Tag Archives: Ginza

Pearl Day

11 Jul

Today, 2013 July 11th, is the 120th anniversary of the day that Japanese jeweler Mikimoto Kokichi successfully cultivated pearls in Japan.

He said his company “Mikimoto Pearls” and was Japan’s first domestic luxury pearl company.

Mikimoto Pearls and Jewelry original shop in Tokyo, circa 1893.

Mikimoto Pearls” is a world-famous luxury jewelry company. Their main shop in in Tokyo’s high-end Ginza district.

So, because of Mr. Mikimoto, July 11th is unofficially 「真珠記念日」 (“Pearl Day”) in Japan.

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100th birthday of Taro Okamoto

26 Feb

Do you know who 岡本太郎 (Taro Okamoto) was?

Taro Okamoto,
26 Feb 1911 - 7 Jan 1996

He was a Japanese abstract artist and sculptor.
He is quite famous in Japan.
His most well-know piece is probably the huge sculpture that he made for the “World Expo ’70” in Osaka titled 「太陽の塔」 (“Tower Of The Sun“). It still stands at the site of the expo in Osaka.

「太陽の塔」 ("Tower Of The Sun") by Taro Okamoto

I haven’t been to the “Taro Okamoto Museum” but I have seen three of his pieces many times…because these three pieces are displayed in public here in Tokyo.

These are the 「若い時計台」 (“Young Clock Tower“) in Ginza, Tokyo:

「若い時計台」 ("Young Clock Tower") by Taro Okamoto

The 「子供の木」 (“Children’s Tree“) which stands in front of the 「子供の城」 (“Children’s Castle“), which is a fun, educational activity-center for young children in Tokyo. I took my children to this place a few times when they were young and I saw this sculpture in front of the building.
I knew immediately that it was by Taro Okamoto because it matched his distinctive style.

 

「子供の木」 ("Children's Tree") by Taro Okamoto

And I’ve also seen his painting titled 「明日の神話」 (“Tomorrow’s Myth“). This painting is Mr. Okamoto’s depiction of the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II.
This painting had been in Mexico for about thirty years and was only returned to Japan a little over two years ago.
It’s now on display inside 渋谷駅 (Shibuya Train Station) in Tokyo.

 

「明日の神話」 ("Tomorrow's Myth") by Taro Okamoto

Well, if 岡本太郎 (Taro Okamoto) was still alive he would be 100 years old today.

I learned that today is the 100th anniversary of his birth when I accessed the Google search engine earlier today and noticed that the logo looked like Mr. Okamoto’s artwork.

Google's logo to commemorate Taro Okamoto's 100th birthday.

How Japan was 75 years ago…

5 Feb

I like photo exhibits.
I usually go to the annual Press Photos Exhibit in downtown Tokyo every December.

There is currently another photo exhibit in Tokyo that I want to see.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa  Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) exhibit.

石川光陽 (Koyo Ishikawa) was a photographer with the Tokyo Police Department and was tasked with taking photographs of the city just prior to, during, and after World War II.

Tokyo Police photographer, Koyo Ishikawa

The period of time that Mr. Ishikawa lived and photographed is called the 昭和時代 (Showa Era) in Japan. This period was from late 1926 until early 1989.

I came to Japan in 1990…just after the Showa Era ended, but I’m very interested in this period of Japan’s history. So I’m planning to go to this photo exhibit.

The 「警視庁カメラマンが撮った昭和モダンの情景 ・ 石川光陽写真展」 (“Koyo Ishikawa – Documentary Photographs of the Showa Era by a Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Cameraman”) photo exhibit is currently at the “Old Shinbashi Station” which is near 新橋駅 (Shinbashi train station) in Tokyo.
It will be there until 2011 March 21st. The hours are 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM and is open everyday except Mondays.

Admission is free of charge.

Here are some of the photos that were taken by Koyo Ishikawa:

 

Asakusa, Tokyo in 1937

Ginza, Tokyo in 1933.

Tokyo train station in 1936

Ueno, Tokyo in 1935

Tokyo looks so very different today!

2010 in review

23 Dec

Yesterday was 冬至 (Winter Solstice). In Japan, many people eat pumpkin and take a bath with Yuzu fruit to prevent catching a cold.

Click here to read a post I wrote with more detail about this Japanese tradition.

Today is a holiday in Japan. It’s 天皇誕生日 (the Emperor of Japan’s birthday). He’s 77 years old now.
This is one of the two days of the year that the public are invited into the Emperor’s Palace grounds to see him and listen to his speech.

Click here to read my FAQ about it.

Anyways, every year the Mitsukoshi Department Store in 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) has an exhibit of press photos of the biggest news stories of the year.

We often go to see it. And we went to this year’s exhibit today.

It was quite good, as usual. There were nearly 300 photos that showed many big events of this year…from the World Cup and the Olympics to the miners rescue in Chile.

2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada

Of course, there was photos of the closing of the Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.
Click here to read my post about this famous theater’s closing (with photo that I took).

The closing of the famous Kabuki Theater in Ginza, Tokyo.

If you’re in Tokyo you should check out this exhibit. It’s free of charge and runs until Sunday (2010 December 26).

All photos in this post are from the Mitsukoshi 2010 Press Photo Exhibit website.

エクストラコールド BAR

3 Jul

I wrote an earlier post about Sapporo Beer‘s new Ice Lager Beer for this summer.

(Click here to read it.)

Well, Asahi Beer has a new bar in Tokyo called the 「エクストラ・コールド BAR」 (“Extra Cold Bar“).

This bar is in Tokyo’s 銀座 (Ginza) area and will only be there until 2010 August 31.

In this bar, the beer is served extremely cold…between 0°C and -2°C.

Even the beer taps are freezing cold and covered in ice. Customers are welcome to pour their own beer from the icy taps if they want to.

If you’re in Tokyo before August 31 and you want to go to the “Asahi Extra Cold Bar”, it’s near JR 有楽町駅 (JR Yurakucho Station) or the 銀座一丁目駅 (Ginza 1-Chome Subway Station).

It’s hours of operation are:
Weekdays 6:00PM – 11:00PM
Saturdays 11:30AM – 11:00PM
Sundays and (Japanese) holidays 11:30AM – 9:30PM
(Last order is a half-hour before closing).

歌舞伎座さようなら公演

21 Apr

About eighteen months ago I wrote a post about the planned renovation of the historic 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theatre) in the 銀座 (Ginza) area of Tokyo.

(Click here to read that post.)

Well, as I mentioned in that post in 2008, the Kabuki Theatre is scheduled to be torn down on 2010 April 30 and rebuilt in a more “modern” design. (I think that’s too bad. “Kabuki” is a old traditional Japanese art…so the theater should be a traditional Japanese design—like it currently is).

It’s already April 2010. The theater will be torn down in less than two weeks! Time goes by fast.

So, I had an errand in the Ginza area yesterday so I brought my camera to take some photos of the 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theatre) before it’s demolished.

Posters outside the theater advertising shows now playing.

The theater's front entrance

This sign in front of the theater says:"Kabuki Theater 'Sayonara' Performance".Eleven days left"2010 April 20, 11:55:52 (the date/time I took this photo)

The famous 歌舞伎座 (Kabuki Theater) in Ginza, Tokyo...set to be demolished for renovation on 2010 April 30.

While I was in the Ginza area I decided to take photos of the Seibu Department Store since that iconic store will be closing it’s branch in Ginza later this year due to high overhead costs mainly stemming from the expensive rent for property in the exclusive Ginza area.

(I wrote about this story on an earlier post. Click here to read it.)

Unlike the Kabuki Theatre, the building that the Seibu Store is in won’t be demolished.
The Seibu Department Store is simply leaving the Ginza area after occupying that property for over 26 years.

The "Seibu" name won't be on this building after this December.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, the rent that the Seibu Department Store pays in the highest in the world.
But near that building is a 交番 (police box) that is located on the most expensive property in the world per square meter.

This 交番 (police box) in Ginza has the world's highest rent per square meter.

Here are a few more photos I took in the area:

This is "Peko-chan". Mascot for "Fujiya Confectionaries".

"Peko-chan" candies

A "Hato Tours" bus with "Hello Kitty" design.

News Summary…2010 January

29 Jan

★ The murder trial for the man who killed and injured a crowd of people in the June 2008 “Akihabara Attack” began today.

He entered in a “guilty” plea and apologized for his crimes in court today. Admitting guilt and showing remorse often helps defendants in their trials in Japan.

The likely verdicts in this case will either be the death sentence (which is done by hanging in Japan) or a life sentence.

Please click here to read my post from last summer about the one-year anniversary of this attack.

★ The iconic Seibu Department Store will close their large store in 有楽町 (Yurakucho, Tokyo) near 銀座 (Ginza, Tokyo) on 2010 December 25th.

This store has been a landmark in Tokyo since it opened in 1984.
But due to the bad economic times recently, not enough people have been shopping there these days for the Seibu group to afford the rent in Ginza.

The plot of land that this store’s building is on is the most expensive real estate in the world!
The Seibu Department Store pays ¥1 million (about US$10,000) in rent for this spot.