Tokyo Stroll: Anna Yano Visits Famous Sites From “Penguindrum” Anime Series

12.March.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

Anna loves anime, and so she is bringing a new series to our “Tokyo Stroll” feature where she takes us on a pilgrimage to visit real life anime locations! The theme chosen by Anna for this first entry is a solo trip to Okigubo which appears in the anime series Penguindrum (which she is a huge fan of!) Just what kind of encounters will be waiting for her there?

 

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Anna puts on the same hat as the anime’s protagonist Himari Takakura (from her own collection) and meets at the station. You can tell she is in high-spirits from behind. The train station too is exactly the same as in the anime!

 

 

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The first location on the list was Ogikubo Second Children’s Park. Anna did get a little lost on the way there, but she managed to find the giraffe and pig park installations. In the anime, the Takakura brothers live in the house right next to this park.

 

Anna said solemnly “I think the colourful house is a symbol of happiness for the brothers” while confirming that this was the location the house should be if it was the anime. Upon basking in the afterglow, one of the staff members that was with Anna cried out as if to cling onto something!

 

“Survival strategy! I’ll tell it to you lowlifes who will never amount to anything.* Time to go to the shopping district and get my hands on the Penguin Drum!”

 

[*Translator’s Note: This is a quote from the anime series Penguindrum.]

 

Anna was taken aback by this remark.

“I wanted to go there because that appears in the anime too!”

 

And with that, off they went. But just what is the Penguin Drum…?

 

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Here’s the shopping street archway that you see in the anime! It’s pretty exciting. Ogikubo is a kidn and friendly place. While strolling the streets, Anna was asking people “Where’s the Penguin Drum?!” to passers-by. Along the way, there was a shop that caught her eye! It was a kebab shop that had a deliciously inviting smell.

 

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“I’m glad because I was reaaally hungry.”

 

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The man’s Japanese was very good. Anna went in for the kill, asking, “Please show me your artefact that’s associated with your fate!” He kindly showed her his charm from Turkey that’s preciously decorated in the shop. Does fate relate to the Penguin Drum?! Maybe the Penguin Drum something that each person possesses… Our trip isn’t over yet!

 

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The next location can be found on the roof of Town Seven, a shopping center at the north entrance of Ogikubo Station. It’s a wide and open space where a lot of children were playing.

 

This is the scene when the older of the Takakura siblings, Kanba, is talking to his ex-girlfriend, when a memory-erasing red ball comes flying and hits her on the forehead.

 

The playground equipment that appears in the background was very impressive to look at.

 

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The children became interested in Anna’s hat. She was completely surrounded!

 

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The next place Anna headed to was the shrine where the heated fight between the brothers unfolds. The younger brother, Shoma, becomes aware of the events surrounding his older brother, so presses him with questions. Kanba declares that he was playing parent. Anna prayed by herself in the grounds.

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And don’t forget to take a commemorative photo.

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Next is the scene with the pedestrian bridge where Kanba blows up a car. We took the photo at the same angle as in the anime.

 

Anna told a story with a serious expression.

“He [Kanba] wasn’t always a bad guy. The fact that he did something like that. That scene shocked me.”

 

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Anna also passed under the arch to Hakusan Towns shopping district. It seems like it has changed a little since the anime aired, but you can tell it’s the place immediately!

Anna tottered over and shouted, “Survival strategy!” again to a lady passing through. She then made her way to a ramen shop as the lady had also mentioned which is famous among fans.

 

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“Sanchan Ramen” is a restaurant with a 60-year history that has continued to be loved by locals in Ogikubo.

 

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This is the place used as a location for handing over money between Kanba and the evil organisation. There’s a lot of fans that imitate the anime and slide envelopes with money inside on the tabe.

 

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Of course, Anna had a bowl of ramen too.

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And gyoza!

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And beer!!

 

By the way, why do you like this anime, Anna?

 

“Penguindrum is a very deep series, it makes you think about things like love and fate. The art is cute and the music and presentation are gorgeous. I really want everyone else to watch it.”

 

Today’s article will be broadcast on “Kawaii JAPAN-da!!” on MBS (Kansai Local). It will go on air on March 13th! Don’t miss out on Anna’s solo travel!

 

■Information

MBS (Kansai Local) – Kawaii JAPAN-da!!
Broadcast Date: March 13th at 1:59am
*There will also be a repeat streamed on MBS Dizm (https://dizm.mbs.jp/title/?program=kawaiijapanda)

Blu-ray BOX edition of “Penguindrum” now on sale in Japan!

 

Artist / Model:Anna Yano

Photographer:LOVEGRAPH

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    02.March.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Kyoto’s streets tell the story of Japan’s history, tradition and culture. The depths of Kyoto are something you will fall in love with when visiting this long-standing city. In this feature, models Una and Mei took strolled those same streets while calmly and wholly taking in the scenery before laid them. Please relish at your own leisure the trip of these two Kyoto girls, one that you can enjoy fully too if you have a free day.

     

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    It takes two hours and twenty minutes to arrive from Tokyo via the Tokaido Shinkansen. The first thing the two of them did upon arriving was drop by “Kyoto Eco Trip,” a bicycle rental shop just a short walk from Kyoto Station. What made them decide to kick their trip off with a bike ride was because you can get a feel the wonderful sights interwoven with historical architecture and nature against your skin even though you’re on the move. Kyoto has a lot of narrow alleyways, but if you’re going by bicycle you can come and go between them smoothly and unhinderedly. Plus, you have the advantage of being able to maneuver your way through open areas with speed too. Travelling by bicycle means you can discuss a route for your sightseeing as well, making it a reassuring option even for first-timers in Kyoto. There are 8 varieties of bikes to choose from at the shop, and since they’re equipped with an automatic assist function, you can ride around effortlessly.

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    It’s time to go. What kind of adventure is about to begin…?

     

    ■Information

    Kyoto Eco Trip

    Address: 58 Higashikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi

    Reservations & Enquiries: 075-691-0794 (9:00-20:00)

    https://kyoto-option.com

     

     

     

     

    Tō-ji Temple – home to Japan’s number one 5-storey pagoda

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    In 1994, UNESCO designated Tō-ji as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” World Heritage Sites. It’s just a 5-minute bike ride from Kyoto Eco Trip.

    The location is the last existing remnant of Heian-kyō, a former name for the city of Kyoto that translates to “Capital of Peace and Tranquility.” It was built as a national temple along with the relocation of the capital city (Heian-kyō) almost 1,200 years ago.

    Tō-ji repeatedly experienced ruin and restoration due to war, and received its full-scale reconstruction under Toyotomi Hideyori in 1603.

     

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    Tō-ji has many worthy highlights, but its five-storey pagoda, which is an appointed national treasure, is symbolic of Kyoto.

     

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    The pagoda was completed in 883. It was burnt down several times due to thunder but was ordered to be rebuilt to what it is today in 1644 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa Shogun. At 54.8 meters (180 feet) high, it stands as the tallest wooden five-storey pagoda in Japan.

     

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    In spring, Tō-ji is also a famous location for cherry blossoms. Because it has so many varieties of the flower, you can enjoy them over a long period of time. The spectacular view of cherry blossoms surrounding sights around the temple, such as the pagoda and Mieido House, will move your heart. The cherry blossom season is almost upon us. I wanted to see it myself as a Japanese person while sipping some hot umekobucha (plum and kelp tea).

     

    ■Information

    Tō-ji

    Address: 1 Kujocho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi

    Visiting Hours:

    Kodo Hall & Kondo Hall: 8:00-17:00 All Year Round. Reception closes at 16:30.

    *Visiting hours began at 8:30 from March 24th to March 31st
    Houmotsukan Museum & Kanchi-in House: 9:00-17:00. Reception closes at 16:30.

    Visiting Price:

    General admission includes entry to the Kodo Hall and Kondo Hall which are open to the public all year round. However, please be aware that the Five-Storey Pagoda and Houmotsukan Museum are only open during special viewings. Check the homepage below for prices.

    *The Miedo House and Jikido can be entered free of charge all year round.

    http://www.toji.or.jp/

     

     

     

     

    If it’s souvenirs you want, Otabe Honkan has it all!

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    The travelling duo wanted something sweet during their cycling trip, so they stopped by “Otabe Honkan.” If you’re looking to buy popular souvenirs from Kyoto, then this is the place to go. You can find the most perfect confectioneries as, whether as a treat for yourself or as a gift to family and friends, including a range of famous products such as “Otabe,” “Yatsuhashi” and “Kyo Baum.”

     

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    Here they are taste-testing while looking for their favourite picks. “Otabe” is the store’s specialty and an absolute must-buy. It’s made using koshihikari rice flour and red bean paste that’s cooked delicately with adzuki beans from the district of Tokachi in Hokkaido.

     

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    On the second floor of the shop you can see otabe being made in the factory through a glass window. You can even try tasting freshly made otabe. It’s soft, and you can enjoy the texture of the mouth-melting outside and the red bean paste. You’ll find yourself smiling without even realising.

    Una and Mei purchased souvenirs as well as some sweets since they became hungry on their trip.

     

    ■Information

    Otabe Honkan

    Address: 35-2 Nishikujo Takahatacho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi

    Opening Hours: 9:00-18:00

    http://www.otabe.kyoto.jp/2013_new/store/honkan.html

     

     

     

     

    Tōfuku-ji Temple has the oldest hojo architecture in Japan

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    The South garden uses the classic Japanese rock garden (karesansui) landscape. Una and Mei never grew tired no matter how many times they gazed at it, with its powerful large rocks and fine, detailed sand design.

     

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    The travel snacks bought at Otabe Honkan came in cute packaging that went perfect with the aesthetic of Tōfuku-ji, so the two of them took a photo to commemorate. They then moved onto the next location.

     

    ■Information

    Tōfuku-ji

    Address: 1 Honmachi, Higashiyama, Kyoto

    Visiting Hours:

    [April-October] 9:00-16:00 / Reception closes 16:00 / Site closes 16:30

    [November-December] 8:30-16:00 / Receptions closes 16:00 / Site closes 16:3011

    [December-March 2019] 9:00-15:30 / Reception closes 15:30 / Site closes 16:00

    Visiting Price:

    Tsuten Bridge & Kaisando: ¥400 (¥300 for elementary and middle school students)

    Tofuku-ji Temple Honbo Garden (Designated ‘Place of Scenic Beauty’): ¥400 (¥300 for elementary and middle school students)

    *Tsuten Bridge, Kaisando and Tofuku-ji Temple Honbo Garden are open for viewing throughout the year.

    http://www.tofukuji.jp

     

     

     

    Wrapping up the trip gazing at the serene flow of Kamo River

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    When summer rolls in, the tea shops and restaurants that run along Kamo River from Kiyamachi Nijou to Kiyamachi Gojou set up noryoyuka, balconies that look over the river, specially for the summer season. You will see the place bustling at the start of summer in the evenings – the only time it gets this busy.

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    Try renting a bicycle on your Kyoto trip and enjoy the city and all its sights in a light different from usual.

     

     

    Model:Una& Mei Nagasawa

    Writer:Ai Watanabe

    Photographer:Takuya Ikawa

     

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】Collecting a Goshuin Stamp at Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine – Tokyo’s Foremost Hachiman Shrine

    28.February.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

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    Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine has a long history – this year marks 955 years since it was established. There are numerous Kami (gods) enshrined here, including Emperor Ōjin, who also goes by the name Emperor Taichu which translates to ‘center of the womb.’ He is a Kami of household harmony, marriage, conception after a shrine visit, easy childbirth, and child rearing. The shrine gets the nickname “Tokyo’s Belly Button” for being located in the center of the city. It’s famous as a ‘power spot’ where one can return to the womb.

     

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    This sacred tree is called Kyosei no Ki, or “Tree of Symbiosis.” A nutmeg tree, it gets its name from the parasitic inuzakura flowering cherry that grows from it, living in a symbiotic relationship. Because the two trees have continued to live together mutually as one, many people visit the tree to pray for family happiness.

     

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    This is another power spot at the shrine: the chikaraishi, or “power stones.” During the Edo period, these stones were offered to compare the strength of the divine. There are 14 stones of varying weights and sizes, from 101kg to 187kg.

     

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    Another popular power spot is the “Happy Gaeru” – large stone frogs placed which, if you stroke, are said to bring happiness.

     

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    Before praying at a shrine, it’s customary to cleanse yourself at the temizuya (water basin) before heading in. First, pick up the ladle and hold it with your right hand and rinse your left hand.

     

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    Do the same thing but this time hold it with your left hand and rinse your right.

     

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    Afterwards, take the ladle in your right hand once more, pour some water into your left hand and rinse your mouth with it. Make sure not to bring the ladle to your mouth and don’t swallow the water. Spit the water next to the fountain – never directly into it. Rinse your left hand one more time.

     

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    Lastly, take the ladle with both your hands and pour out the remaining water from it next to the fountain. Once your ‘temizu’ session is complete, return the ladle neatly to its original upside-down position so it’s ready for the next person to use. Let your wet hands dry naturally, don’t use a handkerchief or hand towel.

     

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    You can’t receive your goshuin stamp straight away, so it’s best to wait on the goshuin reception before you make your way to the main shrine. (Make sure you get your stamp after you have prayed!)

     

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    It’s time to pray. Firstly, perform two deep bows at a 90°angle. Bring both hands to your chest and open them up shoulder-width apart. Clap twice. Keep your hands together and pray. Once you have finished praying, bring your hands down and perform one last deep bow.

     

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    We successfully received another goshuin stamp in our book. It costs just ¥300 to receive one.

     

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    Did you enjoy this Tokyo Stroll? Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine is also known as one of the three big shrines of Musashi Province. It brings good fortune to childbirth, child rearing and marriage, so it was a shrine we wanted to recommend for women. The power spots in the spacious shrine grounds are perfect for refreshing your mind.

     

     

    ■Information

    Ōmiya Hachiman Shrine

    Address: 2-3-1 Omiya, Suginamu-ku, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-3311-0105

    Access: 7-minutes on foot from “Nishi-Eifuku Station” and 10-minutes on foot from “Eifukucho Station” via the Keio Line and Inokashira Line

    Website: http://www.ohmiya-hachimangu.or.jp/

     

    Model: Ellie

    Writer: Ryoichi Komaba

    Photographer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

    Outfit: Aymmy in the batty girls

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】The cafe that you want to visit to see someone #5: “café Benisica” – The Birthplace of Pizza Toast

    21.February.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    “A café that has continued to be loved for 60 years”

     

    In this entry to my café series, I visited the familiar Yurakucho, the center of modern Tokyo culture. This year, long-standing café Benisica turned 61-years-old. I stopped by to have my fill of their amazing pizza toast. The café is a 2-minute walk from Hibiya Station via Tokyo Metro lines, and 4-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR lines, making it an easy place to get to.

     

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    The café opened all those years ago in response to the large number of cinemas and theatres dotted around Yurakucho. They wanted to create place where people could relax on their way back from seeing a show.

     

    Upon arrival, you can still observe stylish older ladies strolling into the café. The scene hasn’t changed one bit which I found to be wonderful.

     

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    Café Benisica is famous for being the birthplace of original pizza toast. They even have a sign at the entrance telling you that! Eye-catching!!!

     

    Without further ado, let’s head on in♪

     

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    I take one step into the café, and… Huh? What’s this?!

     

    That’s right. At Benisica, you can enjoy vacuum brewed coffee. This was the first time I had seen a vacuum coffee maker up close, so I gazed at them with a keen interest.

     

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    Inside, I gazed at the café décor and objects scattered around of Hibiya, a town which changes with the times. You can feel the weight of the times instore – all the wonderful items look stylish simply by being placed in there! The café interior is a collection of warm colours. It’s a place where you can relax and feel comfortable.

     

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    This is Benisica’s famous pizza toast, costing ¥950 (tax included). They have plenty of set menus, and drink menus are ¥1,350. The story behind the pizza toast was how if you didn’t go to an Italian restaurant back then, you couldn’t eat pizza. So, they took pizza and turned it into something you can eat casually – toast. Since then, it has continued to be a much-loved menu item with customers for almost half a century.

     

     

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    After hearing the story, I took no time at all ordering my own pizza toast! To drink, I chose a strawberry shake. Just so you know, the shake doesn’t come in set orders, so be careful.

     

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    Thick servings of cheese and put onto chunky slices of toast. “The soul of the pizza toast is in the cheese!” is what you’ll be saying at its presence on the toast. Its generous serving makes this pizza toast suitable not just as a light meal, but even a whole lunch. As well as the standard ingredients like salami, onion and bell peppers, I was happy that there were mushrooms too.

     

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    The bread’s texture is fluffy! I was hungry, so I made short work of it. Thank you for the meal.

     

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    This is the owner of Benisica, Setsuko Murakami, who told me the story of the café. She’s a very wonderful person who loves her husband very much. Not only did she tell me about the café – I got to hear about her husband’s way of living and thoughts too. The words of people that have walked the road of life longer than me are deep and enlightening.

     

    I stored the owner’s story safely onto the shelves in my heart. The next time something happens, I’ll rely on those special words she graciously taught me and work hard.

     

    ■Information

    Café Benisica

    Address: 1-6-8 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo

    Opening Hours: 9:30-23:45 (Open from 9:00 on Weekends & Holidays)

    No Fixed Holidays.

    Access: 2-minutes on foot from Hibiya Station via the Hibiya Line, Chiyoda Line, and Toei Mita Line / 4-minutes on foot from Yurakucho Station via JR Lines

    Webpage:https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130102/13002146/

     

    Model : Ema Tanioku

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    Profile: “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.

    Instagram:@ematanioku

     

    Photographer:Haruka Yamamoto

    Editor&Writer:Ryoichi Komaba

    Design:Yuko Abe (ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】Experiencing the Finest Quality Gateau au Chocolat at “Ken’s Cafe Tokyo”—Reservations Required

    14.February.2018 | FEATURES / FOOD / SPOT

    Shinjuku—Situated in the heart of Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan area in the world, and absolutely packed with travelers and tourists. It’s a pivotal ward in Tokyo connected via many transportation services including the JR Line, subway, private railways, rapid bus lines and more. Shinjuku is an absolute must-visit when sightseeing in Tokyo.

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    In today’s entry to “Tokyo Stroll,” Rinko Murata stopped by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo in Shinjuku, a shop specializing in Gateau au Chocolat that’s made with the best quality ingredients.

    Ken’s Cafe Tokyo is very easy to get to, located just 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.

    0Q0A4142The Special Gateau au Chocolat is one of the desserts served by the shop’s owner, Kenji Ujiie. Full sales of this dessert began due to strong demand from customers for it being so delicious. The word got out and immediately led to high praise that spread far and wide, and this year, the shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary!

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    The Special Gateau au Chocolat comes in at ¥3,000 (tax included), with reservations in abundance up to a month. When it’s freshly cooked, the outside is crispy, and the outside is creamy like fondue chocolate, making a perfect melt-in-the-mouth combined texture!

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    The secret to its deliciousness is in the thoroughness to use only the best ingredients. The chocolate used in the photo is from an Italian brand called “Domori.” The founder of Domori, Gianluca Franzoni, was deeply impressed with the quality taste of the Special Gateau au Chocolat, and so personally created his first and only chocolate mix called “KEN’S” to be used at the shop.

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    To draw out the good flavour of the chocolate, it’s made with gluten-free chocolate. Although the flavour is rich and full-bodied, the result of the taste is that makes it simple to eat.

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    300 gateau chocolates are made in a single day! And because each and every one of them are handmade with the utmost care and detail, it’s difficult to make any more than this, so there’s always an abundance of reservations. But if you can’t wait and need to try one straight away, limited quantities are being specially sold at Matsuya Ginza and Tobu Department Store in Ikebukuro, so be sure to check those places out.

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    Rinko couldn’t control her excitement at the sweet smell of the chocolate. She took no time at all to begin tasting the Special Gateau au Chocolat.

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    When eaten at room temperature, it tastes like terrine chocolate. Depending on what temperature you eat it at, the taste and texture will change, so with one gateau chocolate you can enjoy trying three completely different flavours. Also, the balance between the sweetness and bitterness is fine-tuned every time. If you buy one now, the bitterness of the cocoa has increased every so slightly compared to 10 years ago.

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    Rinko gave it her seal of approval. “The moment I took a bite, the aroma of the cocoa hit me, and the soft texture just melted inside my mouth! The balance between the bitterness and sweetness is exquisite. This delicious chocolate hit me in the head right away. Happiness is running around inside my brain. I can’t get enough of how it feels!”

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    You can go back via Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station, but you should take a stroll towards Shinjuku Station instead – it’s just a 17-minute walk. Plus, Shinjuku Gyoen – Shinjuku’s imperial garden – is close by Ken’s Cafe Tokyo, so you might enjoy getting lost in your own thoughts while taking a walk through nature.

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    The Special Gateau au Chocolat is a perfect present for yourself or someone special. They are always waiting on orders, so if you’re interest, check out the shop’s website below and make a reservation.

     

    ■Information

    Ken’s Cafe Tokyo

    Address: 1-23-3 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

    Access: 3-minutes on foot from Exit 2 of “Shinjuku-Gyoemmae Station” via the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line

    Opening Hours: 10:00-19:00

    Closed: Weekends & Holidays

    Website: http://www.kenscafe.jp

     

     

    Model: Rinko Murata @rink0_

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    Rinko Murata appears in fashion magazines 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 across her social media profiles. As well as modelling at big fashion events, she also has her own column online at “She magazine,” and receives much attention for her work in the areas of culture and lifestyle.

    Photo & Writer: Haruka Yamamoto

    Editor: Sayuri Mizuno(ASOBI SYSTEM)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

  • Tokyo Stroll: A Kimono Date With Yutaro to Climb Mount Fuji in Tokyo at Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine

    07.February.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    The first date of 2018 with Yutaro was to visit a ‘power spot’ so we can have a wonderful year this year too. That being said, we went to “Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine” in Sendagaya which is next to Harajuku. This was our hatsumou, the first shrine visit of the New Year, and we went wearing kimono.

     

    Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine is a 5-minute walk from Kita-Sando Station via the Tokyo Metro Fukukoshin Line, just one stop from Meiji-Jingumae Station in Harajuku. It’s super easy to get there from Harajuku or Shibuya. You can also walk there in 5-minutes from Sendagaya Station if you take the JR Sobu Line.

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    Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine has a long history, even going as far as to be recorded in the Edo meisho zue, an illustrated guide to famous Edo places that was published at the end of the Edo period. The shrine grounds features the shogidou, where a huge Shogi (like chess) piece is enshrined; the Koga Inarisha shrine where the Koga-Gumi, a group of ninja serving the Tokugawa Shogunate, would pay reverence; a Noh stage; the main building that was completed in 1993, and more.

    According to the Shinto chief priest Hirano, the oldest things in the shrine grounds are the 3 ginkgo trees planted there. If you visit the shrine, be on the lookout.

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    We finally arrived. After bowing, we headed through the torii gate and onward towards the shrine. We cleanse our hands and mouth before praying. I wonder what could he be praying for? He has an unusually serious expression.

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    After praying, we climbed the fuji-zuka, a manmade mound made to imitate Mount Fuji. It has received much attention as a ‘power spot,’ a place believed to heal visitors through special energy. The Edo period was a time when it was difficult for people to climb Mount Fuji, so common folk would look to fuji-zuka as Mount Fuji for their worshipping.

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    It is said that Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine was constructed in 1789, and the fuji-zuka, the oldest still standing in the city, was designated a Tangible Folk Cultural Property.

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    Yutaro-kun hasn’t climbed Mount Fuji before, so this will be his first!

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    Mount Fuji has 5 stations you can stop off at leading up. Climbing fuji-zuka was tougher than we thought, so we agreed to wear sneakers next time. While being cautious we continued our climb without falling.

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    Writing from the Kansei era is written on the komitake sekison daigogen at the 5th station. You can’t help but feel the length of the fuki-zuka’s history at Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine!

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    The view from the top is amazing! When you see the tree-wrapped shrine grounds, your heart feels gentle and calm.

     

    “It’s a dream come true that we can climb Mount Fuji in Tokyo.”

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    We took a different route going down. This route is steep too!

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    After we safely reached the bottom, we receive a goshuin shrine stamp to commemorate today’s Mount Fuji worship. The ceremony fee is ¥300. Be sure you get one too after reaching the top!

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    Finally, we drew one of Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine’s unique “Hato Mikuji.” The omikuji blessing was “small blessing” (sho-kichi). After reading the omikuji carefully, we tied it to tie a link with the gods. Before we knew it, the date had come to an end.

     

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    How was this first kimono date? If you’re thinking you want to walk around Harajuku in a kimono like Yutaro, then we recommend checking out a rental kimono store. The kimono worn today was rented at the Moshi Moshi Kimono Salon in Harajuku. Please enjoy yourself by going out in a kimono with your friends or on a kimono date with that special someone.

     

    ■Information

     

    Hatonomori Hachiman Shrine

    Adddress: 1-1-24 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo

    TEL: 03-3401-1284

    Homepage: http://www.hatonomori-shrine.or.jp/

     

     

    Model:Yutaro

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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.

     

    Photographer: Kayo Sekiguchi

    Writer: Sayuri Mizuno(ASOBISYSTEM)

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

  • 【Tokyo Stroll】Shopping & Sightseeing with Mozuku-kun the Dog: #2 Makuhari Shintoshin Pecos Pet Mall (Part 1)

    31.January.2018 | FEATURES / SPOT

    Yuna Yabe is a dog lover whose eyes are set on becoming a seasoned pet owner. This series follows her journey as she takes her pet dog, Mozuku-kun, strolling around the city. For her second entry, Yuna headed to the Makuhari Shintoshin branch of “Pecos,” located inside the AEON Pet Mall in Kaihin Makuhari, Chiba Prefecture. This is part one of two.

     

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    The closest stations to Pecos are Kaihin Makuhari Station and Shin-Narashino Station, both accessible via the JR Keiyo Line. There are also buses that go straight to the mall, making it super convenient if you come by train. There’s also a car park right next to the mall if you decide to take the road, so it’s easy to go there with a pet dog. Pecos in Makuhari Shintoshin is the biggest pet store in Japan, with the first floor spanning 820.6㎡ and the second 979.8㎡. They offer just about everything you could imagine from a pet shop in Japan, from food and clothes to an animal hospital and pet hotel.

     

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    The food corner accounts for one entire corner of the shop’s second floor. Usually, they stock over 40 different varieties of dog food, and you can always buy something from there catered to your dog’s breed and/or age. You can of course also take your dog around the shop with you, so if you’re lost on what to buy then you can leave it in their hands (or paws).

     

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    A particularly popular brand of dog food in the shop is “Wellness” series, pictured above. The food is made up of carefully selected natural ingredients, so one reason for its popularity is how owners can be at ease while letting their dog eat this food.

     

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    Besides dog food, the shelves are also lined with plenty of snacks and supplements! Most of the supplements are for mature dogs, but even so, Yuna was absorbed in checking out what they had, thinking: it’s still a bit early for Mozuku, but I’m interested in thinking about the future.

     

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    This original premium dog food can only be bought at AEON pet shops, including Pesco. It’s made in Japan, so if you have a dog in Japan and are a dog lover who worries about your pet, you can absolutely trust this brand.

     

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    There’s even cakes that you can buy for your pet if you’re looking to gift yours something for their birthday or a commemoration. Mozuku wasn’t about to leave the cake showcase that easily, almost as if he knew everything in there was delicious.

     

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    This one is perfect for pet owners who like a drink: alcohol for dogs. But don’t worry, there’s not actually any alcohol in there. So how about it? Having a nice evening drink together with your beloved pup?

     

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    This corner is filled with leads, beds and clothes for your dog. They have a wide range of sizes and varieties, making this area popular with fashion-conscious owners.

     

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    One popular aspect of the store praised by owners who have gone to buy clothes at Pecos is how you can actually let your dog try the clothes on in-store. You must have had that experience where you tried buying something, but it ended up being too dog, right? Well, if you’re allowed to let your dog try on something before buying it, you can easily pick an outfit that looks great and is comfortable on them.

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    Here’s Mozuku in the middle of trying something on. His ears are hidden by the turtleneck… he looks most displeased!

     

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    Pesco also sells convenient products for heading out with your dog, like dog seats for your car and prams. You can actually rent a test pram to check its usability, allowing you to consult with your pup on which best to choose.

     

    In addition to products for your pet, the Makuhari Shintoshin branch of Pecos also has an animal hospital, trimming salon and pet hotel. It’s filled with everything your pet could dream of! In part two of this article, Yuna will show the facilities of Pecos, like the animal hospital and pool, so don’t miss out!

     

    Continued in Part Two.

     

    ■Information

    Pecos (Makuhari Shintonshin branch)

    Address: 1-8 Toyosuna, Mihama-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba Prefecture

    Access: “Kaihin Makuhari Station” and “Shin-Narashino Station” accessible via the JR Keiyo Line

    Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00 (*the animal hospital is open 24-hours a day)

    Contact: 043-298-1122

    URL:https://www.aeonpet.com/pecos/makuharishintoshin/index.html

     

    Model:Yuna Yabe/Mozuku @yunaaay1030

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    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.

     

    Writer:Ryoichi Komaba

    Photograph:Kayo Sekiguchi

    Translation:Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

     

RELATED ENTRIES

  • A Date With Yutaro: Soaking Up the Japanese Summer Sun & Visiting the Art Aquarium | Tokyo Stroll

    16.August.2019 | FEATURES / SPOT

    It’s been a while since our last date with Yutaro. He’s been very busy with film shoots. He had some spare time today so we paid a visit to Nihonbashi for our next date. “ECO EDO Nihonbashi: Enjoy Cool Edo With All Five Senses” is an event held every year in the Nihonbashi area which takes the Edo period cultural idea of “coolness”―an in, to enjoy being cool during the summer-and puts a modern spin on it. There are many exciting things to look forward to, including the art aquarium which proves massively popular every year.

     

    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!

    Nihonbashi Information Center | IPPIN CAFÉ “Sparkling Herb Tea” – ¥518 (Tax Included)

    “Here, you must be boiling.” Yutaro-kun kindly offers a cup of IPPIN CAFE’s limited-edition sparkling herb tea. It’s a delicious mix of fizzy soda and lemon, a perfect refreshment for the summer. Since he ordered takeout the drink came with a goldfish straw. Goldfish are a staple sight during Japanese summer festivals so it’s very fitting for the occasion! 

     

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

    Wind-Chime Forest Path

    Lining the path between Fukutoku Shrine and Fukutoku Garden is the Wind-Chime Forest Path where around 200 Edo-style wind chimes dangled. This year, during the evenings, the path is illuminated with beautiful lighting. 

    When the breeze rolls past the wind chimes ring one by one-a cool and refreshing sound.

    “I hear each one of these Edo wind chimes are individually handmade by craftsmen.”

    When you hear the sound of the wind chimes it makes you feel cool like a gentle breeze of the wind.

     

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

    The moment we step instead Yutaro is already dazzled by all the goldfish: “Wow! I knew about this place from what I’d seen online, but this my first time here! This art aquarium really is something!”

     

    The full title of the event is “ECO EDO Nihonbashi ART AQUARIUM 2019 ~Edo, Coolness of Kingyo~ & Night Aquarium.”  Goldfish were a huge part of the common culture in Nihonbashi during the Edo period. This event recreates that and brings that “coolness” aspect while combining it with contemporary art by having people observe the fish in lots of different artistic environments.

    Super Oiran

    “This is the biggest fish tank, apparently it has 3,000 fish swimming inside!”

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

    Looks like Yutaro-kun is having a lot of fun taking photos.

    He’s equally interested in just about every fish tank!

    These other fish tanks have a different aesthetic to them. Their Japanese-style designs make for great photos.

    Kaleidorium 3D

    “This one’s beautiful, it’s like a kaleidoscope.”

    It really does look like one. When you take a peek instead you can glimpse all kinds of colourful fish gently swimming around.

    Ceiling Kingyo

    “There’re goldfish swimming on the ceiling too. So cool! This aquarium is incredible. It brings together the great culture of Edo and contemporary art.”

     

    The Art Aquarium bustles every single year with visitors, but this year will mark its last run. It’s being held at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, so if you have the chance to go then please do.

    We of course checked out some local Nihonbashi treats too! We stopped by morozoff for some cheesecake after the aquarium.

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

    These cute cheesecakes with their goldfish designs are available for a limited time only. They’re filled with sweet red bean paste. They perfect with iced tea.

    “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.

  • 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.

  • Attack on Titan, Seven Deadly Sins, Fairy Tail & Other Anime T-Shirts Releasing at UNIQLO

    30.July.2019 | ANIME&GAME / FASHION

    UNIQLO’s graphic t-shirt brand UT are celebrating the 60th anniversary of manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump with a new t-shirt collection via their sub brand MANGA UT. The t-shirts will go on sale from August 12.

     

    The collection covers six anime series serialised in the popular magazine including Hajime no IppoFairy TailThe Seven Deadly SinsAttack on TitanNegima! Magister Negi Magi, and Shōta no Sushi. Each t-shirt pays homage to its respective series, featuring iconic scenes that have stayed with fans, sound effects, and original designs that capture their worlds.

    Hajime no Ippo

    Hajime no Ippo is a boxing manga written and illustrated by George Morikawa. It follows Ippo Makunouchi, a shy high school student who suffers at the hands of bullies. He begins a career in boxing in search of the answer to the question “What is strength?” and battles his rivals and those around him to grow as an individual. The t-shirt design captures the lively energy seen in the characters and is surrounded by eye-catching SFX.

    ©George Morikawa/Kodansha

    Fairy Tail

    Fairy Tail is a fantasy adventure manga written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. It follows the dragon slaying wizard Natsu and his tale of growth as part of the Fairy Tail guild. One of the t-shirts features four characters from the guild and the other is a large illustration of Acnologia, the main characters’ strongest enemy.

    ©Hiro Mashima/Kodansha

     

    The Seven Deadly Sins

    The Seven Deadly Sins is a fantasy battle adventure series written and illustrated by Nakaba Suzuki. It follows the titular characters each of whom represent the seven deadly sins. There are several t-shirt designs including one featuring Meliodas looking up to the sky and another of him and his comrades out on a peaceful trip. There is even a hand drawn illustration of Hawk, a talking pig and Meliodas’s pet, which was illustrated by Suzuki himself and UT’s editors.

    ©Nakaba Suzuki/Kodansha

    Attack on Titan

    Attack on Titan is an dark fantasy adventure series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The story is set in a world where humanity lives within giant walls which help protect them from towering man-eating Titans. The terrifying t-shirt design features one of the Titans that live inside the walls.

    ©Hajime Isayama/Kodansha

    Negima! Magister Negi Magi

    Negima! Magister Negi Magi is an fantasy adventure and harem series written and illustrated by Ken Akamatsu. It follows the story of Negi, a wizard who becomes an English teacher at Mahora Academy, where he helps his class of students overcome their problems. He is also in search of his father who is known as a hero in the world of wizardry. There are two t-shirts, one featuring the main heroine Asuna Kagurazaka, and another of some of the other students in the class.

    ©Ken Akamatsu/Kodansha

    Shōta no Sushi

    Shōta no Sushi is a food manga series written and illustrated by Daisuke Terasawa which follows the story of Sekiguchi Shota who works as an apprentice and aims to become a sushi chef. There are two t-shirt designs, one which features the manga’s logo and a slice of sushi and the other with the logo and a whole sushi platter.

    ©Daisuke Terasawa/Kodansha

     

    Show your support for your favourite Weekly Shonen Jump series by picking up one of these awesome t-shirts!

  • No Guns Life is a manga series created by Tasuku Karasuma which has been serialized in Shueisha’s Seinen magazine Ultra Jump. An anime version of this manga has been created and will premiere in October 2019. We have now discovered that the opening theme song for the anime is MOTOR CITY and was written by Kenichi Asai.

    The second anime trailer for No Guns Life, in which you can hear a snippet of MOTO CITY, has also been released. The anime adaptation of No Guns Life was created by Madhouse, who are popular for their anime adaptations of Overlord and BLACK LAGOON. 

     

    © Tasuku Karasuma/Shueisha, NGL PROJECT

  • 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.

    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.

  • Manga Dororo by Osamu Tezuka was made into an anime 50 years ago. This continual sensation is getting an official soundtrack which will be released on August 14. The CD will be titled TV Anime Dororo Music Collection Tamashi no Kodou. Hiroyuki Asada, who creates the original character design drafts, designed the illustration for the CD jacket, which has just been unveiled to the public. 

    First-Press Limited Edition Version

    The whimsical illustration shows Dororo and Hyakkimaru snuggling together, alone in a vast barren desert. The first-press limited edition soundtrack version comes in a luxurious tall-size DigiPak sleeve and consists of three CDs. The regular edition contains a two-disk dual case. 

    Regular Version

    The booklet will contain statements by illustrator Hiroyuki Asada and Yoshihiro Ike, who was in charge of the music. As a bonus, the CD jacket illustration has been adopted for use on an A2 poster, which will be sold at Animate stores countrywide. The design will also feature on clear files which will be sold on Amazon. Please check them out.

     

    You can also view this illustration in advance at the TV Anime Dororo Original Art Exhibition Tamashi no Kodou, which is currently taking place. Please stop by to admire the illustration with your very own eyes. 

     

    Dororo © Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd./TWIN ENGINE Inc.

  • On June 30, NHK General TV finished broadcasting season 3 of popular anime Attack on Titan. Following the end of the broadcast, a 15-second trailer was released where we hear Mikasa pleading for Eren to come back. The short video also advertised the release of “The Final Season” which will be broadcasted in the autumn of 2020.

     

    15-second trailer video

    Fans are eagerly waiting to snatch up more information to fuel their excitement for the new season. 

     

    ©Hajime Isayama, Kodansha Ltd./Attack on Titan Production Committee

  • Toho, AlphaBoat & Tokyo Otaku Mode Announce International Contest For Original Character

    13.June.2019 | ANIME&GAME

    Toho and AlphaBoat have announced the second run of their video audition project “GEMSTONE” which is open to creators around the world, from animators to illustrators, composers, singers, actors and actresses, and beyond.

     

    The first round was held in Japan only and asked for illustrations and videos themed on “Godzilla.” Of the 1,000 people who participated, 11 were chosen as winners, all of whom are now undertaking work alongside the production team at Toho. The key visual for the new second round was illustrated by YELLOW JUNKIE/kyo→ko, one of the winners of the first audition.

    For the second round, Toho and Alphaboat are collaborating with Japanese pop culture news website Tokyo Otaku Mode to bring the contest to international creators. The new theme is “With Japan!” and participants are asked to create an original character based on this.

     

    Participants must create a 3-minute explanation video of their character. There are no boundaries to how videos can be created―it can be in the form of a presentation by the creators themselves, a short animation, and so on. All submissions that successfully pass the first round will be posted onto the official GEMSTONE YouTube channel. Finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the official ceremony held at Anime NYC. They will receive a cash prize of 1 million yen and get to develop a project alongside Toho, AlphaBoat and Tokyo Otaku Mode.

     

    Applications open on July 1 and will run until September 2 on the official website.

     

    A third and fourth round are in the works for the near future. Get involved!

  • Toei Animation Launches 100-Year Anime Pitch Project

    07.June.2019 | ANIME&GAME

    Toei Animation has announced its “100-Year Anime Project” contest for people to pitch their ideas for original anime. As the name of the project suggests, Toei are seeking out anime series that will continue for the next 100 years. This marks the first time the company, who are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year, have set out such a project.

    The project encompasses four different courses (ranging from A-D) for people to sign up to. Course A is for those who have no experience working in the anime industry while Course B is for those who do. Course C is seeking out proposals for a remake of the Ikkyū-san anime series while Course D is for professionals including animators, background artists, producers and so on.

     

    Each course offers a grand prize, runner-up and honourable mention with the following respective cash prizes: 1 million yen, 500,000 yen and 300,000 yen.

     

    If you’ve got an idea for an original anime series then get applying!

  • 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.

  • Hello, readers! I’m Ren Koseki. Spring is here, and we’re about to enter the Reiwa era.

     

    When talking about spring, we’ve got to talk about spring anime! I’ve picked up some series from the season and compiled them into a list for you all with my own comments and opinions. Let’s go!

     

    • The Helpful Fox Senko-san

    For those of you who need a relaxing break from the demands of day-to-day life, I recommend this moe-packed, heart-healing series!

     

    The story follows Kuroto Nakano, a salary man completely exhausted from his mundane routine of simply going back and forth to and from work. One day, an 800-year-old fox girl by the name of Senko appears to him to take care of him. There are flashback scenes every now and then that hint at Kuroto having met Senko when he was a child. Watching their relationship unfold is interesting to watch. At any rate, this is one that people who are also fatigued should watch so they can feel cared for too.

    ©イクニラッパー/シリコマンダーズ

    • Sarazanmai

    You can never predict what’s coming next or how the story will develop in this anime series!

     

    Three middle school boys are transformed into kappa by Keppi who steals their shirokodama. In order for them to return to their human forms, they must fight kappa zombies by removing their shirokodama from them and retrieving their wish-granting dishes. The atmosphere of the series is ever-changing. At one point it suddenly turns into a musical with the kappa singing and dancing. It’s an anime where you won’t get the full scope by just watching two or three episodes, and while it’s still ongoing that fact even now holds true.

     

    • Carole & Tuesday

    This series is set in a world 50 years after humans have migrated to Mars. It’s an age where most of the culture is created by AI.

     

    The story follows Carole, who was raised in a facility, and Tuesday, who was born into a wealthy family. These two musicians are drawn together by the same solitude they feel and dreams they hold. In an age where AI creates hit songs, these two characters’ voices will change the world.

     

    You will of course be invested in this story but it’s the music that these two create that you will end up becoming a fan of. I’m interested to see how their voices will change this lonely, AI-developed world.

     

    • Midnight Occult Civil Servants

    Miyako Arata joins the “Nighttime Regional Relations” department of Shinjuku Ward Office. Each of Tokyo’s 23 wards in this story is home to one such department. Their work sees them coming into contact with occult-like beings such as gods, spirits and angels. These beings appear in order to patch things up where an ordinary human encounters some kind of problem.

     

    Miyako is supposed to be just a newbie, but he has an ability that none of the others have: he is able to communicate with these beings. His roots, and the events surrounding theme, are another interesting part of this interesting anime!

    ©吾峠呼世晴/集英社・アニプレックス・ufotable

    • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

    This is an anime adaptation of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba which is currently serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump.

     

    The protagonist Tanjiro lived a happy live together with his family in the mountains where they sold charcoal. One day a demon comes and slaughters his family. The sole survivor, Tanjiro’s sister, is turned into a demon, though not completely. Tanjiro sets off to find a way to turn his sister back into a human. The story is harsh and the battle scenes are exhilarating. Will Tanjiro be able to save his sister? We will find out as we carry on watching the story unfold.

     

     

    These are the five anime series I am checking out this season! Asakusa in Sarazanmai and Shinjuku in Midnight Occult Civil Servants are actual places so it’s fun to watch! It might be fun to visit the locations they visit too.

     

    It’s looking to be a great spring this year with so many great looking anime series this season.

    TALENT PROFILE

    Ren Koseki

    Earns charismatic support as a model from young girls. She appears in a variety of media with her cute appearance which says things you cannot imagine and speaks the opinions of a generation. She also films, edits and posts videos on her YouTube channel, ‘Ren Channel.’

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