Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tenmonkan Halloween 2017

The Tenmokan shopping arcade hosted their 2017 Halloween event for kids Saturday afternoon, from about 2 PM to 4 PM. The basic idea was for parents to bring their kids in costume to the arcade, and there would be shops in the area handing out candy, plus some live stage events. There wasn't a schedule board this time, so I have no idea what all of the events were. However, we had another typhoon bearing down on Kyushu last weekend, and that brought us some drizzle and very strong winds. Quite a few families showed up anyway, so we got a lot of kids dressed up as minions, Hogwarts students, and Disney princesses.

I spent a few minutes during my break walking around and looking at the activities tables.

You could color and punch out masks if you didn't already have one of your own.

I had to work from 1-2 PM, and then there was another lesson at 6 PM. When I got to the area at 12:45 PM, the stage was empty.

At 3 PM, there was a group from one of the dance schools doing the Japanese idea of idol dancing. They were enthusiastic, but not very coordinated. I continued up to Amu Plaza to check out the Halloween activities there. When I returned to Tenmonkan for my 6 PM class, everything was already packed up and put away.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween

Oooooo, spooky, babies. Spooky.

Makino Craft Store Minions again

They're everywhere.

The Colonel

Absolutely bewitching...

Ghost Bread

A product of the local Shiroyama grocery's bakery section. A sweet bread with a semi-sweet pumpkin paste filling for $1 USD. I got it from the day-old section at half price. Savings that send a chill down your spine.

Spooky Dessert

I had dinner at the restaurant on the top floor of the Yamakataya department store one evening in mid-October. It was a combined sushi and soba plate. The food was ok, but I really wanted the dessert, for 650 yen ($6 USD).

It was a kind of strudel pastry with pumpkin ice cream, whipped cream, and frozen berries. I'm not sure if the little candy disk was supposed to be a ghost head with a whipped cream body, or the center of the eye of a cyclops. Either way, it tasted good.

Halloween Party (Halloween Junky Orchestra)
Direct link

Crazy Party Night - Pumpkin's Revenge
Direct link

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Oishisa UP Coke

"Kouri wo irereba, oishisa UP!" = "It tastes better if you add ice."
I wonder if the Coke company realizes that they've just admitted that Coke could taste better.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Mumin Karaoke Bar

I wonder if the owners of the Moomin trademarks know about this karaoke bar in Tenmonkan...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Coca Cola-One Piece Trick-or-Treat Bags

The local grocery store has these Halloween bags next to the Coke cooler case. Not sure if they're free, or if you have to buy a 2-liter bottle of soda or something. They're made of stitched plastic, so aren't going to last all that long for other purposes.

Not going to see something like this in the U.S...

I think the Sanji bag is the more interesting of the 4 designs.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Never Again

never again is a fashion shop in Tenmonkan. I just wanted to get a photo of their sign at some point, because I want to take it...

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Pasadena is a fashion shop in Tenmonkan. I've walked by their display case many times, and just recently decided to take photos of it.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Housing Show

I was down at the Volunteer Center again on Thursday last week, and noticed that workers were preparing for another event on the front lawn. This one was the annual new home and home renovations fair, with exhibits showing off lighting fixtures, heaters, air conditioning units, etc.

And, yes, it's raining again. The typhoon was on its way to Kyushu at that time.

I didn't go back during the weekend, so I don't know if the show was cancelled along with Asian Kagoshima and whatever it was that was at the river, but I'd assume it had been.

Should have made it a houseboat.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Conan Pop-Up Shop

This one is a bit oddball. There's a mini department store inside Amu Plaza that calls itself Shibuya 109, after the big department store in Tokyo. As part of their so-called "Halloween event," they had been advertising a Meitantei Shonen Conan (in the U.S., Case Closed) "pop-up shop" during October. When I first saw the sign a week ago, I walked through all of Amu Plaza and couldn't find anything selling Conan goods at all. I was thinking that either the shop was cancelled, or only open on specific days or at limited times. However, I was back at Amu Plaza this last Sunday and I tried looking again. Shibuya 109 is a small collection of maybe 10-15 little fashion and jewelry shops at one end of the 2nd floor, and I found the "pop-up" shop near the escalators this time. Actually, it's just 2 tables of Halloween Conan-themed socks, cards, and mini-posters. It wasn't there a week ago, there's nothing worth spending money on now, and there were no customers when I was there.

But, the cardboard figures were new, so I took pictures of those.

Cash register for the pop-up shop. The cashier was an angry-looking kid who didn't really want to be there, so I didn't try getting closer to take a shot of the Conan socks they had for sale.

As I was leaving the area, I noticed this sign and map on one of the nearby pillars.

Turns out there's a puzzle rally associated with the shop. You need to get some kind of form from the cashier table, and then you need to locate and solve the 11 puzzles located somewhere in Shibuya 109. Successfully finishing them gets you a Conan postcard. I could find 8 of the puzzles, but the other 3 weren't anywhere near where the circle symbols are on the map. I asked a store clerk about one of the puzzles, and she said that she's supposed to hand them out only for customers that buy $30 worth of shop goods. So yeah, if the remaining 2 other puzzles have to be purchased to play the game, I'm not interested. Not for a $1 postcard. None of the puzzles can be solved just by looking at the sheets on the pillars, and I'm assuming the contest rally sheet has additional information needed to complete them. Overall, the pop-up shop and rally will only appeal to hardcore fans of the show. (The text at the top right of the puzzle sheet says "take a photo and go sit down somewhere else to try to solve the puzzle.")

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Asian Kagoshima 2017

The city of Kagoshima had been advertising Asian Kagoshima 2017 for at least a month leading up to this weekend. I've seen the previous years' events, and I was mostly looking forward to this one. School students from southeast Asian countries, including South Korea, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia are invited to Kagoshima to perform songs and dances over the weekend. Generally, Saturday is the indoor day, with the main performances in the auditorium in Houzan Hall, next door to Central Park. Then on Sunday there's food from the ethnic restaurants in the city, served in the park, plus a few more performances on the outdoor stage. The problem was that Japan was in the path of another typhoon, which would hit Kyushu on Sunday, and I didn't know if things would be cancelled or not. We've already had two other events cancelled during this summer, only to have the typhoons completely miss Kagoshima.

Saturdays are usually my busiest day of the week at the English school, but on the 21st I had a long break from 4 PM to 8 PM. So, during the break I went over to Houzan Hall, which is only a couple short blocks from the school, and the outside of the hall was devoid of people. There were some greeters in the lobby, but no audience members lounging around. Since the place looked almost abandoned, I took a few photos of the hall and the park in the rain, and went to a coffee shop for the rest of the break. My expectation was that even if it wasn't cancelled, there really wasn't anyone watching the performances because of the bad weather. After the break, I returned to the school for one class, then went back home.

I got out of the apartment at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and sure enough workers were already halfway done tearing down the food booths.

"Today's Asian Kagoshima Fest in Central Park is cancelled because of the typhoon."
This is especially a shame because I know one of the guys that works at the Sri Lanka curry restaurant nearby in Tenmonkan, and they were really excited about having a booth here this week to make up for weak sales because of the sagging economy. I'm hoping that things pick up for them soon.

I decided I was going to go up to Amu Plaza from here, and to do so I'd cut through Tenmonkan. As I got up to the 7-11, I discovered that the outdoor performances had been moved to the intersection here, and I was just in time to see the school girl from Malaysia doing a balancing act while bouncing a ball from her right foot (video below).

A lot of the performance was actually spent carefully arranging the bricks, chairs and bottles to ensure that they'd be stable enough. The girl's performance time was only about 7-8 minutes, total, but she's still pretty talented.

She was followed by students from an Indonesian dance school. These students were also good, and I enjoyed the dance. Not sure what the story behind the dance was, though...

This dance lasted 7 minutes, and was the last performance of the day. Everyone started packing up and heading out, so I continued on my way up to Amu Plaza. I'd been told there was some other event slated for this Sunday next to the river near the train station, but when I got there, all the food booth tents had been dismantled. A security guard in the area mentioned that the event, whatever it was, had also been postponed, but might be rescheduled for next week. At Amu Plaza, the big plaza in front of the train station was empty, and it looked like the department store had pulled everything out and removed the AstroTurf to keep it from being damaged by the typhoon. However, at 3 PM, the rain had stopped and the skies were turning blue, so the city's panic was again misplaced.

Also scheduled for this weekend was the 12-mile Myouenji Walk, which usually starts from Terukuni shrine, next door to Central Park, and continues out to Ijuin. I'd considered doing the walk again this year (having done it 3 times before), but the route is pretty boring. With the rain and all, I figured I'd be better off staying home. One of my students had talked about doing the walk this year, though, and I'll have to ask her if it had also been cancelled or not the next time I see her.

Over all, a quiet, albeit somewhat interesting weekend.

Direct youtube link

Saturday, October 21, 2017

El Sonido

El Sonido is a new bar that opened up near the apartment, in a space that had been vacant after Bakery Shoe went out of business a year ago (before that, Shoe had been Anniversary, located near City Hall. I liked them because they made good dessert cakes.) El Sonido is a small bar, very intimate. But, I think the sign is more interesting.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blackboard Collection

There's a shop in the Maruya Gardens department store in Tenmonkan that carries something called Blackboard Collection. I'm not sure which one, though. Anyway, they're advertising Pokemon figures.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Bar Prison

Bar Prison opened up recently in the red light section of Tenmonkan. I'm not sure I want to spend the money (approx. $45 for a dinner set) to get inside to see what the concept is.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Loop Shoes Sign

Sign for Loop Shoes. This is the same company that had a character on the sign apologizing for their "final sale," saying "If you don't buy these shoes, we'll be in trouble." The above character is Funashi, mascot for Funabashi, Chibi (area north of Tokyo). Here, it's advertising the new Fall line of shoes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tsugi no Asa and Mister Donuts Card

I had to run out of the apartment yesterday, and I'd forgotten to upload the day's post when I got back. So, here's two posts for you today.

Tsugi no Asa

"Tsugi no Asa" translates to "Next morning." The sign says "dining farm," but I'm not sure what that means. I just like the way the cat forms part of the kanji for "asa," and the tail curls into "no".

Mister Donuts Card

Mister Donut has an e-money system where you can get a plastic credit card-like piece of plastic (same size and thickness), but the card only has a barcode that gets scanned into the computer, and money gets credited to the Mister Donut database somewhere, rather than written to a mag strip on the card itself. I got this one as kind of a money-back points system for buying $18 worth of food and coffee, for 250 yen back. That's the value of one more cup of coffee. Kind of worthless, but the artwork is nice.