Tag Archives: Osaka

Hard Rock Cafe Japan

12 Jan

When I came to Japan in 1990 there was only one “Hard Rock Cafe” in this country at that time.
It was the “Hard Rock Cafe, Tokyo” in 六本木 (Roppongi, Tokyo) with the gorilla hanging on the window.

Back then, I went to the Hard Rock Cafe occasionally…mainly because it was a popular place around the world back then and, as Japan only had one HRC back then, it was almost certain that American and European rock musicians would stop by there after their shows on their Japan tours.

I talked to Van Halen, Blue Murder, and Bon Jovi in the Hard Rock Cafe, Tokyo.

But as time went by, Hard Rock Cafe set up more and more shops in Japan.
I don’t know why. I don’t think they’re very popular anymore. The food and drinks aren’t so good and they’re over-priced, in my opinion.
I don’t eat at the Hard Rock Cafe anymore. I haven’t been inside one in many years.

I do like the collection of guitars and gold records that they decorate their walls with…and the KISS memorabilia that seems to be at each of their restaurants, though.

But now in Japan, there are eight Hard Rock Cafe restaurants:

Hard Rock Cafe, Tokyo in 六本木 (Roppongi, Tokyo),

Hard Rock Cafe, Uyeno-eki in 上野駅 (Ueno Train Station, Tokyo),

Hard Rock Cafe, “Narita-Tokyo” in 千葉県成田市 (Narita, Chiba)…just like “Tokyo Disneyland” and “Narita Airport“, this HRC is in Chiba, Japan which is near Tokyo,

Hard Rock Cafe, Yokohama in 横浜 (Yokohama),

Hard Rock Cafe, Nagoya in 名古屋 (Nagoya),

Hard Rock Cafe, Fukuoka in 福岡 (Fukuoka),

Hard Rock Cafe, Osaka in 大阪 (Osaka), and

Hard Rock Cafe, Universal Studios Japan at the Universal Studios Japan in 大阪 (Osaka).

I passed by a Hard Rock Cafe yesterday and noticed that they’re having a “HRC meets Hello Kitty” campaign.

This doesn’t really interest me…as I wrote above, I don’t eat at Hard Rock Cafe and my wife and daughters aren’t into Hello Kitty (And I certainly don’t care about Kitty-chan either), but if you want to see the “HRC meets Hello Kitty” merchandise then click here.

Do they have many Hard Rock Cafe restaurants in your part of the world?
Have you visited many? Do you go there often? Have you been to any of them in Japan?
Do they sell “HRC meets Hello Kitty” merchandise in your city? Would you buy it?

Kameda vs Naito

30 Nov

Yesterday was the long-awaited boxing matching between challenger 23 year old 亀田興毅 (Kouki Kameda) and defending champion 35 year old 内藤大助 (Daisuke Naitou).

Daisuke Naito vs Koki Kameda promo poster

Before I talk about yesterday’s match, a little history.

Daisuke Naito made his professional boxing debut in 1996 at the age of 22.
After five years of professional boxing, he was undefeated and challenged the then-flyweight champion of Japan (Sakata Takehumi). He lost that match.
But he went to Thailand and fought for the world flyweight championship. Unfortunately, he lost again.

In 2004 (just before his 30th birthday), he finally became the Japan Flyweight Boxing champion.
And when he was 32 he became the World Flyweight Boxing Champion.

Daisuke Naito with the World Flyweight Champion trophy and belt, 2007.

And then there’s the controversial Kameda boxing family.
Koki Kameda and his two younger brothers (Daiki and Tomoki) have all been trained since they were very young to become professional boxers by their father.

They are infamous for making rude comments to opponents before and after matches (in Japan, such antics aren’t common at all) and for unsportsmanlike conduct.

In 2007, Daiki Kameda challenged Daisuke Naito for his World Flyweight Championship belt.
Naito retained his championship due to Daiki Kameda‘s misconduct during the match.
With encouragement from his father and older brother Koki, Daiki Kameda elbowed Daisuke Naito in the face and the picked him up and threw him to the mat.

Daiki Kameda throwing Daisuke Naito to the mat, 2007

After that match, the Kameda brothers’ father was banned from training his sons forever and Daiki Kameda was banned from boxing for a year.

Daiki Kameda shaved his head after the match to show his regret and he showed up unexpectedly at the home of Daisuke Naito and apologized in person.

The Kameda brothers have since toned down their attitude and became more respectful.

As for Koki Kameda, he wasn’t in the same weight-class as Daisuke Naito before.
In 2006 (at the age of 20), he became the World Lightweight Boxing champion in a match that some have said was fixed.

Koki Kameda, World Flyweight Champion 2006 hoisted by Sumo Yokozuna Asashoryu

But Koki Kameda recently moved up to the Flyweight class and yesterday he challenged Daisuke Naito for the championship.

Koki Kameda (23才) vs Daisuke Naito (35才) on 2009 November 29.

I won’t put a YouTube clip of the match in this post because it wasn’t a very exciting match.
But the challenger, Koki Kameda won in an unanimous decision.

The new World Flyweight Boxing champion (2009), Koki Kameda after the 2009 Nov 29 match.

So now their records are:
Daisuke Naito (former World Flyweight champ)
wins 35 (22 by KO)
loses 3
draws 3

Koki Kameda (current World Flyweight champ)
wins 21 (13 by KO)
loses 0
draws 0

Spiders

27 Nov

I remember about fifteen years ago, it was on the news here in Japan that some Australian Redback Spiders were seen in Western Japan. And that someone got bitten by one.

They assume that the spiders hitched a ride to Japan onboard a cargo ship from Australia.

It was big news in Japan at the time because the Australian Redback Spider is a very poisonous spider in the Black Widow family…and before that Japan had no poisonous spiders.

Australian Redback Spider

In Japan, there are hornets, centipedes, and a few poisonous snakes…but until this spider arrived in the mid-’90s, there were no poisonous spiders here.

But after that initial news story, I had forgotten about that spider because there was no more mention of it on the news…and also it was seen on the other side of the country.

But the Australian Redback Spider is back in the news here in Japan again.

It seems that the population of this spider has greatly expanded in Japan.
The news said that this spider has been seen in other parts of Japan now too.

I guess the Australian Redback Spider has become a permanent resident in Japan.

It’s a dangerous spider but there is an anti-venom for it’s bite so there hasn’t been a single case of a person dieing from this spider’s bite in decades.

It’s unfortunate that the Australian Redback Spider has come to Japan…but at least the highly venomous (and creepy) Australian Funnel-web Spider isn’t here!

The "Australian Funnelweb Spider" has large fangs and a deadly venom

A few headlines

11 Nov

A few of the major news headlines in Japan right now:

  • Tatsuya Ichihashi, who was a fugitive in Japan accused of murdering a British English-language teacher named Lindsay Hawker near Tokyo in 2007, was finally arrested today in Osaka.

    He has had plastic surgery done in an obvious attempt to alter his appearance to try to remain on the lam.

    The father of Lindsay Hawker was interviewed via telephone in England by the Japanese television news media and he expressed his relief that his daughter’s accused murderer has finally been captured after over two years.

  • U.S. President Obama is due to make an official visit to Tokyo this Friday and Saturday.

    Before his visit, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invited him to visit their cities…as they are the only cities to have been hit with atomic bombs by the United States.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki have invited every U.S. President since the end of WW2 to visit their cities…but due to the potential of an uproar in America if they did visit, every President has declined the invitation (former Presidents have paid the cities a visit, but never a sitting President)….until now.

    U.S. President Obama told the Japanese media that he will make an official visit to those cities while he’s in office. He said he won’t be able to visit them on this trip due to a tight schedule, but he will visit them on another trip to Japan before his Presidency ends.

  • The U.S. military in Okinawa has arrested a U.S. solider on hit-and-run charges. The soldier hit an Okinawan man and left him to bleed to death in the street.

    The Okinawan public and government want the U.S. military to hand the soldier over to Japanese authorities to be tried in Japanese court.

    This case comes at a time when the people of Okinawa are trying to get some of the U.S. military bases in Okinawa moved off their island and relocated either to mainland Japan or a U.S. territory such as Guam or Hawaii.

  • Also, it has been discovered that members of the U.S. military stationed in Japan have been abusing a privilege that official U.S. military vehicles have.
    An agreement that the U.S. military has with Japan is that official U.S. military vehicles traveling off of their bases on Japanese toll-highways on official military business can use special passes and travel without paying any of the tolls…the taxpayers in Japan (includes me) pay their toll-fares.

    Well, it seems that the U.S. military has been giving the passes to any members of the military who want to take a personal trip around Japan on their personal free time.

Tom Cruise was Japanese, U.S. may get Japanese phones, and a feline station-master…

5 Sep

Have you heard about any of these news stories in Japan?

◎ The wife of the Japanese Prime-Minister-elect, Miyuki Hatoyama, seems to be a bit eccentric.
She has been quoted as saying that she was abducted by aliens and taken into their triangular UFO for a trip to the planet Venus…which she described as rich with green foliage!
She also said that she and her husband eat some of the sun every morning for energy!
And that she met the famous American actor Tom Cruise in another life when he was Japanese!

DoCoMo, the most prominent cellular-phone provider in Japan (and the one that my family uses), plans to begin selling their cell-phones in America. As well as offering many of the services that they provide in Japan, such as their “I-mode” internet service. It’s not clear yet if they plan to offer their cell-phone wallet service which is extremely popular in Japan to pay for everything from vending machines to groceries to fast-food to train fares.

The key-pad of a Japanese "DoCoMo" cell-phone.

The key-pad of a Japanese "DoCoMo" cell-phone.

◎ A small train line in a small town near Osaka, Japan was in danger of closing down until the media in Japan reported that a cat that had been hanging around the area was “hired” as the new 駅長 (station master).
The cat’s name is 「たま」 (Tama) and she gets paid with cat-food by the train line.
I remember when this story was on TV here about two years ago.
It’s seems that the tactic worked…people are coming from all over Japan to ride the train and see 「たま」 (Tama), the 駅長 (station master).
All the new customers are good for business and have kept the train line from closing down…but it created a new problem—where to put the cars from all the customers that drive to the station from around Japan.
The train station that the cat works at, 喜志駅 (Kishi Station), doesn’t have any car parking spaces near it.

Tama the feline station-master

Tama the feline station-master

Anniversaries

8 Jun

Today and tomorrow are the anniversaries of a few events in Japan.

One is happy and two are tragic. The bad ones are first. 😦

  • Today (2009 June 8 ) is the one-year anniversary of the shocking 秋葉原通り魔事件 (Akihabara attack).
    One year ago today, a 26 year old man drove his truck into a crowd of people in busy 秋葉原 (Akihabara, Tokyo) and then he got out of his truck and stabbed people with a knife.

    A number of people were killed or seriously injured by him. He is currently in prison on murder and attempted murder charges.

  • Today is also the anniversary of another tragic event in Japan.
    Eight years ago today, on 2001 June 8, was the 「附属池田小事件」 (Osaka School Massacre).
    A man in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan) went into an 小学校 (elementary school) and stabbed children at random.

    He killed eight children and injured fifteen.

    He was convicted of the crimes and executed five years ago.

  • Tomorrow (2009 June 9) is the sixteenth wedding anniversary of the Crown Prince and Princess of Japan.

    On 1993 June 9, 浩宮様 (Honorable Hironomiya*) married a commoner named 小和田雅子 (Masako Owada**), who was a diplomat who graduated from Harvard University.

    (* Overseas, the Japanese prince is often called by his birth name (Naruhito), but in Japan, he is only refered to by the respectful 「浩宮様」 (Honorable Hironomiya).)
    (** 小和田雅子 (Masako Owada) is now refered to as 雅子様 (Princess Masako).)

I came to Japan in 1990, so I was in Japan for all of these events and I remember them all well.

裁判員制度

21 May

In the 1930’s, Japan had a 裁判員制度 (jury system) in the courts similar to America has.

But it wasn’t popular and was changed in the early 1940’s to a system where professional judges determine the verdict of defendants in criminal cases, and it stayed that way…until today.

Beginning today (21 May 2009), courts in Japan are using the 裁判員制度 (jury system) again.

It’s surprising that the government decided to adopt this system…since polls conducted since the bill for this was passed into law five years ago consistently have shown that the majority of Japanese are against the idea of having a 裁判員制度 (jury system).

But the law was passed…and went into effect today.

Slightly different from the jury system in America, the Japanese 裁判員制度 (jury system) will consist of a panel of six jurors and three judges who will decided verdicts in court cases and decide what sentences to give those found guilty.
In cases where the jurors rule one way but the judges rule the other…the judges ruling will stand.

++++++++

The 新型インフルエンザ (New Type Flu (Swine Flu)) has spread to Tokyo. 😦
Until Wednesday, all of the cases of this flu were in the 関西地方 (Kansai area) of Japan…but two teenage girls from the 関東地方 (Tokyo area) went on a school trip to America and came back with the flu.

++++++++

The World Health Organization determined that once again Japanese women have the highest life expectancy rate in the world.

Japanese women live to be an average of 86 years old.

Men from a country near Italy that I’ve never heard of called San Marino have the longest life expectancy rate for men. Their average life span is 81 years.

豚インフルエンザ

18 May

The 豚インフルエンザ (Swine ‘Flu) virus seems to be out of control! (Actually, the name of this flu has been changed recently in Japan. It’s now called 「新型インフルエンザ」 (New Type Flu)).

Some people are saying that the media is blowing it out of proportion and the reality isn’t as bad as their making it seem.
But I don’t know about that…it seems pretty bad. And, unlike the conventional インフルエンザ (flu), it seems that a high number of teenagers are catching this disease.

As parents of three teenagers, news like that naturally concerns my wife and I! Even more disturbing for us is the recent news that four Japanese teenagers from 大阪 (Osaka, Japan) returned from a trip to Canada and had the first confirmed cases of 新型インフルエンザ (New Type Flu) in Japan….and then the number of teenagers in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan) with the flu has been rising this past weekend!

Currently, there are about 80 confirmed cases of 新型インフルエンザ (New Type Flu), consisting of high school and college students and some of their family members and teachers in the Osaka area of Japan.
Thankfully, no one has died from this disease in Japan yet.

This is nowhere as high as the over 4000 cases in America (with four deaths) or the nearly 3000 cases in Mexico (with 66 deaths)…but it’s still disturbing, especially since all of the cases in Japan have been reported just this past weekend! Hopefully, it won’t continue to spread!

(update (21 May 2009): There are now two teenage girls in the Tokyo area who went to America recently and now have the 新型インフルエンザ (New Type Flu). So it has spread to Tokyo. 😦 ).

White Day

14 Mar

Today is 「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day).
(Click here to read my F.A.Q. about 「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day)).

「ホワイト・デー」 (White Day) is the day the men give gifts to the women who gave them chocolate on 「バレンタイン・デー」 (Valentine’s Day)…so I gave chocolate to my wife and daughters today.

+++

Yesterday was Friday The 13th. Just last month, the 13th was on the Friday too…and I wrote a post about it. (Click here to read it.)

+++

In Osaka, fans of the Japanese baseball team The Hanshin Tigers are quite zealous.
When their team wins, many fans jump into a nearby river. It’s a Hanshin Tigers tradition.

In 1985, the Hanshin Tigers won the Japan Baseball Championship for the first time.
Many fans, of course, jumped into the river…and one fan took the Colonel Sanders statue* from the front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and threw it into the river.

(*In Japan, KFC restaurants have lifesize statues of Colonel Sanders out front.)

The Hanshin Tigers have never won the Japan Baseball Championship pendant again.

An urban legend developed that the Tigers‘ bad luck since 1985 was due to the 「カーネルサンダースの呪い」 (“Curse Of Colonel Sanders“)!
And the curse wouldn’t be lifted, and the Hanshin Tigers bad luck end, until the statue was retrieved from the river.

(I wrote a comment on another post about this “curse”. Click here to read it).

Well…last Tuesday, the statue of Colonel Sanders was found by divers in the river.

colonel

As you might expect, the statue’s not in the best condition after sitting on the riverbed for 24 years…but I guess the 「カーネルサンダースの呪い」 (“Curse Of Colonel Sanders“) has ended.
So, the Hanshin Tigers have no excuse if the continue to lose!

Japanese beer

22 Feb

Do you like beer?
Have you ever tried Japanese beer?

I beer!

「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) is my favorite…but I’ll take any cold lager!

Kirin Tanrei Double

Kirin Tanrei Double

Japan has five major brewers:

  • Kirin Beer – This beer began in the late nineteenth-century in 横浜 (Yokohama, Japan). It’s named after a mythological creature called a 「麒麟」 (kirin) that looks like a dragon (it’s featured on the beer cans)…not named after a giraffe (which is 「キリン」 (kirin), also).
  • A mythological "kirin".

    A mythological "kirin".

    Many people don’t know that hidden in the creature on Kirin Beer cans is the word 「キリン」 (kirin):

    「キ・リ・ン」 (Ki-ri-n) written in the creature's mane.

    「キ・リ・ン」 (Ki-ri-n) written in the creature's mane.

    (I wrote another post that mentions Kirin Beer. Click here to see it.)

  • Asahi Beer -Started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
  • asahibeer_logo1

    The Asahi Beer brewery is a Tokyo landmark.

    The Asahi Beer brewery is a Tokyo landmark.

    (I have pictures of old Asahi Beer posters on the end of another post. Click here to see it.)

  • Suntory Beer – Also started in 大阪 (Osaka, Japan).
    Suntory Beer got it’s name because the founder’s name was Mr. Torii…or Torii-san. So, he took the words Torii and san and reversed them into San-torii and changed the spelling to Suntory.
  • (Another famous Japanese company got their name in a similar manner. The Bridgestone company was founded by Mr. Ishibashi…which translates into Stone bridge, which he reversed to Bridgestone.)

    Suntory Beer

    Suntory Beer

  • Sapporo Beer – Started in 北海道札幌 (Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan).
  • Sapporo Beer

    Sapporo Beer

    Sapporo Beer bought the Yebisu Beer brewery (which was from Tokyo), so they make that beer as well.

    Yebisu Beer (pronounced "Ebisu")

    Yebisu Beer (pronounced "Ebisu")

  • Orion Beer – From 沖縄 (Okinawa, Japan)
  • Orion Beer

    Orion Beer

Have you ever tried Japanese beer? Which ones have you tried? Did you like them?
What’s your favorite beer in the world?

As I said above, I like 「麒麟ビール」 (Kirin Beer) best…and probably オリオンビール (Orion Beer) as my next favorite.