Browsing Tag: tokyo


    Japan mascot shows bear necessities for marketing success

    September 16, 2019

    A clumsy bear mascot for a remote Japanese
    farming region has rocketed to superstar fame and notched up an unlikely marketing triumph
    in a nation obsessed with all things cute. The life-sized Kumamon and his now nationally
    ubiquitous image — red cheeks and doughy physique — are found on everything from pastries
    and keychains to airplanes and purses. Most local mascots linger in relative obscurity
    but Kumamon draws hundreds of camera-toting fans at public events. He makes national television
    appearances and his wobbly signature dance — once performed for the emperor and empress
    — has notched up more than two million views on YouTube. Rivalling the success of Hello
    Kitty or Mickey Mouse in Japan, the black bear has rung up a commercial fortune for
    his rural birthplace, and become a closely-watched marketing case study. The phenomenon has tickled
    officials from his home in Kumamoto, a prefecture in the far south which barely registers with
    many Japanese, let alone outsiders. “Definitely Kumamoto’s prominence has increased in the
    eyes of the public,” said Masataka Naruo, brand officer for the local government. The
    rise of Kumamon — who has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter — is all the more striking
    given the ferocious competition among mascots, known in Japanese as “yuru-kyara” (laid back
    characters). They are pressed into service to represent everything from cities to companies
    or even prisons, with the licensed character industry worth about $30 billion a year, including
    copyright and merchandising. That is more than the Japanese, who love to read, spend
    on books. In just two years, Kumamon has generated $1.2 billion in economic benefits for his
    region, including tourism and product sales, as well as $90 million worth of publicity,
    according to a recent Bank of Japan study. The national craze marks an auspicious combination
    of charm, calculated planning and good fortune. TV show writer Kundo Koyama, best known for
    his work on the Iron Chef cooking series, was charged with promoting the prefecture
    when a new bullet train service linking Kumamoto with the commercial hub of Osaka was being
    launched in recent years. Koyama then asked celebrated art director Manabu Mizuno to create
    a campaign logo, and threw in the cuddly Kumamon as a bonus. But his folksy construction won
    over local officials who were advised to let businesses use his image free of charge as
    long as it promoted the region, directly or indirectly. And instead of selling a little-known
    area of the country and local products such as plums or chestnuts, they marketed the bear.
    “In big cities, all of Japan’s prefectures are constantly engaged in this fierce competition
    for publicity to lure tourists, investment and to promote local products,” said Naruo,
    the brand officer. “But city people get their guard up when they see that kind of thing,
    so we needed to come up with a new and eye-catching way to promote Kumamoto.” That included a
    national tour with the once-publicity shy bear now seen bungee-jumping, holding witty
    press conferences, or taking a dip in Japan’s famous hot springs. The prefecture’s governor
    lectured at his alma mater Harvard University last year with its sales titan by his side.
    Free licensing and promoting the character rather than the region was a key reason for
    Kumamon’s success as his image could be used in national campaigns, while the generic design
    appealed to a wide audience. That meant Kumamon could appear on bread or T-shirts, as well
    as BMW’s MINI or crystal figurines made by luxury name Baccarat. But mascot challengers
    are everywhere, including Funasshii, the unofficial mascot of an area near Tokyo. The cuddly yellow
    “pear fairy” rocks out with a vigorous dance that has struck a chord with a population
    who grew up on cartoons and “manga” comic strips. And in a place where fame can disappear
    in a blink of an eye, Kumamon’s future rests on staying relevant as a local spokesman,
    not national fame, said Shogo Toyota from Osaka’s Research Institute for Culture, Energy
    and Life. “Kumamon’s true role is to be a medium for boosting Kumamoto’s brand image,”
    he said. That point is not lost on regional officials who want to bring the bear back
    to his roots. “What we’re trying to sell is not Kumamon, but Kumamoto prefecture,” Naruo

    My 5 minute guide to Japanese Bullet Trains (Shinkansen)
    Articles, Blog

    My 5 minute guide to Japanese Bullet Trains (Shinkansen)

    September 14, 2019

    Hey guys
    right now i’m on a shinkansen i’m going between Hiroshima and Fukuyama
    but I also just caught another shinkansen from Tokyo to Hiroshima
    I’ve been catching a lot of shinkansen’s these past two days
    So one of the things as a tourist that you can do when you come to Japan is use the JR
    rail pass which means you have unlimited rides on JR
    lines and shinkansens for a limited amount of time
    so you can purchase like a week, 2 weeks, whatever
    If you want to travel a lot this might be a really great option for you
    if not there’s also aeroplanes which can be a lot cheaper if you’re not travelling
    to so many areas But if you wanna travl on the shinkansen and
    you’re gonna travel a lot- (baby) YEEAAAAHHH
    ooooOoo th-
    ohhh my goood I don’t even know if you guys can hear me
    to be honest there’s so many sounds though
    Kenji there’s so many sounds KENJII
    This baby will be a part of my video I wanna tell you guys how I enjoy my shinkansens
    to the fullest With shinkansens it’s kind of not common
    for me to ride them, they’re a little bit expensive, they’re
    kind of a special occasion. So when I do ride them I make the most of
    them, it’s like they’re a holiday within themselves
    So one of the things about shinkansens is you can bring as much food as you want on
    them that’s one of the things that i love
    In Tokyo station you can get these things called ‘Ekiben’
    which is basically just a station bento box that you can take on shinkansens
    So they have heaps of different options, they even have vegetable options and vegan options
    In Tokyo station there’s a lot of different things to choose from
    On the way here I got the most delicious bento box I have ever eaten
    It was sooo good I also picked up two soy cream donuts to take
    with me on the journey which you can also find in tokyo station
    So just so you know, you are allowed to drink alcohol on the shinkansen
    The guy sitting next to me on the last train drank two bottles of wine
    I mean they were still like this big, but he was just chugging it
    So if you feel like drinking a beer, having some wine, keeping it luxurious, keeping it
    chill Just grab some alcohol on the way in and you
    can drink it on your journey Now shinkansens can range from a lot of different
    times, right now we are on one for just 20 minutes
    but on the way here we rode one for 4 hours When you catch a shinkansen each of them have
    different names and they go different speeds and to different places
    So make sure you check up what kind of shinkansen you want to ride
    what’s the most expensive, what’s the least expensive
    what the ride times are, that kind of thing always good to know
    For this shinkansen ride I got a donut so I’m just going to be eating that while I
    talk to you guys Now if you are catching the shinkansen towards
    kyoto and osaka from tokyo you will be able to see mt fuji on a good day
    Luckily enough I was able to see it last night This is so good
    If you do forget to bring like a bento box or some snacks or whatever
    there’s a trolley that goes through the train which has some snacks and drinks and
    things to choose from if you get hungry while you’re on your trip
    and you forget to get something beforehand They also have toilets and some vending machines
    they’re a little bit more expensive and the drinks will be quite small i think
    but the options is there if you want to get a drink while you’re on the shinkansen
    If you do get a shinkansen and if it’s possible I do recommend getting a window seat
    because one of the best things is to look out the window and see all of the scenery
    go by I love it so much Honestly it’s basically like getting a flight,
    liike going on an airoplane but you don’t have to go through the whole
    check in process and getting on the plane and waiting for take
    off having all of that extra hassle
    this one just goes super fast you have a good time
    and suddenly you’re there, that’s why it’s a little more expensive than flying
    so if you’re travelling to Japan on a budget I do recommend checking out flights to different
    areas rather than the shinkansens Also don’t forget to bring something to
    do, something to read, you could just play on your phone,
    watch a movie if you have a way to do that It’s chill you can still use internet and
    everything but really, it’s just nice to look out the
    window so cool
    So you can get a reserved seat but it’s quite a bit more expensive than a ‘choose
    your own seat’ seat So if you do it the cheaper way, if its a
    more empty shinkansen then it’s great you can sit wherever you want
    but if you come in and it’s quite busy then you might have to stand
    So that’s kind of what can happen with a – they’re called ‘jiyuu seki’
    choose freely seat so just be careful with those but it should
    be fine Ok so that was just a little quick introduction
    to shinkansens and how i like to ride them
    how do you guys like to ride shinkansens? do you have any extra things that you like
    to do?or anything i missed? any tips or tricks? let me know in the comments down below
    Thanks for watching, if you enjoyed this video please give it a thumbs up, leave a comment
    down below, hit subscribe if you want to see more videons like this or not like this
    and I’ll see you guys in the next video Jaaaaaaa ne!


    Tokyo to Osaka: Cheapest and Fastest Transport Options

    September 11, 2019

    – [Narrator] Osaka is a port town and the second largest
    city in Japan after Tokyo. It has a lot in common
    with its Kanto neighbor but people here pride themselves in being a bit rough around the edges, more genuine and outgoing
    than their Tokyo counterparts. However, getting there can be a hassle and there’s more than a
    few means to get there. So to help you on your way, here are the cheapest and
    fastest ways from Tokyo to Osaka. If money isn’t an option, then you’re probably
    watching the wrong video but the Shinkansen is your fastest and most convenient way to Osaka by far. While it is the most
    expensive method on the list, you do have a few options
    depending on comfort and how fast you want to get there. The speediest bullet train is the Nozomi at about two hours and 30 minutes. The second fastest is the Hikari. It’ll save you about 310
    yen but will also add an extra 30 minutes or
    so to your travel time. The slowest is the Kodama at four hours but at a reasonable 10,300 yen. Tickets can be purchased
    at most major stations like Tokyo in Shinagawa. Also keep in mind that
    the Shinkansen only goes to Shin-Osaka station which
    is actually a few hops away from Osaka proper. There’s also an option for those not exactly in a hurry to get there. The Seishun 18 is a seasonal package consisting of five tickets
    for five non-consecutive days of unlimited travel for
    as little as 11,850 yen, in effect, making each day of
    travel cost just 2,370 yen. The catch is that these can only be used on local and rapid JR trains which makes for long journeys and complicated routes. But that can’t be all bad, right? I mean, it can’t be more
    than nine hours. (groans) flying into Osaka is also an option although it’s not the most convenient. You can find great budget airlines to Kansai International
    Airport like Vanilla Air for 4,631 yen, Peach for 4,441 yen, and Jet Star for 5,585 yen. But you do have to keep in mind the cost of getting
    from KIX to Osaka proper but you can check out our sister site, Japan Cheapo for tips on how to do that. Also worth a mention
    is Osaka Itami Airport. It’s closer to Osaka station
    making it more convenient but ticket prices tend to
    be about 5,000 more yen than flying to KIX. A trip by bus probably isn’t
    going to be your first choice but there are some great
    Cheopo picks that can get you to Osaka for as little as 2,000
    yen depending on the season and level of comfort
    you’re willing to pay for. At six to nine hours on the road, we definitely recommend
    splurging a little on comfort. Day buses tend to be slower due to traffic but a night bus departing
    as late as midnight can reach Osaka as early as dawn. Hey, if you like what you just watched, subscribe to our channel
    for more videos like them. For more tips and tricks on
    getting to Osaka from Tokyo, visit our article at


    A travel by Shinkansen (bullet train) – MAXたにがわ号に乗ってみた

    September 8, 2019

    上毛高原、越後湯沢、長岡、終点新潟に止まります。 Maxたにがわ311号ガーラ湯沢行は1号車から8号車… お下がり下さい… 禁煙です。 Maxとき… はい。新潟行 ガーラ湯沢行 ドアが閉まります。 オーライ。 (車内チャイム) 本日もJR東日本をご利用下さいましてありがとうございます。 この電車は上越新幹線MAXたにがわ号ガーラ湯沢行とMAXとき­号新潟行です。 次は上野に止まります。 Ladies and Gentlemen.
    Welcome on board the Joetsu-Shinkansen. This is the MAX Tanigawa super-express bound for Gala Yuzawa, combined with MAX Toki super-express bound for Nigata. The next stop will be Ueno. Maxとき311号新潟行とMaxたにがわ311号ガーラ湯沢行が発車致します。 次は上毛高原に止まります。 黄色い線までお下がり下さい。 ドアが閉まります。ご注意ください。


    【定点観測】東海道新幹線名古屋駅 朝ラッシュ Japanese bullet train -Shinkansen- rush hour

    September 6, 2019

    ←Platform 15     Nagoya station    Platform 14→ ←KODAMA 636 for Tokyo   HIKARI 508 for Tokyo→ ←KODAMA 636 for Tokyo  ←KODAMA 636 for Tokyo  NOZOMI 212 for Tokyo→ NOZOMI 212 for Tokyo→ ←HIKARI 510 for Tokyo The next train doesn’t arrive until 15:30 NOZOMI 110 for Tokyo→ The next train doesn’t arrive until 26:30 ←NOZOMI 214 for Tokyo KODAMA 638 for Tokyo→ The next train doesn’t arrive until 36:30 ←NOZOMI 112 for Tokyo NOZOMI 112 for Tokyo

    Japanese Train FOOD REVIEW – Sushi and Bentos | Traveling Tokyo to Hakone, Japan!
    Articles, Blog

    Japanese Train FOOD REVIEW – Sushi and Bentos | Traveling Tokyo to Hakone, Japan!

    September 5, 2019

    Hey, everyone its Mark wiens in Tokyo Japan We got all the bags packed and we’re at Shinjuku station right now on our way to go to a place called Hakone which is it’s about an hour and 45 minutes away by train, and it’s a mountainous area It’s going to be beautiful. It’ll be my first time there, but I’m just going to vlog this train journey And I hope that we’re going to have an opportunity as soon as we find our Our train which might be a little bit of a task To eat some vending machine bentos on the train so it’s going to be a quick vlog ride. Huh Micah? Alright, let’s go. We’re looking for the oDakyu station. Oh Jessie lineless, oh yeah, I think we’re going up here. You know Doc you And by the way, we’re traveling with a lot more stuff than we normally travel with when you and I were just traveling us Too we could travel really really light and bring the bare minimum But ever since having a baby, and we got this entire backpack in this entire suitcase 98% of it is For Micah. All right at least at 11:30. Just past 11 right now and that cost Per person, so it was around 2050 or so yen, and now it’s time to look for a bento to take on the train How they have some vent hose over there Where do they have a vending machine though? I Wonder if they have a vending machine yeah We have some little bentos over here at small stall and then over their convenience store They’re also selling some bentos. I was I was kind of hoping for the vending machine bento Where you get it out of the vending machine and then you take it on the train? But I don’t think I don’t see any this is a I think this is the smaller smaller station you okay with that no Oh cool without that let’s type out of sweet. It’s portable fish I got the I got the one fish in one beef bento and Now see if we have any other snacks small little snack. They’re all some Katsu sandwiches you must have another snack And our train has just arrived. Oh here. It is right here this almost looks like a boat oh it’s going to be an hour and 41 minutes to Hakone and One thing you don’t want to do when you’re in Japan and get on a train a train like this with with too little food So we got a bunch of food, but just in case you don’t come with enough food I didn’t even know that they have a whole onboard menu But it looks to be like the same company that goes little bentos With the train so I think we got the same same food, but that’s that’s awesome You can order Japanese to extend hoods on the train just in case we eat everything indeed more There’s always back to back-up plan We’ve been on the train for at least two or three minutes. I think it’s time to start digging in okay I’m going to begin with that rice ball. This is from that convenience shop It looks like I think I might be some kind of katsu, deep fried cutlet in there And then how do you do that you open? Open here And oh, it’s already wrapped okay. It’s like a kiwi burger all there appears to be Maine. I think that’s mayonnaise in here There’s some lettuce a cutlet. There’s right Well, that’s that’s a heavy little handful right there Oh, yup, that is a kind of a soggy fried piece of meat or chicken Nice, Japanese, Gooey rice and then the seaweed not the freshest Thing that you’ll find, but that does taste pretty good, and there’s definitely quite a lot of like mayonaise dressing in there Looks like a burger Next up. I want to try to try one of these boxes. Which I think is the type of of sushi and The box is actually very cool. Look at that. Look at that colorful box Maybe some mackerel on the on the cover there, and it’s tied up with a rubber, band This looks very interesting and I this is kind of an impulse purchase extra bento a box that I that I bought just because I wanted to see what it was oh Cool. Oh Yeah, that is sushi. I think this is like a I don’t know I’ve never had sushi like this, but this looks wonderful and interesting I’ll just go in for one of these one of these pieces here Well, it’s kind of kind of jammed in there. I’ll go for this guy. Oh It just fell off alright Has a little more of a preserved taste to it the fish actually tastes like it’s like vinegar Probably almost like you can almost taste pickle very sour so it is very sour It’s good though. It’s like it’s like sushi that lasts and the fish is actually quite salty already, so But maybe it would be good with a little bit of extra soy sauce I will Open this Little Tube squeeze in some soy Sauce over here And next up though I want to try one of those those leaf wraps. I don’t know what that is That looks oh there’s rice underneath it in a leaf, and I’m not sure if that’s it I’ll dip a little bit in the soy sauce It has a similar taste to like a grape leaf again it tastes like a maybe I shoot oh there comes around the drink cart or A sesame leaf it has a kind of earthy sesame Slightly peppery taste to it and I’ll come back to the sushi later But I like the box of the box. It’s really cool as well, and I’m going to dig into these other bentos here gosh one bento that is fish and That photo appears to be very buttery and then one bento that is This is the beef bento Let’s open up that slide it out Oh, okay. It definitely looks a little better in the photo open this up There’s beef in here. There’s rice at the bottom. There’s a little egg. There’s this looks like some daikon All that looks like fish egg. I think that’s fish eggs. We’ve got the fish And there’s oh that one that one’s nice and colorful. There’s a good selection of vegetables. There’s rice on the bottom. There’s lotus there is Carrot mushroom egg, and then some other small salads over here, okay. I’ll start with that fish Could be butter fish That fish is almost the texture of chicken So firm and then there this may be a lotus stem. There’s sesame seeds on there, and then did some finely shaved omelet with rice oh That’s pretty good. I really like that sesame seeds has that nice toasted sesame seed flavor to it. The rice is nice and gooey I think the the only thing that could really make it better is if it was hot rather than cold it is kind of cold so that kind of Kind of makes it less less good than it could be but still For Takeaway, bento Japanese lunch box. It’s pretty good Let me try some of this I think these are so beans and I don’t know what type of beef it is. It looks kind of like it almost looks like slices of tongue No, maybe not maybe it’s just regular beef and I’m pretty sure this is just a whole fish egg sack I’ll save that after the beef. I’ll try some that beef first Let’s wrap it into some rice Oh yeah maybe it is tongue Anyway, that’s good. That salty it’s a Soy, sauce on that beef – beef is a little bit chewy The Rice is good Again, it’s cold But you know that going in that it’s going to be cold But I think that’s the only thing I could improve it as if it was nice and piping hot and now moving on to the stack of eggs Oh wow, that’s a really good. It’s really really salty And it actually it doesn’t even have that fishy of a taste to it Even just a little bit spicy. I think there’s some chili in there as well Just a little bit spicy and then you can really taste the, you can really feel the texture of that on your tongue You can feel all those little those little fish balls That’s delicious actually And that completes this meal on a train it was actually very enjoyable That sushi. Ah it really kind of grew on me Well the first bite was okay but I thought it would like it more and more you just can’t you can’t think of it as Fresh fish sushi you got to think of it differently. It’s more like rice ah paired with pickled preserved fish and it was delicious. I enjoyed that. It’s really cool that on the trains in Japan you can They they actually they actually They encourage eating bentos on trains It’s getting more and more beautiful the further we get out of tokyo and we’re getting into some really nice lush green mountains We’re passing by Rivers and streams beautiful And exactly on schedule we have arrived to hakone. I think this is the final station of the train but that was a very very comfortable and very enjoyable train ride and That was some some good lunch as well So thank you very much for watching this vlog Please remember to give it a thumbs up click like and also subscribe for lots more videos and I’ll see you on the next video

    How Japan’s Bullet Trains Changed Travel
    Articles, Blog

    How Japan’s Bullet Trains Changed Travel

    August 8, 2019

    Today’s high-speed trains will have you cruising along at 350 kilometres per hour. A ticket is about the same as a flight, and the door-to-door time on some of the world’s most popular routes is the same, or less than getting a plane. But decades ago rail travel was in decline. It faced fierce competition from the air and auto industries. Then came Japan’s bullet train. By the late 1950s, Japan’s economic miracle had transformed the war ravaged nation. Its economy was growing quickly. The area between Tokyo and Osaka was booming with industry. People were flocking to the capital for work but the rail line connecting the two major cities couldn’t take the stress. In 1958, a government panel was set up to tackle the problem and several potential solutions arose. Among them, building the world’s first high-speed rail line. Many were skeptical, but two men were true believers. Shinji Sogō was the then president of the state-run Japanese National Railways. The other, Sogō’s colleague, veteran engineer Hideo Shima. Up against bureaucratic obstacles and fierce opposition – the two drove the project forward. In 1959, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line started construction under Sogō’s leadership. Shima was appointed the project’s chief engineer. His team designed the sleek and revolutionary cone-shaped front – from which the bullet train got its name. Rather than being pulled by an engine in front, each carriage of the bullet train was driven by an individual electric motor, which has proven to be safer, faster and more efficient. Apart from the train itself, the team also built wider tracks, which were more costly but allowed for greater stability and higher speeds. 3,000 bridges and 67 tunnels were built on the 515-kilometer line to allow a clear and largely curveless path. Older trains were banned from the new line. Equipped with advanced technologies, the new trains were able to travel as fast as 210 kilometers per hour, a breakthrough in the passenger rail industry and the world’s fastest at the time. The journey time between Tokyo and Osaka was cut from over 6 hours to 4. On October 1, 1964, the new line opened, just in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games. But neither Sogō’ nor Shima were invited for the inauguration. They both resigned in 1963 because the project’s budget came in at double what was promised – 400 billion yen, the equivalent of 3.6 billion US dollars today. But despite their premature departure, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen line was an immediate success and quickly turned a profit. It transformed the nation – allowing more people to work in metropolitan areas and became a symbol of Japan’s postwar re-emergence as an economic and tech power. Now over 300 trains operate on the line everyday. And the trip between Tokyo and Osaka has shortened to two and a half hours. The number of passengers has also soared, reaching 165 million in 2016. After the success of the Tōkaidō Shinkanse line, Japan has continued expanding its high-speed rail network and plans to build more. Following Japan’s lead, countries like France, Germany and China have also developed high-speed railways. By the end of 2018, the total length of high-speed rail network in the world will be over 46,000 kilometers, and over half of it is in China.