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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

High Speed Boats To Chubu International Airport

津エアポートライン

High speed boats run from Nagashi Machi near Tsu city to Chubu International Airport (Centrair), south of Nagoya. The area where the boats dock has become known for the beauty of its sunrises and sunsets.

High Speed Boats To Chubu International Airport

There are 15 boats a day beginning at 6am from Tsu with the last boat at 9pm. The fare is 2,470 yen and the journey takes 45 minutes.

There are also 5 boats a day from Matsusaka to Centrair with the first boat at 6.20am and the last boat at 7.30pm. The fare is 2,780 yen and the journey takes 75 minutes.

High Speed Boats To Chubu International Airport

Reservations: Tel: 059 213 4111

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mikawa Friends at Cafe Nation THIS SAT. 4/3

Nagoya Friends meets Mikawa Friends DANCE PARTY!!!

Nagoya Friends

Nagoya Friends

at


Nagoya Friends



food provided by Charlie’s

Soul kitchen

Date: Saturday April 3rd, 2010
Time: 19:00 - 24:00 (free drinks from 7-9pm only!!)

Place: Cafe Nation (very close to Kariya Station)

map


Fee: 3000 Yen
Dress code: Anything (Casual, etc)
Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Just show up to the party!
Live DJ! ! ! 2 Floors!!

There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices). Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks. Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends. EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated. About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japanese and 30% non-Japanese.

Map & Directions
Contact: 080-3648-1666(Japanese) 080-5469-6317(English) Get off at Kariya Station[South Exit]
Cafe Nation カフェネイション
Web site : http://www.cafenation.jp/
E-mail : info@cafenation.jp
Tel & Fax : 0566-25-3905
〒448-0841 1-48 Minamisakuramchi Kariya-shi Aichi-ken


Train Directions From Nagoya Stn. take the JR Tokaido or Meitetsu Mikawa line to Kariya Station Take the south exit and then walk straight Along Rt 48 on the right side of the street.

Go past the Eneos gas station and it is just past the first traffic light on tour right side. It’s roughly 5-7 minutes from the station on foot.

Osaka Aqualiner

Aqualiner大阪水上バス

Osaka has been called the Venice of Asia because of its many rivers and waterways.

For much of the last 100 years, though, the waters were dirty and commercial - and ignored by everyone else - and the city itself not much to look at.

Recently, though, the city is attempting to clean up Naniwa - its ancient name - and make it attractive to tourists. This extends to its rivers.

There are many bridges and "islands" and paths along the rivers. Perhaps, though,the best way to see the river(s) is on the Aqualiner.

The Aqualiner is a long and low vessel that runs from Temmabashi Station and Yodoyabashi Station on the Keihan Line. It follows a loop that covers Osaka Castle, Yodoyabashi (City Hall, the main library), and the mint.

The ride lasts one hours and costs 1700 yen for adults.


Water Bus information


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Monday, March 29, 2010

Gateball

ゲートボール

Gateball is the quintessential game for the over 60s in Japan. A form of croquet played on the rough gravel of public parks between two teams of five a side - although the number per side is allowed by the rules to be lower. In fact, the rules of the game continue to baffle me.

Gateball

Gateball has spread overseas since it first appeared in Japan after World War II, conceived first in Hokkaido by Washin Suzuki as a game for young people. It is now played in a number of countries (almost exclusively by old people) including South Korea, Australia, the USA, UK and even Brazil. In spite of its history and popularity, its formalization took a while, with the formation of the Japan Gateball Union in 1984.

Gateball

The 10th World Gateball Championships are due to be held in Shanghai in September this year.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Japan This Week 28 March 2010

今週の日本

Japan News.Nintendo to Make 3-D Version of Its DS Handheld Game

New York Times

日中贸易首次进行人民币结算

Caijing

What does it mean to be 'big in Japan'?

Guardian

El cine de animación japonés se rinde a la moda del 3D

El Pais

Hatoyama eyes talks on raising sales tax

Japan Times

Japanese sense of despair reflected in tidal wave of bleak new manga comics

Times Online

Corée du Nord : les otages de l'Histoire

Le Monde

Bill Gates and Toshiba discuss nuclear power venture

BBC

Stop the Press? The Sankei and the State of Japan’s Newspaper Industry

Japan Focus

Takahashi wins gold, Virtue-Moir lead in dance

Yahoo Sports

Japan's teenage cellphone culture

Washington Post

Last week's Japan news


Japan Statistics

Rank of Peacekeeping Operations by number of personnel deployed (number):

1. Pakistan: 10,764
2. Bangladesh: 10,427
3. India: 8,757
4. Nigeria: 5,807
5. Egypt: 5,155
11. Italy: 2,451
15. China: 2,136
17. France: 1,610
38. South Korea: 397
41. Russia: 365
72. USA: 72
85: Japan: 39

Source: Asahi Shinbun

Percentage of businesses, by prefecture, that were founded 100 years or more ago. These are the top five in Japan.

1. Kyoto (3.65%)
2. Shimane (3.50%)
3. Niigata (3.37%)
4. Yamagata (3.25%)
5. Shiga (3.11%)

These prefectures have a large concentration of textile (kimono, obi), alcohol (sake), and other traditional industries.

Source: Asahi Shinbun

Odds of winning 2010 World Cup:

Spain 9/2
England 5/1
Brazil 5/1
Netherlands 14/1
Cameroon 80/1
Denmark 125/1
Japan 250/1

Source: William Hill


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hiking Mount Daimonji

大文字山

Climbing to the top of Mount Daimonji is a fairly non-strenuous walk which affords wonderful views of Kyoto city below and even Osaka in the distance on very clear days.

Hiking Mount Daimonji

Mount Daimonji is one of the mountains in Kyoto lit up with fires during the annual Obon Festival in August when a huge fire in the shape of the kanji 大 (dai) is set alight.

The easiest way to reach the foot of the trail to Daimonji is to take the Raku 100 bus from Kyoto Station - the bus stop is to your right from the main exit of Kyoto Station. The service is crowded but most passengers alight at the popular Kiyomizudera Temple.

Hiking Mount Daimonji

The last stop is Ginkakuji Temple, get off the bus and walk back towards the entrance to the temple and turn left. At the concrete torii gate at the end of the lane turn right and you will see the trail signposted. The path leads through pleasant woodland and flowing streams and a set of steep stairs will bring you to the summit.

Hiking Mount Daimonji

Bring a picnic and enjoy the views. Temperatures are a few degrees cooler at the top of Daimonjiyama than down below.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Creating Addicts in Japan

たばこ 若者狙い




While the rest of the developed world attempts to gradually elbow the tobacco companies out of the market, in Japan tobacco enjoys free rein. Not only are cigarettes pretty cheap here compared with other developed countries, but cigarette advertising is rife.

Not only is cigarette advertising rife, but tobacco companies are free to aggressively target the under-25s market as freely as, say, McDonald’s does.

Here on a counter of a Three F convenience store in Tokyo’s Ryogoku area (famous for sumo), is a display of Camel cigarettes clearly aimed at youngsters. (There was another one by the other cash counter.) They are point-of-purchase (POP), they are kiddy-styled in being “mini” and, more importantly, cute. They are kiddy-priced, being cheap, and they are kiddy-flavored, being menthol. They also have another feature often associated with products for the young crowd: a free gift, in this case a box of “original” matches (the orange box in the foreground, masquerading as a cigarette box, or an “original” lighter.)

There’s nothing kiddy about the “8 mg” though! If there was any way of being less subtle about trying to create new nicotine addicts, we’d like to see it!

Read about the Tobacco and Salt Museum in Tokyo

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Spring proverb

一場の春夢

Blossom in Hagi Castle.

In spite of it being the end of March, spring is very slow coming this year in Japan, with the occasional fine tepid day followed by a fierce reversion to wintry rain and bluster. However, this Monday having been the Shunbun no Hi (i.e. Vernal Equinox) holiday, we are officially well into spring.

So how about we celebrate with a spring proverb?

一場の春夢 or in hiragana: いちじょうのしゅんむ, or in alphabet: ichijo no shunmu

一場 ichijo literally means “one place” and is a representation of life’s transience. Think of it as something like the “here” in “here and now,” or the “there” in “there and gone.”

の no is a possessive particle that has exactly the same meaning as “’s” – so “one place’s”

春夢 shunmu means “spring dream.”

So, to paraphrase: “A dream in spring, there [and gone],” or perhaps “A dream of spring, there [and gone].” Proverbs are tiny poems, so the exact meaning has some flexibility, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a very evocative little saying.

Spring is particularly associated with transience and fleetingness in Japan because its most gorgeous feature, arguably the highlight of the natural year in Japan, is sakura, or cherry blossom. And hardly has sakura blossomed, when it is suddenly all over – the epitome of transience, made all the more evocative by its beauty. And mention fleeting beauty and anyone past his or her prime feels a visceral tug, none more so than the Japanese: a nation of narcissists if ever there was one.

And of course, “dream” is perhaps the most fleeting form of consciousness we know. Like blossom, however luxuriant and vivid it may be when we’re sitting under it laughing and drinking, once it has gone it has quite gone – all too soon, and we are powerless to bring it or even clear memories of it back in the here and now, there and gone.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Uniqlo

ユニクロ

Uniqlo is a Japanese retail success story born of the recession in Japan in the 1990s. Like Book Off, Uniqlo came to prominence in the so-called "Lost Decade" of the 1990s when the demand rose for cheaper products than could be found in Japan's then all-powerful department stores. The massive popularity of the company's fleeces in the late 90s ensured the prominence of the retailer in Japan.

Uniqlo

Uniqlo has risen from humble beginnings in rural Yamaguchi prefecture in 1984 to become the leading retailer of clothing in the country, now with stores overseas in the US, UK, South Korea, China, France, Russia and Singapore and a competitor in the global market to such companies as H&M, Zara and Gap.

Uniqlo

Uniqlo - a contraction of "Unique Clothing" - specializes in casual clothing mostly manufactured in China, sold at low prices in often pastel shades. The company's HQ is still in Yamaguchi with the main Tokyo office located in Midtown Tower in Roppongi (Tel: 03-6865-0296). The company has over 790 stores in Japan and is moving towards opening more large format stores such as its mega-outlets in Ginza in Tokyo and Sakae in Nagoya.

Uniqlo

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Nagoya Friends THIS SATURDAY at Red Rock! 3/27 (Sat.)

Nagoya Friends 84th party in Nagoya!
at

  • Date: Saturday March 27th, 2010
  • Time: 18:30 - 21:00
  • Drinks will be served between 6:30pm-8:50pm.
  • Place: The Red Rock (2F Aster Plaza Building, 4-14-6 Sakae, Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)
  • Fee: 3000 Yen
  • Dress code: Anything (Casual, etc)
  • Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Just show up to the party!
  • Over 25,000 Yen worth of exciting prize giveaways each month!

There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices).
Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks.
Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends.
EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated.
About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japanese and 30% non-Japanese.
Pictures from previous Nagoya Friends Parties.

Map & Directions

Contact: 080-3648-1666(Japanese) 080-5469-6317(English)

Get off at Sakae Station [Exit #13]

Red Rock Nagoya

The Red Rock (2F Aster Plaza Building,
4-14-6 Sakae, Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)

The Red Rock is located behind the Chunichi Building in the Sakae business/shopping district.

Subway access from Sakae Station (serving the yellow and purple lines) Exit 13. It’s a big station connected to a huge underground shopping mall so you’ll need to do a little underground walking.

We’re also just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Tokyu and Precede hotels, and a 10 minute walk up Hirokoji Street from the Hilton Hotel in Fushimi.

Train Directions
  • From Nagoya Stn. take the Higashiyama Subway line to Sakae Station (GET OFF at Sakae Station!!) Take exit #13 and then walk straight AWAY from Hirokoji-Dori for about 3/4 of a block. TURN LEFT Red Rock is on the right side of the street in the middle of the block. Look for the sign on the sidewalk.

Sakae Station
Higashiyama Line

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eurostar

ユーロスター

Eurostar

A new vegetable - and not a train - has just hit the Japanese market. Known in English as Romanesco broccoli, it is called the Eurostar in Japan.

It's weird, too-perfect fractal makeup caught my eye at a supermarket in Tokyo's Ueno district yesterday, as did it's quirky name - no doubt meant to denote its European origins and its radiating structure.

Although from Europe originally, the Eurostar is home-grown in Japan, in Saitama prefecture, next to, and north-west of, Tokyo. (The red characters at the top-left of the label in the foreground say "Saitama prefecture.")

At 480 yen (about USD4.60/GBP2.90) a head, this would not usually find itself in my shopping basket, but curiosity got the better of me. Vendors are obviously cashing in on its novelty value here in Japan.

Verdict? A slightly sweeter version of normal broccoli; a halfway house, perhaps, between broccoli and cauliflower. And, sure enough, the top left of the white label seen on each item of produce in the photo has the much less highfalutin "Cauliflower" (in katakana) on it.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Le Petit Mec Cafe Kyoto

ルプチメック

Kyoto is full of cafes and kissaten (coffee shops), bakeries and boulangeries.

However, we can safely say that the bread at Le Petit Mec is, if not the best, among the best in Kyoto.

The coffee, however, is without question the most delicious in the city.

It is worth a trip to enjoy a cafe au lait and bread in a cozy place that brings to mind parts of Paris.


Le Petit Mec
159 Motokitakojimachi
Omiya-nishi-iri, Imadegawa
Ukyo-ku
Kyoto 602-8448 
Tel: 075 432 1444
Closed Monday-Thursday 
8am-8pm

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Japan This Week 21 March 2010

今週の日本

Japan News.Japan Eases Monetary Policy to Fight Deflation

New York Times

鸠山称正在讨论驻日美军普天间机场搬迁两方案

People's Daily

Bluefin tuna fails to make UN's list of protected fish

Guardian

Toyota Cast Doubts On James Sikes' Runaway Prius Story

NPR

IBM, acusada de no declarar 3.225 millones de euros en Japón

El Pais

Unqualified Minamata cases to be settled

Japan Times

Conservationists condemn Japan’s passion for coral

Times Online

Relation Tokyo-Washington : l'épreuve de la diplomatie secrète, par Philippe Pons

Le Monde

Bluefin tuna ban proposal meets rejection

BBC

The ‘Illusion’ of Homogeneous Japan and National Character: Discourse as a Tool to Transcend the ‘Myth’ vs. ‘Reality’

Japan Focus

Honda scoring run boosts Japan's WC build-up

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news


Japan Statistics

In an ongoing campaign intended to both frighten and influence the nation's youth, the Japanese government has released a study asserting that 2.76 million Japanese are estimated to have used illegal drugs.

That is 2.9% of the country's population.

The drugs included in the survey were cannabis, stimulants, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroine.

There was nothing in the report about alcohol or tobacco use.

Source: Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare

In order to maintain its current population of 125 million, Japan would need to have net migration of 381,000 people per year for 50 years. That is a total of 17 million immigrants.

To keep its working-age population at 1995 levels, Japan would need to have net migration of 609,000 migrants per year for 50 years. That would total 33 million new residents from overseas.

Source: Kyodo News


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shoin Shrine Hagi

吉田 松陰

One of the most popular tourist sites in Hagi is the Shoin Shrine enshrining Yoshida Shoin (1830-1859). He was a local samurai who was executed in 1859 for his part in an asassination plot against Ii Naosuke - a government official - but is mostly known for being a teacher of many of the leading members of the new Meiji government, which took over power from the Tokugawa regime in 1868.

Shoin Shrine Hagi

The shrine was established in 1890 and moved to its present location in 1955. The original shrine is just to the north of the present shrine and it now enshrines the students of Yoshida Shoin.

Shoin Shrine Hagi

Within the grounds of the shrine is his old classroom where he taught the likes of Ito Hirobumi (1841-1909), Japan's first Prime Minister.

Shoin Shrine Hagi

Also within the grounds is a small museum on Yoshida that mostly consists of life-size tableau depicting events from his short and dramatic life.

Shoin Shrine Hagi

Read more about Hagi

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Wako Building Ginza

The Wako Building in Ginza Tokyo is one of the up-market area's most famous landmarks.

Wako Building Ginza

The present rounded building was built in the 1930s and amazingly survived the World War II bombing of Tokyo. Wako was originally founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori as a watch business called K. Hattori (which later became Seiko). The first company building on the site was demolished in the 1920s to make way for the existing structure - the clock at the top of the building pays homage to the company's roots.

Wako, the retail business split off from Hattori (Seiko) in 1947 and now the company is a high-end store selling watches (of course), jewelry, women's fashion items, baby wear and expensive foreign chocolate.

Wako Ginza also has two restaurants, a cafe, tea salon and chocolate salon. The Wako Hall is an exhibition space in the building.

Wako has branches in Haneda Airport, Hiroo and Shinsaibashi in Osaka

Wako Building
Tel: 03 3562 2111
Hours: 10.30am-6pm; closed Sunday

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello Kitty Plastic Sandals

ハローキティ

Brightly colored Hello Kitty plastic sandals worn with sweat pants and sweat top are a favorite with the Japanese "Bad Girl" fashionistas.

Hello Kitty Plastic Sandals

That carefully contrived "just got out of bed look" is completed with pink enameled toe nails and a shock of uncombed carrot-dyed hair.

Note the reflexology dimples on the soles of the sandals.


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daishoin Temple Hagi

大照院萩

The Mori Clan, who built the castle town of Hagi and ruled the domain from there during the Edo period, had, rather unusually, two family temples for the burial of their dead. Local people say this was a ruse by the clan to downplay their power in the eyes of the ruling shogunate.

Daishoin Temple Hagi

The first family temple was Daishoin, a Rinzai sect temple rebuilt by the Mori in the late 17th century. Here the first, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth lords and their wives were buried, while the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and eleventh were buried at Tokoji Temple on the other side of Hagi.

Daishoin Temple Hagi

Both graveyards have hundreds of stone lanterns donated by faithful retainers, though Daishoin has 600, about 100 more than Tokoji.

Daishoin Temple Hagi

Because of its location, a little away from major tourist attractions in Hagi, Daishoin gets far fewer visitors than Tokoji. The temple is less well maintained and a little run down, but this only adds to its charm and atmosphere, coupled with the fact that it is often empty of visitors.

Daishoin Temple Hagi

Daishoin is a short walk from Hagi JR station.

Open from 8:30am to 5:00pm daily. Entrance 200 yen

Daishoin Temple Hagi

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Japanese Wanted Posters

犯罪ポスター

Japanese wanted posters are nothing if not graphic. Hung outside Japanese police boxes (koban) and in railway stations - the posters show a photograph of the wanted person, their crime and the amount of reward the Japanese police are offering for information leading to their arrest.

Japanese Wanted Posters

The poster in the photographs has a cross through the image of Ichihashi Tatsuya, who was finally arrested for the crime of abandoning the body of Lindsay Ann Hawker, a young English teacher found dead in a bath of sand on the balcony of the suspect's apartment near Tokyo.

Japanese Wanted Posters

The text begins "Near You!" and introduces a rogues' gallery of dangerous felons who seem to have been on the posters for years! Dial 110 if you spot one of them!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Walls of Hagi



The castle town of Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, was constructed on the "island" delta between the 2 forks of the Abu River.

Walls of Hagi

When the railway reached Hagi it went around the town and not straight through it and therefore the town was spared the redevelopment that occurred around railway lines and stations elsewhere in Japan.

Walls of Hagi

Consequently sections of the old town are still pretty much as they were centuries ago, and it is said that Edo-period maps can still be followed.

Walls of Hagi

In the old samurai district near the castle many of the former samurai dwellings still stand, and the roads are lined with impressive traditional earthen walls.

Walls of Hagi

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Japan This Week 14 March 2010

今週の日本

Japan News.U.S. Reaches Out to Tokyo’s Real Power

New York Times

日专家热议新时代中日关系 认为日本不能与中国较劲

People's Daily

Lexus, a Toyota Brand, Avoids Taint From Recalls

New York Times

China threat can heal US-Japan rift

Guardian

Japan detains anti-whaling activist

Washington Post

Zapatero recibe una solicitud para condecorar a Toru Arakawa, el japonés que ayudó a abrir fosas de la Guerra Civil

El Pais

Kan: Okinawa costs topped official claim

Japan Times

65 years after the war, Japan needs convincing of the need for US bases

Times Online

Takeshi Kitano: "Sarkozy et Carla, c’est bien"

Libération

Japan opens 98th national airport in Ibaraki

BBC

A Jostled Princess, a Heavy Crown

New York Times

Toyotas Are Safe (Enough)

New York Times

Japan coach Okada in the dark over squad for friendly

Yahoo Sports

Last week's Japan news


Japan Statistics

Percentage gap between median wages for men and women, 2006.

South Korea: 38
Japan: 33
Germany: 23
Canada: 22
UK: 21
USA: 19
OECD average: 17.5
New Zealand: 10
Belgium: 9

Source: New York Times

The number of visa overstayers in Japan is at its lowest in twenty-one years. As of January 1, 2010, the number of foreigners who had overstayed their visas was 91,778 - the first time in 21 years the number dropped below 100,000.

Of those deported, Chinese topped the list for the seventh year in a row.

Source: Kyodo News

In its annual list of the world's richest, Forbes magazine's top ranked Japanese was Uniqlo's Tadashi Yanai. He came in 89th, with a net wealth of $7.6 billion.

Source: Forbes


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Toppy Jetfoil Yakushima

Toppy jetfoil Yakushimaトッピフェリー屋久島

There are several ways of getting to Yakushima, an island that is a World Heritage Site located off the coast of Kyushu.

From Kagoshima, perhaps the most pleasant option is a two-hour ride on the "Toppy" jetfoil.

"Toppy" means flying fish in the local dialect, and the boat does indeed "fly."

On the day we rode across the bay to Yakushima, the seas were rough but the ride smooth once the jetfoil kicked in and the boat lifted up and out of the water as it glided forward.

The fee is 7,000 yen one way.

For those who prefer a slower, cheaper, and possibly rougher ride, regular ferry service is also available. The Yakushima Ferry 2 departs Kagoshima New Port in the morning, and costs 5,000 one way for a four-hour ride to the island. For an extra fee, you can bring your car as well.

(Flights are available from Kagoshima Airport, but as the airport is so far outside the city this is not a good option. If you are coming , however, from Kansai - Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara - flights from Itami Airport take one hour and 15 minutes.)


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Friday, March 12, 2010

24 Kaikan Sauna: Gay Shinjuku

24会館

24 Kaikan, gay sauna, Shinjuku Nichome, Tokyo.

24-Hour Kaikan is a gay sauna, part of a chain, located at the back of Shinjuku Ni-Chome, and, with 8 floors, is the biggest cruising premises in the area. As the name indicates, 24-Hour Kaikan is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Foreigners are welcome, and staff speak limited English.

"kaikan" as it is spelled out in kanji on the building's signboard simply means "meeting hall," but the same word using different kanji, 快感, means "pleasurable sensation" or "rush of pleasure."

The 2,600 yen entrance fee, payable by vending machine in the entrance, is for a 13-hour stay: 200 yen-per-hour after that. (A 6-hour “short stay” on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. is also possible for 2,000 yen: 200 yen-per-hour after that.)

The procedure is: put shoes in locker and change into slippers, buy admission ticket from vending machine, take shoe locker key and ticket to the front desk, and receive a clothes locker key and a bag with robe, face cloth, and bath towel. The reception floor also has a snack room.

There is parking on the first floor (600 yen for first 3 hours). There is a dry sauna, steam room, communal bath, and tanning beds on the 3rd floor. There is a video room on the 4th floor, and private rooms on the 5th, 6th, and 7th floors.

Private rooms are expensive (from 3,800 yen to 21,000 yen depending on numbers and time slot) so most action takes place in the common rooms on the 4th, 5th, and 6th floors - so much action in fact that if on weekends you manage to find a space on a futon to lie down, sleep is often difficult. Being a roomful of scores of guys, there is naturally a lot of snoring. Being a roomful of guys there for hooking up, there is also naturally a lot of moaning and groaning, huffing and puffing, and those on the cruising front lines scouring the scene for hookups with subtle groping of likely looking sleeping forms.

Foreigners are not uncommon at 24 Kaikan Shinjuku, and, while most Japanese guys are not very forthcoming and are unlikely to make the first move, if you know what you want and stay tuned, your chances are as good as anywhere else in the world. The easiest Japanese guys to hook up with are gaisen (pronounced "guy-sen"), i.e. those into foreign guys, but they do not necessarily form the limits of your cruising experience in Japan. Those who don't think of themselves as gaisen might just need a little more effort on your part.

24 Kaikan also has a rooftop floor, equipped with another suntan room and a cold bathtub.

Condoms (kondomu in Japanese) are available free of charge.

Upon entry, you may be asked to show your passport or alien registration card.

Read more about gay Japan

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Food Poisoning Chihana Kyoto Three-Star Restaurant

食中毒千花

One of Kyoto's most revered kaiseki restaurants Chihana, a recipient of three stars from the Michelin Guide, was recently cited in a food poisoning case.

On February 26th, a party of eight suffered high fever and diarrhea after dining at the world famous restaurant.

As a result, Kyoto city ordered the restaurant closed for business for three days from March 4 - 6.

The eight patrons ranged in age from 32 to 58, and all were from the Kyoto area.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kyoto National Museum Treasures of the Hapsburg Monarchy

Kyoto  National Museum京都国立博物館ハプスブルク

The Kyoto National Museum, the wonderful Meiji Era brick pile across the street from Sanjusangendo and a high-end Hyatt Hotel, is currently showing a fantastic series of paintings and other items until March 14.

2010 marks the 140th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Japan and Austria-Hungary.

To celebrate this event, some 120 paintings and decorative art works from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the Szépmüvészati Múzeum in Budapest are on display.

These works were formerly owned by the Hapsburgs, who ruled much of Europe for over six hundred years.

They were in addition patrons of many painters, such as Durer, Velazquez, Rubens, Raphael, Titian, and Goya.

There is also an album of one hundred Japanese paintings and two lacquered shelves decorated with makie (sprinkled metal design) presented by Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) to Emperor Franz Joseph (1830-1916) as a token of their friendship.

The details are stunning. The birds and insects in particular are wonderful.

Treasures of the Hapsburg Monarchy
Until March 14
9:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (Entrance Until 5:30 p.m.)
Fridays 9:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (Entrance Until 7:30 p.m.)
1500 yen for adults

Suggestion: Go towards the end of the day. You will have Durer and Rembrandt almost all to yourself.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Japan Newsletter Spring 2010

ジャパンニュースレター

Please join our Japan Visitor newsletter if you are planning a trip to Japan AND to win some great prizes this month.

Even if you may never visit the country but are just interested in things Japanese please subscribe to our monthly newsletter to keep up with the latest travel and cultural news from Japan.

Take a look at March's Japan Visitor newsletter to see what you will receive in your email inbox.

Japan Newsletter Spring 2010

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Nagoya Friends at Harry's Diner in Sakae THIS SAT!! 3/13


83rd party in Nagoya!
at

featuring food from Charlie’s

  • Date: Saturday March 13th, 2010
  • Time: 7pm-9:30pm
  • Bar is open till 2am and party guests can stay on for the live set at no extra charge!!!
  • Drinks will be served between 7:00pm-9:15pm.
  • Place: Harry’s Diner (very close to Sakae Station)
  • Fee: 3000 Yen
  • Dress code: Anything (Casual, etc)
  • Reservations: Not necessary but recommended and appreciated. Just show up to the party!

There will be free food along with free drinks (beers, wine, cocktail drinks and juices). Our party is not a dinner party, but we will have light food & snacks. Quantities are limited, so please come early! Please free to come alone or bring your friends. EVERYBODY is welcome to join regardless of nationality/gender. Reservation is greatly appreciated. About 125-150+ people are expected to attend. Approximately 55% female and 45% male, 70% Japanese and 30% non-Japanese. Pictures from previous Nagoya Friends Parties.

Map & Directions

Contact: 080-3648-1666(Japanese) 080-5469-6317(English)

Get off at Sakae Station [Exit #12 or 13]

Harry’s Diner (M-COT (エムコット) Sakae B1
4-4-17 Sakae, Nagoya (very close to Sakae Station)

Harry’s Diner is located in the Sakae business/shopping district.

Subway access from Sakae Station (serving the yellow and purple lines) Exit 12 or 13. It’s a big station connected to a huge underground shopping mall so you’ll need to do a little underground walking.

We’re also just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Tokyu and Precede hotels, and a 10 minute walk up Hirokoji Street from the Hilton Hotel in Fushimi.

Train Directions
  • From Nagoya Stn. take the Higashiyama Subway line to Sakae Station (GET OFF at Sakae Station!!) Take exit #13 and then walk straight AWAY from Hirokoji-Dori for about 3/4 of a block. TURN LEFT Harry’s diner is three and a half blocks down on the left side of the street in the middle of the block.

Sakae Station
Higashiyama Line


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