Monday, January 31, 2011

KW Coffee

As some of you might know, the prices of coffee beans have been on the rise. It was reported the rise of the prices was partly due to the fact that people in Brazil have started to have good coffee and that that added demand was making coffee beans more precious. You'd think it's ironical because the country has been known for quality coffee.

 But most of the coffee chains in Japan are yet to hike the prices of their coffee. For example, the cheapest coffee Doutor serves is 200 yen, but it stays the same now, and besides that they're giving people coupons that give them a 20 yen discount. Btw, a more expensive coffee chain of Doutor called "Excelsior" in the mall in my neighborhood went out of business, and now this "KW Coffee" fills in the place. 

I guess the "KW" is short for this "Kita No Watayuki". The meaning of the Japanese would be,"Cotton-like snow in the north".  

This would be the same as in other countries, but our coffee tables are very small and sometimes rickety. You would have to be careful so that your coffee doesn't spill.  

The taste of this coffee was okay. I had to wonder if the owner of this coffee shop had had a carefully planned strategy to run the shop in this recession. An okay coffee could be easily forgotten by people. 

I'm now having a bit of hay fever. The amount of Japanese ceder pollen will be 3 or 5 times that of the last year, so I have to take some kind of effective medication to counter it. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Walk in Akihabara -14-

Now everybody who sees this blog would admit I'm geeky. Sure, I watch anime more often than ordinary people, but the reason why I come to Akihabara is this area is now as hot as Shibuya where cool young people hang out.

Do you know an incident that took place in Akihabara in 2008 where a young man stabbed people with a knife? Since then police has banned the pedestrian paradise, but it's going to be reinstated tomorrow. I wanted to come here tomorrow, but I have another plan for Sunday. 

Is your computer very new enough to have Windows 7? The right computer's price is only 29,800 yen, but it has Windows XP as OS, and its RAM is only 1G. I don't consider it inexpensive. 

K-On! and Miku Hatsune cups. The black Japanese on the price tag says, "A kiss for that girl you love!". The things you can see on the right are stuffed cats. I have a stuffed Pikachu, but don't feel like having another one.   

 Do you know an anime "Hetalia"? I've wanted to see it but not so far. 
These are canned green tea.

Some of you might know Comiket 79 was held at the end of 2010. You can buy some of the "doujinshi" of Comiket 79 at this bookstore "Tachibana Shoten". 

I'm used to seeing this kind of anime ad, but I wonder how this would look in the eyes of ordinary people. The white Japanese reads, "I might be happy if you enjoy both the anime and the video game!".

And I had coffee as usual at this Doutor in Akihabara. This was the first time I came to this Doutor, but some women were smoking on end...

Those who are particular about audio systems should know this electronic appliance store "Oyaide Denki". It sells countless kinds of cable for audio systems and stuff.

While I was on my way back on TX train, I took this photo. The tower you can see is called "Tokyo Sky Tree", and it is now under construction and the second highest 559m in the world among towers that send radiowave.

I often think myself to be lucky 'cause it takes only an hour to reach Akihabara. Those who live in the countryside of Japan would have to take a bullet train to come here in hours.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ikina Isshou (A Ramen Shop)

I think the most delicious food in Japan should be "sushi", but I do know some foreign people don't like it as they're not used to eating raw fish. When I was 7 years old or younger, I didn't like sushi either, and I hated "uni" (sea urchin) very much, which IS now my favorite.

 But I'm pretty sure our noodles "Ramen" should be liked by more foreign people. Some say "Ramen" originated in China, and you can have Ramen in China too, but the Ramen you can taste in Tokyo would be much different. I've tried several Ramen shops in Tokyo since the last year, and this would be the 7th or 8th Ramen shop. 

People have Ramen in summer too, but when it's cold like 10 degrees Celsius, Ramen would make you feel warm. This Ramen shop called "Ikina Isshou" or "The nifty life" is just a 10 minutes walk from Akihabara station. 

How does this look in your eyes? I wish I could share the taste of this Ramen, but this is the limit of the Internet. I waited for just a few minutes before this Ramen was served. There are many other blogs that introduce Ramen shops in Akihabara, so I recommend you check some of them before you come to this anime epicenter. 

Honestly I think more pictures would make it easier for you to see what Japan is like, but sometimes I end up taking just a few pics. So, I hope I will be able to write English sentences better enough to make up for lack of pictures. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Marukame Seimen

 As you know, the recession in Japan isn't over yet. Some developing countries started to recover a long time ago, but so many college students who are going to graduate this year haven't been able to get jobs. And people are still pinching pennies, and they prefer cheap restaurants over expensive ones. 

 But I think some cheap restaurants serve very good dishes. I hadn't come to this Udon shop called "Marukame Seimen", but I had heard it had a good reputation.

 Do they look yummy in your eyes? As you noticed, all the menu are priced under 500 yen. We have a 500-yen-coin, and dishes cheaper than 500 yen are called "One-coin-meals".

 Firstly you have to decide whether you have noodles or rice, and after that you can pick some of these fries. I recommend you choose at least one, as your dish with it will make you full.

The left is Udon, and the right one is a fry called "Kakiage". Normally if you buy a Kakiage at a supermarket, it isn't so big as this. This set cost only 410 yen. What a bargain. =)

The competitions between restaurants get fiercer when we're in recession, but at the same time recession makes them tougher in my opinion.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Akihabara and a shrine

I came to Akihabara about once a month last year, but I've come to this place already twice this year. I don't think you'd enjoy yourself so much if you visit here so often, but I had planned to come to Akihabara to pray for good luck for this year.
 Today, January 10th is "Coming-of-Age day". And people who are 20 are supposed to attend a ceremony at their own city hall. But yesterday I already saw some young women who were wearing Furisode, which they put on on special days.

 I like to introduce some Moe stuff that I don't see usually. These are alkaline batteries with Moe pictures.

 And saw two characters from the anime K-On!! on display. You can see this if you walk down the street of Akihabara called "Chuuou Doori". 

 But the main purpose of this trip was to come to this shrine, "Kanda-Myoujin". As I introduced before, people who work for companies are also likely to come here as this shrine is said to bring lots of fortune. 

 This is one of the places where you can draw a secret lot called "Omikuji". 

 Look at the red boxes on this table. Those who were born in 1987, 1970, and 1951 are going to have very bad luck this year. So they need to come here to have their evil vibes removed. Showa 62 corresponds to 1987. You just have to add 25 to a Showa year. 

 My friend had planned to have sweet sake called "Amazake" at this shrine.

One cup of Amazake cost as much as 350 yen. Amazake is considered "sake", but it barely has alcohol, so you can drive back to your home after having this. 

Hope this new year brings you a lot of fortune. I want to make this year fruitful one too. =)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Walk in Akihabara -13-

Most shops in Japan are closed on the 1st of January, but they open on the 2nd. So even if you go out on the 1st, you'd have nothing to do especially in rural areas. I came to Akihabara yesterday, and I could see so many people enjoying shopping in the new year. 

As I showed you before, Akihabara station was renewed. I like anime, and that's the reason why I frequent Akihabara, but I think there is some special atmosphere here that makes people feel liberated.  

 One thing that makes this place special is this kind of car. You'd not see such a car in rural areas or other places in Tokyo, much less in foreign countries. 

Took a pic of GAMERS, which is just in front of the station. I got inside, and saw many anime fans grabbing what they want like manga, magazines, and figurines. I think this anime shop was featured in "Ore no Imouto", and that must be the reason it put up the ad in the middle.  

 I walked around a lot, but the time we had dinner was around 5pm. My friend is a fan of China, so we decided to dine here. The name of this Chinese restaurant is "Shanghai Bar". You'd know where Shanghai is.

 Dumplings and the fried stuff in the right is called "Harumaki". The latter had some shrimp inside, and was fried and wrapped with pieces of sheet that were made of rice.

When we got out, it was already dark. The sun sets around 4:30 in the beginning of January, and the daytime gets longer by one minute a day as you know, so it's very bright at 6:30pm in June here. 

Japan is now trying to attract more foreign tourists, and for that to happen we should capitalize on the popularity of anime. But the governor of Tokyo is trying to make illegal some manga, which led some manga publishers to withdraw from an anime event that was held in Tokyo area. Wouldn't you think that is contradictory?