Monthly archive for ‘ August, 2007 ’

Shopping in Japan

6th August 2007 | 1 Comment

Tokyo’s Ginza is a shoppers’ heaven if you are into designer names. I’m not but I do love the level of service you get any where here. You are greeted loudly once you enter and leave. You can actually find floor clerks everywhere in a department store. Every counter is staffed, every exhibit room in a museum or gallery is staffed (they are also given a chair and blanket to sit down with), there are train conductors all over the platforms. Everyone wears a uniform. I like the information clerks at the department stores. They wear pretty matching hats and shoes. Lots of uniforms even have matching shoes. Even the cleaning ladies at Kyoto Station had matching pink dustpans. Lots of service people like taxi drivers wear white gloves.

Back to the Ginza strip. There is a small mall with watch stores. However to access each individual store, you take its elevator. Each elevator is decorated with watches so that you can admire them during the short ride. I liked the Swatch elevator since the entire elevator wall was covered with hanging Swatch watches. The elevators are circular. One elevator goes up one floor, another goes down. David liked the Omega one.

I found the PAPER place here called Kyukyodo filled with Japanese paper crafts, cards and washi papers. I found the drawers with end cuts of washi paper which were cheap, cheap, cheap. Upstairs has brush painting supplies which explains the faint odor of sumi-e ink as you walk into the store. Rolls of paper line one side of the store walls. Its was very busy in here.

The other card store is Ito-Ya. It has gift items, art supplies, business supplies, rubber stamping supplies and cards. The rubber stamps are expensive here.


Japanese Cuisine

1st August 2007 | 0 Comments

Well, first of all, how do you order when you can’t read the Japanese menu? We are at a slight disadvantage since the Japanese think we are locals. We went into Mr. Young Man, Kyoto, struggled with the menu. Then we noticed non-Asian tourists being given the ENGLISH MENU.

What if there isn’t a English menu? Someplaces have photos and prices so you point to it. Most places have plastic models and pricing in exterior cases so that you can decide before going into the restaurant.

There are many fast food places offering noodles & rice dishes. We managed between 450-1200Y for meals. Then there was our first encounter with the ticket vending machines. You punch the buttton for themeal that you want, it spits out a ticket, you take the ticket to the cook and then receive your meal. Since it was our first encounter in Ginza, and there were no photos or menus, we took the cook outside, pointed to the plastic model, then the cook showed us what button to press on the ticket vending machine and we waited for our food. We later saw the upscale version of the machine in another restaurant. The buttons had photos. Now this ticket machine saves you menus, cashiers and would be great for tracking inventory. Typical menus have been noodles,rice, fish, pickled vegetables, miso soup, coleslaw, corn, eggs, roast pork, tempura, beef, seaweed. Your food is always served on a tray. Good since some of the places are really crowded.

We also had takeout boxes from our local butcher/supermarket that had chicken cutlets, ham sausage, shitake mushroom, tofu, coleslaw. It was 700Y which is great value for all the food.