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Archive for the ‘Shibuya’ Category

Snow in Tokyo

Snow in Tokyo

Snow in Tokyo

The weather had got warmer for a while, but as is normal before the warmer months of April and May arrive we are seeing snow in Tokyo today. The photos don’t quite show the swirling wind patterns of the snow flakes as they rain down, and the snow hasn’t settled on the ground yet, but snow is here.
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img_0865-1I bought a pack of Yuzu Potato chips the other day to try something different. Yuzu is found in Japan although originally came from China. The taste is very similar to a mandarin and may even be a derivative of that fruit.

There are many varieties of potato chips to choose from in Japan and the Yuzu variety may not last long in the convenience store where new products tend to change out very quickly.

Convenience Stores becoming Market Research Stores
Convenience stores appear to be becoming a market research store rather than their original purpose of serving the basic foods conveniently. Every time I visit my local convenience store I see new products only to go back in the following week to see them gone.

Japanese Snack Reviews Blog
Back to the Yuzu story, the end result was the Yuzu potato chips were good. I was going to write more about this topic but found a great article at Japanese Snack Reviews which I thought summed up the whole experience.

If you like Yuzu, these chips are for you, although the convenience store may have already filled their spot with the next new product.

I also bought some Chocolate coated Sunflower seeds which I had not seen in Japan before. I don’t know a lot about these but they did taste good.

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You can’t go anywhere in Tokyo at this time of year without running into people buying Valentine Day Chocolates. They are everywhere. The economy might be taking a hit, but the chocolate manufacturers are certainly making the most of this Valentine season. Here are some quick shots of a few offerings to tide you over until the 14th.

Godiva Chocolates

Godiva Chocolates

These bag styled chocolates are cute!

These bag styled chocolates are cute!

Chocolate cookies

Chocolate cookies

The display cases are always well presented

The display cases are always well presented

and in Shibuya where I could not even see the chocolates for the crowd

and in Shibuya where I could not even see the chocolates for the crowd

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A towel made to look like a chocolate roll for Valentines Day

A towel made to look like a chocolate roll for Valentines Day

Of course most people love chocolate and in Japan the women generally give the chocolates to the men, but for those who want to join in the Valentine fun but just can’t have the chocolate here is the answer.

It looks like a Chocolate roll and has the name ミニロール バター Mini butter roll taste, but if you look closely you will see it is actually a rolled up towel!

I am a chocolate fan so i would be very disappointed to receive a towel for Valentines Day, but I am sure there are some people who might prefer the towel.

This year many guys are supposedly giving the girls chocolates for Valentines Day in what is becoming known as gyaku choco or reverse chocolate.
Here is my post discussing that.

Here is a very good look at what women are thinking in Japan around this Valentine Day period from WhatJapanThinks.com
http://whatjapanthinks.com/2009/02/06/what-to-expect-this-valentines-day-in-japan/

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In order to raise cash for the local Shibuya area, the Shibuya Council ward have decided to sell the naming rights to 14 public toilet locations in Shibuya. Normally naming rights are associated with sports stadiums or buildings and according to the local Shibuya official in an interview they said “we looked around but could not find any other examples of this”.

Perfect location for Japan Tobacco to sponsor. Everyone already has the product out advertising it for them.

Perfect location for Japan Tobacco to sponsor. Everyone already has the product out advertising it for them.

5 year lease contract

The Council is looking to set a lease period of 5 years for the naming rights and expect to commence the operation from April this year, 2009. The company that bids and wins the rights to individual locations will have the right to display their company name and product names or billboard type advertising at the locations. They will also be able to use land in another 7 locations for billboards.

Whilst money is a consideration in awarding the rights, the Shibuya Council will also review the bidders plan for keeping the facilities clean and tidy. Many of the facilities are old and so the Council hope they might get improvements made also through this campaign.

Sources: Asahi Newspaper (Japanese edition), yahoo.co.jp, Shibuya Keizai Shinbun, Shibuya Council documentation.

Number 3 on the official list of Shibuya toilets in need of sponsorship

Number 3 on the official list of Shibuya toilets in need of sponsorship

Application Details
The bids were able to be submitted from last month, January 30th and will close this month on the 13th February. If you are interested in bidding you can contact the Park department of Shibuya Council on 03-3463-2876.

Here is a link to the application form for the toilet naming rights:
http://www.city.shibuya.tokyo.jp/news/oshirase/koshu.html
http://www.city.shibuya.tokyo.jp/news/oshirase/pdf/koshu.pdf – Has list of 14 locations on it.

Possible International Marketing Appeal – Novelty Marketing
Many of the toilet locations are in very well known places and have a large population of people who congregate around them either waiting for others or just finding somewhere to smoke.

The locations will be valuable in advertising products to local consumers.

Also, the idea of a company or organisation sponsoring a toilet sounds quite newsworthy and it may actually attract an international and diverse audience to the company’s products and services.

Official List
Here is the official list of toilets available for sponsorship:
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Japan Tobacco, JapanSoc.org ?
Whilst JT, Japan Tobacco, is obviously a prime candidate for sponsoring locations it may be interesting if a foreign firm was to make a bid to sponsor a toilet. On a totally unrelated topic, JapanSoc.org have recently formed an organisation to help develop and promote the blogs of those who are writing about Japan. One of the aims is to increase the amount of media exposure given to blogs on Japan and Japan related articles. All those interested are welcome to join for free. No experience needed, plenty of assistance and support available.

Not wanting to get the wrong type of exposure, being around the toilets, but it may be worthwhile for JapanSoc.org to consider putting in a bid for one of the toilets in Shibuya. It would certainly get some international attention. Maybe the toilet could go hi-tech and have a digital tv screen hooked up to the internet showing the blogs of JapanSoc.org members.

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Shibuya Yokocho toilets – Ahead of their time

I took a picture a while ago of a rather strange toilet which is close to Shibuya station. This is actually not a public toilet, but a private toilet for patrons of Shibuya Yokocho Nonbei. They could be seen as the forerunner to advertising in combination with the toilet. At night the neon light appears above the toilet to direct people to the restaurants. Very convenient!

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I took a walk up koen-dori today and took these pictures while I was out.

The view looking up Koen-dori. Surprisingly not many people out today.

The view looking up Koen-dori. Surprisingly not many people out today.

Docomo building at bottom of Koen-dori with Horikita Maki on her docomo phone.

Docomo building at bottom of Koen-dori with Horikita Maki on her docomo phone.


Here are some of Horikita Maki’s commercials for Docomo:


Here is a making of commercial video

Walking further up Koen-dori I went past the usual suspects of stores:

Seibu department store - koen dori

Seibu department store - koen dori

Gap - Koen dori

Gap - Koen dori

Parco department store - Koen dori

Parco department store - Koen dori

and then had a look back down the street from half-way:

Looking back down Koen-dori from Paro department store

Looking back down Koen-dori from Paro department store

took in some of the lesser known interesting places:

Three Minutes Happiness - Amusement Variety Store, Koen dori

Three Minutes Happiness - Amusement Variety Store, Koen dori


Is 3 minutes the most they could really squeeze out of the moment? Sounds a bit short.

Tokyo Wonder Site cafe - Koen dori

Tokyo Wonder Site cafe - Koen dori


Coffe & Donut, Koen dori

Coffe & Donut, Koen dori

before getting to the top of Koen dori where the Shibuya kuyakusho and NHK is located

Shibuya kuyakusho - top of Koen dori

Shibuya kuyakusho - top of Koen dori

Clock in front of Shibuya kuyakusho

Clock in front of Shibuya kuyakusho

NHK Hall - top of Koen dori

NHK building - top of Koen dori

Looking back down Koen dori from top

Looking back down Koen dori from top

On the way back down I bumped into the Tobacco & Salt Museum

Tobacco & Salt Museum, Koen dori

Tobacco & Salt Museum, Koen dori

As well as all the stores there are plenty of other sites to see on Koen dori such as the English style telephone boxes:img_0703

and I came across these flowers that are displayed by the Koen dori society which can be found at www.koen-dori.com. The website is in Japanese only, but it has a really good look and feel to it, explaining all about the stores, brands, news etc. For a community website it is quite impressive. I guess the department stores must have chipped in quite a bit to get this working.

They also have a live webcams set up and the location of these is shown on the website.

For English readers, Korean and Chinese versions available also, they have a pdf document that shows all the stores. This can be seen and downloaded from http://www.koen-dori.com/guidebook/ although the file is 2.7MB

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There really was not a lot of people out today, maybe because it had turned cold recently, but it was nice to get out and see Koen dori without being caught up in the masses.

Parco department store - Koen dori

Parco department store - Koen dori

Photos
I have posted all of these photos and more at shibuya246.smugmug for those that want to see them
http://shibuya246.smugmug.com/gallery/7244321_2Ck2o

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Billboard for Chocolate Underground

Billboard for Chocolate Underground

The movie “Chocolate Underground” is set to open this Saturday (Jan 31) at the Shibuya Theater – Tsutaya.

Since Jan 16 the ads have been up in Shibuya promoting the animation movie which is an adaptation from the novel “Bootleg” by Alex Shearer, a British author. On the right is an advert showing at Shibuya crossing.

Story
“The story centers on two 13-year-old boys who live in a country that has banned chocolate and mandated fruits and vegetables for daily consumption. The boys discover a stash of cocoa and sugar and decide to run a bootleg chocolate factory, in complete defiance of the government run by the oppressive Good for You Party. Their misadventures eventually sparks a revolution in the country. The theatrical version will add 20 minutes of new footage and present the entire project in widescreen format. ” – Source: ANN

Preview
Yahoo Japan has a preview at:
http://streaming.yahoo.co.jp/p/t/00098/v04623/
The official site trailer is here:
http://www.choco-bar.jp/trailer/index.html

Alex Shearer in Japan
According to the official website for the production at http://www.choco-bar.jp/index/index.html Alex Shearer will be coming to Japan and giving an introduction on the first day of screening followed by a talkshow the next day. The dates are:

31st Jan at Shibuya Theatre – Tsutaya, movie starts at 10am, introduction for Alex Shearer at 11:30am following screening and then a second introduction at 12:25 followed by the second screening of the movie for that day.

1st Feb a talkshow between Alex Shearer and the translator Kanehara will be held from 6:30pm.

It looks like you may need to get reservation tickets if you want to attend the talkshow.

Photos
Here are some photoclips from the official site:
To see more go to http://www.choco-bar.jp/story/index.htmlchocolateunderground1

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