【Tokyo Stroll】”Traveler’s Factory” in Nakameguro—jot down memories of each day with a personalized “traveler’s notebook”

22.November.2017 | FEATURES / SPOT

Nakameguro—a quiet district nestled within Meguro. It’s a fun place to take a stroll around, lined with second hand clothes shops and cafés. It’s just two stops from Shibuya Station making it an easy location to get to.

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Today, Hikari Shibata takes us to “Traveler’s Company,” an internationally popular notebook shop that specializes in “traveler’s notebooks.”

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Upon hearing that the shop stocks lots of cute items, Hikari quickly took the lead. Traveler’s Company is just 3-minutes’ walk by foot from Nakameguro Station via the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. It’s super close to the station so it’s the perfect first stop on your stroll.

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A “traveler’s notebook” is a special type of notebook that you can refill and customize to your liking. The cover is made of leather meaning the style and texture will change the more you use it. Part of its charm also comes from how easy it is to get absorbed in writing inside one. The pages are refillable, and you can get all sorts of different customizable parts for the notebook, so you can really work to make it personal.

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In addition to these traveler’s notebooks, the shop also stocks masking tape, stamps and other stationery pieces, not to mention countless bits and bobs that will go towards making your notebook truly your own creation. And because Traveler’s Factory sells many items that are popular even overseas, lots of foreigners will make their way to Nakameguro to stop by.

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Besides stationary, you can also expect to find a range of other items in the shop, such as restored film cameras and beverage products such as cups and coffee drippers. Hikari  was in a daze by the coffee grinder, something she’s been interested in for a long time.

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These adorable penguin items are a collaboration with Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am for short. That’s right, there aren’t just original items – the shop often collaborates with various shops and businesses, so be sure to check what they’re selling if you drop by.

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These are original design postcards. The shop gets a lot of travelers so they sell a lot of postcards! You can write about your travels on a postcard you purchase in the free space on the 2nd floor and mail it from the shop. You can also buy stamps there.

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Hikari intently studied the practicality of the notebooks. The main aspect that sparked her attention was the refills. You can buy useful pouches to store away tickets, seals to conveniently stick photos and many other unique refill items you wouldn’t find for ordinary notebooks.

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Another highlight at Traveler’s Company is receiving a special stamp. When you shop there, you can stamp a book with one of their 20+ stamps! The designs are unique to the shop, so be sure to stamp one in your travel log.

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The shop is a 60-year-old renovated building and has a 2nd floor free space area where you can enjoy a cup of coffee. Shelves are lined with lots of books, so you can spend some relaxing time there to chill out and read a book. Events and workshops are also held about once a month so be sure not to miss out!

 

Hikari is no stranger to Nakameguro as she has visited many times to go around the second-hand clothes stores. She was thrilled to find this hidden spot that not only sells original notebooks and various stationeries, but a range of miscellaneous items too. It even has a café. If you find yourself in Nakameguro and in need of some quiet time, then definitely consider taking refuge at the cozy Traveler’s Factory.

 

■Information

Traveler’s Factory

Address: 3-13-10 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo

Access: 3 minutes by foot from the South Exit of Nakameguro Station via the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line and the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line

Open: 12:00-20:00

TEL: 03-6412-7830

Website: https://www.travelers-factory.com

Model:Hikari Shibata

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Hikari Shibata is a model for numerous popular fashion magazines. She gives a fresh and eloquent impression with her fashion sense that goes hand in hand with her unique style. She also posts lifestyle content across her social media, including on her Instagram and Twitter accounts, which receives huge support and attention from her female readers of the same generation. As well as working as a model, she is also active in the field of photography, and has even held photo exhibitions inside and outside Tokyo. Hikari also maintains her very own portfolio website which features her photography work.

Instagram:@_sbthkr

Writer:Ryoichi Komaba

Photograph:Haruka Yamamoto

Translator;Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

 

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    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

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    We gave ourselves more time to arrive at the meeting place to be in the safe side, but it seems Yutaro-kun was already there waiting for us!

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    With our drinks in hand, it’s time to head to Nihonbashi for our Edo summer date!

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    After strolling along the Wind-Chime Forest Path we make our way towards this year’s ECO EDO Art Aquarium event.

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    morozoff Kamadashi Cheesecake (Goldfish) – ¥270 Each (Tax Included)

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    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

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    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.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #11 – ‘Hatoya’ in Asakusa

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Hatoya which is located in Asakusa Shin-Nakamise Arcade.

     

    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.

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    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.

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

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

    12.July.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    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.

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    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.

  • Snoopy Master of Disguise Themed Fair Kicks Off With Space Theme at PEANUTS Cafe & Diner

    05.July.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FOOD

    This summer, all branches of the PEANUTS Cafe and PEANUTS DINER are holding a fair to celebrate Snoopy and his many disguises. The first theme is “Astronaut Snoopy.”

     

    IT’S A BEAGLE’S LIFE “I DID IT!” is the official catchphrase tied to this first theme which will see lots of space themed merchandise sold. And from July 17, a very special drink will be sold inspired by the Milky Way shimmering in space.

    Astronaut Lemonade: Have-In ¥730 (Before Tax) / Takeout ¥600 (Tax Included) *On sale July 17, comes with original coaster

    A beautiful spacey gradation is achieved by combining Blue Curacao syrup to a purple Blue Mallow tea. You might even catch a glimpse of a moonbound Snoopy in there. If you order this to have in the drink will be served over refreshing soda flavoured marble ice. It also comes with a limited-edition coaster you can take home. This one’s sure to be an Instagram contender!

     

    Participating Branches
    PEANUTS Cafe Nakameguro: Have-In/Takeout
    PEANUTS DINER Yokohama: Have-In/Takeout
    PEANUTS Cafe Kobe: Takeout Only
    PEANUTS DINER Kobe: Have-In Only

     

    PEANUTS Cafe×Thermo Mug <Astronaut> ¥3,500 (Before Tax)

    From the cafe’s popular tumbler collaboration series comes a new thermo mug. It’s bright red and features Astronaut Snoopy on the front. The mug keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold so you can take out your beverage of choice during any season. It also comes with a lid to ensure it does not spill when tipped or knocked. Perfect for work or when you’re reading♡

     

    POPSOCKETS GRIP Red/Blue <Astronaut> ¥2,400 (Before Tax)
    PopSockets are a must-have item for your handheld device, and these ones come with the Astronaut Snoopy design. Until now the PopSockets sold at the cafes and diners have been monochrome but you can grab these ones in red or blue! The red one is sold at the Nakameguro, Yokohama and Kobe branches while blue can be bought on the online shop. Both are available while supplies last.

     

    Original Sticker <Astronaut> ¥850 (Before Tax) *On sale from July 17
    This set of four large stickers also come in red and blue colours with Snoopy in his astronaut disguise. Stick them on your PC or laptop, suitcase and anywhere else so you can be with Snoopy all the time.

     

    © 2019 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

  • 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.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #10 – ‘Donguriya’ in Nishi-Ogikubo

    10.May.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Donguriya.

     

    To get there I plodded along from the North Exit of JR Nishi-Ogikubo Station, and after about 3-minutes I saw it!

     

    Various shops lined the street, but nature had almost reclaimed this single building which was wrapped in foliage. There’s no doubt that the people who pass by this way stop to take a look. Its inviting appearance elicits a peek as you’re left wondering what kind of place it is. I feel like a wonderful story is about to unfold!

    A sign sits at the front of the cafe with its mascot character waiting to greet you.


    He’s cute in a way that I can’t describe♬

    Time to head inside.

     

    Most of the interior is made of wood, a perfect accompaniment to the cafe’s name Donguriya (“Acorn Hut”).


    All of the signs as well as the menu on the wall are handwritten by the owner himself. It’s heartwarming just to look at♬

     

    Sipping coffee while enjoying the jazz music coming from the record player is nothing short of a luxury!

    I ordered pizza toast (drink + pizza toast set is ¥800), a Donguri cookie and coffee (drink + Donguri cookie set is ¥650).

    The toast is sliced thickly; the crusts are crunchy and the middle is soft. It was really tasty and had an old-fashioned taste to it.
    Donguri’s cookies are made by someone who has been a fan of the cafe  since long ago. They have a simple sweetness and go perfectly with the coffee!

     

    Since the cookies are made by a regular who has always loved Donguri they are the perfect cookies for Donguriya! If you pay a visit then you should definitely order one.

    The blend coffee is full-bodied and has a rich aroma. There is a slightly bitter aftertaste too. The coffee beans are also roasted in-house! It was really tasty and easy to drink even for someone like me who doesn’t know a lot about coffee.

     

    The owner and his older brother went to numerous cafes with their friends to try various different coffees before coming up with their own blend. It’s the real deal.

     

    It really felt as if I had been sucked into the world of a story with the warm light filtering through the windows and illuminating the tableware and furniture.

    Finally, a photo with the owner himself!

     

    He told me wonderful stories about the coffee and food at Donguriya which made me fall in love with the cafe even more.

     

    I want to bring my friends here next time♬

     

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

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

    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.

  • Tokyo Stroll: The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone #9 – ‘Cafe Ace’ in Kanda

    27.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    In this edition of The Café That You Want to Visit to See Someone, I visited Cafe Ace in Kanda.

     

    Being a cafe specialising in coffee it’s no surprise they have 40 different varieties of coffee! They even have 15 kinds of tea. Being able to pick out your favourite coffee before the morning rush every morning is really wonderful.

    Cafe Ace is one of the places I’ve wanted to cover for a long time in this series. I was excited to get inside!

     

    Its striped roof gives it quite a retro atmosphere. The warm colour scheme of the decor inside is that from old times – it’s very relaxed. It hasn’t changed since it opened way back when. It has continued to maintain its ways in spite of times changing. I think that’s wonderful.

     

    The cafe carries all kinds of magazines that have been published over the years. They range from 3 to 40 years old. The owner showed me his collection as we spoke about the cafe and conveyed his sentiment for Ace. I feel I have learnt much about its history!

    The menu plaques attached to the wall are all handwritten by the owner (he even wrote on the camel artwork above!)

     

    Simply amazing. His handwritten work spreads across the entire wall of Ace.

    I have come here on my before but I had no idea he had written all of this out so in learning more about it I have come to love Cafe Ace even more.


    His love and warmth can be felt throughout the whole room.

    And this―this is Cafe Ace’s famous seaweed toast! It’s made with seaweed, butter and soy sauce.


    The ingredients are simple but the flavour of the seaweed complements the butter perfectly. It’s super delicious, I want to eat it everyday! And it only costs ¥170.

     

    In the morning you can have it with blend coffee for ¥500 (+¥20 for iced coffee). You even get free refills on the blend coffee up until noon!

    American doughnuts, too. You can enjoy these at the small price of ¥230. They are sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and serve with a knob of butter in the ring. The heat of the doughnuts helps the butter to melt so you can lather it all over.

    Finally, a photo of the owner himself. Even in the photo I feel like his smile gives his customers strength. Seeing his lively energy gave me energy too.

     

    He holds his valuable feelings close, doing what he loves in the place he loves. I want to keep on seeing his radiating smile.

  • Hotel Gajoen Tokyo launches 3-day limited plan! Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the cherry blossoms at Meguro.

    25.February.2019 | SPOT

    Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is a museum hotel where you can discover the beauty of Japan. December 2018 marked its 90th anniversary since opening. For a three-day limited period from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March 2019, you can thoroughly enjoy Japanese hospitality as the hotel will be running a rickshaw service around Meguro River for guests to enjoy the cherry blossoms.

     

    The name of the rickshaw service accommodation plan is “Jinrikisha de meguru Meguro kawa no kano ko ryoko”. You can select this plan whilst booking a room at the hotel. The plan involves a rickshaw ride around Tokyo’s leading cherry blossom-viewing hotspot for 30 minutes. During the ride, guests can enjoy the spring breeze as they sweep around the sakura trees of Meguro river. 

    After cherry blossom-viewing from the rickshaw, your hotel room, fully equipped with a jet bathtub and steam sauna, will be waiting for you. Each room of the hotel was designed with the Japanese concept of “harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity” to ensure that every single guest can fully enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay. Hotel Gajoen Tokyo can only offer this service as it is located along Meguro River near all the cherry blossoms. The reservation period started on Wednesday 20th February.

    In addition, during the same period in March, all sorts of limited edition cherry blossom celebrations will be taking place at the hotel, from themed restaurant menus to special events. From art to gourmet and desserts, there is so much to enjoy. Make sure to check out these spring-themed menus as you cannot get them anywhere else! The smell of spring will be wafting around the hotel due to the limited edition  “Sakura Menus” which will be prepared by the restaurants in the hotel, for example, Tofuutei and RISTORANTE CANOVIANO.

     

    You can fully embrace spring inside the hotel just as much as you can outside! Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is your chance to enjoy the cherry blossoms while they last. Come relax at your own pace with this comfortable and luxurious experience.

  • Tokyo Stroll: An izakaya date with Yutaro at Sai in Shibuya

    22.February.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Shibuya―Tokyo’s central hub for youth culture and fashion trends. This commercial and business centre is one that never sleeps: it is always bustling with people enjoying themselves whether that be shopping with friends, going on dates with their special someone, and pretty much anything you can think of a young person doing in one of the most popular parts of a city like Tokyo.

     

    This is where Yutaro-kun is taking me on our next long-awaited next date. It’s little more of a grown-up date than usual this time as we’re going to an izakaya. Yutaro-kun is crazy about umeshu, or “plum wine,” so he’s taking me to a place that stocks a wide variety of tasty drinks. This is our first time drinking together. My heart is pounding.

    Our destination is Sai, an izakaya with private booths and charcoal fires for cooking yakitori. It’s a 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station’s Hachiko Exit. It’s on the third floor of the building directly in front of the Udagawa Kōban police station. The bar has around 100 varieties of umeshu as well as food and meals made using them. The wall is lined with wine bottles as far as the eye can see. I’m already getting excited.

    The menu lists where each wine is produced by prefecture along with descriptions of each drink. I’m interested in trying the umeshu from the region I was born in, but there’s lots of other delicious sound ones too so I’m spoiled for choice.

    “What shall we do? Want to compare different drinks?”

    Yutaro-kun is quick to jump on board the idea. He’s so manly!

    Umeshu Taste-Comparing Set (3 Drinks): ¥1,000

    This taste-comparing set comes with three types of umeshu. It’s an ‘introductory-level’ set that rings true as all three varieties are very easy to drink and each of their flavours are completely different. The Akatan Umeshu produced in Nara Prefecture is made with unripened plums farmed from Nara. It has a refreshing taste and the flavour of the plums is very rich. The Kishu no Yuzu Umeshu from Wakayama is made with plums from Wakayama Prefecture and the fresh juice of yuzu fruits from Tokushima Prefecture. It’s sweet and sour with a refreshing flavour complemented by the citrus fruits. The Hotei Fuku Ume Nigori Umeshu from Osaka is made from highly valuable plum wine that has been aged over a long period of time. It’s mixed with plum jam and pieces of fresh plum to give it a sweet and thick texture.

    As well as this introductory-level set there’s the mid-level set that focuses on shochu, an upper-level set with a wide variety of drinks, and an extra set that features fruit sake.

    “Mm, this one’s delicious! It has a real citrus-y feel. Ah, but the Hotei Fuku is good too.”

    Yutaro-kun looks like he’s really enjoying drinking and comparing the different varieties of umeshu.

    My heart beats fast seeing his adult side drinking sake. Huh, am I drunk already?

     

    Zeppin Caesar Salad: ¥780

    The Caesar salad comes with a specially-made egg salad dressing made from soft-boiled eggs. It’s fun mixing the dressing. After mixing it enough we pour it over and tuck in!

    “Do you eat tomatoes?”

    I’m happy how considerate he is in portioning out the salad.

    Seafood Carpaccio: ¥720

    We both enjoy a carpaccio together made with fresh fish bought on the day and a jelly made with Kishu Akai Umeshu. Today’s fish ingredient was fatty salmon!

    The amazing flavour of the salmon comes through the centre of the refreshing umeshu jelly.

    Pork Spare Ribs: ¥820

    Kishu Umeshu is this izakaya’s No. 1 recommendation. These spare ribs are cooked slowly in it, giving them a rich and intense flavour as well as a subtle sweetness.

    They’re too delicious I could eat as many as they’d give me!

    “So tender! So delicious! This is true happiness!”

     

    Yutaro-kun never changes, he’s always so energetic when eating something tasty.

    “Thank you for the meal.”

     

    The umeshu and umeshu food was amazing, but what makes me happy more than anything is that I got to drink with Yutaro-kun. I wonder where our next date will take us?

  • Starbucks Reserve® Roastery Tokyo―Get Priority Entry Access to New Tokyo Branch

    06.February.2019 | SPOT

    For 47 years Starbucks has crafted countless cups and mugs of high quality coffee to people around the world.

     

    The coffee chain is always looking to create and innovate, and this particularly ties in with their series of Reserve branches, a unique style of Starbucks that serves rare and premium coffees with which it evolves its craft of coffee as an art form.

     

    It has announced that a new Reserve branch is set to open in Tokyo on February 28, 2019. The building is being designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma who is professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Tokyo.

     

    Japanese customers are already watering at the mouth waiting for the shop to open. It is expected that its grand opening will bring in a tidal wave of coffee lovers, and so Starbucks is giving priority entry tickets to 1,200 people using Starbucks Rewards™ for the dates February 28 (the day of opening) to March 3. That’s 300 people each day, so places are very limited.

     

    The sign-up page can be found on the Japanese page here. The application period runs from February 5 to 11.

  • Tokyo Stroll: Indulge at Harajuku’s Conveyor Belt Dessert Cafe ‘MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron’

    29.November.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD

    MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron is a new hot spot in Harajuku that has been popping up all over Japanese social media. It’s so popular that it’s common to see lines of people waiting outside to get in, and that’s due to the fact that this is the world’s first-ever all-you-can-eat conveyor belt dessert cafe!

     

    MMN decided to visit the cafe to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, it was raining on the day, but that didn’t stop the smiles on girls’ faces waiting outside for it to open which gleamed like a clear summer’s day.

     

    We visited the cafe with Japanese model Rinko Murata who has a weakness for sweet things and whose anticipation for this place was growing.

    Upon entering the cafe you must first buy a ticket from the ticket machine. It costs ¥1,800 (tax included) for all-you-can-eat desserts and a drink.

    This is the drink shelf. You can choose your favourite from a selection of colourful beverages that come in original bottles.

    Rinko-chan picked out a photogenic-looking drink too!

    If you stand against the pastel pink walls you can snap a cute photo from any angle!

     

    Rinko-chan was quick in wanting to snap one. There are messages written over the walls too. It makes you want to take your dessert in hand and take lots of pictures.

    The dessert lane stretches a sweet 38 meters. There are over 25 delights to choose from which appetisingly pass by one by one. They arrive crowning pastel coloured plates looking like precious gems and jewels. There’s even light savoury food in addition to the sweet stuff.

     

    You’re allowed 40 minutes. Heaven begins as you sit down: pick, take a photo, tuck in and repeat.

    Is this one an ice cream? It actually isn’t – underneath the cone hides potato salad! This is one of the non-dessert light foods and is perfect for cleansing your palate. There’s a meat ball burger, nikuman meat bun, popcorn and others too. (And keep in mind that items change depending on the season!)

    All the sweets are bite-sized meaning you can enjoy lots of different kinds one after the other.

    “Eating something this cute feels such a waste!” commented Rinko-chan.

     

    Piling up the plates after you’ve finished is kinda fun too!

    The shortcake dessert with the black cat wafer is the most popular. Only 10 of them come by in an hour. Rinko-chan was lucky enough to get her hands on one.

    The cat has an iconic presence in the cafe. In fact, the “Ron Ron” in the cafe’s name comes from French and refers to the purring sound a cat makes when it’s happy.

    There’s a super cute girly powder room up on the second floor.

    They have hair straighteners, makeup and other bits and bobs that customers are free to use. Use of the powder room isn’t included within the time restriction of the all-you-can-eat service, so once you’ve filled your belly with treats you can hit it up, touch up your makeup and head out shopping.

    If you’re in Harajuku why not enjoy lots of desserts and a girly time over at MAISON ABLE Cafe Ron Ron?

     

    MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON Social Media Campaign

    Running: November 29, 2018 – December 4, 2018

    We are giving away chekki photographs of Rinko Murata randomly to 2 lucky people who follow us on either our Instagram, Twitter or Weibo pages and share this article (or hit ‘Like’ on Instagram). Anyone from around the world can participate in this campaign, so get involved!

     

    Writer: Ai Watanabe

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Snoopy and his friends have a new Pound Cake available at “PEANUTS cafe Nakameguro” and other snoopy stores

    12.November.2018 | FOOD / SPOT

    These new pound cakes are available at [PEANUTS Cafe:Nakameguro] and other PEANUTS stores starting from November 7, 2018.

    They are available in 4 flavors, with the elegant Snoopy decorated box matched to the flavor, stamped in gold.

    PEANUTS Cafe: Pound cake (Cranberry and Framboise) ¥1,850 (without tax)

    The recipe features sweet and sour cranberries with the scent of rich and full-flavored raspberries. The box shows Snoopy wearing a baseball cap with Sally.

    PEANUTS Cafe: Pound cake (chocolate and chocolate chip) ¥1,850 (without tax)

    Chocolate chips are mixed inside of a rich bitter chocolate cake. This double chocolate recipe is made for an adult chocolate taste. The box features a classic scene of Charlie Brown feeding Snoopy.

    PEANUTS Cafe: Pound cake (Blueberry and Vanilla) ¥1,850 (without tax)

    Mellow and sweet vanilla with refreshing and delicious blueberries. The box shows Snoopy waiting to be fed by Lucy.

    PEANUTS Cafe: Pound cake (Pumpkin and Almond) ¥1,850 (without tax)

    Featuring creamy chunks of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. The box features snoopy and Linus who is famous about the episode of waiting for the Jack-o’-Lantern in Halloween.

     

    These are fantastic souvenirs for the holiday season and nice gift for your friends.

    Please enjoy your tea time with ‘kawaii’ original pound cakes from the PEANUTS cafe.

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