27 June 2012

Japan's latest outlet mall near Tokyo ★ Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu

The latest and one of the biggest outlet mall made the grand opening in the costal city, Kisarazu, in Chiba prefecture on April 13th. It has 171 shops in 2,8000 square meters of floor space at the opening and it is expected to expand to 200 to 250 shops in 40,000 square meters of floor space in the future.

It only takes 45 minutes from Tokyo, driving across the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, bridge and underwater tunnel trans-Tokyo Bay highway which connects just South of Tokyo to Kisarazu.

The good news for overseas visitors is it takes less than 30 minutes from Haneda Airport (domestic and parcially international airport in Tokyo) and people may stop by in the landmark, called 'umihotaru' (Sea Firely), the large car parking and shopping complex in the middle of Aqua-Line.

Please refer to the followings for further details:
Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu Official website: http://www.31op.com/kisarazu/foreign/index_en.html
The Outlet developer, Mitsui Fudosan's official website on the project: http://www.mitsuifudosan.co.jp/english/project/outletpark_kisarazu/facility/index.html
Related article: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201204120067
The outlet mall floor guide as above. Only available in Japanese at the moment. 
The huge car parking lots around the outlet mall which accomodate 4,300 cars.
It is not just a food court. Lines of people are waiting for their favourite meals in the food court. It is massive with 650 seats available for seafood, ramen noodle, and many more ... even ice cream, from famous restaurants in Tokyo and local restaurants in Chiba.
The latest trend for the Japanese outlet malls is to utilize the outlet mall facility as a weekend entertaining spot for the family.
While mothers are enjoying shopping, fathers and children 5 years old and above with adult accompany can play the Crazy Golf, the 16 holes for 500 yen .
Little children run and hop on the objects in lawn near the North Gate.
Get wet in the water fountain, called 'Pop Jet Square' near the North Gate. There are 'Dog Rest' and 'Kids Park' near the West Gate.

There are people's favourite international brands like Burberry, Ferragamo, Zegna, Polo Ralph Lauren, Armani, Coach but the families with kids are more excited in Gap, Bandai (Japanese toy manufacture), Bebe (kids outfits), Anna Sui mini and lots more.

Shopping in the sea breeze ... Fantastic!

20 June 2012

Japanese calligraphy at school ★ 'Shuji' lesson bag

Isn't it a pretty & colourful bag!
Can you guess what are in it?!
Brushes and a bottle?!
Yes! It is a bag for 'Shuji', Japanese calligraphy, bag for kids at school.

When children who go to a local Japanese primary school, they are asked to have a set of 'Shuji' as below when they reach Year 3, ages of 8 and 9.
There are large and small brushes, 'bunchin' (paperweight), 'mizusashi' (water bottle), 'sumi' stick (sumi ink), 'bokuju' (liquid sumi ink), and 'suzuri' (ink stone).

There are two ways of what are called Japanese calligraphy, 'shuji' (習字) and 'shodo' (書道).
Many people may think they have almost the same meaning, 'shuji' for children and 'shodo' for adults.
But it is INcorrect!
'Shuji' is to write the words correctly and beautifully by copying the calligraphic samples. On the other hand, 'shodo' is a type of art that people express the artistic skills in calligraphy, ''the way of writing''.

Children who go to a Japanese primary school learn 'shuji' but 'shodo'.
It solved my question why children learn 'shodo' in Japanese literacy class but in art.

For 'shuji' set for children, the price range is from 2,500 yen to 3,500 yen depending the quality of brushes, 'sumi' stick, etc.

Looking at the differences in old and new 'shuji' bags, 'suzuri' is downgraded from stone to plastic, 'bunchin' is changed from one piece silver metal to two blue bars.
More surprisingly, it was common that 'shuji' bag was one plain colour, red for girls and black for boys.
Nowadays, it reflects the Japanese 'kawaii' (cute) culture even to the traditional Japanese calligraphy.
'Sweet Make-up'???! for Japanese cultural art?!

How do you see it!?


09 June 2012

15 healthy hospital food in a Japanese hospital★

The hospital food used to be dry, cold and tasteless. It was the impression everyone had.
However, it is an old story in the Japanese hospitals and here are 15 healthy hospital meals for a middle aged Japanese woman.
Day 1 Lunch: 493kcal
'Shichibu-zuki' (70% polished) steamed rice, Chicken broiled with soy sauce, spinach, Koya-dofu (freeze dried bean curd) stewed with vegetables, dressed yam and 'okura' (Japanese gumbo), and grapes.
Day 1 Dinner: 658kcal
Steamed rice 150g, fish stock clear soup, cutlass fish 80g with lemon butter sauce, pumpkins with chicken mince sauce, and sliced radish and carrot in vinegar dressing.
Day 2 Breakfast:
Rice porridge ('gobu-gayu' = rice:water = 1:10) 250g, grilled salmon 40g, miso soup with cabbage, stewed Chinese cabbage, and milk.
 Day 2 Lunch: 506kcal
Rice porridge ('zen-gayu' = rice:water = 1:5)250g, 'tororo' (grated yam) with flavor, grilled fish 80g,  stewed 'ganmo' (deep fried bean curd mixed with thinly sliced vegetable) and vegetables, and boiled green vegetable.
Day 3 Dinner: 689kcal
'Omu-rice' (rice omelet, or stirred fried tomato flavoured rice wrapped in a thin omelet),
salad with cheese, kiwi fruit, and vegetable and fruit mixed juice.
Day 4 Breakfast: 481kcal
Steamed rice 150g, miso soup with Chinese cabbage, Japanese-style omelet, seasoned cabbage, and yogurt flavoured juice.
Day 4 Lunch: 622kcal
'Shichibu-tzuki' (70% polished) steamed rice, mackerel cooked in miso, potatoes with chicken mince sauce, and cucumber seasoned in vinegar.
Day 4 Dinner: 502kcal
'Terriyaki' chicken on top of steamed rice in a bowl, egg soup, bean starch thin noodles salad, and almond jelly with fruits.
Day 5 Breakfast: 479kcal
Two sliced bread (warm), vegetable saute, a small block of pineapple, and yogurt flavoured juice.
Day 5 Lunch: 428kcal
'Shichibu-zuki' (70% polished) steamed rice 150g, white-miso flavoured salmon, stirred fried bean curd refuse, and seasoned Chinese cabbage. 
Day 5 Dinner: 656kcal
'Kakiage' (deep-fried vegetable tempra) with soba noodle in soup, green vegetable salad, yogurt, and melon.
Day 6 Breakfast: 431kcal
150g of steamed rice, miso soup with Chinese radish, miso-flavoured fish, seasoned cabbage, plum pickle, and yogurt.
Day 6 Lunch: 537kcal
'Shichibu-zuki' (70% polished) steamed rice 150g, hamburg stake with broccoli,
 'kimpira gobou' (chopped burdock roots and carrots cooked in sugar and soy sauce), yam and 'okura', and 'shimeji' mushrooms in graded radish sauce.
Day 6 Dinner: 601kcal
Steamed rice 150g, flavoured (blue) fish 80g, beef and bean curd in sugar and soy sauce flavoured sauce, Chinese cabbage pickles, and grapes.
Day 7 Breakfast: 525kcal
Sliced bread 80g (warm), butter and strawberry jam, saute with cabbage and ham, a block of pineapple, and milk.

Close your eyes and imagine the food is served in beautiful Japanese plates and bowls. Please imagine the meals are brought by not nurse but a lady in kimono.

It is an old fashion but highly recommended low calorie and low cholesterol Japanese home cuisine.

Applause to the Japanese hospital food! Hooray!!!