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Archive for June, 2009

Shimokita Sunday.. and Harujuku Crepe.

June 27, 2009 3 comments

Shimokita Sunday was a dorama I enjoyed watching several years ago, just as I got into watching Japanese Dramas. It was also one of those series I never thought I’ll finish because there were never any subs, but there is now, and I got to finish watching it. So happy!

So imagine my surprise when I re watched the first episode and found Aya Ueto eating at the same crepe stop I ate at in Harujuku. Yes Harujuku is a place known for crepes, so for all potential Tokyo visitors, there are plenty of crepe stands in Harujuku.

See this is a picture from the dorama

crepeha

And here is a picture of the store’s sign when I went. I didn’t want to take an obvious picture, but you have to trust my word, that I did eat from that same stand.^_^ See same pink wrapping..

Delicious Crepe! That’s is what I miss as I came back to the U.S.

Categories: Television

[SMAP] Drama Special – 06/22/2009

June 26, 2009 2 comments

Okay hands down, I am a SMAP fan, and have got to once again say that watching their variety show makes me feel really happy.

So this is several weeks after Kusunagi comes back, and yep this episode made me lol several times. There were two short dorama skits, with Kusunagi and Shingo in one, and Goro and Kimura in the other. Both are shoujo relevent episodes. I guess it should be said that in the group, Kimura, and Kusunagi are viewed as romantic interest, based on the doramas that are out there. Katori and Goro are comic actors, which had me lol most of the time. Occasionally SMAP does this in their program, which I like.

splash

Bistro SMAP was also funny, with the appearance of two sons and their mother. It would appear that every female I see, would always be a fan of SMAP, the mother gives omiyage to SMAP, and then asks them for autographs to her sister. So embarassing for the brothers, and funny. Later when the guests chose the winning team as Katori/Kimura, and the mother had to kiss the winners. It was funny when Nakai said for the mother, Just like in the doramas, when she got nervous in kissing Kimura. This segment reminds me of that one episde where Becca’s mother came on with her. LOL

sign

Musical guests in this episode are Black Eyed Peas. It is always interesting for me to see SMAP sing with foreigners. As well as the foreigners try to sing SMAP song, which in this episde, was “Them of 019” whichc was the opening track for their concert last year. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but what I can deduce is that Black Eye Peas had something to do with the music from last year’s SMAP concert? Oh also I was also hoping that SMAP would sing “Let’s Get It Started” But then I wonder – if it would be too much for them.. maybe “My Humps” would have been a little too much as well. So they sang, “I Gotta Feeling” where Shingo seems to be having a blast.. Oh the conversation at the end, wondering why there was no translater for the Black Eyed Peas, since there was obvious Lost in translation moments. Oh interesting point – Kimura with corn rows in his hair. >_<

Categories: SMAP

Some goals for the summer.. cleaning.. and Parfaits

June 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Since this is the weekend, when they have Anime NEXT and unfortunately I am not there. I figure I’ll do something. One is to clean my room, will be getting storage in the next several days. Storage that is for MY own possessions. Still have to get that, because I need to try, get organized and be a bit more conservative on my spending.

hiroko's place store front

Also another thing, on the recommendation of Hinano. I found my way to Hiroko’s Place in Soho…and man what a neat experience it was. I am on the look out for a Milky Way experience with parfeits. I miss that place in Ikekubkuro a lot, so have to find alternatives. Went there with Aya and Kero, after Mitsuwa yesterday. Mitsuwa I am contemplating on not going when there’s not a big event. Not at all fun with the crowds and the wait for the bus was very annoying.

Categories: Personal

Kinokuniya – Main Store in New York City, with some musing on Shinjuku’s Kino

June 13, 2009 3 comments

kino

This is not from my mouth, but from the website. Kinokuniya, located at 1073 Avenue of the Americas (Bet. 40th and 41st St). Directly across the street from Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library with the Stone Lions of Patience and Fortitude. How I love this part of Midtown..

I mention the book store frequently as Kino on my Twitter, and other mentions of it. Several years ago, Kino was located at 49th street and across from the Rockefeller Center, close to the Nintendo Store. Of course now it has moved to a larger location. While I am not sure on the success of that move, as I do miss the old store, and its quaint music announcing its closing time over the PA system, this move to the new location has tighten my bookstore hopping route, and probably has led to the store’s ability to market better its resources (Zaiya, not just Japanese books) and events (guests, workshops).

So of course I get to go to Bryant Park slightly more than usual. Better spot for cosplayers to meet up and photo shoot to their hearts content, although I have never gone to one. I recently caught an interview with John, who is the manager of the store, and yes now after my trip to Japan. I have to say Kino is a store of its own quality.

In the NYC branch, there are three levels, the basement, and the second floor, with the first floor in the middle. On the first floor, there are the magazines, English books on various Asian countries, cookbooks, a section of fashion including a line from Jlist.com, representations of the other two floors, and restroom facilities. There is an escalator going up to the second floor, and an elevator to the basement with stairs leading up and down to the various floors.

The second floor is where the store events, artbooks, DVDs, cds, mangas, graphic novels are. This is also the floor where there is an extension of Cafe Zaiya as a small cafe. I love going there to sit and enjoy a cold or hot drink, while I occasionally read, write, or look through some of my purchases. On Fridays when I am at that Zaiya, I am waiting for my friends to join me, from their weekly excursions in Chinatown. While there is not of a wide food selection as the Zaiya Library Way (41 Street) branch, across the Bryant Park, there are pastries, and drinks. There is a menu of Tea fortes, which is a specific type of tea bag that comes in a cute pot and a cup. Also drinks, and food here are served on glassware, which is different from the plastic/paper ware in the Library Way branch. It was at this second floor that I was able to see TMR, HAL-KALI and most recently Ai Kwashima, since there is a lot of collaboration with Samurai Beat Radio, and New York Anime Festival. I wrote about those experiences on this blog, under events.

The basement is where there is the stationary, more Japanese books, Japanese language guides, Washi paper/origami, and a specific Children section. Recently they’re having a specific sale on Bento Boxes and Photo albums. All pretty fancy, and very nice Japanese products.

There is a no photos policy allowed in the store, so of all the times I go to the store, there are no pictures on my part, because I am unsure of what is to be allowed in picture taking. So if you want to see the store, I would say you can visit the store yourself upon visiting NYC, or search for pictures on Flickr, or if there are comments, I would probably include some on my own flickr account.

One neat thing about this store, other than the location is the fact that often, they would get certain manga/graphic arts title earlier than let’s say Borders. Because I consistently go to the store, I purchased a membership to their Anime/Manga discount card, which only gives a 10% discount for every specific Anime product, not counting the Studio Ghibli products or Stationary items in the basement. Not really much to really like about the card itself, but as a patron, one must go where the supposedly discounts are. I really wish they can have a point card system like what Asahiya has or like what Book Off use to have, but so far no point card system in sight. Also the Anime/Manga membership card is set to expire next year, so who know what will happen next year.

I will continue to go to the store, so yep Kino hasn’t seen the last of me yet.

Oh I forgot to mention to other day when I wrote about this, the manga and publications in the store are mostly shrink wrapped, that is a practice that I saw in Japanese stores a lot, and this I really appreciate. To try and get people to purchase it though, there are sample copies to pursue. Still if they would adapt this format in Borders or Barns & Noble, won’t that be a better idea? I wonder though what would happen to the plastics though. ^_^

Kinokudyia

Prior to going to Japan, I learned from Peter of Jlist through his Twittering, that there was a six story Kino in Japan, so of course on my first full day of Tokyo before I went to Kyoto. I had my friend take me to Kino, and impressed I was! It is located at the New South Exit side of the Shinjuku Station, past a Starbucks, and Krispy Kreme, where there is always a mob of people waiting. Krispy Kreme in my opinion is really not all that, but since its an American business, what else can I say, globalization at work.

I went and enjoyed every last minute of it.. >_< Six stories.. my mind is just boggled by that fact, also they were the only bookstore that carried International books and so I wasn’t far from a source of books to purchase and read on the Tokyo Metro. I was pretty surprise to have ran out of reading materials, early on – so this place was a great place to go for English books, and yes this was the only bookstore I found to carry English titles. Everything is at the yen price, so it can end up costing more for the item, like the artbooks I purchase in Kino NYC or Asahiya, because after all English titles are imported in a Japanese country. Still I am grateful, and for this – I would definitely say that this is the bookstore to go to, if you’re an English tourist traveling to Tokyo, and need to find some English books.

Categories: Features

[SMAP] Specials for May without Kusunagi Tsuyoshi

June 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Well my timing is probably off, but I was waiting until Kusunagi Tsuyoshi gets to resume work, and with the delay that I get to see normal programming of SMAPxSMAP Bistro.  Figure that I’ll talk a bit about the specials that they are airing, in place of the regular programing with Kusunagi.

My friends in Japan got me thinking of not referring to Tsuyoshi as Tsuyoshi – because it is his first name, and I don’t know him. Apparently American Wikipedia decided to westernize his last and first name. I am still thinking of him as Tsuyoshi though.

Still because of the scandal, SMAP has been airing specials that alternate members. For the first week of May (May 4) they a Carpenters Musical special. The special looks very much like the Music specials they had in the past, so if you’re a fan of the Carpenters – check this out.Kimu Taku and Shingo has the strongest English voices in the goup.

The second week (May 11) had Kimu Taku hosting a special of interviewing a gathering of Japanese celebrities. Many of which I see in dramas a lot, and even featured the appearance of Becca.  It pretty hard to understand what the episode was about. But staring at this picture definitely reminds me of Rai’s French -Nishi loving roomie.. ^_^

kimubecc

May 18 was a special hosted by Shingo and Nakai. It had the adventures of Oha Shingo-Mama, as he goes to rouse and make breakfast for this family. It was pretty funny, given the difficulty of how the family woke up, or didn’t wake up. During the course of the morning, Shingo jokes on Zatoichi, which he is slated to play the famous blind swordsman.  Especially funny, when the real mama starts to threaten Shingo with a sword. He also does mention in the end that the younger son of 6 years old not hearing of his Shingo-mama character before. Nakai for his part of the show is babysitting the Obama Japanese comedian’s baby, and ends up throwing the baby up down like a sack of potatoes.. >_<

The last episode on May 25 before Tsuyoshi gets back on air had Goro and Shingo hosting a surprised or not surprised situation. There is a panel of guest judges that include Shaku Yumiko and Horikita Maki who are in two doramas I am watching this season. Basically, the judges have to rule on being surprised or not surprised by the items that they are presented with. I think basically everyone was surprised by how  much a certain item cost. >_<

Categories: SMAP
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