I will never get tired doing the touristy thing in Tokyo.
After covering the “9th Mr. & Ms. Thai-Philippines in Japan” held at Camellia Hall in Kameido, boyfriend drove me to some of Tokyo’s most fashionable places - Ginza, Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya, where we walked around, took pictures and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather.
First stop: Ginza. It is considered as one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world.
Second stop: Harajuku, where the old and the new Japan meet and blend for your senses.
Last stop: Shibuya, the fun and fashionable place for the Japanese youth.
The Filipino-Japanese Journal is set to cover one of the most anticipated fashion events in the world, the Japan Fashion Week (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo) from March 17-23.
Out of the 48 participating brands that will showcase their 2013-14 A/W collections, The Filipino-Japanese Journal will attend the runway shows of famous fashion designers Araisara, Kamishima Chinami and Jotaro Saito.
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo 2013-14 A/W is a seven-day, by invitation only event to be held at Shibuya Hikarie, Mercedes-Benz Connection and other popular venues around Tokyo. It is organized by the Japan Fashion Week Organization.
Tel: +81 (3) 3406-5261
(Photos courtesy of Japan Fashion Week Organization)
While sorting out the files on my computer, I found a photo of tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet), which made me realize that I still haven’t written about my dining experience at Katsu Kobo Wako in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.
Katsu Kobo Wako is a famous tonkatsu restaurant chain in Japan, with over 250 branches across the country.
According to Wako’s website, tonkatsu originated from western restaurants in the Meiji Era over a century ago. The popular cooking style of the time was to broil the meat with lard or butter. Over time this changed to a deep-frying style similar to that of tempura.
The Roppongi Hills branch is quite small but exudes an air of coziness appropriate to its location.
We ordered their lunch sets Moriawase Zen and Katsukobo Zen.
Moriawase Zen (1,080 yen). Pork fillet cutlet, fried shrimp, fried cake of minched kurobuta pork and Japanese beef
Katsukobo Zen (980 yen). Pork fillet cutlet
Wako uses imported pork from the USA.
Their tonkatsu sauce is an original recipe made from tomatoes, apples, onions and different kinds of spices. Dressing is non-oil made from homegrown citrus.
All set menus come with refillable tea, white rice, shredded cabbage and shijimi-jiru (miso soup with freshwater clams).
- Rice was a bit overcooked. I wonder what has happened to their rice robot.
- Katsu was soft and tender, as I’d expected it to be.
- Good service
Tokyo, Minato-ku Roppongi 6-4-1 Roppongi Hills Metro Hat B2
During one of my trips to Tokyo, boyfriend took me to Akasaka Palace also known as the State Guesthouse (Geihinkan) in Moto, Akasaka.
At first, I thought it was a luxurious hotel that looks like the Palace of Versailles in France.
(Photo taken at Tobu World)
Built in neo-baroque style, the Akasaka Palace was first constructed as the Crown Prince’s official residence in 1909. It was remodeled into a State Guest House in 1974 to provide accommodations to state and official guests including presidents, prime ministers and monarchs from countries all over the world. In 2009, the palace was designated as Japan’s national treasure.
(Photo credit: Cabinet Office)
The Geihinkan is open to the public once a year (during summer).
The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) in cooperation with the National Museum of the Philippines is pleased to announce the “TOHOKU – Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers Art Talk” featuring Kotaro Iizawa (exhibit curator) and Nao Tsuda (participating photographer) on 9 March, 3:00-5:00 pm at the Fabella Hall of the Old Legislative Building of the National Museum.
Kotaro Iizawa (1954/Miyagi Prefecture) is a photography critic. He received his PhD in Art from the University of Tsukuba in 1984. He has served as editor of a photography magazine Déjà-vu from 1990 to 1994. Major books include “Shashin bijutsukan e yokoso” (Welcome to the Photography Museum) (Kodansha, 1996), “Sengo shashinshi noto” (Notes on the History of Postwar Photography) (Iwanami Shinsho, 2008), “Shashinteki shiko”(Photographic Thinking) (Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2009) and “Afutamasu shinsaigo no shashin” (Aftermath: Photography After the Earthquake) (NTT Publishing, 2011).
Nao Tsuda (1976/ Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture) completed a BA and a pos t-graduate course in photography at Osaka University of Arts. He has traveled around the world, taking pictures of encountering landscapes, places, and people with his “device of photography,” which might be described as having undertaken the task of exploring “images transcending time and space” and “the origin of images.” He has held solo exhibitions in Japan, New York, Paris and Frankfurt in recent years and was awarded the Minister of Education Award for New Artist in Fine Arts in 2010. His publications include “Kogi” (Rowing Out)(MONDE BOOKS, 2007), “SMOKE LINE” (AKAAKA, 2008), “Coming Closer” (AKAAKA+hiromiyoshii, 2009) and “Storm Last Night” (AKAAKA, 2010).
“TOHOKU – Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers”, an exhibition composed of 123 photos representing the different aspects of life in Tohoku from its past, present and the future. It features works by nine (9) photographers and one (1) photographers’ group: Teisuke Chiba, Ichiro Kojima, Hideo Haga, Masatoshi Naito, Masaru Tatsuki, Hiroshi Oshima, Naoya Hatakeyama, Meiki Rin, Nao Tsuda and the group led by Toru Ito. The exhibition will be on view at the Gallery XVIII, 3rd Floor, Old Legislative Building of the National Museum until March 17.
The National Museum of the Philippines is located at Padre Burgos Avenue, Manila. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. For inquiries, please contact the Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) at 811 6155 to 58 or email@example.com,ph. You can also visit www.jfm.org.ph or www.facebook.com/jfmanila.
Aside from Tenya, there’s another fast food restaurant in Japan that you should check out. It is called Marukame Udon, which specializes in homemade udon (wheat flour noodles).
Marukame Udon is not difficult to find since it has hundreds of branches all over the country.
See how the cook prepares the udon? Great, isn’t it?! He would then grab a bowl and toss in a handful of fresh, thick udon (hot or cold) with your choice of toppings.
How to order: Grab a tray. Fall in line. Choose your food. Pay.
Bukkake Udon (280 yen)
They also offer different kinds of tempura that will surely wow your taste buds.
Ebi Tempura (130 yen)
- Tempura was crispy, fried to perfection.
- Udon was thoroughly cooked; broth was flavorful.
- Highly recommended
Tenya is a well-known tempura (battered and deep-fried vegetables or seafood) restaurant, with more than 100 branches, all over Japan.
Since its conception in 1989, it has been praised as one of the country’s most popular dining places for tempura lovers because of its hearty, yet affordable 500 yen tempura donburi (rice bowl dish).
Ever since my boyfriend introduced me this restaurant, it became a constant favorite. We frequent the Ginza branch, (Kusano Bldg. 1F, 3-9-4, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Tel. 03-5565-6903), which is actually one of Tenya’s best stores. It can accommodate up to 30 diners.
Ocha or Tea (free)
Tendon (500 yen). Prawn, squid, silver whiting, pumpkin & string beans
Excellent Tendon (580 yen). Prawn, eggplant, pumpkin & string beans
Tenya also serves Udon set.
- Tempura was very delicious.
- Sauce was very tasty.
- Quick service
- Friendly waiters
- Easy to find
The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) in cooperation with the National Museum of the Philippines, the Embassy of Japan and The Photographic Society of Japan brings to Manila the traveling exhibit “TOHOKU－ Through the Eyes of the Japanese Photographers”, an exhibition composed of 123 photos representing the different aspects of life in Tohoku from its past, present and the future.
The Tohoku Region is the northeastern section of Honshu, the largest island in Japan. It is divided into six (6) prefectures: Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Yamagata, Miyagi and Fukushima. The region is blessed with a beautiful and abundant natural environment of seas, mountains, rivers and forest. On March 11, 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 hit Japan and the worst damaged was concentrated in the region. The media coverage of the destruction made many people familiar with the names of Tohoku cities and prefectures, but few are likely to have a broad knowledge of other aspects of the region.
Driving off Sparrows, Kitsubezaka, Taiyu Village c. 1943 (Teisuke Chiba)
The exhibition is composed of works by nine photographers and one photographers’ group: Teisuke Chiba, Ichiro Kojima, Hideo Haga, Masatoshi Naito, Masaru Tatsuki, Hiroshi Oshima, Naoya Hatakeyama, Meiki Rin, Nao Tsuda and the group led by Toru Ito. Curated by Kotaro Iizawa, a recognized photography critic in Japan, the exhibit showcases the natural and cultural backdrop of Tohoku as well as its people and their way of life. Photographs taken in the early 50s and 60s are presented together with photos of the present Tohoku to illustrate the varied points of view and generation of each individual photographer.
Statue of Osawabutsu, Ourani Sanpou Koujin, Dewa Sanzan 1981-82 (Masatoshi Naito)
“TOHOKU－Through the Eyes of the Japanese Photographers” will be on public view at the Gallery XVIII, Old Legislative Building at the National Museum from January 30 to March 17. An Art Talk from Mr. Kotaro Iizawa and Mr. Nao Tsuda will be held on March 9. Film screenings will also be held during the exhibition run.
The National Museum is located at Padre Burgos Avenue, Manila. The museum is open every Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The exhibition is part of the celebration of the Japan-ASEAN 40th Friendship Year. For inquiries, please contact the Japan Foundation, Manila at telephone numbers (02) 811~6155 to 58 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jfmo.org.ph.
(Press release: The Japan Foundation, Manila)
No matter how busy I am, I always make sure that I spend quality time with my nephews, whom I love so dearly.
During my short vacay in Tokyo, beau and I took them to Shibuya, the fun and fashionable place for the Japanese youth.
First stop: Hachiko Square
Although they are familiar with the story of Hachiko, it was their first time to visit the statue.
Next destination: Shibuya Crossing
We spent half an hour just taking these photos at the busy crossing.
Last stop: Shotengai
One cool thing to do in Shibuya is window-shopping. And that’s what we did!
That day, we went home with smiles on our faces. =)
We had a fleeting glance at the Tokyo Sky Tree when it was still under construction in 2010. But that time, we already knew that the tower would be a sight to behold once finished.
In September 2012, we got to see the completed tower up-close! We were awestruck by its tallness, elegance and sophistication. Three qualities that can entice local and foreign tourists to visit Japan.
Banking on Filipino’s sweet tooth and penchant for embracing food from around the world, the wildly popular Mochi Sweets has made its way into the local food scene and is sure to create a mochi craze as seen in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
“Mochi” is a well-loved Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice flour pounded into shape. Mochi Sweets has taken this traditional dessert further by creating small balls of luxurious and flavorful cream and wrapping it in chewy mochi skin. Think dessert dumplings with frozen cream or mousse in the center and a mochi covering made with just the right thickness, moistness and stickiness.
Business partners Jason Yap and Samatha Paz chanced upon Mochi Sweets in their trips to Malaysia and Vietnam and saw the store drawing huge crowds. Both only in their early 20s but with entrepreneurial exposure from their parents, they decided to write to J Sweets in Hong Kong and were soon awarded the official franchise for Mochi Sweets in the Philippines.
Garry Cheng, President of J Sweets was in Manila to grace the unveiling of the first Mochi Sweets store in the SM Mall of Asia. He was very excited for Filipinos to try Mochi Sweets. He says their dessert is superior to other desserts which loosely uses mochi but don’t produce the right texture and experience. Cheng offers a clue on how premium their product and standards are: “We learned from Japan. We had a Japanese chef who creates these delectable concoctions for us and we use only 100% Japanese mochi.”
Just looking at the cute and colourful balls of Mochi Sweets neatly placed in its classic gift box and you understand why it has earned raves abroad. “First impression counts,” says Jason Yap, president of Mochi Sweets Philippines. “Mochi Sweets first tempts you with how it appeals to the eyes. But the real pleasure is the taste and experience once you bite into it. This is because Mochi Sweets is made from the best ingredients. There is meticulous control to ensure consistency of quality. We do not short-change our customers. We aim to satisfy each customer and make them enjoy life’s simple indulgent treats.”
Hence, the real test is resisting the urge to sink your teeth into these decadent sweets. Mochi Sweets comes frozen and you have to wait 10-15 minutes for it to thaw before you can bite into its gummy goodness. But unlike those with ice cream filling, Mochi Sweets is not prone to messy meltdowns as you eat it. It is also a perfect to-go or bring-home treat since it does not melt all the way through and will be thawed and just-ready by the time you meet your family and friends.
Jason Yap further shows how Mochi Sweets will be enjoyed: “We are a gifting society. A box of Mochi Sweets has 6 to 12 pieces and will definitely be a fun gift for sharing during those special moments and celebrations. Customers can pick different colors and flavors of Mochi Sweets based on the personality and preference of the lucky recipient and this makes each box of Mochi Sweets special and personal.”
Mochi Sweets indeed has a wide array of flavors – from the classic favorites to inspired special concoctions. Clear winners for chocolate lovers are the wickedly good Chocolate Mousse, Cream Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. Coffee aficionados will find delicious comfort in Caramel Macchiato. Kids and kids-at-heart looking for something wholesome will enjoy the fruity confections: Strawberry Mousse, Mango Yoghurt and Honey Lemon Cream. Those who want something different and exotic can try Sakura (or cherry blossom, which is very popular in Japan), Green Tea and Durian Mousse. Currently, Mochi Sweets offers 17 flavors and will continue to dish out cool and yum variants that will make customers think Mochi Sweets when they crave for desserts and comfort food.
From the first Mochi Sweets kiosk in SM Mall of Asia (beside the Skating Rink), the team of Jason Yap and Samatha Paz will open three more Mochi Sweets stores this quarter. The next two stores will be at Robinsons Galleria and Eastwood Mall. They promise rapid expansion in 2013 with the biggest Mochi Sweets shop already slated at SM Aura which will open at BGC.
From the time instant ramen was invented, many people have considered it as their favorite because it is readily available, affordable, easy to cook and mostly known for its yummy taste. But do you know the story behind this popular food sensation? All that and more can be found out at the Cup Noodles Museum.
Located at Minatomirai in Yokohama, the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum or better known as the Cup Noodles Museum is an interactive museum built to tell the story of how the creative thinking of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen, brought about a revolution in worldwide dietary culture.
Opened in September 2011 by Nissin Foods Holdings, the Cup Noodles Museum features the rich history and evolution of instant ramen starting from the invention of the chicken ramen, the world’s first instant ramen (1958) to cup noodles (1971) to space ramen (2005) through interesting exhibits and fun workshops.
It has 10 facility rooms designed to stir the creativity and curiosity within every child. These include the Instant Noodles History Cube which shows the instant ramen lineup that were introduced half a century ago; Momofuku Theater where one can take a look back at the history of instant ramen; Momofuku’s Work Shed, a replica of the work shed where chicken ramen was invented; The Momofuku Ando Story where the life of the inventor was presented through images and illustrations; My Cup Noodles Factory where you can create your very own cup noodles package; Chicken Ramen Factory which shows how the chicken ramen is made through certain procedures; Cup Noodles Park where children can play and “be transformed into noodles” throughout the production process; Noodles Bazaar which features eight varieties of noodles encountered by Momofuku during his travels in search of ramen’s origins; Museum Shop where you can buy souvenirs; and Creative Thinking Box where you can learn about Momofuku’s creative process.
Here, visitors can expect a fun-filled day as well as a highly educational experience.
500 yen (adults)
Open daily (except Tuesday) from 10 am – 6 pm
8-minute walk from the Minatomirai line Minatomirai Station; 12-minute walk from the JR/Shieichikatetsu Sakuragicho Station
(Photos by Din Eugenio)
(Published in the November-December 2012 Issue of FilJap Magazine, Japan)