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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/

Advert for Rilakkuma store opening at Tokyo Station For all those fans of Rilakkuma you will be pleased to hear they are opening a store at Tokyo Station on the 20th of February. Here is a snapshot of the web advertisement for the store from the San-x website. You can get full details here at the San-x Rilakkuma site.

The store is locate in Ichiban-gai (First Avenue) of the Station underground mall on level B1. Here is the link for the official site of 東京駅一番街(First Avenue at Tokyo Station). The site appears to be in Japanese only.

C-Scout have a Rilakkuma article about purikura for office ladies here if you are interested and another article about Rilakkuma themed hotel rooms!

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:
img_0789-1

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.

img_0518
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!

Sharp Ion plasmacluster

Sharp Plasmacluster logo

Sharp Plasmacluster logo

Having initially posted about this machine I bought, I see a lot of people searching for information about Sharp’s Ion plasmacluster and thought it would be useful to add some more information about this.

Original Post
The original post I did can be found here at shibuya246.com

According to the pamphlet, Plasmacluster technology emits positive and negative ions into the air, and thereby deactivates impurities. They are designed to combat dust, allergens, pollen and other air borne particles such as tobacco smoke, cold viruses etc.

My experience
I bought the machine because hearing that influenza was going to be widespread this year, I really wanted to make sure I did not catch it and so far I have not had a cold. I have used the machine non-stop since I bought it and found it easy to use, fairly quiet and of great value.

The machine I bought covers about a 6-8 tatami mat area. Outside of Japan I am not sure what size that translates to, but it is an average size Japanese room and probably an average size western hotel room. The space of 1 tatami mat was meant to be the space required for one person to sleep lying down. Without digressing too much here is a link to Wikipedia talking about Tatami

Sharp installing units in own offices
Recently Sharp announced that they would be installing 10,000 of their industrial plasmacluster machines in their Sharp offices and factories.
http://sharp-world.com/corporate/g_topix/pci_place/index.html
http://sharp-world.com/corporate/news/090119.html

The above articles discuss the larger industrial units where Sharp says:

Plasmacluster Ion generators use Sharp’s proprietary Plasmacluster Ion technology to decompose and deactivate harmful airborne substances such as mold fungus, viruses, and allergens. These generators are designed to thoroughly deactivate harmful airborne substances in large areas, such as offices and conference rooms.

Although the technology for the smaller units is the same, just they dont cover as large an area.

Technology Explanation
Here is an easy to understand article about the technology with some pictures to aid the explanation:
http://www.theairpurifiers.com/sharp_plasmacluster_ion.html

Sharp announce Bird Flu tests
In a conference focussed on plasma cluster technology,the ability to handle “bird flu” was discussed.
http://sharp-world.com/corporate/g_topix/pci2/index.html

http://sharp-world.com/corporate/news/080827.html
http://sharp-world.com/corporate/g_topix/pci/index.html

IG-A100 Plasmacluster

IG-A100 Plasmacluster

Other Info
Here is a blog post about the conference finding
http://www.clinicallergy.com/ion-air-purifier-plasmacluster-ions-vs-bird-flu-virus.php

and some other links to check
http://www.blogcatalog.com/topic/plasmacluster/

Follow up
If anyone has any specific questions that you want to leave as a comment, I will try and get the answers and follow up.

A walk up Koen-dori

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

img_0700

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

img_0261-11If your wallet is anything like mine then you probabaly have a lot of members cards to various places. It would be nice if all of these points could be accomodated on one card with an IC chip.

Leaving that aside, LABI, Yamada Denki’s large scale electronic stores have a new idea based on the old theme of member point cards. They have installed machines at their store so that when you visit the store you can swipe your card and get an automatic 10 points credited to your account. If you buy something you get further points depending on how much you spend, AND then before you leave the store you can swipe your card again for another 10 points. They also have a slot machine style game playing when you swipe your card for the chance to win more points.

10 free points might not be much, but if you live close by and can visit everyday you could rack up 3,650 points in a year. If everyone started doing that I am sure LABI would have trouble honoring the points earned.

It is nice to see a promotion that doesn’t require you to spend money first. Whoever said “there is no such thing as a free lunch” obviously hadn’t visited LABI.

Yamada Denki point machines in LABI store

Yamada Denki point machines in LABI store

Here is a link to a map on how to get to Shibuya LABI
http://gmap.jp/shop-14335.html