Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 Autumn Events in Towada

Hokkaido/Tohoku B-1 Local Gourmet Grand Prix in Towada
2013 北海道・東北B-1グランプリin十和田
Website | Map (Japanese)
Date: September 7- 8, 2013
Time: 10:00-16:00
Location: Around Kanchogai Street 官庁街通り周辺
Admission: "Event Tickets", a book of ten 100yen coupons (i.e. 1000yen total value) can be used towards the purchase of food. You cannot pay for food with cash. Event Tickets can be purchased in advance online, or in various supermarkets, bars/restaurants, shops, etc. around Towada. (See website (Japanese) for complete list of places selling tickets.) Tickets can also be purchased on site during the event.
Description: Sample B-1* local gourmet dishes from 21 Hokkaido and Tohoku area cities.
(*B-1 dishes are not high concept gourmet dishes, but rather relatively inexpensive--"B-class"--local foods such as Honsou "ham fry" (Akita Prefecture), or Tsuyu Yakisoba (Kuroishi, Aomori Prefecture)--fried noodles in broth.)

Aki Matsuri (Fall Festival) 十和田市秋祭り
Date: September 13-15, 2013
Location: Old Rte. 4 旧国道4号線 (Sep 13,15) Kanchogai Street 官庁街通り (Sep 13-14)
Admission: Free
Events: Mikoshi (portable shrine) carrying みこし運行,  hayashi (festival music) competition 囃子競演会, dashi (float) parade 山車運行, etc.

Towada Yosakoi Yume Matsuri 2013 とわだYosakoi夢まつり
Date: September 29, 2013
Location: Around Kanchogai Street 官庁街通り周辺
Description: Lots of groups performing yosakoi--an energetic choreographed dance for large groups featuring the use of lots of props (fans, small wooden handheld clappers called naruko, umbrellas, etc.) and on-the-spot costume changes

Towada Koma (Horse) Festa 十和田駒フェスタ
Date: October 19-20, 2013

Location: Towada Chuo Koen (Central Park)
Admission: Free
Events & Activities: yabusame (horseback archery) competition; show jumping competition; children's horseback performances; horse-drawn cart rides; horseback riding experiences; leather craft making, etc.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Toilet paper fit for an Emperor

Hanebisho is probably one of the most expensive toilet paper brands in all of Japan.

As you can see, it is 5000yen (~$53 CAD) for 3 rolls, or 10,000yen (~$107) for 8 rolls. If you set up a standing order for 8 rolls every 1-3months (you can choose the frequency at which it comes) the cost drops down to a mere 9000yen  (~$96) per order. (Note, you cannot cancel your standing order until after the 4th delivery, so you'd still be spending at least 36,000yen (~$384) for 32 rolls of toilet paper!)

Breaking this down to a per roll price, that's between 1125-1667yen (~$12~$18CAD) per roll!

What exactly is so special about this toilet paper?

(Loosely translated and summarized from the product website)

Presented to* the Emperor for five years. 
(*and presumably accepted by him as well)

The ultimate softness
Feels as if your skin is being gently swathed in silk

Created by the most fastidious of fastidious artisans
The ultimate softness and Japanese modern design
Each roll is carefully selected for production
Japanese modern design
Carefully designed to look stylish no matter where the paper is torn.

High quality Tosa washi (Japanese paper from Kochi Prefecture)
Each roll is carefully wrapped in Tosa washi.

Box handcrafted by Kyoto washi artisans
Each box is handmade by Kyoto washi artisans.
The interior of the box is done in silver leaf.

Only 150 rolls are produced each day
Each piece is individually checked for quality so production is highly limited
The secret of Mochizuki Seishi's* toilet paper
(*company name)
The company president has checked the product on his own skin every day for over 10 years! Every day the maker of each roll writes their name and the date on the roll. The president checks these daily.

Production method adjusted daily
The production method is adjusted for temperature and humidity daily. No two days' production methods are the same.

Pancake method
Mochizuki Seishi toilet paper is made the same way as pancakes. Do you know how to make delicious pancakes?  If the heat is too high the bottom will burn and the middle will be dry. Deliciously fluffy pancakes are cooked slowly at the perfect temperature. In the same way, Mochizuki Seishi toilet paper is dried more slowly than usual methods. Careful attention is paid to the temperature. Time is no object in the pursuit of perfect softness.

Water from the clearest stream in Japan, the Niyodo River 
The Niyodo river ranked 1st in the 2010 (Japanese) National River Water Quality Ranking.

Highest quality pulp
The most important ingredient in making toilet paper is pulp.
Our company uses 100% Canadian pulp.  

So there you have it--toilet paper fit for an Emperor. But you don't have to take just the company's word for it. Here is what a satisfied customer has to say about the product:

Decorating the living room! 
I gave my father Hanebisho for a Father's Day present. He thought the wrapping paper and toilet paper itself were so beautiful he put them on display in the living room! He looked very happy.
Kochi City Customer


Thursday, August 1, 2013

News & Media Round-Up, July 16 - August 1, 2013


The Beaverton (satirical news site)
- Parrot removed from Montreal Biodome after learning too much English

The HillTimes
- Ironically, economy may turn out to be one of the Harper government's biggest failures

Huffington Post (Canada)
- How Harper Uses Psychology to Peddle Myths
- Ontario's McLobster Dreams Have Come True

Toronto Star
- Suspension of EI whistleblower sets dangerous precedent, critics say

Winnipeg Free Press
- Slurpees & Winnipeg: A love story 
- Winnipeg sucks! Slurpee king again


ak47: tumblr
Poor Pikachu! (my caption)

enRoute (Air Canada)
- Inside the Nebuta House Wa Rasse Museum

Japan Pulse
- The last of the McDonald's Jewelry
- Limited-edition burgers, ep. deux
(- A Tale of Two Limited-Edition Burgers: Lotteria's Twin and McD's Gold Ring - July 9)

Japan Times
 - Mount Fuji fee charged, but signs in Japanese
- Plant by numbers
- Unique Japanese Mail Boxes Are Wonderful in Rain or Shine
- How a Japanese Radish Became an Internet Hero
- Ferrari Lovers, This Anime Stunt Might Horrify You


The Beaverton (satirical news site)
- Kate Middleton gives birth to beautiful, healthy news story
- How Chinese Ingenuity Destroyed Salad Bars at Pizza Hut
- Man Caught Driving With Pliers For A Steering Wheel
  The White House
- President Obama: Trayvon Martin Could Have Been Me

- Just What I Always Wanted!: Raw Meat Gift Wrap Paper

-15 Over-Used Movie Poster Clichés
- How To Turn Your Cat into Totoro
- Act fast and you can snag this hilarious Mario warp-pipe cat complex from CatistrophicCreations on Etsy

- Crisp Illustrations Of Creatures From Japanese Folklore


- Japanese Animator Films Mesmerizing Lightscapes in Downtown Tokyo
- Rad Kids React to Racists Freaking Out About the Cheerios Commerical
- The Daily Show's Zimmerman Coverage Is as Rage-Filled as It Should Be

Entertainment Weekly
- PopWatch: Here's what happens when 280 movies are edited together to sing Vanilla Ice's 'Ice Ice Baby'

- Shut Up & Sit Down, Season 2, Episode 12 - Introduction to Board Games