Kanda Myojin, one of the most famous shrines in Tokyo is in the run up to celebrate its 400 year anniversary and staying with the times one of their ways are to sponsor a special series of (nearby) Akihabara inspired mangaesque gachapon figures. Themes and figures from the the shrine are sold at special locations in Tokyo (the main spot being just behind the main shrine in the direction of Akihabara station) in the form of gachapon, the plastic bubble figures you get at vending machines all over Japan (and indeed the world if I remember correctly). I found a few hung with the omikuji fortune telling slips that people tie up at shrines, especially in the beginning of the new year. A great souvenir if you find them! So far I have seen these being sold in Akihabara and Shibuya, but there are probably more spots to get them around Tokyo.
Visiting the Softbank store in Tokyo Sation’s underground shopping arcade I came across the interacting and story telling robot, Pepper. He was quite a crowd pleaser and lots of people of all ages gathered around to watch. I have seen this kind of story telling, kamishibai, performed many times but never with a robot.
You can check out the Pepper page at Softbank’s website here.
Regular readers will remember a post I did about four years ago, showing the nice work of the Great Mushrooming, it is time to update it with his latest work that went on sale at this year’s Design Festa, the 40th. His work is as popular as ever and by the time I got there on the second day of the event it was almost all sold out. I assume most of it went within the first hour. If you want to learn more you can check out his homepage here, in Japanese but with nice photos.
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.