The American rock band KISS are currently on tour in Japan.
(I wrote a post about their Japan tour of 2015 here.)
KISS are doing many unique, only-in-Japan promotions while they are here.
Among them is the 「KISS激辛チリトマトまん」 (“KISS Spicy Chili Tomato Buns”):
Available in Japan now for a limited time!
These are delicious! If you’re in Japan, try them! They were first available in Japan when KISS toured here in 2013. Here’s the similar ad that was run then:
They were introduced to Japan in October 2013.
Now, KISS has commissioned Japanese artists to make unique artwork that combines KISS’s Japan-inspired images with traditional Japanese art:
A professional Japanese 書道 (calligraphy) artist wrote the KISS logo and the band members’ personas in Japanese kanji. (They were signed by the band members too).
A professional Japanese 浮世絵 (ukiyoe woodblock print) artist made two prints showing the KISS band members as samurai in one, and samurai battling Japanese monsters in the other.
Here is a YouTube video showing the ukiyoe artist carving the woodblock to make the KISS ukiyoe prints:
KISS is on their way to Japan now to begin their 2015 Japan tour on Monday.
(Click here to see my post about the announcement of this tour, the tour dates, and their special guests for the Tokyo Dome show).
The T-shirts and other merchandise that KISS will be selling for their shows in Japan have been revealed.
I like towels from concerts. These types of towels are unique to Japan, aren’t they?
Click here to see the page with the complete list of official KISS Japan Tour 2015 merchandise (Japanese only).
I had almost forgotten about the annual 年賀状お年玉 (New Years Postcard Lottery).
(Click here to read an earlier post I’ve written about it).
What reminded me of it was the fact that today is 「旧正月」 (Chinese New Years).
On January 19th, 2015, the winning numbers were announced.
Check your postcards, if you have a winning number, you have until July 21st (2015) to bring winning cards to a post office (in Japan) to claim your prize.
The winning numbers and prizes for this year are:
||Number of winners
|1st（last five digits）
||1 in 100,000
|2nd（last four digits）
||Various local goods
||1 in 10,000
|3rd（last two digits）
||Commemorative postage stamps
||2 in 100 (1 in 50)
||27 or 30
Click here to visit the Japan Post “New Years Postcard Lottery” page (in Japanese).
The city of Narita in Chiba Prefecture, Japan is usually associated with the international airport that is there.
People not so familiar with Japan may think that Japan’s “Narita International Airport is in Tokyo…but Narita is a part of Chiba, which is near Tokyo.
(There is an international airport in Tokyo…it’s “Haneda International Airport“.)
The airport isn’t the only reason to go to Narita City though.
“成田山新勝寺 (Narita-san-Shinsho-ji)“ is a beautiful famous temple that has many wonderful festivals and events.
The area near the temple has many traditional Japanese shops and restaurants.
Narita is known for ウナギ (freshwater eel). There are a number of restaurants there that serve it…it’s delicious! If you visit Narita, you should try it!
Anyways, it had been awhile since we’ve visited Narita…so we went there yesterday. Here are some photos I took:
Japanese children’s cartoon character “Baikin-man”.
It says that Narita is “a traditional Japanese hospitality town”.
These are “Daruma”…a traditional Japanese ornament most commonly seen at New Year’s time.
A 「たこやき」 (Grilled octopus dumplings) stand.
The entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) temple.
A lion guard at the entrance to 「成田山新勝寺」 (“Narita-san-Shinsho-ji”) .
A 「招き猫」 (Maneki-Neko lucky cat).
The 7-Eleven store there has a brown sign to keep with the style of the area.
今日は「節分」。(Today is “Setsubun“).
Google’s Japanese page has a “Setsubun” logo today.
Setsubun is a day to cast out bad luck and bring in good luck. It involves an old tradition of throwing beans at someone wearing a demon mask representing bad luck.
It’s mostly done in homes with young children, in which the children throw the beans at their father wearing the oni (demon) mask.
Click here to read about this, and other Japanese customs and holidays in February.
A company called Pop! Gourmet Popcorn from Seattle, USA has opened stores in Japan last summer.
To help promote their popcorn, they are having a give-away contest until March.
If you buy a bottle of Pepsi Special, it comes with a scratch card.
If your card says 「あたり」 (Winner), it can be mailed in for a package of free gourmet popcorn.
I tried Pop! Gourmet Popcorn. I didn’t win the Pepsi campaign…actually, I rarely drink cola at all.
One of my daughters went to the Pop! store in Tokyo and bought some popcorn. She let me try it. It’s pretty good.
Today is 2015 January 17th…the 20th anniversary of the huge 1995 January 17th earthquake in 神戸 (Kobe), Japan.
I’ve experienced many earthquakes since I came to Japan in 1990…but only two that were big enough to destroy a city:
the 1995 Jan 17th Kobe Earthquake, and
the 2011 Mar 11th Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami.
Memorial ceremony in Kobe for victims of the 1995 Jan 17th earthquake. (Photo © Getty Images)
I never want to experience such a massive natural disaster ever again!