Anime Idol Group HAKOMEN Becomes Tourism Ambassadors for Hakodate
Hakodate is one of the main cities in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. In September 2021, the city launched a new tourism initiative called HAKOMEN, an anime idol group based on historical figures associated with Hakodate. Starting November 1, the members are now official tourism ambassadors! In July 2021, the Jomon historical sites in Hokkaido and the northern Tohoku region were registered as World Heritage Sites, so what better time to promote these incredible areas?
Debut Song ‘Kimi to HAKO☆DATE’
HAKOMEN lore tells the story of incredible historical figures summoned to the present day by the Hollow Dogu, the only National Treasure in Hokkaido and on display at the Hakodate Jomon Culture Center. Forming an idol group to promote the town, the five members see the Hollow Dogu as their producer. On October 14, HAKOMEN made their debut with the song Kimi to HAKO☆DATE, which is already racking up impressive YouTube views.
Comments from the Members
Hijikata Toshizo / A Cutting-Edge Commander and Moodmaker
“I was surprised that I, a man who had mastered the way of the blade, would somehow become Hakodate’s tourism ambassador.
I will put all of my energy into promoting this place!”
Takeaki Enomoto / A Highly Ambitious Peacemaker
“I’m not even from this era, but you want me to do PR for Hakodate?!
Now that I’m here, I’ll be sure to convey some of the charms that only someone from the past would know!”
Takuboku Ishikawa / A Calm and Peaceful Lover of Sweets
“I love Hakodate so much that I moved there during my time, so I’m thrilled to promote it as an ambassador!
I’ll do my best to make all kinds of people fall in love with Hakodate!”
Matthew C. Perry / A Happy and Gourmet Scatterbrain
“Back when I showed up on my black ships, the people of Hakodate were so lovely♪
It’s such an honor to be able to work with Hakodate~ I’ll do my very best!”
Ayasaburo Takeda / An Open-Minded Big Brother Character
“As an ambassador for tourism to Hakodate, I’d love to promote Goryokaku fortress which I designed as an architect in 1855.
Of course, it’s not the only attraction Hakodate has to offer!”
Official Site: https://www.hakobura.jp/hakomen_official/
OMO7 Asahikawa Resort in Hokkaido Offers Polar Bear Valentine’s Day Girls’ Party Package
17.November.2021 | SPOT
Not a fan of Valentine’s Day? Want to get away from all the in-your-face romance and just have a good time with your gal pals? OMO7 Asahikawa by Hoshino Resort in Hokkaido is offering a limited-time polar bear-themed Valentine’s Day Girls’ Party package for all of February 2022. The single polar bear room, opened in November 2020, will be transformed into its Valentine’s Day version.
Valentine’s Day has been popular in Japan for many years and is a day when women give gifts to men to express their feelings. However, in recent years, it has also become a less romantic event for some–people are buying chocolate for themselves, or giving candies to friends. The polar bear room is perfect for girlfriends who just want to relax and have a good time. Why a polar bear? The Asahikawa Zoo is nearby and is an incredibly popular attraction.
The Polar Bear Valentine Room, Only Available for One Party per Day
Decorated from top to bottom in cute bears, guests can also wear matching polar bear loungewear, perfect for those Instagram shots. This will be a girls’ gathering you’ll never forget!
Polar Bear-inspired Snacks for the Perfect Girls’ Night
When girls get together, they just love to chat. But talking so much can make you hungry, so plenty of snacks will be waiting in the guest room! If you’re not in the snacking mood, they also make wonderful souvenirs.
Polar Bear Desserts, A Must-Have in Asahikawa
The area around OMO7 Asahikawa is lined with stylish cafes where you can take a break from your daily life. After enjoying the Valentine’s Room, head out into the nearby neighborhood to Fukuyoshi Cafe for some polar bear sweets. The treats are included with the price of the room, so there’s no reason to miss it!
Polar Bear Valentine’s Girls’ Party
Available: February 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
Spend the Winter in a Unique Shinshu Snow Hut with Limited-Time Package
17.November.2021 | SPOT
A part of Hoshino Resorts, KAI Alps is an incredible hot spring inn located in Omachi, Nagano prefecture, at the foot of the Northern Japanese Alps. In February 2022, the hotel will allow guests to book the Shinshu Snow Hut Experience, where visitors can enjoy the winter in a traditional snow-packed hut surrounded by bamboo lights. This area is one of the snowiest places in the region, and the locals have plenty of knowledge when it comes to getting through the cold.
Nagano prefecture is often called the ‘Space prefecture’ for its beautiful starry skies. Inside the snow hut, guests will be surrounded by lights, and bamboo lanterns will light the way. These gentle lights are perfect for the white of winter, despite the cold.
Exclusively for this package, a kotatsu (heated table) will be placed inside the huts, and guests can wear traditional local clothing perfect for the weather. Sweet sake made at the Hokuan Sake Distillery in Omachi City and local rice cakes with Nozawa pickled greens, a Shinshu specialty, will also be served up.
How would you like to partake in this traditional experience?
Shinshu Snow Hut Experience
Running: February 1, 2022 – February 28, 2022
Price: ¥2,000 per person (Tax & Service Charge included)
Reservations: Make on the website at least one week in advance
Capacity: 1 group per session (2-4 people per group)
Location: KAI Alps – Hoshino Resorts
Hours: 19:00-19:45 / 20:00-20:45
Limited to Hotel Guests Only
G-NEXT, Hightlighting Up-and-Coming Artists Each Month, Announces October Picks
05.November.2021 | MUSIC
Subscription music streaming service AWA has teamed up with free video service GYAO! and Nihon Kogakuin College to develop G-NEXT, a project to highlight a particular up-and-coming artist each month. October’s POWER PUSH artist is singer-songwriter Riho Nishikata, who is captivating young people not only with her sound, but with her deeply personal lyrics and design prowess.
AWA has also released a playlist of songs selected by Nishikata herself. This playlist, titled “Tomorrow Will be a Little Better,’ is filled with both up-tempo tracks and ballads, all capable of making hopelessness disappear. Be sure to follow the official AWA Twitter page and retweet the designated post to be entered to win an AWA hat autographed by Riho Nishikata!
G-NEXT has also unveiled a special webpage filled with music videos from this month’s artists, so be sure to check them out!
POWER PUSH ARTIST Riho Nishikata: Tomorrow Will be a Little Better
- Just in Time to Dance / OYAT
- That’s All I Need (BASI REMIX) / BASI
- Ultramarine / Naotaro Moriyama
- Mabushii Hito (Dazzling Person) / Humbert Humbert
- Kaede / Spitz
- The Traveling Guitar / Lucky Old Sun
- About the Time Machine / Merengue
- Don’t Let Me Go / Have a Nice Day!
- LONELY NIGHTS / tofubeats
- nothing anymore / Age Factory
- I Need Something / Newton Faulkner
Official Site: https://awa.fm/
POWER PUSH ARTIST Riho Nishikata: Tomorrow Will be a Little Better
G-NEXT Feature: https://gyao.yahoo.co.jp/feature/music/g-next/
Trend News Interview: https://trendnews.yahoo.co.jp/archives/794561/
Follow the Official AWA Twitter page and retweet the designated post. Winners will be selected by lottery: https://twitter.com/AWA_official/status/1453194747120537606
Gorgeous Project Mapping Event Coming to Yamashiro Onsen in Kaga, Ishikawa
26.October.2021 | SPOT
DMM.com will sponsor a projection mapping project titled Yamashiro Night Promenade Fall 2021 on Yamashiro Onsen Street in Kaga, Ishikawa prefecture from October 30 until November 28, 2021.
The limited-time project is being organized by the Yamashiro Onsen Tourist Association with support from DMM. Under the themes of harmony and local tradition, brilliant images of flowers, water, and geometric patterns will illuminate the hot spring resort while accompanied by music. There will also be traditional Taiko performances during the event.
Yamashiro Night Promenade Fall 2021
Running: October 30 – November 28, 2021
Hours: 20:20-21:20 (Canceled for rain)
Address: Yamashiro Onsen Street in front of Hatori Ryokan (17 Onsen-dori, Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga City, Ishikawa)
Official Site: https://sousei.dmm.com/
New Rap Track by monyusode Inspired by 1926 Short Story ‘The Izu Dancer’
20.October.2021 | MUSIC
Female duo monyusode just released their new track With no ODORIKO on October 8, 2021. The song is available on the iTunes store and major streaming sites.
The song was inspired by the 1926 short story The Izu Dancer by Nobel Prize-winning Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata. Kawabata was the first Japanese writer to win the award in 1968 and the short story follows a young boy from Tokyo traveling to Izu on a lonely summer holiday. On this trip, he repeatedly crosses paths with five traveling musicians who bring joy back to his life.
Comment from monyusode
“With no ODORIKO is a song that combines a traditional enka-style melody with modern rap. Be sure to pay attention to the lyrics!”
“The music video tells the story of a traveler who meets and falls in love with a dancer. It was shot in the town of Murata in Miyagi prefecture and features this rare and incredibly beautiful scenery. We hope you’ll enjoy the casting!”
Kadokawa Musashino Museum Celebrates First Anniversary with Ukiyo-e Theater from Paris Project
To celebrate the location’s first anniversary, the Kadokawa Musashino Museum will hold a 360-degree experimental exhibition titled Ukiyo-e Theater from Paris starting October 30. The theater continuously holds showings to help share Japanese culture with both domestic and international visitors.
Bowie as Kidomaru. Masumi Ishikawa for the Ukiyo-e Project
Momoiro Clover Z and KISS. Megumi Oishi (BALCOLONY) for the Ukiyo-e Project
In the Edo period, the price of one ukiyo-e print was 28 mon, the same as a bowl of soba noodles. The word ukiyo means ‘this world,’ and these paintings captured the familiar and the mundane. In that period of time, these creations were what television, the internet, and Instagram are to us today. In the 19th century, ukiyo-e pieces first appeared in Europe and made a large impact on impressionist artists, which continues to this day.
Danny Rose Studio has helped create a giant video space for the new exhibition, combining the old and the new. The Dreamed Japan – Images of the Floating World exhibition has been experienced by over 2 million people in France and is now coming to Japan for the first time with some new enhancements. Twelve unique works of art will be dynamically projected on a massive space, transporting visitors into an entirely new world. Clocks will tick, lanterns will dance in the air, cherry blossoms will flutter in the wind, and waves will rush overhead.
In the back of the Grand Gallery, a large number of ukiyo-e prints used by the Danny Rose Studio will be on display along with works by contemporary Japanese ukiyo-e artists.
Ukiyo-e Theater from Paris
Running: October 30, 2021 – April 10, 2022
Kadokawa Musashino Museum 1F Grand Gallery
Exhibition Featuring Famed Silk Fabrics from Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture Now Open
Tsuruoka, Yamagata prefecture is known throughout Japan and the world for its silk production. Beginning on September 18, a new exhibition is inviting guests to see some of the incredibly beautiful fabrics to come out of the area, particularly highlighting Reiko Sudo, an innovative cloth-maker living in the area. These stunning pieces are being displayed at the Matsugaoka Reclamation Site, celebrating 150 years of history in 2021 and known as the birthplace of Tsuruoka silk. In particular, Sudo’s own Kibiso fabrics, created with the intent of blending long-held traditions with modern technologies, will be making an appearance! Kibiso refers to the first silk that comes off the cocoons in industrial silk spinning.
Kibiso Stripes & Streaks: 2018 Photo Sue McNab
Kibiso Zori: Photo Keiko Matsubara
Swinging Cherries: 2021 Photo Keiko Matsubara
An exhibit featuring the production process, original design sketches, and prototypes
Kibiso – Ogarami Choshi Sheets: 2018 Photo Keiko Matsubara
Ogarami Choshi, the byproduct of the silk mill: Photo Keiko Matsubara
The First Cultivation of the Matsugaoka Reclamation Site
Tsuruoka City is the only region in Japan where the entire silk-making process–from caring for silkworms to dying and wearing–is completed in a single place. Silk production began in 1872 when the former Shonai clam’s samurai warriors began cultivating new lands around the Matsugaoka area. During the Meiji period, a local inventor named Saito Toichi invented the automatic weaving machine, making the production of silk fabrics much quicker and easier. The new fabrics were exported around the country to be used in dresses, and silk production quickly became the area’s main industry.
Kibiso, a type of thread made from the first silk discharged from a silkworm, has been in production since 2007 and is breathing new life into the area’s industry. The thread is hard and thick, making it very difficult to work with–but once these works are completed, the textile is extremely durable. It holds moisture well, has antibacterial properties, and will help protect the wearer from UV rays. Combining new designs with functionality, Kibiso also cuts down on waste, and museums in the United States and the United Kingdom currently have some of these creations on display, with more requesting installations.
At the current exhibition, 29 unique textiles, mainly Kibiso, are hung from the ceiling. Visitors are allowed to touch each of these pieces, and can also view the entire creative process from sketches and prototypes to the final product. All pieces were created together with the members of NUNO, a textile design studio directed by Sudo. The designs were decided on through conversations with craftsmen throughout Japan. By reviewing traditional processes and helping them evolve to suit modern needs, Kibiso was born and is helping to revitalize the silk industry in Tsuruoka.
A highlight of the exhibition is ogarami choshi, a byproduct of silk production often caught in the thin metal tubes of silk mills. These can be torn into sheets and used for new creations, and by doing so, helps reduce waste.
Circular Design -Kibiso Continues-
Running: September 18 – October 17, 2021 (Planned to be extended until the end of 2021)
Hours: 9:00-16:00 (Closed on Wednesdays)
Address: Matsugaoka Reclamation Site, Silkwork-Raising Room 2F (29 Haguromachi Matsugaoka, Tsuruoka, Yamagata)
Three Unique Japanese Cafes You’ll Want to Visit Again and Again
Most of us have been spending more and more time at home over the past year. It’s time to get out for a change of scenery, and what better activity than cafe hopping! Check out these unique cafes around Japan, each offering a safe and relaxing space to enjoy a day out.
[Saitama] Bath Cafe BIVOUAC
This cafe located in Kumagaya City offers a full range of bath and sauna facilities, as well as a restaurant featuring healthy dishes filled with local, freshly-picked veggies.
[Gifu] Activity Cafe Takayama Zenko-ji
Set inside a Buddhist temple, this cafe invites anyone, regardless of faith or nationality, to enjoy a cup of tea while experiencing traditional culture. It’s also a great space to work remotely, with free Wi-fi!
Filled with plants and light, NANARIDA has been dubbed a digital detox cafe, not allowing smartphones or laptops each Sunday. Leaving your phone with the staff will grant you a free beverage, so come enjoy some tea and conversation.
TEXT： Natalie（MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
Enka Superstar Aki Yashiro Celebrating 50 Years in Showbiz at Shibuya PARCO
Shibuya PARCO is about to be hijacked by Enka singer Aki Yashiro! Celebrating 50 years since her major debut, the singer will transform Union Records Shibuya into Yashiro Records, and the analog version of Aki Yashiro Best Hits 8 will be sold exclusively at this location. The takeover begins September 25, the exact date of her debut.
Aki Yashiro Best Hits 8 album jacket
Poster on the reverse side of booklet & Aki Yashiro Best Hits 8 bonus: Original Bromide (2L-size)
Limited-edition 2G T-shirt: ¥7,500 (M/L sizes available)
Aki Kannon Deco-Truck
Aki Yashiro Best Hits 50
Aki Yashiro’s Best Hits – New Recordings and New Singles
The jackets for the analog version of Aki Yashiro Best Hits 8 and the 50th-anniversary Greatest Hits album were created by artist Keiichi Tanaami and photographer team TOKI, with art direction provided by Naohiro Ukawa. A number of limited-edition products featuring the new art will be sold at 2G on the second floor of Shibuya PARCO.
Aki Kannon, one of the more famous deco-trucks, will be parked on the first floor Park Avenue side of Shibuya PARCO for a limited time, from September 24-26.
Running: September 25 – October 3, 2021
Where: Shibuya PARCO B1F (Union Records Shibuya)
Official Site: https://shibuya.parco.jp/event/detail/?id=4143
The Heike Story Anime Gets New Visuals, Staff Comments Released
23.September.2021 | ANIME&GAME
The Heike Story, now airing on Fuji TV on Demand in Japan and Funimation in the United States, has released some new visuals. The series is set to premiere on Fuji TV’s +Ultra block in January 2022. The new visual shows a profile shot of Biwa (voiced by Aoi Yuuki), a blind priestess with the ability to see the future. A new 15-second PV has also been released, and translator Hideo Furukawa, artist Fumiko Takano, and character designer Takashi Kojima have also posted comments on the project’s official website.
The Heike Story PV (15-second version)
The 90-second version of the show’s ending theme unified perspective by Kensuke Ushio is now available to stream.
The Heike Story is based on Hideo Furukawa’s 2016 modern translation of The Tale of the Heike, an epic tale from the 13th century. It is produced by Science Saru and produced by Kyoto Animation’s Naoko Yamada, known for her directorial work on A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird, and K-On!
Comment from Translator Hideo Furukawa
The Tale of the Heike is a story all Japanese people should know, but in my opinion, many people misunderstand it. This is likely because people are typically only exposed to a very small piece of a much larger story. If you read through the entirety of the book, you’ll find plenty of examples of the horror of war. It’s sad. There’s a need to repose the souls of the dead, a need to mourn the dead. But in addition to the men who play the main roles on the battlefield, there’s even more drama depicted by women. Who knew that the main characters in The Tale of the Heike also include women? I wanted this anime series to show that. It’s vivid. Poignantly so. This series touches on points once hidden in the original work. Biwa, the main character, is sure to pull on your heartstrings.
Comment from Artist Fumiko Takano
When I began sketching the characters, I started with Shigemori, then moved on to the Heike brothers, starting with the youngest.
All of them are incredibly handsome. They’re unlike the kinds of guys I usually draw in my own manga.
In the middle of the design stage, I was shown the director’s storyboard.
I was so happy when I saw Biwa all over the place, with her round face and her curious eyes.
This series is fresh and new, and I just want to thank everyone who gave me the opportunity to be a part of it.
Comment from Character Designer, Takashi Kojima
(It’s fantastic, so be sure to watch!)
The Heike Story
Airing on Fuji TV’s +Ultra programming block in January 2022
Currently on Fuji TV on Demand and Funimation in the US
*Broadcast dates and times are subject to change.
The Heike Story original soundtrack EP/Kensuke Ushio
the beginning, boy’s own, unknown plan
Streaming URL: https://lnk.to/Heike_OST_EP
The Heike Story Ending Theme
unified perspective (90 second variation)
Streaming URL: https://lnk.to/unified_perspective_TVsize
Official Site: HEIKE-anime.asmik-ace.co.jp
New Tokyo Tourism Center ‘Have a Nice TOKYO!’ Opens to Promote Local Attractions
22.September.2021 | SPOT
Have a Nice TOKYO! (HanT), a new tourist communication center promoting both local and nationwide events and attractions, celebrated its grand opening on September 14, 2021.
This new facility aims to provide assistance and guidance to both domestic and international visitors, helping with matters relating to sightseeing, culture, food, and technology. It’s three main functions are tourism assistance, providing useful and necessary information, and selling goods from around the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a major blow against the country’s tourism industry, this new venture was opened in a conveniently-located space, well-suited for the important task of helping the local and nationwide economies when the country opens to travel once again. The nearby Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery, a cafe, will act as a partner facility and will offer a special menu linked to the project.
Tourism Advice & Guidance
The information counter provides helpful information for tourists regarding events, stores, and facilities in the area. In the future, a variety of tours will be available to choose from, highlighting the attractions of the region, as well as providing ticket sales, luggage storage, and sightseeing vehicles such as buses and rentable bikes.
Travel Information & Assistance
POP UP ZONE
In the POP UP ZONE, visitors can experience all sorts of unique things from around Japan using the five senses! See, hear, and taste different areas of the country using crafts, food, and technology, and get personalized recommendations regarding where to explore next!
Sale of Goods
See, smell, or taste something you liked in the POP UP ZONE? The SHOP ZONE will offer tons of different specialty products from all around Japan!
Be sure to stop by the next time you’re in Tokyo!
Have a Nice TOKYO!
Address: Mitsubishi Building 1F (2-5-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
Hours: 9:00-21:00 Weekdays, weekends, and holidays. (Hours subject to change.)
Access: 3-minute walk from Tokyo Station, 3-minute walk from Tokyo Station on Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, 1-minute walk from Nijubashimae Station on Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
Official Site: https://haveanice.jp/
Machi Tawara Exhibition Highlighting Poet’s Inspirational Works to be Extended
The Kadokawa Musashino Museum in Tokorozawa, Saitama, has been holding an exhibition honoring the works of contemporary writer and poet Machi Tawara since July 21 of this year. Now, the showing has been extended until December 5, 2021, to allow more people to enjoy the work of this inspirational and prolific creator.
Tawara won the Kadokawa Tanka Award in 1986, and in 1987, her collection of poems were published in the book Salad Anniversary, which went on to sell three million copies and become a literary phenomenon. In the 35 years since, Tawara has published six more poetry books, and in 2021, her latest collection Size of the Future received the highest award in the world of tanka. A genre of classical Japanese poetry, tanka is what put Tawara on the map, and the writer is credited with revitalizing the style in the modern age. Her poetry tackles countless personal subjects, including love, childbirth, single motherhood, the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, moving, and most recently, COVID-19.
Since its opening in July, the exhibition has been well-received by visitors, resonating with both the young and old and bridging the gap between those who lived in the Showa era, the Heisei era, and the current Reiwa era. There is something for everyone to connect to in this gorgeous showing of raw emotion in the form of poetry.