Tag Archives: sapporo

Fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics

10 Oct

Today (2014 October 10th) is the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Summer Olympics that were hosted by Tokyo.

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This was the first time the Olympics was hosted by an Asian country.

The Tokyo government had new stadiums built (which are still in use today) and the world’s first 新幹線 (bullet train) was built by Japan Railways (called “Japan National Railways” back then). The bullet train connected Tokyo to Osaka, and it’s service commenced on October 1st, 1964…so, nine days ago was the 50th birthday of the world’s first bullet train.

Since Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics fifty years ago, Japan has hosted the Olympics two more times: the 1972 Winter Olympics were hosted by Sapporo, Japan and the 1998 Winter Olympics were hosted by Nagano, Japan.

A new bullet-train service was also started in 1998 to connect Tokyo to Nagano for the ’98 Games. My wife and I took that bullet train to see the Nagano Olympics atmosphere.

Tokyo put a bid in to host the 2016 Olympics, but lost. (I wrote a post about Tokyo’s 2016 bid and also my trip to Nagano in ’98…here).

Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics was successful though. In July 2020, Tokyo will not only be the first Asian city to host an Olympics Games…but also the first Asian city to host the Games twice!
(I wrote a post about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics here).

Both the 1964 Tokyo Olympics logo and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics logo.

The 1964 Tokyo Olympics commenced on 1964 October 10th. October isn’t summer…it’s autumn. The reason that the Games were in October is because summer is extremely hot and humid in Tokyo. The weather in October (now) is much more comfortable.
After the 1964 Olympics, October 10th became a holiday in Japan: 体育の日 (“Fitness Day”). The date of the holiday was changed in the year 2000 to ‘the second Monday in October’. So, 体育の日 (Fitness Day) isn’t today…next Monday (October 13th, 2014) is the holiday.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) changed the rules and now the Summer Olympics must be played in July. So, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be in July. It’s gonna be hot!

 

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A “Sonic Boom” will hit Japan

27 Feb

First of all, as I mentioned in this comment, the “2011 Tokyo International Marathon” was held today.

30,000 people from Japan and other countries ran the 42.195 KM (over 26 miles) course through the streets of Tokyo.
For the past five years now, the Tokyo Marathon has been an annual event held at the end of February.

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Anyways, my friend has just informed me that the American rock band KISS will be coming to Japan this April to play seven shows around Japan to support their “Sonic Boom” album.

(I did an interview with the artist who designed this album cover, by the way.)

The dates of the shows that KISS are scheduled to play in Japan are:

2011 April 13 – Nagoya, Japan at the Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium
2011 April 14 – Yokohama, Japan at the Pacifico Yokohama
2011 April 17 – Saitama, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena
2011 April 18 – Kobe, Japan at the World Hall
2011 April 20 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 21 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 23 – Sapporo, Japan at the Makomanai Indoor Stadium

Tickets for the shows in the Tokyo area (which are Yokohama, Saitama and Tokyo) will go on sale on 2011 March 12th.

I have seen KISS play in Japan in both Yokohama and Tokyo before. In Yokohama, I saw them at the “Yokohama Arena” (not the “Pacifico”, where they’ll being playing this time). In Tokyo, I saw them at both the “Tokyo Dome” and the “Nippon Budokan”.

An interesting thing about this tour is that KISS will play a show in Sapporo, Japan. KISS has played many shows in Japan since their first time here in the 1970’s and they’ve never played northern Japan before. I’m sure that KISS fans in Hokkaido are happy to hear that there will finally be a KISS concert in their area!

The name of the 「日本武道館」 (Nippon Budokan) in Tokyo means “Japan Martial-arts Hall”.
Traditionalists don’t really like the idea of musicians playing pop music in this “sacred” hall. The first pop band to play there were The Beatles when they first came to Japan. The traditionalists protested their concerts. But The Beatles drew huge crowds to the Budokan…and they held the record for the most consecutive sell-out shows there. They played four sold-out shows in a row at the Budokan.
But KISS beat The Beatles‘s record when they played five sold-out shows at the Budokan on their first Japan tour in the late ’70s.

Since then it’s become quite normal for musicians to perform at the Nippon Budokan. Even with the bigger and newer “Tokyo Dome” not far from the Budokan, upcoming Japanese pop stars still consider it a sign of success to play at the Nippon Budokan…not unlike American musicians playing at the “Madison Square Garden”.

The famous "Nippon Budokan"; Tokyo, Japan

Have you ever seen a KISS concert? If not, you’re missing out on the best live show by any band. Their shows are quite exciting…fire-breathing, blood, flying guitars, flying musicians, outrageous costumes, kabuki-style face paint.

To get an idea, watch this music promotion video for the single “Modern Day Delilah” from their most recent album “Sonic Boom”:

And, in a more good news for us KISS fans…the band has announced that a new KISS studio album of brand-new songs is due out later this year (2011)!

A number of newspapers in Japan had articles about the upcoming KISS tour here.
I bought today’s copy of 「夕刊フジ」 (“Yuukan-Fuji“) evening paper:

Here’s a close-up of the article about KISS:

 

The headline says: "Hell's group" KISS return for a Japan tour after four-and-a-half years!

Top 5 X-mas Illuminations in Japan

21 Nov

In Japan, Christmas isn’t a national holiday. If December 25th falls on a weekday then it’s just a normal workday in Japan.

But that said, クリスマス (X-mas) is still a big holiday in Japan. Not the biggest though…the most important holiday in Japan is 正月 (New Years).

I wrote a post before that explains a bit about Christmas in Japan…and another one that explains a bit about New Years in Japan.

To summarize though, Christmas isn’t the same in Japan as it is in Western countries.
Even though New Years is Japan’s biggest holiday, stores and streets in Japan put up X-mas decorations on November 1st (as soon as the Halloween decorations come down) and take them down on December 26th.
On December 26th in Japan, the Xmas decorations are quickly replaced with New Years decorations which stay up until around January 5th.
So Japan is decorated for the imported holiday of Christmas for fifty-six days but only about two weeks for New Years.

Basically the image of X-mas in Japan is a romantic evening for couples on クリスマス・イヴ (Christmas Eve) and a day for families with children on クリスマス (Christmas Day).

One of the popular dates spots for couples on and before X-mas Eve is to look at クリスマス・イルミネーション (X-mas lights (or, as they’re called in Japan, “Christmas illumination“)).

X-mas illumination at "Roppongi Hills" in downtown Tokyo.

There is a website that shows some of the best 「全国イルミネーション・スポット」 (Illumination Spots around Japan).

One part of that website lists 「イルミネーションおすすめスポット Best 5」 (“Top 5 Recommended Illumination Spots”).

The list is:

  • 六本木ヒルズ Artelligent Christmas 2010」 (“Roppongi Hills Artelligent Christmas 2010” in Tokyo, Japan)
  • 神戸ルミナリェ」 (“Kobe Luminarie” in Kobe, Japan)
  • 2010SENDAI光のページェント」 (“2010 Sendai Light Pageant” in Sendai, Japan)
  • 第30回さっぽろホワイトイルミネーション」 (“30th Sapporo White Illumination” in Sapporo, Japan)
  • OSAKA光のルネサンス2010」 (“Osaka Light Renaissance 2010” in Osaka, Japan)

Also, check out this post that I wrote with photos of the X-mas illumination at Tokyo Tower and in Roppongi, Tokyo.
And also this one that I wrote about Omotesando, Tokyo turning the X-mas illumination back on last year after eleven years of not decorating.

How is Christmas celebrated where you live? Are stores already decorated for X-mas? Is looking at 「クリスマス・イルミネーション」 (X-mas lights) popular?

Sapporo アイスラガー Beer

28 Jun

Today I bought a case of a new “limited edition for 2010” beer by Sapporo Breweries.

It’s called 「サッポロアイスラガー」 (“Sapporo Ice Lager“).

I couldn't resist a "ice" lager beer with polar bears on the can...it gives an image of being a real cold beer---perfect now that the weather is so hot!

Technically it’s not a “beer”, per se…but a 「発泡酒」 (low-malt beer).
Actually I prefer 発泡酒 (low-malt beer) because it tastes the same as beer but it’s cheaper in Japan because it doesn’t have the high beer tax added to it’s price.
So, beer or 発泡酒 (low-malt beer)…I enjoy drinking both but I usually buy 発泡酒 (low-malt beer) because of the price difference.

Anyways, I knew about this 「サッポロアイスラガー」 (“Sapporo Ice Lager“) beer before I bought it because of the funny TV commercial with two polar bears complaining about the heat and looking for something cold to drink.
Here it is:

ショコラブルワリー

17 Feb

As I mentioned in my previous post, I got Valentines chocolate from a few people, as is common in Japan…but the best ones were the chocolates that my daughters made me.
And also, the gift from my wife.

This year’s Valentine’s Day, my wife bought 「サッポロ ショコラブルワリー」 (“Sapporo Chocolat Brewery”) chocolate beer for me.

I love beer and I don’t have much of a sweet tooth…so this was perfect for me. It was a slightly dark beer with a hint of bitter chocolate.

A Canadian who’s living in Tokyo also wrote a post about this beer on is blog…click here to see his post.

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Also, Japan got it’s first two medals in the 2010 Olympics yesterday.
Both were in the Men’s 500 meter Speed Skating competition.

Keiichiro Nagashima won the silver and Joji Kato got bronze.

Headlines

5 Feb

Just a few stories that were in the news that got my attention:

★ In 1985, many of the biggest pop stars in America, including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen, recorded a song together titled “We Are The World“.

The aim of the song was to raise money to help Africa. In fact, the group of singers were collectively known as “USA For Africa“.

And now, twenty-five years after the song was recorded, the producer of the song, Quincy Jones, has assembled another group of today’s most popular singers in America to sing a remake of the song.

This time the song is being used to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti…and the song is being called “We Are The World 25 For Haiti“.

Asashoryu, the sumo champion is Japan has retired.

Asashoryu is from Mongolia

He’s a great sumo wrestler and earned the rank of 「横綱」 (Yokozuna…”Grand Champion”)…but he’s constantly gotten into trouble both inside and out of the ring.

His latest scandal was when he recently went out drinking and seriously injured a man when he went into a drunken rampage.

★ The annual 「札幌雪まつり」 (“Sapporo Snow Festival“) in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan starts today and goes until 2010 February 11.

I went to this festival in 1992 and I can tell you the huge, elaborate snow sculptures are amazing! If you have a chance, you should go see this festival.

Space Beer

5 Dec

Sapporo Beer stored barley seeds on board the International Space Station for five months.

With those barley seeds they made some beer that they intend to use for experiments of some kind (maybe how beer made with ingredients grown in zero-gravity tastes 😉 ).

But they’ve bottled some of the beer for consumer consumption.
They’re calling the beer brewed with barley that was in outer space “Space Barley“.

The amount of beer that Sapporo Beer is offering the public is a very limited supply, and, as you might imagine, expensive.

Only 250 six-packs of the 330ml bottles will be sold. The price is ¥10,000 (about US$113) for a six-pack.

I’d like to try the “Space Barley” beer and I’d definitely add the bottle to my collection, if I had one…but ¥10,000 for a six-pack is pretty pricey. If they sold individual bottles for 1/6 the price, at ¥1667 (US$18.83), I’d probably get one then.

If you want to buy a six-pack of the very limited-edition SapporoSpace Barley” beer, you have to order it online by 2009 December 24.

There is another way to try this beer, though.
Sapporo Beer is offering free tours and tasting of the “Space Barley” beer to 30 couples.
To enter the drawing for the beer tasting, you have to send a postcard to Sapporo Beer by December 15th. I’d enter this contest if the date of the tour / beer tasting was on a holiday rather than a weekday afternoon.