25 August 2009

The NYC Japan Street Fair Recap

Judging by the ginormous crowd that showed up last Sunday, we'd say the NYC Japan Street Fair was definitely a huge success. There were so many people that the staff worked nonstop selling tickets and serving everyone there. We didn't even get a chance to tweet about it because we were so busy! And despite the sweltering heat and occasional rain, people young and old, families, cosplayers, foodies, still made their way to the Fair! Your enthusiasm means a whole lot to the Japanese companies and restaurants exhibiting there. Thank you so much for coming! As promised, here are some photos of the Fair.

Walking through the block was a test in temptation. The air was saturated with the scent and smoke of the grilling Japanese tonton pork, BBQ beef, misoyaki, and okonomiyaki. A huge hit was Otafuku Foods' okonomiyaki (and their mouthwatering sauce). The line at their booth was 45 minutes long! Inakaya restaurant's mochitsuki-making demonstration was also well-raved about. They let people help them pound mochi with the giant mallets. The performances gave the Fair a festive soundtrack, and the bands and martial arts groups were greatly popular as well. Overall, it seemed like everyone had a good time and had a chance to experience Japan for a day. What did you think about the Fair? We'd like to hear your feedback!

22 August 2009

The NYC Japan Street Fair is TOMORROW!

The NYC Japan Street Fair is TOMORROW! We're so excited! We're honored to have major magazines publicize the Fair and even have some TV networks report about it tomorrow, which is unbelievably awesome. Also, much thanks to the fabulous attention we received from the Twitter world and blogospheres! We love your enthusiasm. We just hope the weather will be kind to us. The forecast says 40% chance of showers - not too much to worry about but fingers crossed! We hope everyone has a great time enjoying your okonomiyaki, udon, konnyaku, chocolate soymilk, tabi socks, the performances, and more at the NYC Japan Street Fair! Remember, the NYC Japan Street Fair is part of the larger street fair on Madison Avenue that spans 15 blocks, up to 57th Street. After you get your fill of the NYC Japan Street Fair, you still got 14 more blocks of street fair to see. Got general questions? Feel free to ask the ticket booth (#40). Thanks a ton and see you all there!

20 August 2009

Introducing Jazz Guitarist and Composer Nobuki Takamen!

Performing at 12 to 1 PM at the Fair will be Nobuki Takamen, who leads his own group, the NOBUKI TAKAMEN GROUP, which performs his original compositions and arrangements throughout the tri-state area. A mainstay of the New York jazz scene, he has also performed at jazz festivals, including the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal 2009, the Medicine Hat Jazz Fest 2009, the Calgary Jazz Festival 2009, the Rochester International Jazz Festival 2007, and toured annually throughout Japan since 2004.

Nobuki has two albums as a leader released from What's New Records. Both the first album, Bull's Blues (2006), and the second, FROM NOW ON (2008) are comprised entirely of his original compositions an! d have b een featured in DownBeat, Just Jazz Guitar, AllAboutJazz, Jazz Guitar Book, LA Jazz Scene, Jazz Life Magazine and Swing Journal.

The group performed at Iridium Jazz Club in NYC in July 2009. This performance was recorded live and it is to be released as his third album, Live at the Iridium in 2010.

Nobuki endorses Acoustic Image Amplifiers, Raezer's Edge Speaker Cabinets and Yamaha USA.

Nobuki Takamen, born in 1977 and raised in Hiroshima, Japan, now resides in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Band:

Bass: John E.

Drums: Yutaka Uchida

The NYC Japan Street Fair Map!

The Fair is only three days away! Here's a handy map to help you navigate it better. Click on it for a larger view. We're on Madison Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, a block away from Grand Central Terminal. Additionally, you can win a free gift by collecting three stamps from your purchases at the booths. To answer a previous commenter's question, the performances will be located at the center of the block. See you there!

15 August 2009

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu

New York's public peace is certainly considered improved. However, have you ever had a feelinging of helplessness when you walk through the dark city streets? Imagine a situation if the other party has guns and the knives. Can you deal with such a situation even you have know karate, judo or other martial arts? Fuji Ryu Taijutsu assumes the time attacked in the town and is practicing the art of defense which can be used in the actual combat.

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu is a Taijutsu, but it's not the fantasy ninja stuff. Fuji Ryu Taijutsu had been taught to Afghanistan guerrillas against the invasion by Soviet Union Military from 1985 to 1991. It is a realistic combat self-defense style.

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu is an original Japanese martial art. They have combined techniques from traditional Japanese martial arts and modern Japanese martial arts to create a practical self defense system.

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu's system is very simple. They have designed the system so that it is easy to learn for both men and women of all ages and physical abilities, even if you don't have any previous martial arts experience.

In the beginners class you will focus on building strength as well as shaping and conditioning your body to prepare you for the rigors of the intermediate/advanced class. You will practice zen-meditation, basic throwing, grappling, kicking, punching, blocking, breakfalls and light-contact sparring with full protective gear to fimiliarize yourself with the more advanced techniques.

In the intermediate/advanced class we will focus more on real fighting situations. You will learn techniques that will work in real-life altercations. We will prepare you to defend yourself against a much larger opponent, multiple attackers, chokes, grabs, as well as various weapons: guns, knives, bats, etc... You will not only learn self defense techniques but also a fighting spirit to help you deal with the stress and shock of a sudden violent encounter.

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu's beginners class is similar to a sport based martial art in such that it burns calories, reduces stress, improves your physical strength, flexibility and endurance. It is also a very effective self-defense system against real-life attacks by one or more opponents of any size for intermediate/advanced practitioners.

Fuji Ryu Taijutsu promotes and teaches self defense, self control, confidence, humility, diligence and a quest for knowledge.

Please feel free to contact them with any questions and join their free class!!



14 August 2009

KYOKUSHIN Karate Classes

Historically, Japanese Karate originated from the age of the Samurai, when the worker classes were weapon-less. So, the art of fighting with bare hands, or “kara-te” evolved as a form of self-defense. The philosophy of KYOKUSHIN Karate emphasizes the achievement of personal goals, whether physical, mental or spiritual and stresses the development of patience, respect and character. KYOKUSHIN practice is physically demanding, yet suitable for all ages and abilities, with special training programs and events for advanced students, absolute beginners, children, seniors and professional tournament competitors. KYOKUSHIN produces some of the most celebrated karate fighters in the world and is renowned in the martial arts field as “The Strongest Karate.”

KYOKUSHIN Karate curriculum stresses the practical application of offense and defense techniques in a controlled environment to prepare for situations one might face in real-life. Every student starts as a beginner and is guided to fulfill their potential under the care and personal attention of our IKO-Certified Black Belt Instructor Team.

They are open seven days a week and offer classes on Madison Avenue, Edgewater, NJ, and Westchester, NY with reciprocal training privileges at all three locations locally and membership in the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan operating Affiliate Schools in 135 countries around the world. FREE TRIAL class for Kids!

KYOKUSHIN KARATE is located at:

The Dojo Athletic Arts Training Center
265 Madison Ave, 5th Floor @ 39th St
(212) 947-3334

13 August 2009

Introducing Pop/R&B Singer and Songwriter MAI Kawamura!

MAI Kawamura

We are pleased to have Mai Kawamura, pop/R&B singer and songwriter, perform at the Fair!

Originaly from Aichi, Japan, Mai released her debut album in Japanese in 2002. In 2005, she left Japan for New York to pursue her dream to establish herself as a singer/songwriter in America, and in 2006 she released her first U.S. album,
Sa Ra So Ju (Available on iTunes and Amazon.com).

MAI has appeared in many charity events and concerts in and around NYC, including the 2009 Japan Day in Central Park. Mai sites "One Big Love" and "Feeling of Appreciation" as two of the main themes of her songs.

"I want to write and sing songs that make the whole world feeling good," says Mai. Her love for pop music extends into 1960's Japanese pop songs, which she covers often, both in concerts and albums.

Mai's newest six-song album will be released in the U.S. this fall, followed by a Japanese release in early 2010.

Mai will be perfoming from 5 - 6 PM at the NYC Japan Street Fair (Madison Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets).

The Band:

Bass: Ajia

Piano: Tsubasa

FOOD at the Fair!


Wondering what you'll be eating at the NYC Japan Street Fair? Here's the list of some of the mouthwatering Japanese food you'll find and the companies and local restaurants that will be making them.

• Misoyaki (miso-marinated beef) by Marukome

• Okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake) by Otafuku Foods. A great comfort food, okonomikyaki recipes vary from region to region

• Gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and beef bowls by Ajinomoto Frozen Foods

• Five different flavors of soy milk - FREE from Kikkoman. That includes matcha and chocolate

• Konnyaku, or Konjac (a type of Asian yam that comes in a jelly form) from SHOW LLC. They'll be showing you what it is and different recipes

• Shaved ice, ice cream, and Japanese-style buns and pastries from Cafe Zaiya

• Japanese grilled tonton pork by Hakata Tonton, a restaurant specializing in authentic Kyushu soul food.

• Japanese-style grilled marinated beef by Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese BBQ restaurant

• Mochitsuki (a traditional Japanese rice cake ) from Inakaya, a robatayaki grill restaurant. They will also be demonstrating how to make it with fresh mochi. Look out for lots of rice pounding with mallets

• Cold udon and sweets from Uminoie, a restaurant/bar in the East Village

• Cold ramen salad and salmon rolls from Souen Noodle in the East Village

• Japanese curry and sushi (how could the NYC Japan Street Fair be complete without sushi?) from Washoku Cafe in Midtown.

AND House Foods is inviting the celebrity chef of Cooking Right magazine, Billy Strynkowski, to demonstrate healthy cooking with tofu and Japanese ingredients. He'll be making tofu milanese using House Foods tofu. There will be an autograph signing after the demonstration!

Additionally, there will be a booth by a top New York chef who'll be featuring his secret BBQ sauce made from Japanese ingredients.

Visitors can also collect stamps from each of their purchases from the booths. If they collect enough, they'll receive free gifts from Japanese companies.

12 August 2009

Performers at the Fair!

Besides all the tasty food, shopping, fun and games, you'll be entertained by several Japanese musicians, artists, and dancers throughout the day. Here's the lineup:

12 PM - 1 PM
Nobuki Takamen Group (Jazz)

1 PM - 2 PM
Hariyama Ballet and Kyokushin Karate

2 PM - 3 PM
Fuji Ryu Taijutsu (Ko Budo)

3 PM - 4 PM
New York Taiko Aiko Kai (Japanese Drums)

4 PM - 5 PM
NY Okinawa Club (Sanshin perfomance)

5 PM - 6 PM
Mai Kawamura (Pop)

Rikumo.com: Green and Modern Japanese Accessories and Apparel

Another NYC Japan Fair vendor will be Rikumo.com, an new online store featuring eco-friendly and modern Japanese home accessories, apparel, and jewelry. Rikumo's products, chosen for their contemporary design with a Japanese flavor, include super cute tabi socks - socks with a separation between the big toe and the rest to be worn with thonged sandals - by Katsuji Wakisaka, who made a name for himself in the '70s and '80s as a designer with Marimekko. Tabi aren't worn much anymore by the Japanese these days, but they are making a comeback with Sou Sou's fresh look at this traditional clothing item. Offering patterns subued and graphically bold, these tabi socks will broaden their appeal with both men and women of all ages. Rikumo also offers kid-sized tabis and is one of the few places in the U.S. where you'll find Sou Sou tabi socks.

For more splashes of traditional Japan in your modern style, Rikumo also carries handbags and cosmetic bags by seisuke88, whose fabics are inspired by revolutionary obi designs that surfaced during the Meiji Era. These bold designs and mysterious patterns, discovered bySeisuke Takahashi, a third-generation owner of a textile plant, are revived with a modern touch. The strong colors, delicate details, and tasteful patterns of seisuke88's bags make a great statement to any wardrobe.

Rikumo sells handcrafted jewelry as well. Check out Rikumo.com for more of these well-edited finds! Also, they're now offering free shipping on orders over $99 for their grand opening.

10 August 2009

Shochu that Accompanies Any Food

While Japanese food has been highly respected and appreciated by the entire world, Japanese sake has been gaining significant space on liquor store shelves. Chiyomusubi Shuzo Co., Ltd., a 120-year-old prominent Japanese sake brewery from the heart of a sake manufacturing region in Japan, has been introducing their top-of-the-line products to the U.S. market since 2000.
Chiyomusubi has also been well-respected for their shochu, which is a distilled alcohol drink often made from sweet potatos. Their top-of-the-line shochu brand is Hama no Imota. Thanks to the superior quality of the local harvests of Tottori Prefecture, the hometown of the brewery, Chiyomusubi has been producing excellent shochu with the locally grown sweet potato and has introduced Hama no Imota to New York’s Japanese restaurants. The taste of this shochu is exquisite, never interfering with the taste of the accompanying food. The power of Hama no Imota is its own great flavor, yet it allows you to enjoy the taste of your meal at the same time.
Uminoie is one bar where Hama no Imota is the star of the menu. This bar, a casual and homey place that reflects its name, which means "beach house," is run by the friendly Mika Okui. She oversees the whole dining floor, serving drinks and homestyle Japanese comfort food.
“Hama no Imota goes excellently with any dish,” Mika says proudly. Having been asked for the best matching dishes, she quickly fixed a few. One of them is Uminoie’s specialties, homemade udon. Delivered fresh directly from a local noodle shop in Japan, this noodle has a distinct “al dente” texture and a simple, fresh flavor. Even with a basic dish such as this, Hama no Imota complements the meal perfectly and even enhances the appetite. Hama no Imota guarantees the same level of satisfaction with vegetables, especially with Uminoie's Okra and Eggplant Appetizer, another bestseller at the bar.
At this inconspicuous bar with no sign out on the street, Hama no Imota is requested so much that it is kept in Uminoie's special bottle, given to them by Chiyomusubi Shuzo Co. for hosting Hama no Imota in such as perfect venue and menu. This bottle has an ocean blue label that reminds of the southwestern coasts in Japan.
In a dimly lit and easy-going atmosphere, Mika cooks and serves multiple Japanese homestyle dishes in the narrow kitchen area behind the bar efficiently. There is always laughter and jokes between Mika and her customers over Hama no Imota in a beach bar glass.
Hama no Imota is perfect for a place like Uminoie, where, as Mika describes, “people gather until after midnight, enjoying conversation and a large variety of comfort foods. ”On a quiet street near bustling St. Marks Place in the East Village, this hidden “home” attracts Japanese shochu fans looking for a relaxing evening.

Mika Okui with Hama no Imota in Uminoie's special bottle

Hama no Imota Shochu

Uminoie's inconspicuous storefront

07 August 2009

Te+Te New York

te+te New York offers a collection of original, handmade fashion and home accessories selected for their innate artistry and the attention to detail that goes into their creation. Their collection often reflects the essence of Japan in many elements.

Te means "hand" in Japanese, hence te plus te - two hands. But two hands are not enough. The craftsperson needs a soul, and the objects he or she creates must stir the senses, and fire the imagination.

te+te is currently featuring the following items:

Pure essential oils in a spray mixture. Paraben and Phthalate free. They are offering two soothing fragrances: JAPANESE HINOKI and NO.1.

te+te takes the Japanese kimono as inspiration for its collection of reversible bags. Handmade in the U.S.A. of imported fabric, each bag represents a subtle union of color, texture, and pattern, from the inside out.

Hand-pinched ceramic objects made exclusively for te+ te by the artist Eda.

The scarves in our collection come from a family-run studio in Japan, where the fabric is hand dyed in small batches to ensure the quality of craftsmanship and intergrity of color. Each piece is one of a kind.

Visit their online store for authentic, handmade Japanese goods at http://tepluste.myshopify.com/!

05 August 2009

Wuhao NYC's Tenugui!

Introducing Wuhao NYC's tenugui, traditional Japanese cotton towels. It's not just any towel - it's a unique object that has a long, proud history in Japanese culture for over 1500 years. Essentially, they're thin cotton hand towels sized about 35 by 90 centimeters and almost always printed with some pattern. The special thing about tenugui is that the Japanese have used it in novel ways besides wiping their hands with it. Ordinary people use them as decoration around the house or as a personal accessory. Samurai have worn tenugui under their helmets for comfort in the heat of battle. Merchants and performers have also used tenugui as a form of advertisement. They would create their own design on the tenugui and give them away to clients or guests so that they'll be remembered. Tenugui are often used as a head covering in Kendo, and sometimes different schools will get tenugui that display their emblem on them. Fans of anime and manga will also recognize the tenugui, as plain white ones are frequently seen in the sentō (bathhouse) scenes. Tenugui make popular souvenirs, because of their unique prints, history, and versatility - you can use them to dry your dishes and even use them in place of paper gift wrap. The number of creative uses are endless! Check out the possibilities from Wuhao below:

Tenugui makes presenting wine bottles easier! No more fussing with paper

Use it in place of gift wrap

As a wall decoration

As a headwrap

As a placemat

...and as a blanket for a frog

Wuhao employs artistic hand dying in its production of tenugui. Their skilled craftsmen design tenugui in a multitude of interesting styles, ranging from traditional designs from different eras or regions of Japan to fun designs with sharks and dinosaurs. Each tenugui is carefully dyed and may boast the vibrant colors of spring or the subtle tones of winter. In addition, there is Wuhao’s Well-Being line, which is made from 100% organic cotton and offers soft, pleasing colors to make wearers feel safe. Wuhao offers over 100 designs of tenugui, each unique and for a different personality.Wuhao NYC sells their unique tenugui through their online store but will also be present at the fair, so you can have a chance to see a real one in person!