To become a Jedi, I took a samurai lessons

16.February.2018 | FASHION / FEATURES / SPOT

In the world-famous movie, Star Wars, you can find many elements of Japanese samurai culture.

As many of you might know, George Lucas is a big fan of Kurosawa Akira’s movies and it is a famous story that he offered Toshiro Mifune, an actor who played in many of Kurosawa’s movies, the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.

This time, I joined the course called “Samurai Training” held by the kimono rental shop, “Yumenoya” in Asakusa to enjoy STAR WARS™/Jedi Challenges to the fullest.

 

夢乃屋浅草店 外観

To get to Yumenoya, go through the Kaminarimon and turn right at Nakamisedori. And you will see it on your right. Look for the mannequin wearing a kimono.

It is just a 5 minutes on foot from Asakusa station on Tokyo Metro Ginza line. It’s in a very convenient location.

 

夢乃屋浅草店

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You must wear wafuku (traditional Japanese clothes) to participate in Samurai Training. There are many kinds of kimonos available.

This time, I chose a red kimono which looks strong.

Now Ruki’s ready to meet the challenge. She learned how to hold a katana and make a stroke pose.

 

夢乃屋浅草店 侍トレーニング7

Today’s teacher is Ukon Takafuji who is the second generation of “Buto Takafujiryu” from Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture.

In addition to offering lectures, both in Japan and abroad, he established an exercise routine called, “Katana Exercise” to introduce the charms of traditional arts.

 

夢乃屋浅草店 侍トレーニング

Now let’s start the training program. Get dressed in your “furisode” and let’s begin the battle!

First, Ruki learned how to bow.

 

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Ruki “the Katana is much longer than I thought it would be and it’s difficult to use.

 

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After rehearsing for 30 minutes, Luki could use the katana fairy well.

And now let’s beggingSTAR WARS™/Jedi Challenges.

 

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This isSTAR WARS™/Jedi Challenges which Lenovo developed. First , download the Jedi Challenges application and set your smartphone in the goggle. 

The models which this app can be used are iPhone 6, Plus, iPhone X, Galaxy 7, edge, S8, Pixel / Pixel XL, LG G6, Moto Z2 Force Edition and Android smartphones.

English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese are can be used. (2018 January )

 

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First, connect the light saver and smartphone to Bluetooth. It’s good its wireless.

It’s much lighter than you would think and it won’t slip because it has a good grip.

This light saver is just like a real thing in every detail. Just by looking at it, you can enjoy the world view of this game.

 

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Fasten the the smartphone to the goggles as is instructed in the app. It cannot be used with other apps.

It is also recommended that you turn your banner off so that it’s not interrupt your game.

 

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When you put your AR goggles on, a 360 degree 3D image will appear. Look around and you can enter the world Star Wars.

 

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The half invisible characters will appear as life-sized characters. You can experience the scene where Princess Leia asks Obi-Wan for help – the best scene in EP4.

If you play the game in the darkened room the images will be even clear and the atmosphere will be awesome.

 

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There are 3 types of games in total, however the best game is “light saver battle.”
In this game you can actually fight with the characters that appeared in the story using the light saver.

 

STAR WARS™/ジェダイ・チャレンジ2

“I can see the light saver!” says Ruki in excitement. If it was for real you would have to do special training to be able to use the light saver. But in this game it is so easy to use. The power of technology is amazing. Thank you, Lenovo!!

 

STAR WARS™/ジェダイ・チャレンジ

At the early stage you can successfully finish but as the stages advance you enemies will become stronger and stronger. This time it is battle with Darth Maul. The life-size characters coming this way look so real-looking. Ruki looks like he is going to run away.

 

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In the light saver battle, you have to stop you opponent’s light saver and then duck your opponent’s light saver, all the while looking for a moment for you to attack. Using AR you can experience a real battle scene. A hint will appear momentarily on the screen to suggest to you how to convey a big damage when your opponent is off guard. You have a chance to cause major damage. Don’t miss this chance. While you are playing this game you will no doubt be moving about, so make sure that there are no obstacles in your way and it is best to play the game in a wide space.

 

STAR WARS™/ジェダイ・チャレンジ3

Ruki: “When you cut your opponent with the light saver, the light saver shakes and it is as if it is for real. It really feels like you have entered the world of the movie.”

 

STAR WARS™/ジェダイ・チャレンジ4

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Using sword-work learned directly from teacher Ukon, and after a desperate struggle, somehow you were able to win over Darth Maul.
The light saver is not for real but this is the way you will feel.

 

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We finished Samurai training and got a certificate.

Overall Luki becoming a closer to be Jedi…?

 

In addition, STAR WARS™/Jedi Challenge includes other games.

 

Your concentration and strategy will be tested in Holochess.
By making best use of the aliens in this game you are trying to increase your territory in the chessboard.

 

 

This is a strategy game where rebel forces fight with the mighty empire forces.
Enlarge your front line bases and repel the empire forces!

 

 

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You might be able to become a Jedi by playing STAR WARS™/Jedi Challenge!

May the force be with you!

 

 

Model:Ruki

Writer:Nao Shiota

 

◼︎Information

STAR WARS™/Jedi Challenges

URL:https://www3.lenovo.com/jp/ja/jedichallenges/

 

Yumenoya Asakusa 
Address: 1-36-8 Venis 2F, Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours : 10:00-18:00
No Fixed Holidays.
Access: 2 minutes on foot from Asakusa station on Tokyo Metro Ginza Line

TEL:03-5770-5131

URL:https://www.tokyo-samurai.com/

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    Available At: Royal Selangor

     

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  • 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.

    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.

  • Experience Tasting Mount Koya’s Famous Sesame Tofu at ONAKA PECO PECO in Tsukiji

    07.August.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD

    ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen is a cafe located in Tsukiji, a district in Chuo, Tokyo. They serve rice balls filled with locally sourced ingredients from various locations in Japan. In the evenings, the rice balls can be enjoyed with delicious sake.

     

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    While it is possible to buy sesame tofu on Kadohama’s online store, the only places you can eat them out at is at their restaurant on top of Mount Koya or at select branches of department stores such as Mitsukoshi or Isetan. We visited ONAKA PECO PECO by Rurubu Kitchen for a taste of this exquisite collaboration.

    Mount Koya is located in the Ito district of northern Wakayama Prefecture and is home to the town of Koya. The region is encased an abundant mountainous landscape. The Japanese Buddhist monk Kūkai opened the sacred mountain around 1,200 years ago. In 2004, Mount Koya which was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2004 under the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” category. It has since become a popular tourist destination with Japanese and foreign travellers alike.

     

    Here is the heavenly menu lineup at ONAKA PECO PECO which is packed full of Kadohama’s sesame tofu.

    There are five items which are made with the sesame tofu: an onigiri rice ball, crab soup, cold tofu, pork shabu shabu, and a drink.

    Time to tuck in and try this famous food which has been enjoyed for many years!

    White Vegetables & Steamed Pork Shabu w/ Koji Sesame Tofu Sauce – ¥800

    This dish is garnished with a generous serving of fresh white vegetables and succulent meat. It includes lotus root, enoki mushrooms, cauliflower, and pork. It also comes with a white sauce made with sesame tofu, shio koji, and sesame oil. The sauce has a mild flavour in which you can get the full glorious taste of the tofu. It’s smooth and refreshing so is a perfect pick for the hot summer.

    Sesame Tofu & Plum Cheese-Loaded Rice Ball – ¥250

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    This fat rice ball is wrapped in paper like a hamburger. The rich taste of the tofu and cheese reduces the sourness of the plum, giving it a gentler flavour.

    Sesame Tofu & Egg Crab Soup – ¥400

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    Sesame Tofu & Sweet Sake Jelly Drink – ¥350

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    You can order the drink for takeout so you can take a stroll around the streets of Tsukiji.

    Kadohama Sesame Tofu – Eat In: ¥300 / Takeout: From ¥240

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    Model: Ririka Satsuki

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MMN Editorial Team)

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Moomin Stand in Asakusa Releases Strawberry Daifuku Milk Drink

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    After you’ve taken a stroll around Asakusa and seen the Kaminari gate, Nakamise Shopping Street and Sensō-ji temple, why not stop off at Moonmin Stand for refreshments?

  • Zoff Releases New Specs in Star Wars Collection

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    With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker set for a December 20, 2019 release, Zoff is getting in on the action by adding to its range. It first dropped the Star Wars collection back in 2018 where it developed glasses frames. This summer, it’ll be stylish sunglasses.

    The sunglasses are inspired by the sequel trilogy with references to major characters including Anakin Skywalker as well as scenes only seen in the sequels including a young Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda when he was lively.

     

    Each model in the collection cuts 99.9%. The line-up includes a model with photochromic lenses, another with polarised lenses, The Zoff Night & Day that is both glasses and sunglasses, and more.

     

    Zoff Night & Day

    2 Designs – ¥9,500 Each (Tax Included) *Includes price for normal lenses

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    Photochromic Lenses

    3 Designs – ¥7,500 Each (Tax Included) *An extra ¥3,000 for additional lenses

    The colour of these lenses change depending on the amount of UV rays. With the photochromic lenses, the inner part is used as glasses while the outer part is used as sunglasses. There are three designs including Yoda and Anakin. Since the designs are on the inner part of the glasses they can be used in less informal settings too.

     

    Polarised Lenses

    3 Designs – ¥7,500 Each (Tax Included) *An extra ¥5,000 for additional lenses

    The polarised lenses cut reflected light such as on glares from roads and glass. This makes them ideal for driving, jogging, fishing and other scenarios where one is exposed to bright glares. The three designs feature Darth Maul from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, podracing, and Yoda’s epic battle.

    Glasses come with an original Star Wars case and cloth.

     

    If you’re a Star Wars fan, you won’t want to miss out on this exclusive collection.

     

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  • Mogu Mogu Nippon | Indulging in Oniku no Osushi’s Matsusaka Beef Don in Asakusa

    27.June.2019 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Asakusa is located in Tokyo and is home to many famous tourist and sightseeing spots such as Sensō-ji Temple and the Kaminarimon Gate. It’s also a place lined with restaurants serving up an array of gourmet dishes.

     

    We have covered many popular cafés and local specialties in Asakusa in MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON. Today, we will take a look at a sushi restaurant called Oniku no Osushi which opened recently where customers can eat sushi served with Japanese wagyu beef. It is the first big name restaurant from the Gion district of Kyoto to arrive in the country’s Kanto region. Since opening its doors, it has been much-talked-about and has enjoyed the hustle and bustle of hungry customers.

    The restaurant is about an 8-minute walk from Akasaka Station via the subway and just a 2-minute walk via Tsukuba Express. You’ll know the restaurant when you see it as the outside of it incorporates a wooden design. Inside, too, wooden planks and pillars decorate the interior.

     

    Matsusaka beef is a brand of beef in Japan made from the meat of Japanese Black cattle that are reared under strict conditions in Matsusaka, Mie. At Oniku no Osushi, customers are able to eat this beef in the form of sushi marbled and with a rare texture.

    I dined together with Chinese model and talent Etsuna. She loves eating out but this was her first time eating rare meat on sushi. We ordered the restaurant’s popular Oniku no Osushi platter and the Gyusen Don (served only at lunchtime).

    Oniku no Osushi Platter (8 Pieces): ¥5,000

    The meat sushi platter comes with eight pieces including two pieces each of lean beef, salted beef, roast beef, and fatty gunkan beef. Excluding the gunkan beef it’s recommended eating each piece from the left as pictured above. Everything is already flavoured so you can eat them as they are.

     

    The gunkan beef is best enjoyed while it is still frozen so I started with that. The cold beef just melts as it enters you mouth. It tastes sweet and has a fatty texture to it. The egg yolk mixes together with the beef on your tongue and gives it an even smoother taste.

     

    The meat of the lean beef, salted beef and roast beef sushi is soft and each is layered with refreshing grated lemon and daikon. When you bite into the succulent meat your taste buds are treated to the sweetness of the fat and the meats’ rich flavours. I was able to taste the distinct qualities of each type.

    Gyusen Don (w/ Cold Miso Soup): ¥2,480

    The Gyusen Don is served at lunchtime only. It contains Matsusaka Gyusen® flakes and Kyoto-style tsukemono pickled vegetables, condiments and bite-sized meat pieces. The presentation of the dish is beautiful! You add soy sauce to it and mix with the egg yolk, and it’s simple irresistible! We made sure to snap a final photo before tucking in.

    The beef of this dish melts in your mouth just like the gunkan beef and blends well with the egg yolk to create a velvety flavour. The dish also has condiments and pickled vegetables too adding to the variety of tastes. If you add wasabi or ginger the flavours are elevated even further, especially when eaten with the Kyoto-style pickled vegetables which creates a spicy tang.

     

    The miso soup that the dish is served with is also Kyoto-style. Wheat starch and pickled vegetables are added to the sweet white broth to create a mellow flavour that goes well with the dish.

    Etsuna gave high praise to the dish too: “It was so delicious. I think there are still a lot of foreigners that don’t know about meat sushi yet, so I think it’ll get popular soon. It’s a bit pricey there are a lot of foreign travelers who want to eat tasty Japanese food, so I recommend it to them.”

     

    Asakusa is famous for its takeaway food to be eaten while walking, but Oniku no Sushi serves up an Asakusa-exclusive gourmet experience too.

    Steamed Rice & Meat: ¥500

    If you’re walking around Asakusa and are feeling peckish, then you should go for steamed rice and meat (おにくの飯蒸し). It’s packed full of beefy flavour.

    What did you think of this little Asakusa lunch trip? Of course, Oniku no Osushi has an evening slot for dinner too, so if you’d like to try some Matsusaka beef then be sure to pay a visit.

     

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno (MMN Editorial Department)

    Model: 悦奈(Etsuna)

  • Take a Tour of Traditional Asakusa in a Hello Kitty Rickshaw

    08.June.2019 | SPOT

    How about a relaxing trip around traditional Tokyo in a Hello Kitty-themed rickshaw? To commemorate the opening of Sanrio Gift Gate in Asakusa, the shop has planned human-run rickshaw tours to take place on Saturday 15, Sunday 16th, Saturday 22nd, and Sunday 23rd June 2019.

     

    This is the second time the Hello Kitty Rickshaw event will be run. The wheels and roof are decorated with special Hello Kitty designs. Hop in, sit back and enjoy a touristic ride around Asakusa. The rickshaw puller will be your tour guide, introducing you to all the tourist spots of Asakusa and taking photos for you.

    To take part, you have to book in advance. The advanced reservation period starts on June 8th at Sanrio Gift Gate Asakusa. Reservations will be accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis. You can also make reservations by telephone. If you are interested in this wonderful experience, please check out the store information website.

     

    © 1976, 2019 SANRIO CO., LTD. 

  • Disney Store Unveils Mickey, Minnie, Ariel & Rapunzel Summer Yukata

    05.June.2019 | FASHION

    Disney Store Japan has announced that it will begin selling a range of original yukata and miscellaneous items for summer. Sales in-store begin on June 18 with pre-sales hitting the online store a week earlier on June 11.

    Ariel/Rapunzel

    The line-up sees the return of the Ariel and Rapunzel Disney princess yukata which were a hit in Japan last year as well as the new Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse versions. This year’s assortment of accessories and miscellaneous items to co-ordinate with the yukata is also even bigger than last year.

    Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse

    The designs are chic and subtle while still celebrating the characters of the Disney world. The Mickey and Minnie yukata in particular feature retro patterns which can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The obi sash that come with the outfits also play into the story of each character.

    The other items in the mix include fans, bags, and a range of cute accessories to make your yukata even more glamorous.

     

    It would be super fun to co-ordinate the yukata together with friends. So if you’re heading to Japan this summer then why not pay a visit to the Disney Store and ready yourself for the fireworks and festivals?

     

    ©Disney

  • Travel Japan #10: Sending Japanese Souvenirs to My Dear Friend

    29.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    My trip is almost at an end. My final destination is the huge supermarket next to the beach where I was able to feel like a real Okinawan local as I blended in with the crowd while pushing my cart.

     

    Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana. The Japanese bubble writing was like hints to solving a puzzle. I peruse the products lined on the shelves to see what the symbols symbolize.

     

    It’s time to go ahead and by a souvenir for my treasured friend who is waiting across the ocean for my return.

     

    Snacks galore fill the shelves. I find myself lost on which to pick, but I use my senses to see which packaging I like the most and put something in my basket.

     

    Part of the fun is looking forward to what flavour it will be after opening them. Let’s call it a Happy Bag.

    The meat and fish aisle is overflowing with items. I see stickers along it with the names of products and their prices. There’s a mountain of ready-to-eat foods. It’s not like this is something uncommon to see, I have them in my country too, but it’s interesting to see the little differences.

    There were fruits and vegetables I had never seen before too.

     

    How do they taste?

    How do you use them in cooking?

    The supermarket breathes the lives of Japanese people.

    I take some chopsticks with me too which I learned to use during my trip.

    This vermilion colour is unique to Japan. Though vivid, it’s an elegant and refined red that sticks in my mind.

    This country’s culture is packed tight into these chopsticks.

     

    Their respect of dining, delicateness and humility. It would be great to share these feelings with someone.

    When in Japan, an everyday scene in the country that’s different from what one usually does is almost like a dream to a foreigner like me.

    Even though I am leaving the country, I will remember the sights I saw here clearly and vividly. I can wear this little bit of courage I gained from flying into a new culture with pride.

    I really mean it when I say that what I have gathered on this trip will spill into my road ahead in life.

    I push my cart and begin moving forward.

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

    Items to send to a precious friend found only in Okinawa, Japan

    TOPVALU Brown Sugar Dough Cake Triple Friend in Rice Oil ¥98 (Before Tax) / ¥105.84 (Tax Included) –150g

    This brown sugar dough cake is made using Okinawan brown cane sugar. Simply frying them three times in rice oil gives them a crunchy texture. They feel nice to chew, there’s a rhythm to it; I ended up buying several bags so I want to share them with my friend as an afternoon snack.

     

    TOPVALU Full-Bodied Brown Sugar Toffees Made with Okinawan Brown Sugar ¥90 (Before Tax) / ¥97.20 (Tax Included) – 100g

    I liked the look of the brown sugar snacks so I went ahead and grabbed another. These toffees are cooked on an open fire. They are a mix of sugar, brown sugar and starch syrup. They have two enjoyable textures―the inside and outside―and are delicious enough that your taste buds will never tire of them. I’m completely obsessed with Okinawa’s brown sugar.

     

    HOME COORDY Dishwasher-Safe Brown Apitong Wood Chopsticks ¥398 (Before Tax) / ¥429.84 (Tax Included) –23cm

    These chopsticks are relaxing to hold. They have a really nice wooden texture. On my trip food taught me about the delicateness of Japanese people as well as polite manners. I want to convey that same feeling by taking these chopsticks back as a souvenir.

     

    AEON Mihama’s matchless stock of Okinawa’s amazing products

    Whether it be daily necessities during your travels or souvenirs to take back home, AEON boasts a wide range of Japanese products at an affordable price. The Maihama branch is close to the beach and hotels too equaling convenience for quickly picking up what you need on your trip.

     

    AEON Tyatan

    Address: 8-3 Mihama, Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture

    Opening Hours: Food 7:00-Midnight / Clothing & Living Goods 10:00-Midnight

    *Business hours may differ for certain select stands and stores.

    *The Clothing & Living Goods section is open from 9:00 to midnight on weekends and Thank You Day

    TEL: 098-982-7575

     

    *Tax-inclusive prices are displayed up to the second decimal point.

    *In the case that multiple items are purchased, the fraction below the decimal point will also be added to calculate the consumption tax.

     

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

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

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

  • Travel Japan #9: A Day in Okinawa With the Gift of Rain

    18.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The sky weeps!

     

    I was greeted by a sudden downfall of rain while in Okinawa, despite the having felt its out-of-season summer. While looking at the darkening colour of the concrete becoming wet I made a firm decision.

     

    “Let’s feel positive even when it comes to unexpected weather.”

    The water drops falling from the sky are sweet drops. I let my imagination run world with the intention of becoming a small child. I prepare my folded umbrella, one that will lift my mood. If I have just this I can still go on an adventure, so I have to move forward.

    I take shelter from the rain in a cute café. I can see that ocean once more from the open terrace. The water is foggy, and the high, white waves come and go against the shore.

    The beach is empty from people who went to get away from the rain. It looks a little lonely out there, but I’m also filled with a feeling that I have the vast ocean all to myself.

    The tropical fruit juice sold at the café is the place’s everlasting summer. But the mismatched atmosphere of this drink and the condition outside isn’t too bad either. I wipe at the water droplets on the glass while captivated at the decorations on my fancy umbrella.

    This is surely a magical umbrella made to add colour to rainy days.

    I bite into my juicy orange and my mouth is filled with a sour flavour. The sound of the rain gradually becomes stronger, but that doesn’t concern me either.

    The next stop on my adventure is a shop right next to the café. I can hear a sound from somewhere that sounds nostalgic.

    It was the sound of music boxes on display here and there. I wonder how long it’s been since I last heard this gentle sound?

    I link together the memories of my trip with the music and decide to make my very own music box.

    All the glass parts are small like Okinawa.

    A coral reef and a lighthouse. I proceed with creating my own little sea world I thought out.

    I forget about the passage of time and become immerse in my own world. The sound of the rain continues outside, but even with that all I hear are the music boxes.

     

    The rain on this day was like a present from Okinawa. I don’t think I will ever forget the rain, the waves, and the tiny rings of the music boxes.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    Things to Make Me Feel Happy Even On Rainy Days

    TOPVALU HOME COORDY Plain Navy Imabari Towel Handkerchief ¥398 (Before Tax) / ¥429.84 (Tax Included) ― 25x25cm

     

    This is an Imabari towel handkerchief. It’s soft on the skin and saved me from the sudden downfall of rain. Its simple border and fresh blue and white colour is like the sea of Okinawa.

     

    *Tax-inclusive prices are displayed up to the second decimal point.
    *In the case that multiple items are purchased, the fraction below the decimal point will also be added to calculate the consumption tax.

     

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

     

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

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

  • Travel Japan #8: An Early Afternoon at Okinawa’s Beaches in Winter

    15.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Okinawa’s ocean was transparent. It was early afternoon at a small beach in the middle of town.

    It was outside swimming hours, but I couldn’t help but step in. It was like a scene from heaven.

    The white sand glistened in the ray of the sun. I wonder what kind of happiness I would find myself in if I were to live in a place like this.

    The boundary between the sea and sky was unclear. It felt like if I were to keep walking I would arrive at the clouds.

    This beach exists among the ordinary lives of the people of Okinawa.

     

    I wake up in the early morning and take a stroll across the sand, visiting each place. When evening comes I will see the sun set on this beach before returning home.

    I believe that just having the ocean by you in your everyday life you can live a very  luxurious one.

    I’m not even bothered about getting my pants wet. I feel like a child seeing the sea for the very first time.

    The sea is calm and quiet. The waves washing ashore, too, are gentle. I feel released from anything and everything.

    I lay out my vinyl sheet onto the sand and sit before the water, listening to the sounds of the waves.

    I have with me the necessities for when conversing with the sun. Today’s sunrays are light but one mustn’t forget their sunscreen.

    If I close my eyes I can see myself in the middle of the ocean and can walk across it.

     

    If I dive into the transparent waters it’s an emerald green. The view of the outside world from the bottom of the sea looks magical. If I grab ahold of the fish I’m sure to see an unknown world.

    70% of the earth’s surface is made up of water. The sea, which has given rise to infinite lives, has taught me the breadth of the world―too vast to comprehend―how small I am and how grand nature is.

    I enjoy my alone time on the beach. I wash down my potato chips with sparkling water which bubbles in my mouth like the sea waves.

    This pure sea, with no murkiness, elucidates my feelings. I head back to land and walk the beach once more.

    My throbbing heart, which cannot be captured in a photo, is left in the footprints on the sand.

     

     

    Model / Mala Morgan

     

     

    All the beach necessities you need are right there

    After arriving at the beach I first went shopping. I go to AEON Chatan, a 5-minute walk from Chatan Sunset Beach. You can get your hands on just about everything: from a hat and sunscreen to food and drinks. It’s convenient because it means there’s no need to pack lots of things before your trip.

     

    AEON Chatan

    Address: 8-3 Mihama, Chatan-cho, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture

    Business Hours: Food 7:00-Midnight / Cosmetics & Daily Necessities 10:00-Midnight

    *Select stores have different opening hours.

    TEL: 098-982-7575

     

    TOPVALU Free From UV Cream  ¥980 (Before Tax) / ¥1,058.40 (Tax Included) – 30g

    TOPVALU’s UV Cream protects your skin from ultraviolet rays and dryness. Even when it’s out of season Okinawa’s sunrays are like that of summer, so it’s important to look after yourself during your trip. This slightly hard cream feels soft and dissolves on your skin. It’s those moments of caring for your skin I like.

     

    TOPVALU Green Eye Free From – Salted Fried Potato Chips  ¥78 (Before Tax) / ¥84.24 ― 55g
    TOPVALU Best Price Lemon Sparkling Water ¥68 (Before Tax) / ¥73.44 (Tax Included)– 500ml

    Sparkling water, potato chips and a break on the beach. The chips are seasoned simply with salt to bring out the flavour of the potatoes. They have a satisfying crunch.

     

    When eating potato chips there’s no better complement than sparkling water. This water has strong carbonation. The refreshing taste of the lemon and fizzy bubbles made it feel like summer again.

     

    *Tax-inclusive prices are displayed up to the second decimal point.
    *In the case that multiple items are purchased, the fraction below the decimal point will also be added to calculate the consumption tax.

     

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

     

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

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

  • Learn About Shimane Prefecture’s Oki Islands with Japanese Model Saki Shibata

    15.March.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    On March 2, 2019 Japanese model Saki Shibata, along with nine others, carried out a research project entitled “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” (隠岐のお気に入り研究所) to come up with a travel plan for the Oki Islands.

    The Oki Islands are part of Shimane Prefecture. There are over 180 islands in total, sixteen of which are named, but only four of which are inhabited by humans. These can be visited via a ferry or high-speed boat.

     

    The islands were formed almost 6 million years ago from volcanic activity. In September 2014, the islands were designated a UNESCO Global Geopark for their rich land and unique flora and fauna, history and culture. Visiting the islands offers the opportunity to experience unique nature you can’t anywhere else in Japan. It is a place to enjoy characteristic culture of a different locale.

     

    If you flip over a map of Japan you will also see that the Sea of Japan side of the islands are in the centre of the country. The Oki Islands also used to bustle with people as the doorstep to Japanese trade.

    Saki Shibata visited the Oki Islands for the first time last year. She saw the bright red and immense Matengai Cliffs formed by the volcanoes’ magma, the sea waves, felt the breeze in her hair and more. See her full nature-packed trip here.

     

    An island local proposed her desire to show the wonder of the Oki Islands to the people of the world, and so the “Research Lab on the Charms of Oki” was formed. Saki, having already experienced those charms, was appointed Research Leader, and recruited other fellow members to join. She would convey her experiences and time spent on the islands for everybody to learn more about them so they could think up a travel plan together.

    The event began with project leader Saki Shibata greeting everybody. She spoke about her memories of the Oki Islands and expressed enthusiasm to create a wonderful travel plan to the participants. Her talk was accompanied by slideshows with which she presented photos taken during her trip last year.

    Saki played back through her mind how overwhelmed she was by the islands’ nature and how warm and welcoming the locals were. All the other research members were absorbed in her talk and listened intently.

    After Saki said her piece, a member of the Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark Association―which seeks to promote the charms of Oki Islands―spoke about Oki.

     

    A “geopark” is a location with valuable geological features and forms and promotes the well-being of people living there through education and tourism.

     

    Japan has nine officially-designated UNESCO Global Geoparks, one of them being the Oki Islands. Check out the video above which includes drone footage showcasing the expanse of nature there. It makes you want to see it with your very own eyes.

    The group subsequently went on to creating a travel plan for the Oki Islands. Each member wrote down where they wanted to visit in Oki amongst other things.

    They asked questions to the Geopark associate such as whether you can fish squid there, do skydiving and so on. When the group were asked what they had written down, all 9 of them had said they wanted to try eating Okigyu, or “Oki Beef.” Local food is an absolute must to include on any travel plan.

    Saki and her fellow research members’ original plan is complete, full of ways to feel the full power of Oki’s nature.

    After learning about Oki, everybody got to try specialty products from the island. They lapped up the flavours of Oki while listening to Saki speak more about her time there.

    Oki is famous for “Haruka,” a type of Iwagaki oyster. They are a brand of oyster raised in the beautiful waters of Nakanoshima in the town of Ama. They also tried other local delights such as turbo sazae rice balls, seaweed miso soup, sake lees crackers and kojouyu miso, fukugi tea and more.

    Obsidian

    Salted Polvorón Cookies (Oki Kisen Shoji) / Sake Lees Crackers (Oki Brewery) / Sake Lees Soap (jimono) / Fukugi Mist (jimono) / Fukugi Tea (Amacho Sakura no Ie)

    At the end of the event, Saki and the members were given an obsidian key ring and batch of Oki souvenirs from the associate. Though the event took place in Tokyo, everybody was able to get their fill of Oki.

    If you read this article and are interested in the Oki Islands, then we have some good news. All of the specialty products and souvenirs shown can be bought at Rito Kitchen Nihombashi who carried out this event. These aren’t easy to get your hands on unless you visit the islands, so if you’re in Tokyo, be sure to visit and enjoy the flavours of the Oki Islands.

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