Japan is one country in Asia that enjoys a bicycle lifestyle. Numerous children and adults bike their way to school and their offices and then back home every day. In addition, bike tours (guided and self-guided) are offered by many agencies to visitors wanting to have a nature trip outside the city on two wheels.
Bicycling is a way of life in Japan. All streets have bicycle lanes that provide a safe area for people to pedal their way to their xenical without prescription destinations.
Not many bicycle enthusiasts who travel the world are aware of Japan as a great biking destination. With its diverse geography, the country is in fact one of the best places to travel by bike. Long stretches of bicycle routes are in place some of which provide marvelous scenery and terrains. The best part is that the roads are well paved, in good condition and free from traffic that cyclists can be sure to have a wonderful experience pedaling even in remote areas. Continue reading »
Posted September 1st, 2013 by Teresa Te+ | Comment (0)
Many s first time Western visitor to the rural areas of Japan has been surprised about the toilet facilities, where there usually is no “conventional” toilet bowl. Japan – like some other Asian countries – does not really traditionally make use of the toilet seat as Western countries do. Instead, they have fixtures which are akin to holes in the ground.
All this has changed in the recent decades, however. And indeed, the Japanese has outdone many other Western countries when it comes to advanced toilets. Only in Japan can you find hotels which advertise a certain kind of toilet in an effort to attract more people.
ABC News published a very interesting feature article on this topic and I found out that there are so many choices when it comes to commodes! The author even likened buying a commode to buying a car – the options are virtually limitless. Imagine this, you can choose based on features such as self-opening and closing toilet seats, strength of the water flow, accompanying music, lights, warmth of the seat, and so on. It does not end there, however. Consumers also have other options such as built-in deodorizers and fake sounds to cover the sound of doing your business in the bathroom. In keeping with the Japanese tradition of not harming the environment, commode makers also ensure that their products are environment friendly. In fact, one of the biggest things going for their products is the fact that one would not need toilet paper any more.
So how much does a commode set one back? Anywhere from $750 to $5000. Whew!
Posted November 23rd, 2010 by admin+ | Comment (1)
While people from all over the world usually go to Tokyo to indulge in Japanese cuisine (among other things), it is not a secret that the vibrant city is also home to little gems of restaurants offering other types of cuisine. And, believe it or not, you could get a sampling of decadent French-Japanese fusion in a cozy nook in Azabu-Juban – at the new restaurant Hortensia
Featuring the creations of Chef Tetsuji Koga, there are countless reasons for anyone to pay a visit to the restaurant. For starters, Koga has already established a name for himself. He started out at the legendary Tableaux in Daikanyama, and then moved on to Restaurant J several years later. He then served as executive chef at Breeze of Tokyo in Marunouchi, where he really gained popularity. His reputation only skyrocketed further when he worked for Edition Koji Shimomura in Roppongi, which is of two-starred Michelin fame. Today, his fare can satisfy the most discerning of tastes at Hortensia.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and is surprisingly affordable. For only 4,750 yen (inclusive of tax), diners can choose four dishes from the menu. Whatever you feel like eating – appetizers, main courses, or desserts – you can pick out from the menu. Dinner is a bit pricier at 8,400 yen (inclusive of tax) and the choices have to be two appetizers, one fish dish, one meat dish, and one dessert.
After dinner, the whole place takes on a different character and transforms into a wine bar. They have a pretty decent wine list – what else can you expect from a French-inspired restaurant?
What gives Hortensia an edge is the skill and preferences of Chef Kogi, who incorporates local influences into his cooking. He also has a propensity for making use of seasonal ingredients, making sure that guests have something new to look forward to even after several visits. Delectable Fraponese cuisine is what awaits you when you pay Hortensia’s visit.
If you find yourself hankering for French cuisine while in Tokyo, make sure to head out to Hortensia:
B1F, NS AZABU-JUBAN BLDG, 3-6-2 AZABU-JUBAN,
MINATO-KU, TOKYO JAPAN 106-0045
Telephone: 03-5419-8455 FAX 03-3451-9300
Posted November 13th, 2010 by Maki+ | Comment (0)
Have you ever felt during a massage that the masseuse was just not strong enough to push through the ridges of tension in your shoulder blades, and at the same time not gentle enough to melt the tension in your neck or legs? Then try Japanese Hot Stone Therapy, a post-modern combination of gentle massage with ancient tools of muscular penetration. Japanese Hot Stone Therapy is based upon ANMA, the oldest form of East Asian Massage. It was developed over 7000 years ago and is a kneading, rotation, and vibration based technique. Japanese Hot Stone Massage is much more than placing stones along side of the body, or sliding stones over the body. An expert will “hook” into a muscle with the stone and then gently rotate and/or knead the muscle…then apply pressure and use a rapid vibration technique to further relax the muscles and drive the heat deeper. It is quite an experience to feel the deeply relaxing, penetrating heat from the basalt stones alternating with the toning and refreshing coolness of the marble stones. The use of extremes of temperature has long been scientifically and medically proven to be of benefit to the body. Those who wish to relax and tone their muscles with a minimum of effort see this in the use of ice packs for muscle trauma and the use of saunas. Stone massage makes you feel deeply relaxed, allowing you to let go of all the stress that is held within your body.
Posted August 5th, 2010 by geisha+ | Comment (0)
The environment-conscious Japanese are about to receive another treat: electric sports cars. Recently, I wrote something about electric cars hitting the market in the very near future. Now, it’s more than these Japanese electric cars that is getting me (and a lot of other people) excited.
Tesla Motors Inc. has announced its plans to launch one of their electric sports cars in Japan! Tesla is an American car maker that specializes in electric vehicles. According to their official statement, they are launching the Roadster early next month. That’s pretty soon, especially since we’re almost at the end of April!
This is a big move by the American car maker, as Japan is well known to protect its domestic industries, and Mitsubishi and July are also releasing their own electric vehicles this year. While it means stiff competition for the car makers, it means more choices for the Japanese people.
The Roadster is a high-end sports car – a two-seater right-hand drive. Its rate of acceleration is 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.7 seconds. For an electric vehicle, that is not bad. Not bad at all!
The only drawback to Tesla’s Roadster is that the price will be about double the selling price in the United States. It’s currently selling for USD 101,500 (9.4 million yen) in the United States, and it will go for about 18 million yen when released in Japan. That is quite a considerable sum, ensuring that the Roadster will probably not be a common sight on the roads.
Posted April 23rd, 2010 by Maki+ | Comments (3)
Chinese astrology may have dubbed the year 2009 as the Year of the Cow, but it was something else in Japan. People have been calling last year as the Year of the Hybrids in the country. This is due to the fact that, for the first time, a hybrid car has gotten the distinction of being the bestselling car in the whole country.
I am talking about the Toyota Prius, of course. This car was launched with a lot of promises and much potential. It seems that it has lived up to its reputation â€“ based on sales figures released in the past week, 208,879 units of the Prius were sold by Toyota in 2009. The figure makes the Prius the number one car in Japan. More than that, though, it is the number one hybrid car in the entire world!
Is the Prius as great as it seems or is there another reason for its success? Experts and consumers alike extol this hybridâ€™s virtues but there is another factor that has to be taken into consideration. The truth is that packages and incentives provided has made the price of the Prius so low that consumers are more attracted to it. With all the incentives, one might be able to save as much as 4,200 USD!
Aside from the Prius, another hybrid car sold really well in Japan last year: the Honda Insight. Compared to Toyotaâ€™s sales figures, Honda only had 93,283 â€“ not even half. Still, overall sales figures support the fact that hybrids are very much on their way to being the standard.
Posted January 9th, 2010 by admin+ | Comments (3)
I still like the Segway, I think, but one cannot help but take notice of this new mode of â€œtransportationâ€ which was unveiled recently in Japan. Honda, which we all know for their cars and the robot Asimo, is the entity behind the unicycle.
Dubbed the U3-X, the unicycle can move up to 6 kilometers per hour â€“ thatâ€™s about 3.7 miles per hour. How does it work? Riders sit on the unicycle and use their weight to steer it in any direction. This is in fact one of the novel things about the U3-X â€“ it is the “world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system.â€
The BBC tells us more about the U3-X:
The “Hot-Drive” system uses a series of small motor-controlled wheels connected together to form one large wheel.
This main wheel allows a rider to move forward and backward. The smaller wheels allow the device to move from side-to-side. A combination allows the device to move diagonally.
Honda is planning to showcase the U3-X at the Tokyo Motor Show 2009 on October 24, 2009.
If you donâ€™t care much for the technical specs, let it suffice that you can move in any direction you wish to do so â€“ much like moving on your feet. The target market for the unicycle is the elderly, although I can already see people below the age of 50 clamoring for it once it goes into mass production. While I said that I prefer the Segway, I wouldnâ€™t mind having one of these, would you?
Posted September 27th, 2009 by admin+ | Comment (1)
In Japan, many people have their own bicycles, and they use them on a regular basis. While this spells good news for the environment AND the health of the people who use their bikes, it also means tons and tons of old bicycles that are impounded. The sad truth is that many bicycles are picked up by parking police for one reason or another. And once impounded, many of the bikes are left unclaimed. Worse, they are stored in areas open to the elements, laying them to waste.
Enter people like Naomi Aoyama and Toshizo Takada. These two work for the Silver Jinzai Center, a nationwide organization that helps senior citizens find jobs which benefit the community. What Naomi and Toshizo do is to restore those bicycles found in impound lots. Once restored, the bikes are sold at the centerâ€™s recycling shop.
Itâ€™s actually a win-win situation, if you think about it. The cityâ€™s impound lots are cleared up, making space for other things. The old bikes are re-used instead of merely thrown away, making a positive impact on the environment. People like Naomi and Toshizo have jobs. Last, but not the least, people can buy good as new bicycles for a cheaper price.
This sort of endeavor just goes to show that with the right mindset and enough motivation, we can make a positive impact on the environment as well as our way of living. I wonder if this sort of thing can catch on in other countries as well?
Posted April 5th, 2009 by admin+ | Comment (0)
For those of you who experienced the Kyoto Winter Special last year, you can do so again this year. After a successful run, the organizers have decided to have a go at it once again but this time, they are offering more and better deals for their visitors. For those who are not aware, the Kyoto Winter Special is akin to a festival â€“ 3 monthsâ€™ worth of cultural activities. This yearâ€™s Winter Special runs from 1 December 2008 to 31 March 2009. Easier.com has this feature:
In addition, special admission will be granted to normally restricted heritage sites, and there will be unique winter events and chances to receive special offers from world-famous hotels. With Kyoto Winter Special, the breathtaking beauty of winter in Kyoto awaits you!
Special Events Kyotoâ€™s cherry blossoms and fall leaves are a sight to see, but Kyotoâ€™s magical winter is something special. There will be various events showcasing winter.
Information on events from December to March are listed by month on the Kyoto Winter Special website. The main event during the Kyoto Winter Special is called â€œHanatoroâ€. This event beautifies Kyotoâ€™s nights, with elegant lanterns lighting up Kyotoâ€™s famous spots. Adding a winter event into a visit to Kyoto is a great way to make your trip that extra bit memorable.
Ask anyone who has been to Kyoto and other Japanese cities and they will probably tell you the same thing â€“ there is nothing like Kyoto if you really want to get a hands on experience of what the Japanese culture is like.
Posted December 3rd, 2008 by admin+ | Comment (0)
Christmas is only a little more than a month away. Have you gotten started on your Christmas shopping yet? I know some people who are finished with their lists. In fact, they finished months ago. But if you are like me, then you are probably the type who waits till the last minute to get gifts for everyone. Good thing for us, there is such a thing as online shopping. Whoever first thought of online shopping should be awarded some great prize! I mean, I do not even have to go anywhere to get gifts. They will be delivered right to my doorstep â€“ or the recipientâ€™s doorstep!
Speaking of online shopping, did you know that there are great places online where you could find kawaii items? If you do not know what I am talking about, then you should read my previous post about kawaii, or cute things (loose translation). Kawaii has been around for decades and I am sure that most everyone is aware of it although perhaps not by name.
Anyhow, I found a great article on online stores featuring kawaii items.
Sweet Kitty the Anime Store is located in Kent, Washington. You can visit the store in person at 18111 E. Valley HWY S. #103; otherwise, you can purchase items directly from the store at: SweetKittyAnime.com. The store specializes in Japanese items, and it carries brands from Harajuku Lovers to Hello Kitty. The store has the best selection of Sanrio products in Washington State. The owners love their customers and encourage visitors to come to the store. Below are some of the hot items that are in-demand.
ShopKawaii.com is the web store for both Kawaii Gifts and Kawaii Avenue since April of 2006. However, ShopKawaii.com is dedicated to our imported gifts. You can visit the stores personally at Kawaii Gifts, located at 5413-B Walnut St. Pittsburgh, PA 15232. Kawaii Avenue is located at 5413-A Walnut St. Pittsburgh, PA 15232.
Thanks to Katrina-Kasey Wheeler for these wonderful pieces of information.
Posted November 10th, 2008 by admin+ | Comments (2)