Thursday, July 12, 2012

Narita Airport Smartphone App - NRT AIRPORT NAVI

Embrace technology....Narita Airport Authority recently rolled out a new smartphone app for all of us techie, geek types as well as those that just plain travel in and out of Tokyo's Airport

NRT_AIRPORT NAVI - not to be confused with the previousl released NariTra - a translation app

It is the first app of its kind  - both iPhone and Android - for any Japan based airport.

You can search for flights, display airport maps to see all that the facility offers for the shopper, foodie or airport afficianado.

The geo location feature will also show you where in the terminal you are and how close you are to the shop, restaurant or facility that you happen to be looking for.

All the best...Mark

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Uchu Wagashi - Sweet Shop in Kyoto

So you have a sweet tooth that has not been appeased no matter what you've tried.

Well head west to Kyoto and visit a great little shop - Uchu Wagashi. Located in the northwestern part of Kyoto this for sure should be a stop on any itinerary. 786 Fujinoki-cho, Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 201-4933

Wagashi 和菓子 are typically used to refer to the sweet confections that accompany the tea ceremony; however, these sweets are far from the standard fare.

Whether you are intrigued by the unique flavors such as Chai tea crackers or biscuits in the shapes of hippos, porcupines - these items are not only great to look at for the artisanal aspect that this little shop offers but also delicious.

Feel free to check out their web site as well to see their latest offerings :

Do yourself a favor and stop by.

All the best....Mark

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Jero ジェロ - An American Enka Singer Conquers Japan

Jero ジェロ aka Jerome Charles White Jr has hit the Enka world of Japan by storm. Performing in NYC this month at the Japan Society for the first time.

This talented African American talent is the first American singer to conquer the world of Enka singing in Japan.

With numerous hits under his belt, he came into early success with his first single, Umiyuki (海雪, Ocean Snow) when it was released back in February 2008 climbing up the Oricon charts to number 4.

Jero ジェロ was selected to appear on the prestigious New Year's Eve show that December 2008 - Kohaku Uta Gassen on NHK - fulfilling a promise that he had made to his dying grandmother to appear on the yearly competition one day.

Jero ジェロ has performed extensively in Japan and also on the US West Coast and in Philadephia, PA where he is from; however earlier this month he performed in NYC to a sold out crowd at the Japan Society.

Enaka music which can best be described as a heartfelt ballad is typically popular with a more mature audience; however, Jero's popularity and youthful appearance has translated an interest in this art form by the younger people of Japan.

He has several songs and cds available - some even on itunes that you can download.

I encourage you to check out this new talent.

All the best....Mark

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wendy's - Back in Japan

After a nearly 2 year absence in the Japanese fast food business...Wendy's opened up a new restaurant on a side street near Omotesando dori in Tokyo today.

They plan to open roughly 100 new locations throughout Japan over the next 5 years.

So get out there fans of the square burger.

All the best....Mark

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tohoku Earthquake 東北 地震

In light of the horrific events (8.9 magnitude earthquake and 10 meter high tsunami wave of water) that have taken place in Miyagi-ken and the Tohoku (東北) region, I've listed below some organizations that were posted by on their site indicating that these organizations are accepting donations to assist in the relief/recovery efforts in Japan.

American Red Cross
Global Giving
Save The Children
Salvation Army
Convoy of Hope
International Medical Corps

All the best...Mark

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Podo Marunouchi - ぽど丸の内

Have you ever walked by all of those signs along the street pointing to a lounge, cafe, shop in the basement level of a building and wondered what they were like????

Podo in Marunouchi is certainly worth taking a look.

This casual basement level hidden gem is a lively after-work pub that serves eleven kinds of makkoli, a milky pumpkin flavored sake from Korea, starting at JPY380 per cup.

Podo Marunouchi
B1F Shin-Tokyo Building
3-3-1 Marunouchi

So make sure to try a taste of Korea in the heart of Tokyo.

All the best...Mark

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jukka 十火 - Designer Senbei 煎餅 in Aoyama

Are you a fan of senbei 煎餅 (rice crackers to you and me)?

Well there is a great little shop in Aoyama between Koto Dori and Omotesando Station named Jukka 十火.

This is not your run of the mill rice cracker shop - the owners have taken it to a whole other level - the display cases found here resemble those found in high end jewelry shops - displaying the items under glass and on pedestal stands.

A modern ascetic combined with simple Japanese tradition.

The shop also offers a wide variety of tea options to act as a companion to their senbei didn't hear it from me ( wink, wink) but they give free tastings to those that stop in for a visit.

They have a great web site with pictures of their creations - and a shop on line option as well :

So if you are a fan of senbei, you'll want to make sure to head to Aoyama to sample these tasty treats.

All the best...Mark