Archive for December, 2008

Just when you think you have seen everything in Japan along comes another gadget or gizmo that proves you wrong. For those of you who have not seen this before it looks very strange at first but then when you think of the applications for it, like walking up stairs, then it definately is in the strange category. I am sure the other uses of it as in the example for the car industry where workers have to bend down for long hours, are more practical.

I found this article when scanning through the latest issue of the magazine Dime.


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Hot Bike seat

Hot Bike seat

It is winter in Japan at the moment and whilst it has not really been that cold for those who want to warm up while riding your bike here is the answer. I dont know whether the hot toilet seat came first or whether the hot bike seat has been around for a while, but they look to be a related commodity.

This is the latest offering from Suzuki that is sure to keep you warm this winter on the road.
To complement the hot bike seat there is a of course a heater for the handle bars. The handle bar heater has a 5 grade heat setting so you can get comfortable while riding. It looks like you change the heat setting the same why you would rev the motor. Best not to try changing the heat setting whilst stopped at traffic lights in case you get the two mixed up.

What will they think of next? a vibrating heated seat maybe with a washlet attached. Or a sensor that pumps out clean air when you start the motor. It really seems to take away the raw ride from the bike. I guess the Harley’s wont be coming out with this feature any time soon.

Handle and Seat warmer for bike - Suzuki

Handle and Seat warmer for bike - Suzuki

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Shibuya 109 xmas

109 department store gets dressed up for xmas.

Tokyu 109

Tokyu 109

Tokyu department store above Shibuya Station

Tokyu department store above Shibuya Station

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img_02591Burger King has been back in Japan for a while now, but it is great to see the franchise back in the middle of the center-gai in Shibuya. I was passing today and saw the store was open. When I stoppped to check the menu I heard the manager telling someone “we opened yesterday. Thanks for coming”. Lets hope it is here to stay this time.

Here are some shots of the store taken today.

and a link to some information about why Burger King left last time and what they are going to do different this time


and from another site

http://www.japaneconomynews.com (Burger King story)

Enjoy your burgers !

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Whilst new products are always welcome in Japan, sometimes you just want to try a new product out for the day rather than buying it for good. The solution is found in the recent mini-boom of rental goods. From the rental of charter planes, premium sports cars to brand handbags, accessories and of course the ultimate in convenience, renting a brand new set of golf clubs and having them sent directly to and from the course.

Two sites have proven popular with women for the renting of brand bags and accessories. One is called ORB where you can rent from a 1 week or a 1 month period. The other is called Cariru (which in Japanese means borrow or rent, although in romaji script you probably would have a K not a C to be accurate. The C no doubt makes the service brand look a little more stylish than a hard looking K).



If you think bags are boring then it might be worth checking out the prices. The bags are premium products with some of the Hermes bags costing more than $10,000. The rental on these is close to $500 per week or $1,600 per month. Each of the services is boasting around 200 items in their stock.

If cars are your thing then the BMW M3 coupe or the new LEXUS IS-F or even a high-end NISSAN GT-R can be arranged at the price of about $400 per day. Top end cars such as Ferraris and Bentleys can be rented in exclusive clubs for higher prices, but this middle market of renting prestige but still affordable $400 per day rates is a new burgeoning market. Demand appears to be strong.

Cars cant compete with personal jets though and although most personalities and company executives are normally happy flying commercial aircraft in Japan, services allowing the rental of charter jets are becoming more popular. One such service offers a 16 seater plane at $180 per hour with flights able to go to domestic locations or into China and Korea. I am guessing the fuel charge will be billed separately. Better bring the American Express card.

Household electronics are also becoming a popular rental item with Yamada Denki’s LABI store offering rental on televisions and DVD players to corporate users and are considering extending this to all customers in 2010. With the economy in a downturn this plan might just be brought forward. TSUTAYA, the popular video rental store is also getting into the act renting Japanese manga, comic books, and Karaoke boxes have started renting out their rooms for small company meetings.

And if all that sounds too much like work, how about renting a new set of the Nike Tiger Woods golf clubs. GOLF PARTNER has started a rental service where they will deliver the golf clubs directly to the course you are going to play at and then have them sent back to the store. With prices at around $50-$100 for the day what could be better.

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adidas is about to open its new store in Shibuya next to the 109 store area. As the official opening gets closer the building has been modelled to sport a large adidas logo which changes the landscape of Shibuya. It is one of the few buildings in Shibuya that is sporting a large brand on the front of the building giving it more of a Ginza or Omotesando image. The official open will be on Dec 23, 2008. It is being classed by adidas as an “adidas Originals Concept Shop”.

The adidas image has been around in Shibuya for a while. Of particular interest is the adidas Futsal Park which is located on the top of the Tokyu department store above Shibuya Station.

Here are some links to adidas in Japan



adidas in Shibuya

adidas in Shibuya

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n.e.o Premium Ginger Ale

img_0156Here is an article that really caught my attention when I was reading the latest copy of TRENDY (Jan 2009 edition). TRENDY is a magazine by Nikkei BP that highlights the latest trends in food, electronics and other areas of Japan life. Given the number of new products that come out in Japan it is no wonder the magazine carries over 250 pages and makes great reading each month. It never fails to disappoint.

img_0155-1The article that got my interest is a new brand of Ginger Ale. Living in Japan everyone is probably familiar with seeing Canada Dry Ginger Ale in the convenience stores and supermarkets, but when you want to find a really good original unique tasting Ginger Ale there never seems to be any choice. While here is a Ginger Ale that looks fantastic. The maker says the following about its new product: (translated and paraphrased)

“With Premium Ginger Ale n.e.o (neo) we wanted to make a drink in the spirit of a cocktail that would be popular with bartenders as well as customers.  Because the majority of ginger ales presently sold add flavorings to get the ginger taste, the natural ginger taste is not able to be enjoyed by customers. In making this product we wanted to use the true ginger taste and embody the true sense of this drink as a cocktail that can be enjoyed at a bar made by a professional bartender. In keeping with this theme, we paid special attention to the design of the bottle, the size of the serving portion, the fragrance and materials used.  Enjoy your Ginger Ale as a cocktail.”
This Ginger Ale drink is being sold at bars, hotels and some departments stores in Japan. Here is a link for buying the product online.


Also popular in Japan is the Wilkinson brand of Ginger Ale


and just released is Suntory’s Blue Ginger Ale


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