"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

How To Do The Tsukiji Fish Market Right

Above, lots of seafood for sale at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In December 2010, I got up early (a little earlier than planned due to an earthquake) to go to the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

I had always wanted to visit the fish market, but somehow never got around to do so until that trip. I entered the fish market through a side or back entrance and wandered around without any difficulty. But I don't recommend this as I was told by the main gate guard that the market was closed to tourists during that period (supposedly it was their busiest part of the year) when I reached the main gate. By then, I saw all that I came to see (lucky me).

Inside Japan blog has a helpful article on "how to do it right."

They begin with:
Tsukiji Fish Market is one of my tip-top favourite Tokyo experiences, but what with increasingly unstable relations between the vendors (for whom this is their livelihood) and tourists (for whom it is a fascinating attraction), it is important to know how to “do” Tsukiji properly. 
Located right in the middle of Tokyo, next-door to Hamarikyu Gardens and near the upmarket Ginza district of town, Tsukiji is the largest seafood market in the world, and makes a fantastic (and free) addition to any Tokyo itinerary. 
And since it was announced that Tsukiji will soon be moving from its current location to a site in Toyosu (a 20-minute bus or train ride from its current spot), you really will have to get in there quick – before it changes for good!
To read more, go here.

Japan's Goal of 10,000 Tax-Free Shops Already Met

Above, there are many duty-free shops to be found in Tokyo's Akihabara "Electric Town." Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is always great news when targets that are set for a certain number by a certain year are met much earlier than expected.

Such is the case of Japan's goal of 10,000 duty-free shops by 2020. They've already achieved that goal.

According to Customs Today:
TOKYO: Japanese stores are offering tourists tax free shopping. In fact, the government’s growth target of 10,000 tax-free shops by 2020 has already been achieved since it was implemented in October. 
Tax free Shopping have hit their government target five years early, as the number offering the service shot up by 60% in the last six months. 
As of October 1st, duty-free products in Japan, previously limited to electronics and clothing, included items like food and cosmetics.
 To read more, go here.

Blog Post Pick-ups of March 27

The good folks at The Japan Daily picked up several of yesterday's blog posts for sharing with their readers.

They include:

To read The Japan Daily, go here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

"In The Footsteps of Godzilla" News Making The Rounds

The news release on the April 26 "In The Footsteps of Godzilla" is now making its way around the Internet through various websites, news organizations and news aggregators.

The event is sponsored by the Japan Society of Northern California. It includes a screening of Godzilla (1954), a presentation by yours truly (with Q & A) and a V.I.P. dinner. For details and ticket information, go here.

Along with that, the Roxie Theater in San Francisco has the event posted on their website. To see their website's posting, go here.

The event will benefit the Japan Society of Northern California and will help them to put on future programs.

U.S. Caves In To Iranian Nuclear Demands

Above, the Drudge Report's banner headline and a favorite ad of mine.

The idiocy of the Obama Administration knows no bounds. 

U.S. negotiators for a nuclear deal with Iran have caved in to Iranian demands.

According to the Washington Free Beacon:
LAUSSANE, Switzerland—The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations. 
U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran. 
Until recently, the Obama administration had maintained that it would guarantee oversight on Tehran’s program well into the future, and that it would take the necessary steps to ensure that oversight would be effective. The issue has now emerged as a key sticking point in the talks. 
Concern from sources familiar with U.S. concessions in the talks comes amid reports that Iran could be permitted to continue running nuclear centrifuges at an underground site once suspected of housing illicit activities. 
This type of concession would allow Iran to continue work related to its nuclear weapons program, even under the eye of international inspectors. If Iran removes inspectors—as it has in the past—it would be left with a nuclear infrastructure immune from a strike by Western forces.a administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran.
To read more, go here

Japanese Inns and Hotels Set New Record In 2014

Above, the Godaido temple at Matsushima Bay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

New Japan tourism figures for 2014 have come in and they show that Japan enjoyed a big surge in foreign tourists in Japanese hotels and inns.

According to the Asahi Shimbun:
The number of "overnight guests" in Japan rose to a record high in 2014, but the disaster-stricken Tohoku region is still struggling to reel in foreign tourists. 
Japanese and foreign tourists stayed 472.32 nights at hotels and inns in Japan last year, up 1.4 percent from 2013, according to Japan Tourism Agency figures released March 26. 
The figure is ascribed to a surge in the number of foreign visitors, who stayed 44.82 million nights, up 33.8 percent. 
The comparable figure for Japanese tourists, however, dropped by 1.1 percent, with the increase in the consumption tax rate in April 2014 cited as a key factor.
Foreign tourists are missing some great scenery in the Tohoku region by not visiting. The tourist industry in Tohoku could use the big lift that increased foreign tourism would give. I visited Sendai and Matsushima Bay in 2006.

To read more, go here.

Japan's Foreign Tourist Spending Tops ¥2 Trillion For First Time Ever

Above, Nakamise Street, a popular shopping area for foreign tourists. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign tourism to Japan brought smiles to the country's retailers and tourism-related businesses in 2014.

According to Japan Today:
TOKYO —The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) says the amount of money spent by foreign tourists in 2014 surpassed the preceding year by 43.1%, totaling 2.0278 trillion yen and exceeded two trillion yen for the first time ever.
 To read more, go here.

March 26 Blog Post Pick-ups

The good folks at The Japan Daily has picked up several of yesterday's blog posts for sharing with their readers.

They are:

To read The Japan Daily, go here.

"In The Footsteps of Godzilla" News Release Distributed

Just a few scant minutes ago, PR.com, the press release service that I have used for the past five years or so, distributed the news release on the Japan Society of Northern California's "In The Footsteps of Godzilla" event that will be taking place on Sunday, April 26 in San Francisco, California.

To view (and distribute) the news release on your website or news site, go here:

Japan Society of Northern California's "In The Footsteps of Godzilla" to Feature Travel Guide Writer

Thursday, March 26, 2015

JNTO Japan Travel Newsletter - March 2015

JNTO Newsletter Title
News of the Month
http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1OlrcblQrQKLlnvgZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1Olrd0vsY9DHMIHwZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1Olrct46EXNnYD7gZ
Useful information
http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1Olrd8fj93Sl0IKgZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1OlrfCnbqWF4EAdQZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1OlreP-m8povA4mQZ
Event in Japan &U.S.
http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1OlrdC7VJXEMFYgAZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1Olrd0Sp54leNTkgZ   http://www4.webcas.net/mail03/u/l?p=PFwvxo1OlrfWDjc3HWsU8QZ
Special Package
Tour   Airline
What is the name of the city on the last stop of the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train), the Japan’s newly extended Shinkansen line?
Hint: The Hokuriku Shinkansen has just opened its doors to new passenger service on March 14th, 2015 connecting Tokyo to the Hokuriku region. The city is known as the historical capital with its castles, gardens and temples.
Prize: Three lucky winners will be selected among those who answer correctly. The prize will be “a pair of chopsticks”.
How to enter: Enter your answer by April 25, 2015, at https://jp.surveymonkey.com/s/ZBHNTXK
The answer for the Newsletter Vol. 39 (February issue) was: e. all of the above.
Thank you for your participation!
Japan Travel News Letter Quiz Official Rules

"In The Footsteps of Godzilla" Event News Release

The following News Release will be issued shortly:

The Japan Society of Northern California will be holding a special screening of the original Japanese version of "Godzilla" (1954) at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco on Sunday, April 26. The doors open at 3:30 PM. 
"Godzilla" will be shown in Japanese language with English subtitles. 
Following the movie, Armand Vaquer, author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" will discuss the special effects techniques used in Godzilla movies, the locations and landmarks used and other tidbits of information. A question & answer period is included. 
Following the screening and discussion, a V.I.P. dinner will be held at the Izakaya Roku Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. 
For more information on the screeening, discussion and V.I.P. dinner along with ticket information, go to http://www.usajapan.org/event/in-the-footsteps-of-godzilla/. The public is invited. 
The event will benefit the Japan Society and help to present future programs.

JAL Resumes Los Angeles and Osaka Flights

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you plan to fly to Japan from Los Angeles but wish to by-pass Tokyo's two major airports, Narita and Haneda, Japan Airlines has resumed direct flight service between Los Angeles and Osaka.

According to Anna.Aero:
Japan Airlines has resumed non-stop flights between Osaka Kansai (KIX) and Los Angeles (LAX). On 20 March the Japanese oneworld member started daily flights on the 9,218-kilometre route using its 787-8s. No other carrier operates this airport pair. This is the airline’s second US service from Osaka as it already operates daily flights to Honolulu in Hawaii. It is also Japan Airlines’ second route to Los Angeles complementing the airline’s existing daily service from Tokyo Narita.
To read more, go here

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ANA Receives 5-Star Rating For 3rd Consecutive Year

Above, an ANA jet at Narita International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If one is planning to travel to Japan but haven't decided on what airline to use, the following may be of some help in making that decision.

Japan Today reported:
TOKYO —For the third consecutive year, ANA has been awarded 5-Stars by SKYTRAX, the world’s leading airline and airport review specialists (http://www.airlinequality.com/). Only six other airlines across the globe hold this prestigious 5-Star rating and ANA is the only Japanese airline to hold this award. 
The award recognizes the consistently high levels of service provided by ANA to customers at all stages of their flight, from the airport to the cabin. It also recognizes the ongoing improvements to service quality that ANA has implemented to meet the needs of its increasingly international customer base.
To read more, go here

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