Valentine's Day in Japan
young lady, I used to work for a Japanese company in Tokyo and on
February 14th I would carry tons of chocolate to the office, running to
each floor and giving chocolate to my boss and my male co-workers.
Yes, this is the day for men in Japan, not for us women. This is
called "Giri Chocolate". The word Giri means obligation in Japanese
and we jokingly use this term to indicate that giving the chocolate is
something that is expected... For school girls, this is more serious
tradition... Some boys carry bags of chocolate back home while
unfortunate school boys go home with none... This is heaven and hell for
all school boys. read more
24's Kiefer Sutherland Latest Star
in Japanese Commercials
a sub-site of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., owner of the Calorie
Mate product line. Three (no doubt costly) TV commercials have
been produced for the snack bars and drinks.
ABC's 24 has been a huge success in Japan where fans fill message
boards with chatter and produce websites dedicated to the TV show. Looking for rhyme or reason to the success
of 24 in Japan? Perhaps it lies in a common bond between the US and
Japan in fighting terrorism as portrayed in 24, or perhaps it's just a
cool show... read more
New Year's Day in Japan
Year's Day is widely celebrated worldwide, in Japan it has
special importance. In fact, it is probably the most important holiday in
the Japanese year. In most cultures this day brings promise for new hopes
but in Japan it has added significance.
Food, always important in
Japanese culture, is a big part of New Year's day. A traditional meal called
"Osechi" is a traditional meal eaten at New Years. The Osechi meal
can be made at home but are more commonly purchased through many
companies. This is because Osechi meals contain several small but
important portions of different foods, each of which have a special
meaning. Even JAL, Japan's major airline, offers Osechi meals for sale.
These are typically somewhat expensive to purchase, but on this most
important day large expenses can be justified. Osechi meals are not
prepared for taste but for tradition. Each portion of the meal has an
important meaning such as long life or wealth. These may vary from
prefecture to prefecture or even from town to town. read more
Traveling in Japan's Countryside - Get out of
a trip to Japan? No doubt you've planned visits to key attractions in
Tokyo, Osaka, or other major cities. Good, they'll be worth the trip
and any major city can offer more enjoyable sites than you'll have
time to see. A number of travel agencies can provide lists of hotspots
for incredible shopping, nightlife and fine dining unlike any other
place on earth. Even if it's Japan's ancient culture you seek, shrines
and castles within a city like Tokyo will educate and enlighten you.
So what could be missing from such a fabulous vacation? Getting off
the beaten path as they say, that's what.
These tours are affordable and we stand by what we always say - You can
see more in one day, for less money, on a professional guided tour than if
you tried to do it yourself. Tours with JALPAK start at under $50 for an
afternoon or under $100 for a full day of adventure with discounts for
children available. One thing we like about their brochure
and website is prices published in US dollars, no guesswork or
calculators required. read more
Find Good Japanese Food in Houston Texas (Outside link)
For one of the largest cities in the U.S., Houston, Texas has relatively few good Japanese restaurants and markets. There are many Houston restaurants which advertise Japanese cuisine, but few of those really serve authentic Japanese food. And Japanese grocery shopping? In the 4th largest city in the United States there is one (Yes 1) true Japanese grocery store, and it is small, really small.
So for people like me who live in Houston and seek real Japanese food or shopping I created JapaneseHouston.com. Not the prettiest site you ever saw but honest opinions about which restaurants and markets serve up a true Nippon experience, and which fall short.
Find Japanese food and stores at JapaneseHouston.com
T. Ramune exclusive
tu, Brute?" Betrayal describes my feeling when I found Fujiya Co.,
(Japan's biggest snack producer) was found in violation of health
codes. It was not so long ago that the biggest Japanese milk
production company, Yukijiruji, Snow Brand Milk Product Co. Ltd. ended up
in big trouble after they violated
Fujiya is a little different story for me. Peko-chan has been the loveable mascot of Fujiya Co. since 1910
when the president decided to adopt the eternal 6-year-old girl as the
face of snack products. When I was a little girl, I have
idolized Peko-chan more than the snacks, and I
begged my mother to purchase at every occasion. Moreover, Fujiya
chocolate is my first Valentine chocolate to give to the boy I had a
crush on when I was 8 years-old.
miss Peko-chan and she's not even gone yet. The trust is gone. Don't
underestimate the meaning of trust to me and millions of other
Japanese consumers who don't mind paying extra for products they
I realize most readers won't sympathize with my seemingly minor
loss of trust with a cartoon character but here are three news
articles which can explain a little more about this scandal:
Co. President Fuji, announced his resignation in Tokyo on
January 15th, 2007. He accepted full responsibility for the
products made from old ingredients.
1) Health authorities investigated a Fujiya cake factory Wednesday
suspected of using old milk in cream puffs (source).
2) Fujiya Co's plant in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, shipped about
14,600 cream puffs in October after extending their expiration date
one day longer than stipulated in the firm's guidelines (source).
3) The food scandal involving confectioner Fujiya Co. widened
Friday after it was found that puddings made at its Osaka Prefecture
plant didn't get expiry dates until they were packaged over 300 km
away in Saitama Prefecture (source).
Fujiya Company was
not simply a sweets company, but they sold dreams for all young
Japanese children. I cannot stand Peko-chan being tarnished.
Fujiya may survive but I can assure you they will not fully recover
as I and millions of my fellow Japanese have now seen behind the smile
of innocent Peko-chan.
~ T. Ramune