Ikea Japan

If you’re a gaijin living in Japan, going to shop at Ikea should be on your to do list, in the first week of your arrival in Japan. Why? Simply because you will be able to find a lot of product and furniture that you might need to comfortably live in Japan at a price that will not kill your wallet on the spot.

Ikea was introduced in Japan in 1974, the company launched a franchising deal in 1974, only to beat a retreat in 1986. The exact reasons of the retreat are not clear but it is mostly said that it was because the japanese housing market really did not match the company products.  The Ikea CEO said; ” He attributed IKEA’s failure two decades ago to the fact that the company was not ready for the demanding Japanese market — and that Japanese customers were not ready for the do-it-yourself style that defines IKEA.”

20 years past and extensive reasearch were done by the Ikea corporation, to first understand the Japanese life style and also the Japanese needs.

So with all that the first modern Ikea store was open in Funabashi in 2006 followed by the seconde one in Yokohama also in 2006 and 3 other location in 2008: Kobe port island, shin-Misato Saitama and Tsuruhama. All stores are a massive 40,000 m2 which in Japan is incredibly big for a store.

IKEA in Kobe

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Weekly castle picture from Japanese Castle Explorer no1

The first thing I’d like to do is to say a big thank you to the Gaijin life blog for the opportunity for me to do what I love doing, and that is talking about Japanese Castles.
Who am I? I’m Daniel O’Grady of the Japanese Castle Explorer website
I’m an Aussie and have been living here in Japan since 2001.

Well, the cherry blossoms are blooming all over Japan right now, and I was lucky enough to get myself to Kurume Castle just the other day. The city of Kurume is located in Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu and interestingly, it is also the home of Brigestone tire company.

Little remains of Kurume Castle today, just sections of its stonework and moat. No matter its current state, the castle ruins look stunning with its flowers of Spring, under the blue sky.

!!First ever Gaijinlife contest!!

Ok everyone! I’m lunching the first ever Gaijinlife contest

Starting March 26th  2010, till April 5th  2010 I will be giving away 5 TokyoTeleport plus app for iPhone, iTouch or iPad

For more info on the TokyoTeleport app check out my review about the App here:

TokyoTeleport review


The contest is really easy and open the every one!

First

All you have to do is make sure you follow me on twitter

@agaijinlife

After you made sure you’re following me

tweet to all your friends:

http://gaijinlife.com is giving away the best Tokyo app for iPhone, iTouch and iPad! @TokyoTeleport @agaijinlife  #contestgaijinlife

MAX one tweet a day

The contest will end on the 31st of March at 12:00 am GMT-05:00

Good luck to everyone!

The best Japanese dictionary App

The best Japanese dictionary App
I did a post about must have applications for iPhone and iTouch back a month ago and a recent version on GaijinPot, but someone pointed out to me that there was a dictionary App out there that was killing all Japanese dictionary out there! And he was right!!!


The App is called Kotoba and the best thing about it is that it is free!! Yes you don’t get that a lot especially for a dictionary app as complete as that one! You heard me right FREE.

Since this App blew me away I did the first ever Gaijinlife youtube video click here for it:

So in this video I will walk you trough Kotoba showing you this App sweet features.
I really hope you will like the video. Dont be shy and tell me what you think about this first video.

Probably tomorrow or at the latest Wednesday I will have a post and video dedicated on the best Tokyo App ever

TokyoTeleport and the TokyoTeleport plus!

Be sure to check it out!

Yugo

Coming soon to gaijinlife

Coming soon to gaijinlife

Post about Tokyo Teleport App for iPhone and iTouch

Post about skateboarding  in Japan

The weekly Japanstyle2010  post

and many more good ones!

A new Karate Kid movie!

Karate Kid (2010)

I must say when I saw that title on youtube as a 2010 trailer, it kind a hit me. I know we are in the age of remake movies and sometimes I can not say it’s bad. There is a lot of remake that are really good or that have a lot of potential. So seeing the title Karate Kid made me go back in my childhood memories, think about Mr Miyagi. So a remake of this movie got me a bit exited, I thought about maybe new angles on Japan, nice pictures and images selection and a some what good story line or moral that the old version had.

Remastered original movie cover picture


But the world of hope I created in my mind with those 30 seconse of seeing the title got destroyed, torn a part and broken  in millions of pieces when I did press play.

The trailer started and you see a young boy leaving with is mom to China.

Ok Let’s stop there first: ”China?? Karate is Japanese it does have Chinese origins but still it is Japanese.”

”Ok ok what if there is a Japanese sensei so let’s go keep it going!”

The little boy end’s up getting beaten by some Chinese class mate or from a school not far from his, a bit much like the original Karate kid, and like in the original a sensei pop’s in and save the boy. ”That part is much like the real Karate kid”

Then comes the final blow,the one that killed me  for good

The sensei say’s ”I’ll teach you real Kung Fu!!!!”

WHAT??? Humm Is the title of the movie kung-fu kid or Karate Kid, did I miss read or something???

Here is the trailers if you would like to witness what im talking about

The original Karate Kid

And

The latest you got it all wrong Karate Kid

How come people can be feed so much non sense? I know movie are Hollywood creation but a remake is a remake do it right or just leave the classic in its grave or at lest in its VHS copy. This movie still has the potential to be a fun movie to watch plus the quality of the images are really nice, since China as so much beautiful land scape. But please respect things, Karate is Karate and Kung Fu Kung Fu.

I really don’t enjoy doing  post like that one, but I did have to share it with you all. And don’t get me wrong I totally respect any practitioner of any martial art in the world, I am my self a Kendo-ka and a traditional Japanese Jujutsu partitioner but this is wrong.

I leave you from a quote from MR Miyagi and Daniel San from the Original Movie

Daniel: What kina belt do you have?à

Mr Miyagi: Jc peny G19

An interview with Dan from Japanese Castle Explorer

Ok everyone today Im having an interview with a good twitter friend of mine! His name his Daniel O’Grady his is the owner, webmaster writer of the wonderful website Japanese Castle Explorer website.

If you never took a look at his website please after reading this go check it out!

http://www.japanese-castle-explorer.com/index.html

you can also follow him on twitter @jcexplorer

http://twitter.com/jcexplorer

Here is Dan getting it done with a real ninja (yes they do exist hihihi)

Ok let’s get this started!

Hello Dan how are you today!?

I am great and really happy about your interview today!

It is my pleasure.


When did you first came too Japan?

I came to Japan in 2001 more precisely in August

What made you decide to come to Japan?

Way back when, I was doing some martial arts (Karate & Iai-do) and at the same time my interests in other aspects of Japanese culture were developing. Nothing to deep but I started to notice things like bonsai, ukiyo-e, samurai, castles… Anyway one day my sister showed me in the newspaper that there were some job offerings teaching English in Japan. And fortunately, due to Nova’s we’ll-take-anyone policy, I was on my way.

How could you say your living experiance in japan changed your life?

The short answer is, completely.

It’s difficult to answer further because I don’t have my alternate life to compare it to….. but, some of the obvious things are, I met my wife, had kids. Kinda massive.

What do you love about japan?

Castles, chicken-katsu-curry-cheese-mix, the ability to travel around with relative ease.

What don’t you like in japan?

So rigid. And what is the deal with the megaphones?

Will you ever leave?

Yes. Unless Japan is the island from Lost.

Now about your website
When did you start the  Japanese Castle Explorer?

Hmmm… early 2000’s

Why did you start the site?

I have an I.T background, I like Japanese castles. Another big factor was that I needed something to occupy myself. And that it did, but it also put me on the road to learning something.

Where was your passion for castles born?

Taiko by Yoshikawa Eiji! This book is about the life & times (mid-late 1500’s) of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s three unifier. There are plenty of descriptions of some of Japan’s most important castles, ranging from “overnight-built” forts to the nation’s most lavish.


Where do you want Japanese Castle Explorer to be in 5 years?


Hmmm… somewhere between facebook, wikipedia & youtube. Too ambitious?

Are you the only one behind the JCE?

Yes, I programmed the site, took the pictures(most), shot & hosted the video(just one & probably shouldn’t admit to it), researched the castles & wrote all the descriptions.

Dan future ride! kidding but as he told me the day he saw that car in japan he was like a kid in a candy store!