【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe you that you want to visit to see someone #3 “Galant” —a retro café in Ueno

15.November.2017 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

“It’s a mysterious café vacuum sealed with an energy that feels like it’s the time of the Japanese economic miracle”

 

We’re at the third installment of this series where we take a stroll to old-fashioned cafes filled with a sense of nostalgia.

I, Ema Tanioka, will be introducing to you another retro café that I am in love with. Today, we go to “Galant” in Ueno, a town where the Showa mood still lingers.

 

Galant has continued to be loved by many people since it opened its doors back in 1977. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the popular café. “Galant” sounds a little space-y, don’t you think? It’s a little different from the norm. When I enquired to the staff about the origin of the café’s name, they told me that it comes from the Mitsubishi Galant as the owner is a fan of cars. To think that a car’s name became the name of a café! But it has a ring to it and is easy to remember, so it might actually be a huge success.

 

Anyway, without further ado, let’s make our way there!

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Galant is on the 2nd floor of this building. As you head up the stairs, it no longer felt like I was in the real world. A completely different world opened before me. Because of the entrance’s chic brickwork, I was surprised by the dazzling lights floating inside.

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And here!

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Here too! There was so much sparkle.

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The first thing to peak my interest was the uniform the staff were wearing. So cute… You don’t see that red & yellow combination much these days. It helped amplify that retro mood of the café even more.

 

The male staff wore red & black! Black was the base colour and had that well defined, guy-like feel to it. Together with the checkered vests, it completed that retro look. It was wonderful. The café was also playing popular Showa era songs. I really felt like I had stepped back in time.

 

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And then… and then! The menu arrived!

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The most popular item on the menu is the chocolate parfait (¥900 tax incl.). It was absolutely stuffed with cream all the way to the middle. For people who love sweet things this is an irresistible delight. By the way, I must ask, what do you do when it comes to the cherry on top of the parfait? The truth is, I absolutely love parfaits, but I’m really not into the cherry – I usually leave it until the end. Even though it looks so cute on the parfait…

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Another item is the cream soda (¥750 tax incl.). When going to a café, you just have to get a cream soda!! It’s because you don’t see them around much besides at cafes and family restaurants, so I’m the person that ends up ordering one unintentionally when if I see it on the menu.

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There’s a nice fat serving of ice cream in there. It’s a drink you can enjoy that has the aesthetic of a dessert. The melon soda is crystal clear like a precious gem. The best part about cream soda is how the ice cream slowly melts into the drink. It’s pretty fun to watch!

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Galant is the kind of café where the more you get to know it, the more you start to love it. Its fans have been supporting it for many years, and even when I become a grandma in the future, I reckon it’ll still be bustling all the same.

 

■Information

Galant (ギャラン)

Address: 6-14-4 Ueno, Taitō, Tokyo

Open: 8:00-23:00

Open all week.

Access: 2-minutes’ walk from Ueno Station via the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / 1-minutes’ walk from Exit 5b at Ueno Station via the Hibiya Line

URL:https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1311/A131101/13039759/

Model&Writer:Ema Tanioku

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Profile:Ema and Eri Tanioku are well-known Aomoji-kei twin models that go by their duo name “EmaEri.” Their twin-like fashion co-ordination and cute looks have earned them a fast growing fan base. They are officially appointed tourism ambassadors and work both in Japan and overseas to promote Harajuku culture. They work as fashion models in a wide range of areas and have appeared in fashion magazines as well as on TV, in dramas, movies and more.  Instagram:@ematanioku

 

Photograph:Haruka Yamamoto

Editor:Ryoichi Komaba

Design:Yuko Abe(ASOBISYSTEM)

Translation:Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

 

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    Super Oiran

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    “Seeing the light reflect on the water from the illuminations lets you see the fish in a different light, doesn’t it?”

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    Ceiling Kingyo

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    “Got some! Let’s eat them while we head back.”

    Goldfish Lantern Walkway

    Our first date in Nihonbashi was so much fun. While on the date Yutaro-kun spoke about the new live-action film he’s in, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War.

     

    “It’s a romance film with mind games to try and make the other person confess their love. I play the character Tsubasa. His number one highlight scene is the kabedon scene. That was my first day shooting, so I was super nervous, but I got along well with the other actors, and the atmosphere on set was harmonious, so I was able to relax for the shoots. Tsubasa is a genuine guy who will believe things that have been said to him in earnest. You’ve definitely gotta check out all his scenes throughout the film!”

     

    “A lot of the cast are the same age as me, so we were all energetic together in the waiting room. There’s a scene at the end where all the cast get together. It took 3 days to shoot so we ended up getting along really well.”

     

    “This film has made me realise that love comes in many shapes, and that mind games happen in a variety of ways between guys and girls. There’s cute scenes that express that small bit of pride that teenagers have, the embarassment they feel, when they get butterflies, scenes that will warm your heart. The film has various elements to it so I thoroughly enjoyed watching it myself. I hope that couples in love in their teens and twenties watch it, and I also hope that married couples watch it and crack up laughing too.”

     

    “In the film it’s summer break, and they go and see fireworks and stuff. It’s definitely one to watch durnig the summer. You’re gonna come watch it too, right? Shall we go?”

     

    An offer we cannot refuse! We’ll definitely go and see it with you, Yutaro-kun! 

     

    Model: Yutaro

    Writer: Yuki Yokoo

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    TALENT PROFILE

    Yutaro

    Yutaro was born in Hiroshima on June 3rd 1998. His modeling career has earned him lots of attention as a fashion icon of the new generation. The famous model also works as a “charisma” shop assistant. Yutaro has gained his reputation as a “mysterious and handsome guy” from his appearance on Japanese variety shows. His debut was made on the show “Gyoretsu no Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo” and has since then appeared on numerous different TV shows. He challenged himself to appear on stage for the very first time in March this year and is gaining popularity by the day for his diverse work.

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    The streets of Tokyo’s historical district of Asakusa are packed to end with cafés. You can be spoiled for choice, but Hatoya stood out to me in particular as it’s an especially old café. Business there began back in 1927 but the actual building was built back in the Taisho period, meaning its history spans more than 90 years ago!

     

    The outside appearance of the shop is smart and chic so it’s very easy to spot. I couldn’t tell by looking from the outside, but the inside is full of old decorations and odds and ends which make you feel the history of the café.

    One reason why I wanted to visit this place so much is because I was drawn to their logo. It’s really retro-kawaii so I just couldn’t resist!

    You should take some photos too if you visit.

    It was time to head inside. It’s really comfy and cozy in there; the atmosphere was nice and relaxed.

    Framed on the wall is a map of the Asakusa area during the Taisho era. Hatoya became famous back then because people could buy coffee for a mere 5 sen (a single sen is one-hundredth of a yen).

     

    When business first began at Hatoya, because the café was opposite the stage door of a theatre, all of the famous actors and actresses would pop in. Some include famous Japanese comedian Roppa Furukawa and film actor Kiyoshi Atsumi who played Tora-san in the film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo.

    I ordered the café’s popular hotcakes which cost ¥600. They have been making these same hotcakes since before the war.

    They were nice and fluffy and had a deliciously gorgeous brown colour. The flavour was out of this world when the butter melted from the heat of the hotcakes and mixed together with the syrup.

     

    The portion might look like a lot but they are fluffy and have a light flavour so can be finished with no problem.

    And is the café’s signature milkshake (¥500).

     

    It’s so refreshing that you can knock it back all in one go. It has a simple flavour but it tasted so good!

    I also ordered the ¥600 cream soda, my favourite beverage.

    I’ve been to many cafés, and have covered many in this series, but this is the first I have dined at with such a deep history. I found myself enthralled by the stories of the owner who has continued to treasure the café and maintained it all the same since it opened. I feel like I have learned about a world I never knew about. The next time I go to Hatoya with a friend I’ll be sure to let them in on its history. I encourage you to visit too!

     

    Writer/Model: Ema Tanioku
    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto
    Design: Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ema Tanioku

    “Emaeri” is the nickname for models Ema and Eri Tanioku, who are Aomoji fashion model twins. Ema and Eri Tanioku specialise in twin fashion coordination. Over the years their fanbase has increased due to their cute looks. Ema Tanioku spreads Harajuku culture within Japan as well as overseas and works as a Harajuku Tourism Ambassador. Starting off as a model, Ema has broadened her talent range from fashion magazines to TV, and from playing the lead role in dramas to movies.

  • Giant 5-Meter Tall Dinosaur Panda Stomps Into Ueno Station

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    The Dinosaur Expo 2019 began at National Museum of Nature and Science in Ueno, Tokyo on July 13, and in promotion of the exhibition, a thrilling dinosaur themed event is set to take place at the Atre Ueno shopping mall from August 1 to September 30.

    Atre Ueno is located inside Ueno Station, and if you roll into the station right now you’d best be careful of the bipedal, carnivorously cute 5 meter high panda-saur. You’ll find it on display at the station’s Grand Concourse (it’s pretty hard to miss!)

     

    You might be wondering why there’s a giant panda dressed as a fluffy dinosaur. The reason is that Ueno Zoo has its very own giant pandas which have become a symbol of the town. And the dinosaur our station panda is dressed as is the Deinocheirus, the main showpiece of The Dinosaur Expo.

    In promotion of the museum’s exhibition, 19 restaurants and cafes at Atre Ueno are serving up their very own dinosaur-inspired meals―both meat for the carnivora and vegetarian for the herbivores―as well as desserts.

     

    Head to Ueno this summer break for your fill of dino fun!

  • Tokyo Stroll: Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog #5 – Uzumako Ceramic Art School

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    It’s been a minute since we last ventured out with Japanese model Yuna Yabe and her beloved pet pup Mozuku. If you’re new to this feature, Yuna Yabe takes her trusty partner Mozuku to various hot spots in Japan that you can enjoy with your pet dog. Their relationship continues to deepen in this priceless experience.

    Today, Yuna and Mozuku head to Uzumako Ceramic Art School which is close to Shiba Park. You can get a good view of TokyoTower from this famous park.

    What’s unique about this art school is that visitors are allowed to take their pets with them. So this means you can take your dog with you to do some ceramics!

     

    Yuna has always had an interest in ceramics. And what better way to experience creating something than with her partner in crime Mozuku! With him tottering beside her, she headed through the entrance curtain with a spring in her step.

    When you enter the classroom, there are lots of examples of pottery ware lining the shelves. The room has that smell of craftsmanship which lingers as you begin the class with a demonstration by the teacher. Once you have your apron on and are fired up to begin, it’s time to start.

     

    The work begins with kneading the clay to make its firmness uniform. This step helps prevent air bubbles from forming.

     

    Yuna asked the teacher many different questions as she enjoyed kneading her clay. “Where does ceramic work originate from?” “What kind of things to other dog owners make when they come here?”

    “What’s Yuna up to?” Mozuku’s puzzled face seemed to imply as he listened to Yuna and the teacher talk.

    Yuna turned to Mozuku and said to him, “I’m going to make you a food bowl!” It seemed like the message got through as his face read, “Looks like my owner is making something just for me.”

     

    Yuna wet her hands with some water and began forming a hole in the centre of her clay bundle. The hole forms and gets bigger as the pottery wheel spins.

    Next, she used both of her hands to ensure the thickness of the bowl was even all the way around.

    “Amazing! The shape of the clay changes in an instant!”

    By adding a little bit of pressure the pile of clay can change shape rapidly. It’s like a living thing.

    “It’s like the clay is my own child. I wanna wrap it up!”

    Once the shape is formed, Yuna cut around the edges. She is a skilled individual, she got the hang of it straight away.

    Mozuku sat right beside Yuna, quiet and curious.

    “Is it my turn yet?”

    He seemed itching to have a go at making something himself too.

    He watched over Yuna’s work from atop the table.

    “I wanna try spinning the wheel too!”

    Mozuku in fact had the most important job of all. Yuna popped a wooden mould onto his paw and stamped a paw print into thebottom of the bowl.

    “There we go!” said Yuna

    Mozuku mustered all of his strength to make his mark, his facial expression unusually serious as he carried out his big task.

    Time to check if the print was done properly!

    Here’s the final product―Mozuku did a great job!

     

    Their teamwork paid off as they were able to create a really cute dog bowl. The tiny footprint is packed with pet love. The art school actually sells a lot of different cute and stylish pet items but the owner making their own makes it unique―the only one in the world.

     

    If that love is able to get through to your pup, the food they eat from the bowl is sure to be even more delicious.

     

    Thanks for your help, Mozuku.

    “I can’t wait to fire it!” Yuna’s excitement was peak from start to finish. She was very satisfied after the class finished.

     

    After two weeks of waiting, the bowl was completely finished.

    Why not try creating something unique special for your own pet―together with them?

     

    Model: Yuna Yabe/Mozuku @yunaaay1030

    Text: Ai Watanabe

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

    TALENT PROFILE

    Yuna Yabe

    Yuna Yabe won the grand prix prize at the “Zipper×ASOBISYSTEM Model Auditions” at the age of 15. She is an expert not only in fashion but make-up and video editing too. She’s an influential figure to the people in her generation. Recently, her work has expanded greatly, such as appearing in music videos. Her activity continues to grow and looks to be very promising indeed.

  • Tokyo Stroll: Walking Through Akasaka Palace, a European-Style Splendor

    29.May.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Akasaka Palace―a building that has welcomed emperors, presidents and prime ministers across the world into its architectural wonders. While it is mainly used for official purposes, did you know that it also offers a public viewing, one that doesn’t hinder on business affairs?

     

    The palace is considered a national treasure of Japan. I paid a visit to this gorgeous edifice that looks just like a European-style palace. Photography is strictly forbidden when visiting, but I was able to receive special permission to cover the inner secrets of this exclusive wonder.

    Akasaka Palace is open throughout the year. There is a daytime reception that lets you enter without having to book a spot in advance (though you’ll have to book if you want to visit the Japanese Style Annex). Visitation is restricted when international state officials are present, so when planning your trip be sure to check the palace’s schedule on the official website. Visitation through the daytime reception begins at the West Gate.

    Originally built in 1909 as the Imperial Palace for the Crown Prince, the building is the only example of neo-Baroque architecture in Japan. It was built by Japanese imperial court architect Katayama Tōkuma. When planning the design for the building, he referenced various palaces across Europe which is why people liken it to Palace of Versailles in France.

     

    Hagoromo no Ma – A reception hall for visitation welcomings

    The first room you come to on the public viewing is “Hagoromo no Ma.” It was originally called a ball room which is why it houses orchestra boxes. Aperitifs dance around the room for invitees who may be there for send-offs, dinner parties or even musical performances.

    Overhead is a gorgeous chandelier which is made up of almost 7,000 separate parts, most of which is crystal. It is the biggest chandelier in the entire palace. The inner part of the mezzanine floor, which looks like a balcony, is used as an orchestra box when the room is used for orchestral concerts.

    The intricate design of the chandelier includes masks inspired by a ball while the walls too are littered with relevant motifs such as instruments. The whole room is decorated in all things musical.

     

    Asahi no Ma – The most high-class room of the palace

    The next room you step into is “Asahi no Ma” which is used for courtesy calls of officials and important people as well as summit meetings. It is the most high-class room in all of Akasaka Palace and is where the state guests say their goodbyes to the Emperor and Empress. The room began reconstruction two years ago and reopened in April this year.

    The room gets its name Asahi (“morning sun”) from the painting of Aurora, the Roman Goddess of dawn, that overlooks the room.

    It is said that in the Meiji Period, when the palace was built, people painted pictures of helmets to symbolize the army and boats to symbolize the navy as the country declared the political measure known as Fukoku kyōhei, which meant to “Enrich the Country, Strengthen the Armed Forces.”

     

    Shoumen Genkan/Large Hall – Welcoming guests of honour

    The “Shoumen Genkan,” or front entrance is where international guests of honour are welcomed. When visiting during public opening hours you don’t enter from this entrance but you are allowed inside. The large hall, which is located up the stairs from the hall that continues through the entrance room, has a striking and vivid deep crimson carpet. Together with the eight towering marble pillars, this hall makes for an overwhelming viewing. The room directly opposite down the stairs is Asahi no Ma.

     

    Sairan no Ma – Where treaties are signed

    The next most high-class room from Asahi no Ma is “Sairan no Ma” which is primarily used for signing ceremonies of treaties. When Asahi no Ma was undergoing renovations, this room was used for informal talks carried out by the emperor and prime minister with foreign rulers.

    The entire room takes on the Empire style which was popular during the rule of Napoleon I. Scattered throughout the room are gold leaf designs of armour, helmets, swords and so on.

     

    Kacho no Ma – Dinner parties with guests of honour

    Kacho no Ma is used for dinner banquets with important official from countries around the world. The room has a more relaxed feeling from the others due to its interior wooden design. It’s also often used for press conferences so those who watch Japanese news may recognise it.

    The room, with its mellow deep wooden design, houses 30 oval cloisonné medallions, depicting four seasons’ flowers and birds. The ceiling art, too, depicts images of birds and wildlife killed by hunting.

    It also has the heaviest chandelier in the palace inside which is a globular speaker.

     

    Yushintei – Japanese-style hospitality in the Japanese Style Annex

    The Yushintei is located in the Japanese Style Annex on the west side of Akasaka Palace. It was built in 1974. Akasaka Palace carries out events and receptions in a western style but the Yushintei welcomes international guests of honour with Japanese-style hospitality. Those who wish to enter must book in advance. The booking comes with a tour.

    As you step through the entrance and into the inner garden through the passage, you will see moso bamboo. This area has a garden with shirakawa gravel and kibune stone from Kyoto.

    In the main Japanese-style room where guests are served Japanese food one can observe the pond from the window. You might recognise it as the place where Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump fed the fish.

    The tea room comes with chairs for foreign visitors who are unable to sit in the traditional Japanese seiza position. Tea is prepared on the upper step which is inspired by Noh theatre.

     

    Afternoon tea in the extraordinary front garden

    20 afternoon tea sets are prepared each day to be enjoyed in the front garden of Akasaka Palace. These cannot be reserved in advance so be sure to arrive early if you’d like to order one. As you enjoy your afternoon tea while gazing around you are filled with a gorgeous feeling you can’t experience anywhere else.

    The general public viewing offers a chance to see numerous parts of the palace. We asked Rinko Murata, who’s pictured in the photos on the viewing, for her thoughts.

     

    “With the first step you take in a gorgeous space unfolds before you. Its grand design made me feel as if I had been summoned to the palace. It was like visiting a foreign country. When you look closely there are lots of decorations that symbolize Japan. It was a fresh experience where you can feel both the Japanese spirit and culture of another country. I feel moved that Japan has such a place as beautiful as this. You all need to visit too.”

     

    There is no requirement to book this viewing in advance, but during busy times (20+ people) those who do book online prior to visiting will be prioritized. Foreign visitors won’t miss out on anything either as they can purchase a voice guide machine for ¥200. These guides come in Japanese, English, Chinese, French and Spanish. A visit to the Japanese Style Annex Yushintei however requires booking prior to your visit. When doing so you can choose between either a Japanese or English-speaking guide. In the case of a sudden official reception, all scheduled public viewings for that day are cancelled, so be sure to check the calendar on the official website before heading there.

     

    Model:Rinko Murata

    Writer:Sayoko Ishi

    Photographer:Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

    TALENT PROFILE

    Rinko Murata

    Rinko Murata works in fashion and is active on radio and TV. Sales of her first style book were so successful that it required extra printing during its first week. She also has a rapidly growing following on her social media. As well as modelling at big fashion events, she has her own column online at “She magazine,” and receives much attention for her work in the areas of culture and lifestyle.

  • Celebrate Ueno Zoo Panda Xiang Xiang’s 2nd Birthday With ecute Ueno’s Panda Sweets & Merchandise

    15.May.2019 | FOOD / SPOT

    Shopping centre ecute Ueno has announced that it is holding a campaign entitled “Pandaful Party” from June 3 to June 30 to celebrate the 2nd birthday of Ueno Zoo’s popular panda Xiang Xiang. Panda themed desserts, food and merchandise will be sold at various stores throughout ecute Ueno.

    Panda Rolled Sushi Set – ¥648 (Tax Included) @ Wakahiro (ecute Ueno)

    Sushi-lovers won’t want to miss this set of rolled sushi. The three cute pandas all come with three different flavours: fried salmon, minced chicken and egg. Available at the ecute Ueno branch of Wakahiro only.

    Panda Baked Sweet Potato (100g) – ¥324 (Tax Included) @ Rapoppo (ecute Ueno)

    Aged potatoes are used to make this popular baked sweet potato treat, and these ones have a cute panda design♡

    Parent & Child Panda Eclair (1 Eclair) – ¥380 (Tax Included) @ Dolce Felice (ecute Ueno)

    These adorable eclairs feature a panda parent and cub on them. They are filled with chocolate custard and a crunchy biscuit.

    Panda Case Beans – ¥972 (Tax Included) – Mameya Bankyu (ecute Ueno) *Serving June 3 – June 16 only

    Inside these panda cases are black soybeans covered in chocolate and houjicha tea chocolate.

    Ueno Assorted Cookies (1 Tin) – ¥1,296 (Tax Included) @ Juchheim (ecute Ueno)

    Grab a cup of tea and tuck into these tin of cute assorted cookies with panda motifs on them.

    Panda Cocoa (Hot/Iced) – ¥400 (Tax Included) @ UP CAFE (ecute Ueno)

    This cup of hot panda cocoa can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

    Merchandise includes cute panda salt, fortunes, a squishy and more.

    People can also get their hands on this exclusive Pandaful Party shopping bag on June 12, the day of Xiang Xiang’s birthday. These are limited in stock so you’ll want to start your shop nice and early!

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