Actress-model Aya Hirayama was on hand recently to help Mickey and Minnie promote the newest Disney on Ice performance, Disneyland Adventure. The “plot” of the show is about a day at the park that goes bad when Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty fame shows up to put Minnie and Donald into an eternal sleep. Famous rides like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise are recreated on ice as the other characters try to save their friends. Hirayama had a chance to travel to the US for a sneak peek at the action. “It’s a very powerful show,” she said. “I was so moved, I was lost for words.” Disneyland Adventure will be touring Japan this summer, arriving in Tokyo and Yokohama in July and August. See www.disney.co.jp/onice for more info. SC
Maki Horikita, 20, did such a good job getting into character as a homeless person for the TV drama Atashinchi no Danshi that some crew members thought she was the real thing and wouldn’t come near her during breaks... TBS had to apologize recently after Mino Monta remarked during his morning program that Japan should buy back the four Northern Territories from Russia… Another week, another goofy poll: matchmaking service Partner Agent revealed that Aya Ueto and Masami Nagasawa are the two female celebrities that men would most like to have a bento prepared by. CB
Workplace conversations aren’t just about work, you know. But do you find yourself lost for words when having a cigarette break with your sempai or trying to chat with that hot new OL? Men’s magazine R25 offers the following pointers, based on lit professor Yoshiro Kawakami’s book Zatsudanryoku: Oshaberi, Zatsudan no Osorubeki Kouka (Small-Talk Power: The Amazing Effects of Chat and Small-Talk).
-Be self-deprecating and willing to put yourself own—after
all, nobody likes a show-off
-Flattery is fine—but don’t do it more than three times!
-Listen sympathetically to people’s grumbles, but don’t get tangled up in them yourself
-Give clear responses and ask questions to keep the
-Ask relevant questions, like how someone’s work is going
or where they bought their tie
-If the person you’re talking to wants to blow his own horn,
let him—he’ll like you for it
-Keep your mouth shut from time to time to give the other
person a chance to speak
-Drop references to current affairs and celebrity gossip
into the conversation
Source: R25 (http://r25.jp)
Our April 10 dining feature looked at Tokyo’s recent obsession with horumon ryori, a.k.a. the grilled innards of pigs and cows. We assumed the Japanese term horumon had its root in the English “hormone,” so we used the word to tout the story on our cover. (Though we weren’t exactly clear on the relation between tripe and hormones, we didn’t let that stop us—the vagaries of katakana English have long ceased to surprise us.) Now, after some etymological investigation, we’re forced to reconsider. According to the most prevalent theory, horumon is an abbreviation of ho-ru mono, which is Kansai dialect for “things to be thrown away”—that is, the parts of an animal, like the lungs, intestines and rectum, that were traditionally considered inedible. And which, to many of us, still are.
scene around town
“See with something other than your eyes.” That’s the concept behind Dialog in the Dark (www.dialoginthedark.com), an interactive, multisensory experience taking place in Gaienmae through June. Started in Germany in 1989 and now happening in 25 countries, the event lets visitors experience the world through the “eyes” of a blind person. Visually impaired guides lead participants through a series of pitch-black spaces designed to recreate everyday locations, like a park or a city street. Sounds, wind and textures add to the authenticity of the environments and force visitors to interact with the world on a new level. Each tour lasts approximately 90 minutes, and reservations are required.
Adults: ¥4,000, student discount available. 2-8-2 Gaienmae, Shibuya-ku. Open Wed-Mon, closed Tue. Nearest stn: Gaienmae.
With the introduction of Marukome’s new Eki Miso (www.marukome.co.jp/ekimiso), Japan’s age-old love affair with bean paste has entered a new realm. The first liquid miso in a PET bottle comes with dashi already added, which means it’s ready to use in soups and salad dressings. Available in two flavors at most supermarkets for ¥350. Just in time for summer, a new miso ice cream from local restaurant company Galali is available in Kyoto aka-miso and Fukuoka shiro-miso flavors. Order 2-liter packs for ¥2,300 online at www.gala-e.com/misoice (Japanese). From central Japan comes Kinshachi Nagoya Aka Miso Lager, which rings in at 6% alcohol—somewhere between Super Dry and Chimay in terms of heaviness (www.kinshachi.jp). Pick some up at the Foodshow liquor counter at the Tokyo department store in Shibuya station. If you wind up overindulging, just pick up the newly introduced instant cup miso soup from Nagatanien—specifically marketed as a hangover remedy. The packaging features an illustration of a beer mug with the caption O-sake Suki no Anata ni (“For all you alcohol lovers”). Available for ¥130 at convenience stores nationwide.
Talk about serious convenience: Japan’s conbini are forging new ground in terms of products and services. 7-Eleven has introduced a nifty online shopping portal that offers everything from DVDs to drinks (www.711net.jp). If you pick up your order at any brick-and-mortar 7-Eleven, the shipping and service charges are waived. Other 7-Eleven ventures include 7&Y bookstore (www.7andy.jp) and 7-Meal food delivery (www.7meal.com). Not to be outdone, Family Mart now offers around-the-clock dry cleaning and library-book returns and reservations. Japanese residents who have just moved to the neighborhood can even pick up their new juminhyo (residence cards) late-night. Finally, Lawson, Circle K and Sunkus all accept five kinds of electronic cash.
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