21 March 2012

Late spring arrival in Japan ★2012

These are the photos I would like to present to those who miss the Japanese spring, and to those who like to see the arrival of the spring in Japan.
These photos were taken at 'Kasai Rinkai Koen' (http://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/english/park/detail_02.html#kasairinkai) near Tokyo Disney Land on Spring Equinox Day yesterday.
No cherry blossoms bloomed but 1/3 of the plum tree flowers were just as beautiful as they are in the photos.
A Japanese man who looked like a scientist started to talk to my 8 years old daughter, explaining about the tadpole in a pond at the park. There were frogs' eggs and young tadpole which just hatched the eggs (black dots in the photo).
It was a very nice and warm, and an interesting day out in the park.

19 March 2012

'Suji Yaki'@ Kiji Okonomiyaki Restraunt ★ More than fabulous!

Above picture called 'Suji Yaki' at Kiji (http://www.o-kizi.jp/index.html - Japanese only)
'Okonomiyaki' is one of the most famous Japanese casual cuisine. It is often described as Japanese pancake or pizza but it is neither sweet nor cheesy.
'Okonomiyaki' literally means 'grill what you like' so you put any toppings like pork, beef, seafood in the batter of flour, sliced cabbage, eggs, fish stock etc. When it is nicely cooked, it is topped with sweet soy sauce, mayonnaise, dried fish (bonito) powder or flakes, and dried seaweed as you like.
It was originally came from the west part of Japan like Hiroshima and Osaka and now it becomes the national beloved dish.
It is common that long queue of people are waiting to get in during lunch time. Your order is taken while you are waiting outside the restaurant and then the food is cooked in the back. When you sit down at the table, your order is served quickly and okonomiyaki is bought on to the griddle in front of you to keep it warm and sizzling.
Okonomiyaki Restaurant 'Kiji'
Address: Tokyo Bldg. TOKIA B1F, 2-7-3 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3216-3123
Above 'suji yaki' is a type of okonomiyaki with toppings of stewed beef and lots of 'kujo negi' on top, similar to Welsh onion typically brought from Kyoto region. Indeed, it is the yummiest of all!
No matter how fussy you are, you would like the dishes in lovely atmosphere.

15 March 2012

For shoes lovers, look out for Adidas cherry blossom colour bearfoot shoes.

The plum trees have started to bloom in Tokyo and it is the sign that the spring is almost there. It will be soon surrounded with beautiful pink colour of cherry blossom trees everywhere throughout Japan.
Maybe because of that, Japanese people like pink colour more than any other nationalities.
The sports apparel manufacturer, Adidus, released five-toes bearfoot training shoes, named adipure Trainer, late last year. There have been five-toes shoes with shoe lace from other shoes makers but the adipure Trainer looks fantastic. It reminded me of the 'jika tabi' shoes that Japanese construction workers wear.
(Above picture from Jika Tabi Inc. http://www.jika-tabi.com/)
There are a number of articles that examine how superb the five-toes bearfoot shoes are but interestingly this pinky-pink colour adipure Trainer (ultra pink S12 Yen 9,345) is (maybe) only available for ladies in Japan (US adidas: http://www.adidas.com/us/product/mens-training-adipure-trainer-shoes/TD035).
Check it out for this eye-chatchig traing shoes for the spring!

13 March 2012

Cyndi Lauper speaks out for the Earthquake victims

Cyndi Lauper has been taking an active roles to help the Great East Japan Earthquake victims. She held a press conference at The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on March 12, a day after her visit to the disaster-hit Tohoku region on the first anniversary of devastating 3.11 earthquake.
She emphasized those victims in northern areas need the financial stability to get the life back on, saying 'Buy things from there. Keep people working. You're gonna buy anyway. Buy from the areas that were hit, where the stores still open. Just keep the money moving so people can recover and get back on their feet.'
She also talked about her own story in Tohoku, 'It was my idea maybe to buy a piano and donate it to the school to keep the guy working and then to get kids into the music so that they grow up with the music.'
People in northern Japan were hit badly by the harmful rumors, called 'Fuhyo higai' (風評被害). People are afraid of buying the products made in the region that could be contaminated with radiation from nuclear plants.
But Cyndi Lauper made a clear point that, 'Those people cannot be isolated and cut off. They could have radiation issues but I don't think you can catch the radiation by shaking somebody's hands or giving them a hug.'
I am sure there are many people out there who want to give them a hand but don't know how.
''Buy things from there so that people get back on their feet!''
Here is an English website, called 'Shop Tohoku' (http://shoptohoku.com/) where you can purchase some products from small business in the region.
There are not many companies that are recovered and fully operated in the region. But there will be more if every one of us make a little contribution to help the people in Tohoku to get their life back on track.

12 March 2012

Water fun at Aquaparadise Patio in Saitama

Surprisingly, there are not many places which offer indoor swimming pools with big slides in or near Tokyo. There are a few, though, but it is always crowded and expensive for family day out. Japanese people may tend to enjoy the winter sports like skiing or skating or relax in hot spring in winter and play at outdoor swimming pools in summer.
But you sometimes want to swim and have fun at the indoor swimming pool with family, don't you? That what I felt and I found a good one for you.
It took only a couple of hours from Tokyo by car to this fantastic indoor swimming pool, called Aquaparadise Patio in Fukaya City, Saitama (HP: http://www.patio.or.jp/ - Japanese language only).
There are a lagoon pool with wave rides, 'lazy' river pool, 50m and 100m spinning slides, wet and dry sauna, bubble bath, children puddling pool, 25m swimming pool for serious lane swimmers, which are all heated and nice and clean.
Because it is run by the local government, the facility is simply designed and all the prices are reasonably set.
Adults 1,000 yen
Children (Elementary and Junior high school students) 500 yen per visit
Open 10:00 - 21:00 (open at 9:00 in summer time), Closed on Tuesdays
Conditions apply.
Free car parking is available.
Address: 763 Kashiai, Fukaya City, Saitama, 366-0816 JAPAN
Phone: 048-574-5000
It is the family-friendly facility for a day out from Tokyo.
Worth try it!