McDonald’s Starts McDelivery in Tokyo

Hey! Lucky you! You are going to get to see something today that few people have ever seen before! You are going to see what McDonald’s delivery motorcycles look like in Japan.

Well, I think it sounds like a bad McIdea, but they’ve really started; McDonald’s really has started home delivery service in Tokyo.

McDelivery McLogo

I think this is a bad idea because if you’ve ever tasted McDonald’s french fries when they were a bit cold, then you know what I mean; McAwful.

I can understand delivery pizza as pizza is still OK if it’s not piping hot. Heck, pizza is good cold. I eat it sometimes straight out of the refrigerator. But cold McDonald’s? Hmmm?

And, another question, if my pizza is more than 30 minutes late, Domino’s gives me ¥500 (about $6 USD) off my next order. If my McDonald’s order is more than 30 minutes late it must surely be cold and the fries will taste like plastic. Will they give me a discount for my next order?

A pizza delivery costs at least ¥2500 (about $30 USD)… Does McDonald’s deliver on a ¥550 (about $6 USD) Big Mac set?

If my order is late, do I get discount coupons on my next order? How can they make money on a $5 ~ $6 order? What’s up with that?

McDelivery McBike with McBad McDesign

(I McThink the McBikes should have been McWhite, McRed, & McYellow.

This looks like a Pizza Hut delivery bike!)

Also, when I order delivery pizza, I don’t usually order drinks… But McDonald’s? What are they going to do in the summer with milk shakes and stuff?

Anyway, I can’t imagine that this is going to go well. As I blogged before, hamburgers are supposed to be quick convenience food. I think it defeats the purpose if I have to wait 30 minutes for a delivery.

Front of McBike with McLogo… Looks like Batman’s motorcycle

I think this service will not be successful… But what do I know? There’s lots of people out there who haven’t seen “Super-Size Me” so maybe this will take off in Japan.

Only time will tell.

Korean Artists Really Are Getting Popular in Japan with Regular Japanese Kids!

I have been saying for years that one has to be careful with what they hear or see on TV or radio as most of it is fake. I think Ninety percent of everything on TV is a lie or fake. The rest is advertising.

Actually, both TV and radio are 24/7 ads. The so-called “programming” is always made with consideration towards sponsors and the rest of TV is made to fit around advertising time.

You never know if anything is real.

Over these last few years, there has been a “Korean Boom” in Japan. Is it real or fake?

I remember many years ago, I was a regular on a TV program for kids, and they had a Yo-Yo company come on the show and tell us that there was a “Yo-yo boom happening in Japan.”

I thought that was absolute poppy-cock. I had two daughters in elementary school and asked them about this so-called Yo-yo boom. They didn’t know anything about it.

It figured. This boom was manufactured by the toy company sponsor who made Yo-yo’s and wanted the TV station to help them sell product. The toy company bought advertising on the TV station, they got together to figure out how to sell more product, and, Boom! Er, I mean, Whammo! A Yo-yo  ”boom” was born.

Yes, it was a boom. A manufactured boom, but a boom nonetheless. These types of booms are repeated over and over on the mass media. That’s why you can’t believe anything you see/hear.

People are lead by the nose by the mass media and people, for the most part, are not educated enough to know that they are being brainwashed.

Now, in Japan, we have a Korean Pop star boom.

As Metropolis magazine reports:

“..the past couple of years have seen Korean pop culture make inroads into demographics that Yon-sama could never reach. Although TV dramas still enjoy a strong following here, it’s now pop music that’s leading the charge, and winning over hordes of younger female fans in the process.”

Big Bang

I used to think this was totally BS, but now, have softened my thinking. I know that the media helped create and report this boom. I know  that they – as the media is wont to do – sensationalized it.

Of course, if this wasn’t a big business proposition between Korean and Japanese companies and cooperation, then this boom would have would never happened in Japan. If this wasn’t big business with massive amounts of money changing hands, then this boom would have never happened.

But just because this came about through massive spending and promotion, does that mean it is bad? In this case, I don’t think so.

My opinion on this Korean boom became more sympathetic when I took my 16-year-old daughter to a beautiful shrine in Narita (see photos here). Near the shrine, there was a small booth that sold merchandise that featured famous pop stars and singing idols. My daughter yelled, “Stop Daddy! I want to look!” when she saw a photo of her favorite new stars. They are a group named “Big Bang.”

The mere fact that there was a booth near a Japanese shrine out in the country selling these types of goods, shows me their mass audience appeal.

I’d never heard of Big Bang. My daughter loved them. She started telling me all about them. I figured they were the newest Japanese boy group, but no! They were a new Korean boy group! I was so surprised that my daughter was such a big fan of Korean pop stars. I inquired and she told me that all her friends at school loved this group.

I asked her if they sang in Japanese or Korean and she said, “Japanese!” I also asked her if their pronunciation was funny and she replied, “A little bit. But that is what makes them so cute!”

Wow! OK. If my 16-year-old daughter – who goes to regular Japanese public school – and likes this Korean pop group – and all her Japanese friends do too, then there is something special there – even if it is a mass media manufactured boom.

I had always skeptically thought that this Korean boom was a big-business manufactured boom. Now, I am convinced it is. But, in this case, for once, I am not skeptical. For once, I give my total and complete blessing and think this is a good thing.

Why? Japan and Korea has had enough trouble through their long histories and there are many older Japanese who hate Koreans and vice versa. There’s probably no way to make these people friends.

But music is a special thing. Music brings people together. Young people don’t remember the wars. Young people like music.

Imperial Japanese troops in 1900..

Replace the above with…


(Korean Girl Pop “Kara” in front of Japanese fans)

If we can use music to make the young Japanese and the young Koreans to become friendly to each other, to create harmony, understanding and to eliminate hate, then I’m all for it….

It’s OK that someone makes a ton of money doing this. It is the best way. The free market is showing us a better way and if someone can foster peace and better understanding amongst people, while making a good living doing it, then I’m all for it.

Heck, I wish I managed a Korean pop group.

It is a great thing that the free market can bring peace and understanding and people together… 100′s of years of hate, war and death show us what the government’s efforts have brought us over the years.

Cheers for the Korean pop boom in Japan. Cheers for the free market.

I wonder if it’s too late for a Frank Sinatra-type crooner (me) in Korea?

Cut Your Grocery Bill by 5% ~ 20%

All over the world, groceries are getting really expensive. If you are living in Tokyo, then you know just how expensive groceries are and always have been! Well, right now, whether you live in Tokyo or not, I am going to show you how you can cut your grocery bill by 5% ~ 10% – or more – quite simply merely by being more efficient with the use of your time.

There is an OK Store nearby my house. OK Store is a large grocery supermarket chain store in the Tokyo area. It is my favorite place to shop. I first wrote about OK Store in a photo blog that appeared on Lew Rockwell in 2004. There are several huge stores that I have seen like OK Store. They remind me of a typical American-style grocery store.

But OK Store is the best for quality and price. That’s why is is packed most of the time.

If you go to OK Store at the times most people who go there do, you will encounter huge crowds and wait in a line of cars to get a parking space. I think some people must wait for more than an hour in their cars waiting just to get a parking space.

I think it is madness to go to OK Store after 9:00 am on a weekend. The cars are lined up for a half kilometer – sometimes more – just to get into the parking lot!

Once inside the store, if you go on a weekend or in the evenings, you can bet that the store is packed and there are people lined up ten deep or more waiting to get to a cash register. Go at that time and be sure that it’s going to cost you an hour of time just to buy a few basics.

With leisure time at a premium, you really have to wonder what people are thinking when they willingly spend 2 to 4 hours a weekend – every weekend – just to buy groceries.

I never do that. Time is money. I never wait to get into OK Store and I always get my groceries at 5% discount or more. I figure I cut my grocery bill by 10% a month by following the plan I am going to tell you about today.

How do I do this? I go to the store right at opening time during the week. I never wait in line to park and I never wait in line to check out. I can fill up my shopping cart full and be in and out of that store in 20 minutes. Of course, I know where everything is too.

I have been to that store during rush time in the past. Never again. People were lined up 25 carts deep waiting for the cashiers. It was a madhouse. I wound up walking out without buying anything.

OK Store opens at 8:30 am. I show up at 8:25 and walk right in. I get the pick of the discounted goods and no hassles.

If you live in Tokyo then I recommend that you be smart too. Remember that time is money. Find out when your favorite store opens up in the morning and be one of the first ones in the door. You’ll save time and money.

This also works in the west if your store is not open 24 hours a day. If your store is like OK Store (open 8:30 am ~ 10 pm or so), then they will stock the shelves early in the morning with the items that didn’t sell out the previous day and discount them heavily as they must sell them quickly. This is the time to shop.

At opening time, the good that weren’t sold the day before are out on the shelves first and discounted to go quickly. And quickly they go! By 9:00 ~ 9:30 in the morning, all this heavily discounted stuff is already sold out. They have been bought by restaurant owners and by other smart shoppers who have figured out that shopping early saves time and money.

I always see the same smart people who shop early. They are the ones who get the best produce and groceries at the best price – just like I do.

Just to show you how much things are discounted every morning, I took these photos of OK Store yesterday morning. I was probably only one of twenty or so other customers in the entire store. It’s always like that when I go there. Of course there were many more items that were discounted. I didn’t bother to take their photos.

But don’t believe just my word for it. They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Here’s photographic proof of how much you can save by being early (and OK Store is the cheapest store around even before these discounts!):

Racks of beef all at 5% off

5% ~ 10% off on bread

30% off broccoli and alfalfa sprouts (I always buy 3 or 4 of these)

Whole fryers at 5% off

Cod at 20% off

More Cod sliced at 3% off and more

Six Pack Eggs 3% off

Ten pack Eggs 5% off

Halibut 10% off

Saury 20% off

Mango and Papaya at 10% off

Milk 3% off

30% off on sliced pineapple

Like I said, meats on sale in the morning; 5% ~ 30% off… All gone by 9:30 am

Breaded fish ready-to-cook 20% off

Salmon 3% off

Pond Smelt 20% off

Scallops 3% off

Smoked Salmon 3% off

Steak 30% off

Cod 3% off

And my favorite Yellow Tail 30% off

Seriously folks, do yourself a favor and show up at your supermarket right at opening time. You’ll save time and money and be back at home relaxing before 10 am.

Why fight the crowds? Time is money. Save it and relax!

Business in Japan? Silence is Golden!

Want to do business in Japan? Oh young grasshopper… You have come to the right place…..

Join the circle at the feet of the master…. Oh ummm…. Oh ummmmmm……. Oh ummm……

There is a famous quote from Buddha that goes something like this;

“Those who don’t know say they do. Those who do know say they don’t.”

It’s true. These are such wise words that are especially useful to remember when doing business in Japan. Sometimes, well, often, it is best in Japan to say as little as possible. This is one of my big challenges as I far too often talk too much and run my mouth.

I need to be more diligent when it comes to remaining silent.

And now a parable about Buddha, Japan, and the Wizard of Oz…

The other night, my son and I were reading L. Frank Baum’s the Wizard of Oz together. We came to the part where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow and the Scarecrow tells her that he hasn’t a brain.

When we read that, my son stopped and said to me, “Daddy! If he doesn’t have a brain, then how does he talk?”

Sometimes little kids say the darndest (and smartest) things. I didn’t expect that a seven-year-old would ask that question. I thought he would be so involved with the story, he wouldn’t ask that…. But he did.

Yes. It’s totally illogical. I didn’t know what to say so I could only reply, “Don’t worry about it. Keep reading the story.”

The next day we finished the book and my son loved it. I was happy because I wanted him to start reading more classics rather than these modern day “educational series” that the school has. He found the Wizard of Oz just as fascinating and satisfying as Harry Potter.

Since my son loved the book so much, my wife went online and bought him the 1939 classic version of the movie starring Judy Garland so that we could watch together. I usually do not allow my son to watch things on screens but felt this was a good opportunity to teach him the difference between the book and a screen adaptation of a book.

The Wizard of Oz book is a classic adventure fairy tale; the movie is a classic musical. Some of the important points are the same, but they are  totally different. If you’ve only seen the movie yet never read the book, you’d be so surprised at the difference. Entire sections of the book are missing from the movie.

Even minor details are different. For example, in the book, Dorothy’s slippers are silver. In the movie, they are ruby red.

As in the book, in the movie, when Dorothy met the Scarecrow, the Scarecrow told her he didn’t have a brain… Once again, my son, looked at me smiling. My son said, “See!?”

But, different from the book, in the movie, when Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”

The Scarecrow replied, “I don’t know. But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking. Don’t they?”

To which Dorothy responded, “Yes. I guess you’re right.”

If you want to do good business in Japan, then let’s us now meditate on this parable…. Oh ummm…. Oh ummmmmm……. Oh ummm……

This article was inspired by David Galland of Casey’s Daily Dispatch, Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and my son, Wray.

What Should a Company Blog Look Like?

Lots of people ask me to show them a good example of what a corporate web page should look like… That’s a tough question to answer. But I’m going to show you two ideas that might get your brain working and point you in the right direction.

Of course what your corporate web page looks like depends a lot on what kind of business you are in. If you are Toy-R-Us, then your site might be fun and colorful… But this type of image is not good for a company that does, say, Liposuction or performs frontal lobotomies. So spend a lot of time thinking about what your company stands for…

As I have mentioned in other posts, here, and here, you have to give in order to get people to come visit your site; people have to be motivated to go to your site or they won’t come. They’ll be motivated by free give-aways or by free content that is useful and beneficial to them.

Anyway, I do not want to get into a long discussion about what the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 at this moment (I promise that I will explain this, in detail for you, by the end of this weekend)… So just let me jump forward to two examples of fun pages that are up now and doing well.

The first example is of Monty Python’s Flying Circus page on YouTube.

The YouTube page bio reads:

“For 3 years you YouTubers have been ripping us off, taking tens of thousands of our videos and putting them on YouTube. Now the tables are turned. It’s time for us to take matters into our own hands.

We know who you are, we know where you live and we could come after you in ways too horrible to tell. But being the extraordinarily nice chaps we are, we’ve figured a better way to get our own back: We’ve launched our own Monty Python channel on YouTube.

No more of those crap quality videos you’ve been posting. We’re giving you the real thing – HQ videos delivered straight from our vault.

What’s more, we’re taking our most viewed clips and uploading brand new HQ versions. And what’s even more, we’re letting you see absolutely everything for free. So there!

But we want something in return.

None of your driveling, mindless comments. Instead, we want you to click on the links, buy our movies & TV shows and soften our pain and disgust at being ripped off all these years.”

So Monty Python creates this great page (that does allow comments – so it is a start at Web 2.0) and what were the results? Amazingly, it created renewed interest and sales of Monty Python’s products (CDs, DVDs, books) exploded up 23,000%!

Another good example of a company that I have been working with who really “gets it” is Domino Pizza Japan. Their page isn’t perfect, but, for now is pretty darned-near perfect. The guys handling this for Domino Pizza, Mssrs. Ikeda, Karasawa, and Higa deserve some kind of award!

Domino Pizza has the right idea about their web business. Their landing page has videos, contests, and free games for people to play.

This is genius because, if they can make money off the web page itself, then they create their own media, replacing the old “advertise on TV or print” model.

The results?

Their web page gets over 1.2 million unique users per month… They have an e-mail magazine mailing list of over 750,000 people…

Domino Pizza Japan also “gets” the idea that their pizza boxes and menus are “media” too! In fact, I am now arranging a few campaigns this year whereby 4 or 5 couples who order Domino Pizza through the Internet and sign -up for the e-mail magazine get the chance to win all expense paid vacations to Europe or the United States.

Who wouldn’t want to join a contest like that?

I have also arranged a contest for people to visit Croatia this year along with several other vacation spots. The fans of Domino Pizza get a chance to visit one of Europe’s most beautiful countries and the airlines and Croatia win too because the campaign is featured on Domino Pizza homepage and in 5.5 million menus that Domino Pizza prints…

Don’t forget that those Domino Pizza menus are powerful media as they are kept by the people on their refrigerators by magnets for a month or two… What a great vehicle for promotion.

The customers win, Domino Pizza wins and Croatia wins. Everyone is happy…

I’ll have more on these types of mutually beneficial promotion tie-ups later this year as this is my forte… and what I spend most of my time doing. It is the future of advertising and marketing in, not only Japan, but the world. Don’t forget, Google gives away everything for free and is one of the most profitable companies in the entire world.

So when Domino Pizza and the government of Croatia get together and start giving away things for free, they both get great promotion and new customers and everybody wins! Of course, it is free!


Domino Pizza, Croatia, Google, free, Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Europe, menus, advertise, TV, print, Monty Python, Toy-R-Us, web 1.0, web 2.0, unique users, e-mail magazine

Best Hamburger in Japan!

I am often asked by foreigners, “What’s the best hamburger in Japan?” This is a difficult question to answer as I know that they mean the American style of hamburger with the patty in between two slices of bread. So, I usually answer, “There are no good hamburgers in Japan.”

Of course, there are some pretty good places, but for the longest time – and this is hard to believe but – generally speaking, hamburgers in Japan are so bad that I am often just answering, “McDonald’s.”

Sure, we have pretty good hamburgers at Johnny Rockets, and others, but, for all practical purposes, when you want a hamburger, you don’t really want to ride a train for over 30 or 40 minutes just to get one… A hamburger is supposed to be convenient food. It is not convenient if I have to make a 1 hour round trip just to get a halfway decent burger that would be second-rate (at best) in the States.

Of course, just like the USA, the best burgers are made at the mom and pop shops. It’s the same with ramen in Japan; the mom and pop shops blow away the chain restaurants.

But here is a caveat! If you want a proper “hamburger steak” (I mean the way hamburger was originally made – not the American style) then Japan does have a restaurant chain that blows away any other restaurants for taste, food quality and price. And that restaurant is Tsubame Grill.

Tsubame Grill has been around since 1930 and is, in my opinion, by far the best hamburger is Japan. Sorry Johnny Rockets, I’ve had yours. Good, but not this good.

Tsubame Grill in Shimbashi 1937

Not only that, but Tsubame Grill is a damned good deal…

Lunch time start from 11:00 am until 5 pm at the location near my house (check the location nearest you as times vary). For a mere ¥1,090 I can get a delicious hamburger steak (all beef is 100% Japanese so you needn’t worry about cheap, hormone filled, drug ridden meat from the USA). With this set, I get soup, salad, bread and real butter and a coffee.

Winter Hamburger Steak and Vegetables lunch set. Includes

soup, salad, bread or rice and coffee or tea. ¥1,090.

You just cannot beat this price.

Also, this is not some dumpy, dirty restaurant. Tsubame Grill is fine enough for your first date and is an excellent sit down restaurant good enough for family, friends, and business acquaintances.

I think Tsubame Grill is one of the top restaurants in Tokyo considering price, quality, taste, cleanliness, ambiance and service. There are many restaurants who charge three times the price that Tsubame Grill does yet they fail to match the menu and service of Tsubame Grill.

Look for this logo

There are many reasons why Tsubame grill is tops. But another good reason is that they only have about 4 items on the menu in total: They have three styles of hamburger steak; Bouillabaisse; rolled cabbage; sausages and baked Salmon. I think that’s just about it. Restaurants that specialize on making just one thing the best can often succeed and, because of a limited menu, they can hold prices down.

Look at the menu, quality and cleanliness of Tsubame Grill here.

Japan is famous for quality and cleanliness.

Tsubame Grill will not disappoint.

Ah! But you say, “If this place is so good, then why don’t more foreigners know about it?” Good question. There’s two reasons for this that I can gather. One is that Tsubame Grill has no English on their menu and doesn’t even have any English on their web site.

Why is that? I gather that this place is so packed all the time with the locals that they have no need to push and advertise. Why spend money on advertising when you already have the Holy Grail of advertising? And that is an excellent reputation by word of mouth of the locals.

It is for this reason that I have never seen any other foreigners at our local restaurant, yet there are always lines of people waiting to get it.

But fear not my loyal readers! I have to tell you a secret! Even though there is no English on the menu, I will tell you all you need to know to order from this fantastic establishment. Just remember the name of the restaurant; Tsubame Grill. Just order the Tsubame Steak. You’ll see. It is out of this world.

Tsubame Grill web page (not in English)

Tsubame Grill Locations (with maps – click on red lettering):

つばめグリル 銀座通り本店(建て替え工事の為休業中)Ginza HQ
〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座1-8-20 TEL:03-3561-3788

つばめグリル 品川駅前店 Shinagawa Sta.
〒108-0074 東京都港区高輪4-10-26 TEL:03-3441-0121

つばめグリル 玉川高島屋S・C店 Takashimaya Futagotamagawa
〒158-8502 東京都世田谷区玉川3-17-1 玉川高島屋S・C内 TEL:03-3709-0117

つばめグリル ルミネ横浜店 Lumine Yokohama
〒220-0011 神奈川県横浜市西区高島2-16-1 ルミネ横浜7F TEL:045-453-6752

つばめグリル ルミネ新宿店 Lumine Shinjuku
〒160-0022 東京都新宿区西新宿1-1-5 ルミネ新宿1 7F  TEL:03-3348-4347

つばめグリル 茅ヶ崎ラスカ店 Chigasaki Rasuka
〒253-0043 神奈川県茅ヶ崎市元町1-1 茅ヶ崎ラスカ 6F TEL:0467-87-3807

つばめグリル キュービックプラザ新横浜店 9 Big Plaza Shin Yokohama
〒222-0026 神奈川県横浜市港北区篠原町2937 キュービックプラザ新横浜 1F(別館)

つばめグリル ルミネ池袋店 Lumine Ikebukuro
〒171-0021 東京都豊島区西池袋1-11-4 ルミネ池袋7F TEL:03-5954-8278

つばめグリル 大船ルミネウイング店 Ofuna Lumine Wing
〒247-0056 神奈川県鎌倉市大船1-4-1 ルミネウイング7F TEL:0467-48-5090

つばめグリル タカシマヤタイムズスクエア店 Kashimaya Times Square
〒151-8580 東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24-2 タカシマヤタイムズスクエア13F

つばめグリル ホテルメッツ川崎店 Hotel Metz Kawasaki
〒212-0013 神奈川県川崎市幸区堀川町72-2 ホテルメッツ川崎1F TEL:044-555-3171

つばめグリル アトレ恵比寿店 Atore Ebisu
〒150-8508 東京都渋谷区恵比寿南1-5-5 アトレ恵比寿6F TEL:03-5475-8429

つばめグリル 錦糸町テルミナ2店 Kinshicho Terumina 2
〒130-0013 東京都墨田区錦糸1-2-47 錦糸町テルミナ2内 TEL:03-5619-7023

GRILL 1930 つばめグリル ルミネ町田店 Lumine Machida
〒194-0013 東京都町田市原町田6-1-11 ルミネ町田 9F TEL:042-739-3388

つばめグリル 渋谷マークシティ店 Shibuya Mark City
〒150-0043 東京都渋谷区道玄坂1-12-3 渋谷マークシティレストランアベニュー 4F

つばめグリル 銀座コア店 Ginza Core
〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座5-8-20 銀座コアB1F TEL:03-3569-2701

つばめKITCHEN アトレ品川店 Atore Shinagawa
〒108-0075 東京都港区港南2-18-1 アトレ品川4F 3140 TEL:03-6717-0926

つばめKITCHEN 丸の内店 Marunochi
〒105-0005 東京都千代田区丸ノ内1-6-4 丸ノ内オアゾ 5F TEL:03-5252-7900

GRILL 1930 つばめグリル アトレ上野店 Ueno
〒110-0005 東京都台東区上野7-1-1 アトレ上野 レトロ館 2F 2041 TEL:03-5826-5809

GRILL 1930 つばめグリル ルミネ北千住店 Kita Senju
〒120-0026 東京都足立区千住旭町42-2 ルミネ北千住8F TEL:03-3879-6091

〒104-0061 東京都中央区銀座5-9-15 銀座清月堂ビル B1F・B2F TEL:03-3572-3071

炭焼 Kura
〒108-0074 東京都港区高輪4-10-26 つばめグリル品川駅前店 3F TEL:03-3441-0122

洋惣菜専門店 つばめグリル
〒220-8539 神奈川県横浜市西区南幸1-1-1 横浜シァル B1F TEL:045-312-6991

MADE IN JAPAN つばめグリル ecute品川店
〒108-0074 東京都港区高輪3-26-27 JR東日本 品川駅構内 TEL:03-3444-5181

つばめグリル DELI アトレ恵比寿店
〒150-8508 東京都渋谷区恵比寿南1-5-5 アトレ恵比寿 3F TEL:03-5475-8465

つばめグリル DELI エキュート東京店
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Narita San Shinshoji

There is a diamond in the rough undiscovered by most foreigners visiting Japan and those of us foreigners living in Tokyo and that is Narita San Shinshoji. It is the huge shrine and temple in Chiba prefecture. Er, did I say, huge? I meant, HUGE. Like H-U-G-E. Gigantic. Like you could walk around this place for an entire day or two and still not see everything.

Narita San Shinshoji is about 10 minutes walk from Narita Station. That Narita station; not Narita Airport.

The grounds are, like I said, massive. Besides that, there’s a matsuri (festival) feel everywhere around the grounds.

Narita San Shinshoji is one of the top 2 or 3 most visited shrines in Japan around New Year’s. That means over 4 million people visit it in the first three days of January every year.

Wikipedia says:

Shinshō-ji (新勝寺 ‘New victory temple’) is a Shingon Buddhist temple located in central Narita, Chiba, Japan. It was founded in 940 by Kanchō Daisōjō, a disciple of Kōbō Daishi. It is a lead temple in the Chisan branch (Chisan-ha 智山派) of New Shingon (Shingi Shingon 新義真言宗), includes a large complex of buildings and grounds, and is one of the best-known temples in the Kantō region. It is dedicated to Fudō myōō (‘Unmovable Wisdom King’, known as Ācala in Sanskrit), who is usually depicted holding a sword and rope and surrounded by flames. Often called a fire god, he is associated with fire rituals.

My, I was mightily impressed with this wonderful place and thought that I definitely need to bring my family here and friends when they visit from the west… I mean, why spend $400 dollars on a train going to Kyoto when we have a place within one and one half hours train ride from Tokyo

I went there yesterday for the first time and was enthralled.

Every wonderful family and traditional thing you could ever possibly want to do in Japan all in one place.

But enough of my yakking. Here’s the photos I took, some videos and other information:

The next big event is April 16 ~ 17 though it is like a festival

there every weekend. Web page URL:

Selling roasted Chestnuts

Toys and good luck for little girls

Kimonos and dolls


Main entrance to Narita San Shinshoji

Main Exit at Narita Station. Turn left here.

Japanese style pickles

Some big shot Zazen priest with his entourage


Street entertainer with her very funny monkey

Different view of Konryubutsu

Souvenir and snack shop selling sweets


One of the older temples…

But there are many hundreds of years older than this one

Traditional Japanese wares and chopsticks

I think Narita San shinshoji is a wonderful place that is a must see for travelers and people who live in Japan alike. You can easily spend an entire day or two walking around here and not see everything… And, best of all, entrance is free!

More photo’s here:

More Event News In English:

Narita San Shinshoji

Entrance: Free

Address: 1 Narita, Narita-Shi, Chiba

Tel: 0476-22-2111

Access: From JR Narita Station / Keisei Railway Keisei Narita Station: 10 mins on foot

Tour and hotel booking information here (There are several moderately priced hotels nearby!)


Translating Japanese with Heart

A few people complained about the translation of English to Japanese that appeared on the blog Obfuscation from Groupon Japan?

I really do not want to get into a long discussion on translation and methods… There’s a million articles out there written on that by doctors with Phd’s and other professionals. So, let me avoid walking where I have no business walking…

One reader, though, said that my translation of what was written on that blog was wrong. He then also went on to castigate me as not knowing how to read or write Japanese.

He’s right about one thing; I believe that I could live in Japan for 100 years and never become perfect at Japanese. I can also say that about 99.8% of the Japanese.

But, as the president of a company that has been operating in Japan since 1992, I know enough to always have a native Japanese speaker check my crummy Japanese in my emails. And, I am bright enough to always have skilled professionals check important things too (like Japanese translations on this blog)… For I know that the average Japanese – like most foreigners too – are not professional at the art of communication… I also know that there are many people who just love to jump in and kick whenever and wherever they can.

I am a professional communicator; but I’ll never be a native Japanese speaker.

Lost in Translation… What the heck does this say?

I mentioned to the girl, who helped me with translation this time, about some of the criticisms and it surely ruffled her feathers. She has been a professional translator for over 25 years in Japan. She has even worked as a simultaneous translator for famous businessmen and famous people from the west in the past (that’s how we met). She said that, “There is no native Japanese professional in this business who will say that my translation is wrong.”

She added, “Whenever you translate Japanese, you must read in between words; you must read into intent and nuance. These people who said my translation is wrong are definitely not native Japanese speakers. I am a professional.”

She also added, “These people who complained don’t know what they are talking about. I considered this entire affair and viewed the entire video and researched before I made a translation. I can’t believe that any Japanese person would say that my translation is wrong…”

She gave an example:



Literal translation is:

“It is raining. It continues to rain. It doesn’t seem like it is going to stop.”

But, she added, that this literal translation adds no emotion or feeling. If you knew the course of this writer’s thinking and could listen to the silence in between, you’d know that this might say,

“I am sad. My sadness continues. When will this ever end?”

See? It says nothing about rain or the weather.

So, the point is that, unless you have background information and understand the situation then you cannot make a good translation nor be a good translator.

She is absolutely right.

It reminds me of my frustrations with Japanese language many years ago when an elderly man told me, “To understand what a Japanese person wants to say, never listen to their words. Listen to their heart.”

I have to ask her to forgive me for doubting her for even one second. I stand 100% behind the translation made here.

Japan Has VERY Racy Toilet Paper!

Sometimes even Japan surprises me. Now, a company in Japan is selling toilet paper that has naked girls and sexy scenes on toilet paper!

From Japanator:

Those looking for a sexy way to go to the bathroom – wait, let me start over. Those looking for a premium erotic experience on the toilet – hm, that sounds iffy too. There’s no good way to lead into this news, so I’ll just say it. Toranonana has made some toilet paper with sexy girls on the sheets. The Ero Boin toilet paper displays girls from the Happoubijin Boin series. The toilet paper costs ¥450 for one roll, which is definitely a premium over cheaper toilet paper.

This all sounds good, but are they soft enough for my tender tushy and do they come in nice smelling Lilac and Lavender?

I mean, I have a discerning… er, rear, er, “policy”

Two Facebook Accounts is Risky!

Social Media, if done correctly, can be a very time consuming thing. I have just been alerted by my friends at Ragan Communications that if you have two Facebook accounts, they will probably delete both.

My good friends at Ragan Communications sent me this important information just now:

Facebook’s terms of service make it quite clear: “You will not create more than one personal profile.”

And yet, managing separate Facebook accounts—one for personal friends and another for professional colleagues—is how plenty of communicators and other professionals have sought to keep up the barrier between those online personae…..

A number of professionals — including PR pros and marketers —

have two Facebook accounts: one for business and another for pleasure.

It helps ensure that posts intended for friends,

which might be inappropriate in a business setting, are kept separate.

Thing is you can’t have two Facebook accounts.

Says so in the social network’s terms of service.

And that affected at least one corporate communicator,

When Facebook deleted her personal and professional account,

and axed her employer’s fan page. Facebook ultimately reactivated

the fan page, albeit with some caveats. So, is managing

more than one account worth the risk?

Read the article and decide for yourself. I think it is not worth the risk, but it is up to you…

Here’s my thinking on this: Think of it this way: Being married is enough trouble as it is and commands a lots of time and effort to make it work. One husband or wife is enough trouble as it is, why in the world would anyone want two?