So it is October and that means the summer is over although on some days it seems no one told the weather that it was time to change, it as hot and sunny as usual. Summer means beaches and beer and if there is one beer that more than any other is connected with the summer it is Orion Beer. In mainland Japan it is tiny, with only about 1% of the market but in its homeland of Okinawa it has about 50% of the market. Since Okinawa is a very popular summer destination for traveling Japanese Orion is almost like the unofficial beer of summer. You can get it almost anywhere in Tokyo since a few years back, but it is still best on location in Okinawa!
I was inspired to write this after a friend asked me to recommend minor beer breweries in Japan. Orion is also the major American style beer in Japan so it tends to be popular with American military and tourists in the country.
Passing through Akihabara the other day I saw the TAMASHII NATIONS summer collection 2014 (魂の夏コレ2014) show of their new plastic model kits and toys. It is interesting how they have picked the game of plastic models up and moved it in the direction of fashion with different season collections and such. I have seen some of these models posted on different speciality blogs (like John Struan’s “Super Punch“) so I recognized most of these new designs. The winner must be the town wrecking Tower of the Sun, the famous statue by Taro Okamoto, very cool. The collection was also quite well presented, more so than usual (and I have seen dozens of this kind of exhibitions), I think this might be the beginning of a new trend.
As a kid I grew up building model aircraft, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had models like these to play with?
One of Japan’s biggest toy companies, Bandai, teamed up with 45th year anniversary Shonen Jump comics magazine to produce an epic multi-player fighting game, J-Start Victory Vs., featuring some of the most famous comics and anime characters in Japan in set battles. To promote it, they created an installation in front of the PARCO department store in Shibuya, a giant diorama if you will. We are pretty used to anime and manga characters coming alive in statues and life sized figure recently, but this one takes it a step further by working with props and the pavement itself. Very fun and very popular with both adults and kids walking past. You can see the official homepage of the game here. The characters in this unlikely stand off are Dragon Ball Z’s Goku (孫悟空) and One Piece’s Monkey D. Luffy (モンキー・Ｄ・ルフィ). The characters will be duking it out until the 23rd of March, so if you are in Tokyo during the week and the weekend, there’s still time to see this!
The convenience store chain Familymart released a limited edition nikuman hot bun snack in the form of the famous comic book super hero Kinnikuman (キン肉マン). It was the third in a series of nikuman snacks in the shape of comic book characters. Kinnikuman is the story of bumbling super hero that has been going since 1979 and has by now sold well over 53 million books in Japan alone. Despite the super hero getting his power from garlic, that particular onion was not heavily featured in the recipe, strangely enough. Although nikuman are usually about 110 yen, this one came in at 180 yen.
You can see another character inspired nikuman at the end of this post, and a couple of photos of the real thing in Yokohama Chinatown.