by next year.

     

     

    Nakagawa: Are you also thinking of expanding overseas?

     

    Kajikawa: I’m thinking within the next 1-2 years.

     

    Nakagawa: I’m really looking forward to seeing “Kawaii” exported overseas from a new angle. I believe it will catch the attention of a lot of people and have a notable synergistic effect. We’re also working on creating key visuals and a film.

     

    Kajikawa: We are aiming for a pop world where coloured poles are characters that move. I get excited just picturing it. I can’t wait for the day when we make it public.

     

     

    ――I’m sure you would agree that when it comes to business, contribution to society is an important aspect. Will your “kawaii” construction sites have societal contributions too?

     

    Kajikawa: It has only just begun so I can only speculate, but the construction industry has a big mission to service infrastructure for the benefit of people’s lives. Plus, if we set forth to add value to “kawaii” elements, something which appeals to people, I think we can contribute a little to this brutal world. We are constantly in charge of 40-50 construction sites in Japan at any given time, so by giving them a “kawaii” outlook, don’t you think it might calm things down a bit?

     

     

    Kajikawa: For example, if pink-dyed construction sites appeared in Japan and around the world, it’s bound to make a lot of people smile. That’s the symbol of Japanese technological strength and culture. It might eventually bolster the presence of Japan throughout the rest of the world. Plus, if people are taking kawaii photos, then they are going to seek out construction sites. A day like that may come, and working at a construction site might become a status. There are many pieces of dreams in the collaboration between kajikawa Construction and ASOBISYSTEM. Our unique tag team which defies industry may shake things up in a unique way.

     

    Interview & Text: Fumihiko Suzuki

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

RELATED ENTRIES

  • Macaroni Enpitsu’s New Song ‘Tomason’ Features in Bourbon Chocolate Brownie’s Animated Commercial

    20.April.2021 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    Bourbon’s five-episode audiobook no doubt created for its Noukou Choco Brownie snack was released as an animated TV commercial last week. The video features Japanese pop rock band Macaroni Enpitsu’s new song Tomason which was written for the commercial.

    The audiobook no doubt becomes a TV commercial

    The no doubt audiobook was written by the popular Japanese author Yoru Sumino who is perhaps best known for writing I Want to Eat Your Pancreas. It tells the story of two boys who are in high school. They aren’t part of an afterschool club, and they don’t have part time jobs. They come to realise that this time will be what they look back on when they grow up. The characters were designed by Itsuka, an illustrator popular online.

     

    The commercial features the song Tomason by Macaroni Enpitsu.

     

    “no doubt” Animated TV Commercial

     

    “no doubt” Recording Behind The Scenes

     

    Japanese voice actors Hiro Shimono (Attack on TitanDemon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba) and Yuki Kaji (Attack on TitanMy Hero Academia) voiced the characters in the commercial. Below is an interview with both of them on the commercial, part of which we have translated.

     

    Hiro Shimono x Yuki Kaji Interview

     

    A snippet of the interview, translated 

    Q1: How did your performances go? Tell me about your shoot.

    Hiro Shimono: “The commercial portrays two boys who are neither adults nor children, so going through puberty I suppose. Their dialogue is elaborate, it was super interesting.”

     

    Yuki Kaji: “Right up to wrapping up, the entire shoot was a lot of fun, including the intervals during our breaks.”

     

    Q2: You both play the roles of high school boys. Tell me about a time from your youths.

    Yuki Kaji: “One memory I have from school being young, which is like something out of a painting, was my time a the theatre club. You need real physical strength when it comes to acting, so before dress rehearsal, I’d run around the school building. That’s a memory that’s stuck with me. I’d change into my jersey, and go die– I mean, run to the nearby river embankment too. Being reminded of that now it’s too much like a youth film or something, it’s making me laugh <laughs>. “

     

    Hiro Shimono: “I have a story from my youth too. It was on the day of the Culture Festival [at school]. After the festival finished, I was on my way home with some people, and there was a park with a water fountain in it. I said, ‘Well, it’s already raining, so why the hell not!’ Of course it wasn’t the thing to do, but we jumped into the water fountain and splashed about. That’s what being young is all about, right!?”

     

    Q3: What’s your favourite Noukou Choco Brownie flavour, the regular or the rich milk?

    Hiro Shimono: “Noukou Choco Brownie.”*

    *Translator’s Note: Implying all of them

     

    Yuki Kaji: “Me too! <laughs>”

     

    Q4: Please give a message to fans.

    Yuki Kaji: “I was lucky to have the opportunity to performance Yoru Sumino’s novel no doubt. I’m over the moon about it. The script was of course wonderful, and me and Shimono have known each other for a long time, so I think that comes across in the video with a pleasant atmosphere. The commercial is a youthful drama about two high school boys, and it’s linked to the bittersweetness of Noukou Choco Brownie. Be sure to tuck into one yourself while you listen to the story.”

     

    Hiro Shimono: “[The commercial’s characters] Igarashi and Imai have a great conversation, and getting to do it with Kaji was a lot of fun. It made me think we’ve always had that kind of vibe with each other. Noukou Choco Brownie is the keyword, so please be sure to check out the audiobook to see how it plays its part.”

     

    no doubt Synopsis

    One day, high schooler Imai skips school by feigning illness. He is at home in his room, when all of a sudden another boy from his class, Igarashi, comes to visit him. He has the handouts to give to Imai from class, but the high school they go to doesn’t have that custom where a classmate has to give handouts to someone who’s off ill. And the two of them aren’t that class where Igarashi would suddenly pop to see Imai like that. Imai finds it suspicious. Igarashi is interested in the clay work Imai has in his room. Both of them have some free time, so begin to make a town together out of clay.

  • Daidō Moriyama x KAMU kanazawa x Fukumitsuya Collaborate On New Sake ‘Lip

    24.February.2021 | FOOD / SPOT

    Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery has collaborated with the Kanazawa-based art museum KAMU kanazawa, and prominent Japanese photographer Daidō Moriyama to release a new sake called “Lip <Junmai>” which dropped on Fukumitsuya’s online shop and three of their branches on February 22.

     

    100 Bottles Signed by Daidō Moriyama

    KAMU kanazawa is a modern art museum which centres on art expressing the culture of Kanazawa. On December 15 last year, the museum opened a new space called the “LIP BAR” which features prints of a close-up photo taken by Moriyama plastered on the walls, ceiling, and surfaces. Lip <Junmai> can be tasted at the LIP BAR from Monday to Saturday at 20:00-Midnight amongst a flurry of other cocktails.

     

    The sake can also be bought online or in-store at Fukumitsuya, with a limited number of just 100 bottles signed by Moriyama himself.

    The Sake at a Glance
    The sake is an homage to Moriyama; a deep-flavoured junmaishu made with Yamada Nishiki and Kinmon-Nishiki rices.

    The Design
    The sleek and stylish bottle features a silver label layered with Moriyama’s famous lip shot. The regular edition bottles have English on the front and Japanese on the back. The signed edition bottles are signed by Moriyama on the front and have a unique serial number on the back. All the bottles are frosted and bear Fukimitsya’s logo. The box design was created by Kanazawa-based art director Katsura Matsuzawa.

    Lip <Junmai>

     

    ©Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation Courtesy of Akio Nagasawa Gallery

  • Interview: Ohashi Trio Discusses His ‘Milk and Sugar’ Duet Music Video With Mone Kamishiraishi

    18.February.2021 | MUSIC

    Ohashi Trio released a music video on his YouTube channel on Tuesday (February 16) for Milk and Sugar duet with Mone Kamishiraishi. The song is taken from his upcoming new album NEW WORLD which is set to drop on March 3, 2021.

    Ohashi Trio – “Milk and Sugar duet with Mone Kamishiraishi” Official Music Video

    Ohashi Trio – “NEW WORLD”

    Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi in the recording booth

    The music video features the actual footage of Ohashi and Kamishiraishi recording their respective vocal sections for the duet. We get to see the two artists’ faces in a more relaxed and natural environment. It’s also layered with cute animated illustrations and artwork which express the content of the lyrics. The song is a refreshing, up-tempo number that captures the beauty of both singers’ voices. It’s also available to listen to right now worldwide on all major music streaming and download services.

     

    Stream & Download Here

     

    An official interview with Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi was also released where they talk about Kamishiraishi’s involvement on the song, both of their thoughts about it, and more. It’s a must-read for fans, and MMN Has translated it into English for our readers.

     

    Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi Interview

    “I’d go as far as to say that breaking something down can lead to great things” (Ohashi)

     

    ──I had the opportunity to peek into your recording session not long ago, it seemed like a very positive, harmonious atmosphere.

     

    Ohashi: Because she’s great <looks towards Kamishiraishi>. I’m usually not like this.

     

    Kamishiraishi: <Laughs>

     

    ──I interviewed you last year where the two of you were talking about performing together, and here we are already. Could you talk again about what originally led you to working together?

     

    Ohashi: “My first time being involved with Mone was on her album ‘note.’”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “I was already a huge fan of his, so I thought, I’ll give it a shot, and asked him to come on board.”

     

    Ohashi: “You make it sound like you never stood a chance <laughs>. I wrote the song ‘Little Birds’ [for the album], and at the recording session, she was really kind and said, ‘I’m a huge fan.’ I remember thinking how great of a singer she was. After that, I thought about what we could do together if I invited her on my own album. Since it was the actual writing of a song that I did for her, I made sure to respect her style, but I was inviting her to my side, so I’d go as far to say that I decided to break all of that down. I thought by doing that, it could lead to great things. So I sent her the offer. She was super busy with shooting a drama series and other stuff but she was kind enough to make time each day.”

     

     Kamishiraishi: “Not at all. It was very kind of you.”

     

    I thought, “Aw yeah, a challenge!” (Kamishiraishi)

     

    ──So things were broken down this time, Kamishiraishi.

     

    Kamishiraishi: That’s what happened <laughs>. When I heard the instrumental, I thought, “Aw yeah, a challenge!” It had a kind of melody that I’d never had the chance to sing over before, same with its overall feel. It felt like a step up, like I was discovering a new way of singing, which really excited me, so I really sang my heart out prior to the recording.”

     

    Ohashi: “You were so involved, you prepared so much despite being so busy. You’re great. Hard-working.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “I’m a fan, so when you release a new song, I memorise it straight away. This felt like the same thing. LIke I’m the first to hear it and learn it. So it didn’t feel like work needing to learn it, but when I first heard it, I thought, ‘He’s been kind enough to drawn attention to my new parts.’”

     

     Ohashi: “It makes me happy hearing that.”

     

    “I don’t think I’ve seen someone like this girl before” (Ohashi)

     

    ──What do you like about Kamishiraishi’s voice, Ohashi?

     

    Kamishiraishi: “Thank you for asking that <said quietly to the interviewer>.”

     

    Ohashi: “<laughs> I thought, this character is someone who puts 100% of herself into the songs she sings. And that image I had held true when I met her, plus she has real talent. Her songs are great. I thought, I don’t think I’ve seen someone like this girl before.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “Wow… <speechless>

     

    Ohashi: “It was the same during ‘Little Birds.’ She’s so busy, and yet I really got from her that she’s going all out to put her all into it. She was so quick to respond to the request too. She has real physical strength as a vocalist. There are people out there whose songs are good, but rarely do I meet someone who can adapt as well.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “You’re too kind. I don’t really have things said like this about me while having the opportunity to sing, so I’ll lap up everything that’s said here today and take it home with me. It will be engraved in my heart.”

     

     Oashi: “No, no, I should be saything lots of wrong things anyway.”

     

    “You won’t find someone like Ohashi out there even if you looked” (Kamishiraishi)

     

    ──What do you like about Ohashi’s music, Kamishiraishi?

     

    Kamishiraishi: “First of all, I love his voice. I really like his melodies and how the instruments sound in his music too. You won’t find someone like Ohashi out there even if you looked for them.”

     

    Ohashi: “Wow, that makes me happy.”

     

    Kamishiraishi: “He has a warmth, sense of style, and coolness about him that you won’t find in other people. I get the feeling that you’ll find all of those things in every one of his albums, and I love that about him. He invited me to one of his shows recently. It was the first time seeing him live, and, well, he was just super cool! The show title said “Ohashi Trio Live,” but every single one of the band members there felt like one of the main cast. There were too many amazing things to see and point out, but unfortunately I don’t have enough eyes for them all <laughs>. I wanted cameras to be recording each one of their parts! It made me realise how amazing music is. It was testament to the fact that your ears can forever be happy as long as you’re listening.”

     

    ──What a great comment!

     

    Ohashi: “You’ve conveyed everything I’ve always thought I wanted to have. I’m super happy.”

     

    Interview/Original Text: Hiroshi Takaoka

    English Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    Be sure to check out the music video for Ohashi Trio and Mone Kamishiraishi’s duet on Milk to Sugar (“Milk and Sugar”).

  • Interview: NiziU Discuss Their Favourite Moments in Life For Coca-Cola Japan’s New Commercial

    06.January.2021 | FOOD / MUSIC

    Coca-Cola Japan launched a new campaign and commercial on Monday (January 4) titled “Kono Shunkan ga, Watashi,” which roughly translates to “This Moment is Me.”

    2020 saw tremendous changes in the lives of people around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those changes continue to this day. Coca-Cola Japan’s new campaign aims to spread positivity with a mindset that says enjoy yourself to the fullest is the right way to go precisely because things have changed. It’s a campaign for loving those moments spent with friends and family in whatever way possible.

     

    The new commercial posted alongside the campaign’s launch features the members of the Japanese girl group NiziU singing and dancing to the tune of their new song Take a picture. The commercial shoot took place over the course of two days, and it’s reported that the set had a bright and positive atmosphere as NiziU greeted staff with smiles, vim, and vigour. On the first day they shot the dance and rooftop scenes, while the second day took them to the house studio. There’s also a scene of the group giving MAYUKA’s a surprise birthday celebration her birthday had fallen on the day before.

    Coca-Cola Japan has released limited-edition NiziU bottles as part of the collaboration which feature a QR code on them. When scanned, you can access the campaign website to sign up to win access to a special Coca-Cola x NiziU online event, a NiziU-original QUO card worth ¥1,000, and points for the LINE app. A total of 200,000 lucky winners will be chosen. There are 10 bottle designs to look out for.

    Additionally, a special 35-meter long ad poster is being displayed for a limited time at Shinjuku Station connecting to the East and West exits.

     

    NiziU Interview

    ―Your names are written on the limited-edition NiziU Coca-Cola bottles. How do you feel about them lining the shelves in stores?

     

    MAKO:
    I am super happy that our names get to go on the Coca-Cola labels! I hope lots of people see them and are filled with positive vibes.

     

    RIKU:
    It doesn’t feel real to me yet either that our names are featuring on Coca-Cola products. When they hit the stores I kind of want to go searching for my own name <laughs>.

     

    RIMA:
    There’s a QR code on the bottles when might land you something if you scan it with your phone, so be on the lookout and try finding my bottle.

     

    ―When do you find yourselves wanting to drink Coca-Cola?

    RIO:
    I’m personally a huge foodie, so I like to drink it together with people when everyone’s eating their favourite food.

     

    MAYA:
    I definitely find myself wanting some when I need a kick of positivity or need some energy.

     

    ―Please give your thoughts on the commercial shoot.

    MAYUKA:
    When went on the rooftop with everyone, and when we were practicing the dances, we were drinking Coca-Cola. I feel the shoot had a completely different air to it than our usual practice. Everyone said “Cheers!” [with their drinks] on the roof. It was a lot of fun.

     

    AYAKA:
    It was hard to convey the appeal of Coca-Cola [during the shoot], so we thought to convey its delicious taste how we would convey the appeal of [NiziU]. We showed ourselves really enjoying its delicious taste.

     

    NINA:
    The shoot for this commercial was so much fun, there’s so many great bits in it! It looks so tasty watching everyone gulp down their drinks. It was a great time, I like everyone’s facial expressions in it. Be sure to check it out.

     

    ―Give us each of your thoughts on the “This Moment is Me” campaign and how it relates to yourselves.

    MAKO:
    I feel the most me thing is when I’m writing in my diary. I write in it at the end of every day, it’s my favourite moment.

     

    RIKU:
    When I’m eating something. I feel only happiness when eating; I forget all the bad things and can concentrate just by eating something tasty. It’s a moment I can be myself.

     

    RIMA:
    I really love steady and straightforward work, like puzzles, so when I’m concentrating on one thing I really get in the zone, to the point where I can’t hear people even if they call my name. I think that kind of moment is most me.

     

    RIO:
    For me, it’s when I’m dancing. It’s something I’ve done since I was little, so I think working hard and practicing to improve in that is my most me moment.

     

    MAYA:
    The moment which is most me is when I’m cooking. I find it so much fun and love seeing people enjoy the food I cook for them.

     

    MAYUKA:
    It would be when I’m playing with my cat. I have two cats at home and can be my true self when playing with them.

     

    AYAKA:
    When I’m video calling my mom. We talk about the silliest things and laugh, and that’s when I feel most like myself. I love those moments the most.

     

    NINA:
    The moments I love the most are when I’m drawing. I don’t have to think about anything when I’m drawing and can relax, so they’re definitely my favourite.

  • Pokémon Center to Open New Store in Kanazawa

    31.August.2020 | ANIME&GAME / SPOT

    The Pokémon Company is opening a new branch of Pokémon Center, the official store for Pokémon merchandise, in Kanazawa, in late November 2020. The store will open inside Kanazawa Forus, a shopping centre located just a 1-minute walk from Kanazawa Station.

    Pokémon Center Kanazawa’s design captures the beauty of the Hokuriku Region of Japan. There to greet customers who enter the store is Milotic who is perhaps the most beautiful Pokémon.

    Pokémon Center Kanazawa will sell a whole range of Pokémon merchandise, including items to promote the grand opening of the store.

     

    ©2020 Pokémon. ©1995-2020 Nintendo/Creatures Inc. /GAME FREAK inc.
    Pokémon, ポケットモンスター and ポケモン are registered trademarks of Nintendo, Creatures Inc. and GAME FREAK inc.

  • Kanazawa’s New Cafe Kanazawa Shiturae Opens in Higashi Chayamachi District

    01.August.2020 | SPOT

    HAKUICHI has renovated and opened the new Kanazawa Shitsurae cafe in Higashi Chayamachi on July 23, 2020. Higashi Chayamachi was built 200 years ago to this year. With a desire for this renovated tea house to exist for the next 200 years, it has been renovated and opened as the new Kanazawa Shitsurae.

    Kanazawa Shitsurae

    Located in the district of Higashi Chayamachi, which has been around since the Edo Period, Kanazawa Shitsurae is a breathtaking tea house and cafe. Stood proud at the welcoming entrance is a mikaeri-yanagi, a type of willow that is seen as a symbol of Chayamachi. The building which is now Kanazawa Shitsurae was built 200 years ago and is officially registered as a listed building of Kanazawa to be preserved. The renovations it has undergone for the new opening include earthquake resistance to ensure it can be passed over to the next generation. Its interior design has also been revamped, with high quality traditional crafts showcased throughout.

    Gallery Shop

    Kanazawa Shitsurae will serve as a flagship location for HAKUICHI’s traditional Ishikawa Prefecture with its own gallery and shop. The items will be displayed like an art museum where pieces can’t be put into a showcase. It will feature a line-up of gorgeous works from people considered National Treasures, traditional artisans, and more.

     

    Yanagi-an: The Cafe

    The second floor area is home to Yanagi-an, a relaxing cafe which overlooks Chayamachi. Customers can enjoy a cup of matcha poured inside a traditional handicraft cup together with some Kanazawa-style confections, parfaits with seasonal fruits, and more.

  • Hulu Japan Announces Weekly Long Interviews With NiziU Members

    28.July.2020 | MUSIC

    NiziU is a nine-member global all-female group which formed via Nizi Project, an audition programme co-produced by Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Labels, and JYP Entertainment (JYP). NiziU’s first music video, Make you happy, has over 63 million views on YouTube (as of July 2020). Released at the end of June, the iconic jump rope dance in the video has already become something of a social phenomenon.

    In the run up to NiziU’s first anniversary, Hulu Japan will begin streaming long interviews with each of the nine members in a show called NiziU 9 Nizi Stories, beginning on July 30, 2020, where they will talk about their experience in the Nizi Project, as well as life in Tokyo and South Korea. They will discuss in detail why they wanted to be part of a girl group, what troubles they have gone through, what the other members think of them, their impression of J.Y. Park, what kind of artists they want to become, and so on.

     

    ©Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc./JYP Entertainment.

  • Coronavirus in Japan: Kaname Inn Tatemachi in Kanazawa Offers Free Accommodation to Foreigners Who Can’t Get Home

    29.March.2020 | SPOT

    Kaname Inn Tatemachi, a hotel in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, has announced a project named “Room for rescue” which will offer free accommodation to foreigners unable to travel back to their home countries from Japan due to lockdowns and restrictions from going outside as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

    With flights cancelled around the world, there is no way for foreigners to return home from Japan, resulting in them being forced to change their plans and extend their stay. They are living their days in constant worry, both financially and mentally. To ensure that foreign travellers don’t feel like their trip to Japan was a bad experience, free accommodation is becoming available to those who meet certain prescribed conditions.

     

    In response to the decreasing number of tourists, Kaname Inn Tatemachi opened its doors to Japanese citizens through Facebook for free accommodation to help support businesses like local restaurants that could no longer make a living. They received a lot of guests, as well as a request from a friend who asked if someone from the Netherlands could stay there because they couldn’t get back to their country. This sparked the “Room for rescue” project for stranded foreign tourists to stay at Kaname Inn Tatemachi for free too.

     

    Kaname Inn Tatemachi is using its own funds to pay for the project and allow free stay. However, doing this long term will put strain on the business, so to help pay for hotel use and staff’s wages, the hotel has opened up a crowd funding page which you can find here.

  • Interview: Airbnb Japan Managing Officer Hidetomo Nagata & Sanken Kogyo President Mori Iwata discuss raising Japan’s value through new and exciting creativity

    01.February.2020 | BUSINESS / FEATURES

    Japanese art and culture is recognised the world over, but recently, it feels like the pressure is being put on by countries like South Korea and China. But what you perhaps didn’t know is that the businesses that work to promote Japan’s culture to the worldーthrough that creativity and those servicesーare actually thriving. We had the opportunity to speak with a certain two individuals: Hidetomo Nagata, Managing Officer at Airbnb Japanーa company that increases the value of real estateーand Mori Iwata, the President of Sanken Kogyo, which creates value from zero.

    *This is a shortened version of the interview

    ——-I’d first like to ask you both to explain what it is that both of your companies do.

     

    Nagata: I work for the Japanese subsidiary of Airbnb. Airbnb was first established in 2008 as a platform for helping people to match various conditions for their trips. Services began with accommodation; today, we have over 7 million locations listed in 191 countries. Past statistics show that over 500 million people have stayed as guests, and our revenue from Hosts, who rent out their houses, exceeds 8.8 trillion yen. We are also expanding our services on the side to offer more things, like our Experience and Adventure services. It’s a comprehensive platform for travelling.

     

    Iwata: So you have not only accommodation, but experience-based services too?

     

    Nagata: We began the Experience service in 2016. To give an example of what it is, [we are partnered with] people who are skilled in things like traditional Japanese crafts, and they will give [travelling] foreign guests the chance to learn about those skills. 2020 is the year of the Olympics, so we are offering experiences in conjunction with Olympians too. You can learn about various rules from an Olympian, ask them about competing, experience their sport hands-on, and so on, in the hopes that people will come to enjoy those particular sports more. We’d also be overjoyed if the Olympians made use of these experiences as a second career.

     

    Iwata: My company makes prototypes. While I say prototypes, it actually constitutes a variety of things, for example, office automation equipment, cars, medical equipment, stationery, toys, and so on. We make a wide range of different prototypes. Stationery, for example, is something we all use daily, isn’t it? But what we make is the prototype. So it doesn’t get released into the world, but is instead used as the basis for it to then be mass-produced. Our prototype products don’t stay around, but it’s very rewarding.

    ——-Tell me about your strengths that make you competitive to other companies.

     

    Nagata: Airbnb’s vision is ‘Belong Anywhere,’ meaning that no matter where you travel, you too will feel like you are living in that place. We learn about a region, have locals tell us about places to eat, and so on. We value the things we learn through our hosts. This has created a new lifestyle for people, as well as a community. We have a lot of hosts who have said to us that their lives have changed after starting with Airbnb. By opening their doors, and communicating with the people of the world, their worlds expand, they acquire knowledge, and they gain more income. For me, that’s a valuable thing.

     

    Iwata: We’re a really small company in our warehouse. In the past, there were lots of small companies, but they have since been weeded out and disappeared. The businesses I bump into on my way to work are all huge, but our strength lies in the fact that the warehouse, office and business are all in the same place. There aren’t many companies out there on this scope with all of these things firmly in place. The speed at which we do things can’t be done at a major company either. I can work right there and then during a meeting or appointment. We don’t have strengths and weaknesses; we can make anything. That, and our shop staff who interact with customers are first-class. Our perspective is that we can absolutely make what they’re after, and at a reasonable price, so I think they’ll choose us. We can do anythingーmetal, resin, plastic. I’ll go ahead and say that we’re probably the only ones who have come as far as we have.

    ——-Sanken Kogyo opened a subsidiary overseas too, didn’t you?

     

    Iwata: I mentioned earlier how I went to America. Well, I set up a subsidiary in Chicago last year. We are the third prototype company in Japan to have done so. We don’t have employees there yet, but I’m excited!

     

    ——-On the other hand, Airbnb is a service that began outside of Japan. Do you ever pour all of your energy into Japan?

     

    Nagata: Homeshares and homestays aren’t common but more and more people are wanting to give it a go. For us to be able to think about things like homeshares and for it to become a normal choice for people, we’re creating new services and designs related to accommodation, not just internally, but with our seventeen Airbnb Partners too.

    The hotel MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku was renovated from a 50-year-old or so building. By carrying out renovations, they are able to create rooms with a strong design aspectーrooms that are expensive to rent out. They combine accommodation with Japanese culture, so I believe they’ll be able to embrace homeshares.

     

    ——-The two of you give rise to value with your businesses, but what does value mean exactly for you personally?

     

    Nagata: I think value is relative. It determines a person’s subjectivity, and it can end up changing how you look at something or your way of thinking. I believe Airbnb is bringing about a new sense of value when it comes to real estate. If we’re talking leasing property, then how new building is and how close it is to the station are conditions with value. On the other hand, if it’s hotel accommodation, a building that’s 100-years-old is itself a valuable condition, and reviews that highlight it as a good aspect increase trust, even if the location isn’t ideal. Even if the price range increases, users will still stay there. I believe that the way in which you draw value from the same piece of real estate can change depending on how you think about it.

     

    Nagata: How about you, Mr. Iwata? Listening to your story, I see the speed of your interactions and communication bring value for you.

     

    Iwata: You hit the nail on the head. The speed of our staff is tied to customers’ trust. When we’re making a deal, our estimations gradually end up going in a different direction <laughs>. We have times when things don’t go well in the end, like when we’re taking in various opinions while cobbling together a prototype. But I know those times, so I’ll do things like go and work on something else at the same time instead. If our estimations go well in the end it’s good, so our staff’s qualities, like their quick-wittedness, ties customers to us. It’s the same thing as the machines we use being for building prototypes. I think in the end, communication between people is the newest way to create value. Especially since the industry in Japan has no life in itat the minute.. I want them to get in the spirit more.

    ——-Sanken Kogyo opened a subsidiary overseas too, didn’t you?

     

    Iwata: I mentioned earlier how I went to America. Well, I set up a subsidiary in Chicago last year. We are the third prototype company in Japan to have done so. We don’t have employees there yet, but I’m excited!

     

    ——-On the other hand, Airbnb is a service that began outside of Japan. Do you ever pour all of your energy into Japan?

     

    Nagata: Homeshares and homestays aren’t common but more and more people are wanting to give it a go. For us to be able to think about things like homeshares and for it to become a normal choice for people, we’re creating new services and designs related to accommodation, not just internally, but with our 128 Airbnb Partners too.

     

    The hotel MOSHI MOSHI ROOMS in Harajuku was renovated from a 50-year-old or so building. By carrying out renovations, they are able to create rooms with a strong design aspectーrooms that are expensive to rent out. They combine accommodation with Japanese culture, so I believe they’ll be able to embrace homeshares.

     

    ——-The two of you give rise to value with your businesses, but what does value mean exactly for you personally?

     

    Nagata: I think value is relative. It determines a person’s subjectivity, and it can end up changing how you look at something or your way of thinking. I believe Airbnb is bringing about a new sense of value when it comes to real estate. If we’re talking leasing property, then how new building is and how close it is to the station are conditions with value. On the other hand, if it’s hotel accommodation, a building that’s 100-years-old is itself a valuable condition, and reviews that highlight it as a good aspect increase trust. Even if the price range increases, users will still stay there. I believe that the way in which you draw value from the same piece of real estate can change depending on how you think about it.

     

    Nagata: How about you, Mr. Iwata? Listening to your story, I see the speed of your interactions and communication bring value for you.

     

    Iwata: You hit the nail on the head. The speed of our staff is tied to customers’ trust. When we’re making a deal, our estimations gradually end up going in a different direction <laughs>. We have times when things don’t go well in the end, like when we’re taking in various opinions while cobbling together a prototype. But I know those times, so I’ll do things like go and work on something else at the same time instead. If our estimations go well in the end it’s good, so our staff’s qualities, like their quick-wittedness, ties customers to us. It’s the same thing as the machines we use being for building prototypes. I think in the end, communication between people is the newest way to create value. Especially since the industry in Japan has no life in itat the minute.. I want them to get in the spirit more.

     

    ——-For my last question, please tell me about your visions for the future.

    Nagata: Personally, I want to expand the possibilities for new lifestyles, ways of living, and design, which we have done through shares. I was originally a politician before this, so I’m aware of the problems of how to move our society and regions forward. I think sharing is one of the ways to solve it. By sharing vacant houses around the country, we can give rise to nonresident populations, and if elderly people use these kinds of services, they’ll have a great time. I think we’re still lacking on the design side of things, so we will create by working with other businesses, and I hope we can pave the way for new lifestyles and ways of working.

     

    Iwata: Whether it’s in Japan, factories in China, or the US, I want to work hard to get our prototype workshop out there. I think the Japanese industry has plenty left to give, so I want to challenge myself to that. I want the world to see more of Japan’s industry!

     

    Nagata: Mr. Iwata, I can see you’re active in the work place and having a good time in your position. I think it’s a wonderful thing that you’re paving the way for new things in response to the crisis of your industry.

     

    Iwata: Thank you. I’m kind of embarrassed hearing that <laughs>. I’ve learned a lot listening to your story too.

    Sanken Kogyo, an exciting production business bringing about value and promoting Japanese craftsmanship to the world. Airbnb, a company raising the value of real estate, and expanding its travel services across the globe. From zero to one; from one to a hundred. I feel the infinite expansion of these two companies. In lieu of repeating the services that already exist, their work allows for constant challenge, and thus enables them to grow. I look forward to the future growth of these new creative industries and services, which will astonish the world.

     

    Interview & Text: Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • We Interviewed The Creators Behind Sanrio’s Popular Enjoy Idol Series

    20.January.2020 | FASHION / FEATURES

    Are you aware of Sanrio’s “Enjoy Idol Series”? For idol fans, it’s an essential part of your concert trip for the ultimate experience.

    Uchiwa Fan Case (10 Varieties): ¥880 (After Tax)

    A cute case to protect your precious uchiwa fan from damage. You can even stick it on your wall!

    Concert Confetti Storage Keyring (10 Varieties): ¥550 Each (After Tax)

    Want to keep living the memory of confetti bursting out from the sky at that concert? Store one in this keyring!

     

    Idol uchiwa fans. If you’re in Japan, you’ll have definitely seen these around – a round fan bearing a large picture of an artist or idol in the centre. From cute Sanrio-themed items to decorate your idol concert merchandise to even a keyring that preserves concert confetti, Sanrio’s Enjoy Idol Series is full of must-have items for concert-going idol fans. However, there seems to be no other secondary use of these items that cater to the non-concert-goer. What a niche market.

    Fan Memory Notebook: ¥550 Each (After Tax)

    This is an easy way to keep your notes on activities you do to support your idols.

     

    Just how much do idol fans love these items? After conducting research among friends with over 10-years of experience as an obsessive idol fan, it seems that these are more popular than one may think. A quick visit to Sanrio’s official website revealed that the series is so popular that many items sell out quickly.

     

    Despite trying to reach out to what might seem a small, niche market, these items seem to be in high demand among idol fans. Just what kind of person came up with such an idea? Curious to find out, we met up with the Enjoy Idol Series project planners for an interview.

     

    Q1: It’s a pleasure to have this interview. We at MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON love Sanrio so much that it’s not often we go long without releasing some kind of news about you. One of the most fascinating Sanrio merchandise series has to be the Enjoy Idol Series for its high demand in such a niche area. Our first question is: From what idea or initial thought was this series born?

     

    Project Planner: The Enjoy Idol Series is managed by me and one other person. Both of us are avid idol fans. We noticed not only lots of fans at concerts using Sanrio merchandise, but also many idol fans on social media using Sanrio characters as profile pictures and as stickers on their photos online. For quite a few years now there’s been a connection forming between idol fans and Sanrio characters in several ways.

     

    We also noticed that although merchandise aimed at idol fans is steadily increasing, there still wasn’t anything cute for them out there. That’s why we started designing this series. The other project leader and I often go to concerts and watch DVDs together. That’s when the ideas started flowing. Eventually, we were packing our project full of ideas and it was really fun. We thought of how we could combine Sanrio characters and idol fans to create something incredibly cute

     

    Q2: It’s wonderful to hear that you are both idol fans yourselves. When you first had these initial ideas running through your head, were you confident that your series would become popular among other idol fans?

     

    Planner: We were very excited to have created this cute Enjoy Idol series and we were certain that other fans would feel the same. And the reaction to it exceeded my expectations. Even people who don’t usually go to Sanrio shops buy something from the series because of their love of Sanrio which made us really happy to see.

     

    Q3: Having seen all the sold out products on your website, it’s clear that many people appreciate what you’ve done. How does it feel to see idol fans using merchandise that you designed?

     

    Project Planner: We’re just so grateful to see people using items from the Enjoy Idol Series to make the most of their concert experience. A lot of people buying products from the series buy specific items based on strongly associating their idol with a certain Sanrio character. We’ve now learned the reasons behind the choices fans make when purchasing from the series which has been a real eye-opener.

    Silver Decoration Case (7 Varieties): ¥660 (After Tax)

    A box to save your concert confetti

     

    Q4: After some research among a number of friends who are idol fans, it seems that your series is a big hit. Many are excited to see what you are going to knock up next. Do you have any new ideas you’re warming up to?

     

    Project Planner: I cannot reveal any specific details just yet. We are still in the process of creating our next items. You can expect them to maintain Sanrio’s cute style. As an idol fan myself, I am committed to making sure these items are of high functionality for our users.

     

    Q5: I’m sure that many people will be over the moon to hear that you are developing yet more cute items. Do you have any final words you would like to say to idol fans and Sanrio fans?

     

    Project Planner: I would like to thank you all for your continuous support for the Enjoy Idol Series. We are delighted to improve your lifestyle and we hope that these items help you make the most of your experience as an idol fan.

     

    When you have something to adore, you lead a fulfilling life. I’ve heard the stories of friends who are idol fans and can feel their excitement towards the release of our new products. I’m so happy to think that these products are improving the quality of life for many idol fans.

    Diary Stickers (7 Varieties): ¥275 (After Tax)

     These stickers are full of words perfect for idol fans but of no use to those who are not idol fans!

     

    Just seeing some of the specific words and phrases written on the idol stickers shows just how much the project planners understand and feel close to other idol fans. It is enough to warm your heart.

     

    The two project planners put their love of idol fans at the centre of their design proposal, creating a merchandise series just for them. Each item connects idol fans through their mutual love. This eye-opening interview showed the true strength of shared passion when catering to a niche market.

     

    Despite not being an idol fan themselves, our interviewer could feel the love poured into each item in the series. What item will be released next? We’ll be just as excited as the idol fans are, waiting eagerly for its release.

     

    ⓒ’76, ’88, ’89, ’96, ’01, ’05, ’19 SANRIO. 著作(株)サンリオ

  • Kuroneco Jack Sells Sensational Chocolate Gâteau in Kanazawa

    07.July.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Gâteau Chocolat shop Kuroneco Jack just opened this May in Kanazawa, Ishikawa and has already become a sensation.

    The shop interior is colourful. The wooden features add warmth to the surroundings, creating a relaxing atmosphere. Although this is a very difficult location to reach if you don’t have a car, the shop is filled with customers every single day. 

    Every day, the highly experienced patissiers create 12 flavours of cute and delicious gâteau. From standard chocolate to fruit, black sesame and matcha, you can find many rare flavours here. 

    The standard chocolat JACK is made from 62% cocoa chocolate. The raspberry JACK offers chocoholics the opportunity to enjoy Jack’s luxurious chocolate with a sour touch of fresh raspberries to accent the flavour. Just the aroma of the Black Sesame JACK proves its fantastic quality. There are also many more flavours on sale that you just won’t be able to resist. 

    If you pop by the shop, you should also check out the popular parfait menu that consists of three fruity parfaits. Just looking at them will make your mouth water. Of course, Jack’s chocolate is also used in the parfaits. The SHIRONECO Parfait uses a white chocolate base, whilst the KURONECO Parfait uses a dark chocolate base. There is also the DORANECO parfait, which is completely left in the chef’s hands to do as they please. 

    There is also original soft serve ice cream, gâteau chocolat with brûlée, cheesecake and many more fusion desserts that are sold as part of the INTO Series. I know everything looks so delicious you will not be able to decide, but if you ever find yourself in Kanazawa, please pop by. 

  • A Digital World Where Art Meets Nature: Don’t Miss teamLab’s Immersive Exhibition in Kanazawa

    05.June.2019 | SPOT

    teamLab is a creative group of professionals and artists that creates collaborative digital art projects and exhibits them to the public. Visitors have the opportunity to fully immerse their bodies in the exhibition and become part of the art. Now, teamLab is heading to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (Ishikawa).

     

    From Friday 9th August to Sunday 1st September, the exhibition Impermanent Flowers Floating in a Continuous Sea will take place in the museum. Tickets can be purchased from Seven Ticket (Seven-Eleven convenience stores) or from event’s official website.

    Continuous Life and Death at the Now of Eternity, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together
    teamLab, 2019, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Learn more: https://www.teamlab.art/w/continuous_life_and_death/

    Reversible Rotation – Black in White
    teamLab, 2018, Digital Installation, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Learn more: https://www.teamlab.art/jp/w/reversible-blackinwhite/

    The main exhibition features one continuous wave produced by one installation. The concept is; Black Waves: Lost, Immersed and Reborn. The movement of the patterns in the exhibition are influenced by the movements of the visitors. The exhibition aims to show people that the continuous cycle of life and death exists in a moment that lasts forever. You cannot control it, but you can learn to live alongside it. 

     

     Black in White is another immersive exhibition. Here, you stand in the exhibition space and watch Japanese sho (calligraphy) being drawn all around you in 3D. The Graffiti Flowers Bombing exhibition is where visitors can draw their own flowers which then grow and bloom on the walls and spread all over the exhibition space.

    Graffiti Flowers Bombing
    teamLab, 2018, Interactive Digital Installation, Endless, Sound: Hideaki Takahashi

    Learn more: https://www.teamlab.art/w/graffiti-flowers-bombing/

    All visitors are invited to become one with the art together. As your body intwines with the art, the borders between people and the exhibition disappear, creating a new borderless relationship with the world.  This is a chance for anyone to experience the latest technology to their heart’s content.

RANKING

  • DAILY
  • MONTHLY

FOLLOW US