Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Return of bouken-ya

All operations on this blog have migrated and resumed at bouken-ya !

Thank you! :3

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shizuoka Fair @ MEIDI-YA

Shizuoka Fair

The post I have long delayed is finally here! The fair featuring Shizuoka Prefecture (2nd February 2009 - 11th February 2009) held in MEIDI-YA had on-sale goods that Shizuoka is famous for; mainly green tea and wasabi (Japanese Horseradish). Besides the fair, also available was a Tea Seminar (seminar on how to prepare green tea drinks), Japanese Food Seminar using ingredients from Shizuoka Prefecture (seminar teaching 4 different dishes), and a Maguro Cutting Show (a show on how they cut tuna). To make it even better, there was a 25% discount all fair items for the first three days.

Fresh wasabi ( tomato in background)

The variety of green tea sold ranged from about $4.90 - $60, depending on the quality of the tea. They had not only green tea bags, powder, but also limited edition Green Tea Ramune (green tea lemonade) and Wasabi Ramune (I didn't dare buy this). Imagine carbonated green tea in the famous ramune glass bottle! As for the wasabi, a huge range of salad dressings (miso-wasabi, wasabi Japanese mayonnaise) and fresh wasabi and paste (not very cheap) were available, including a unique wasabi flavoured soft-cream (ice-cream) that is well-known in Shizuoka. From the samples, the miso-wasabi salad dressings was absolutely beautiful. And I would definitely recommend trying the ice-cream if you ever come across it.

Green Tea Ramune and Wasabi Ramune (and other drinks)

Wasabi mayonnaise and salad dressings

The events held with the fair were really interesting and worth going. The Tea Seminar was really insightful as they taught how to make cold and hot green tea (using the products sold at the fair), and green tea-banana milkshake (awesome taste). They even had a special green tea layer cake made which tasted heavenly for those who love green tea. As for the Japanese Food Seminar, dishes taught were green tea dorayaki, Fujinomiya yakisoba, Shizuoka ochazuke (rice in green tea served with horse mackerel), tuna and wasabizuke sandwich (tuna mixed with wasabi spread on bread), and fried hanpen (fish cake). The Maguro Cutting Show was one of the more unique and unforgettable images I have seen. The tuna they brought in from Japan apparent cost a bomb, and it was HUGE.

Tea and Japanese Food Seminar

All in all, I do not in the slightest bit regret having visited the fair (roughly 4 days of it), or the goods I bought. It was a wonderful experience, and my friends and I from my club in school (Temasek Polytechnic Japanese Cultural Group; TPJCG) even made friends with the promoter (Japanese from Shizuoka) and got to brush up our Japanese because we had to speak to him in Japanese! Pictures please!

Green tea and banana milkshake!

Green tea dorayaki

Maguro (tuna) Cutting Show! Huge tuna!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Singapore MEIDI-YA @ Liang Court

MEIDI-YA, the unique Japanese supermarket situated in Liang Court. This is one of the locations in Singapore to spot Japanese families out together either to shop for groceries, or simply just to have dinner. With occasional fairs from different prefectures and discounts off all sushi after approximately 7.30pm, what better place is there to satisfy your needs? There is even a huge collection of seafood imported directly from Japan by the sushi section to explore.
MEDI-YA supermarket is famous for many things, and one of them is that this Japanese supermarket sells goods that are mostly not available anywhere else in Singapore. This is because the supermarket imports directly from Japan and they are not very cheap due to this fact. They also have fruits that are at impossibly insane prices ($89.90 for a melon, anyone?), but other supermarkets do have these fruits as well.
One main reason as to why MEIDI-YA is children-friendly for the Japanese is because, in the middle of the supermarket, there is a TV section for children. They do not air just any cartoons, but Japanese-languaged DORAEMON! Well, actually not just children are there; adults occasionally stop and momentarily re-live their childhood.

Watching Doraemon with the children?

So far, fairs I have had the chance to visit are the recent Shizuoka Fair (will be covered in the next post), and a Hokkaido Fair last year. When fairs are held, MEIDI-YA would sell the unique food and drinks that are popular or originated from the particular prefecture.

Shizuoka Fair

Another highlight about MEIDI-YA is the sushi for sale. Of course they are really good, high quality sushi. But the best part is, after approximately 7.30pm everyday, they reduce the prices by a rather significant amount (imagine California Rolls being reduced from $6.00 to $4.20). This is something done to clear their stocks so their sushi is fresh everyday.

Sushi after Discounted

MEIDI-YA is one of my favourite locations to visit in Liang Court / Singapore. I find that this place has the air of Japan. Perhaps it is the food? Perhaps the other customers who shop there? No, I do not go there for DOREAMON.

Small restaurants located just after the entrance of MEIDI-YA

Liang Court - UNWRAPPED

Liang Court

Once an empty mall full of renovation, now a mall full of Japanese-cultured wonders.

Liang Court, situated just nearby Clarke Quay, is a treasured location for us Japanese food lovers. With the unique Japanese Supermarket, MEIDI-YA (in next blog post), this shopping mall is well-known to Japanese living in Singapore as this supermarket offers goods imported directly from Japan and are mostly not available anywhere else in Singapore.

I personally enjoy going to Liang Court as this place offers so much and is currently one of my Japanese Club's favourite hang-out locations as we frequent here at least one in two weeks, sometimes probably even more.

Friday, January 2, 2009

EOY Cosplay Event

EOY 2007 : Trinity Blood team cosplay

First off, what is "cosplay"? In short, it means "costume play", where "cosplayers" (participants cosplaying) dress up in the costume and accessories of a particular character. The normal cosplays seen in Singapore are mostly Japanese-influenced (example: characters from Japanese animation, manga, J-rock, gothic, lolita, games, etc), and cosplay in Singapore is considered somewhat as a subculture that is growing increasingly popular as Japan continue to take over our media networks.
EOY, which stands for "End of Year", is one of the anually-held cosplay events (the biggest event being Cosfest, usually held in June/ July) and hosted at Singapore EXPO. As you can probably guess it, this event is always held in December every year (latest was 13th December 2008). Basically, this is an event where people of similar interests would gather, and cosplay, rent booths to sell Japanese-related art and merchandise, take picture of cosplayers, or simply just to enjoy everything as a whole.

The little set back about this event would probably be the entrance fee of $12 for non-members of the organizing association. So what I've been doing the past two year's EOY, is attend the event as an event helper. We don't get much time to view the event as we have working shifts, but we get free entrance.

Viewing another blog's post about EOY 2008 (http://nanasoutenshiki.com/2008/12/eoy-part-1/), I would have to agree and disagree on some of the author's thoughts on the event: "I feel that this event is quite a good place for cosplayer to showcase their skills and the hard work. Also, not sure whether the reason is me arriving late to the event or some of the early birds has already gone home, I found out that in this event, the cosplayers are able to give alot more focus to each cameras.".

In my opinion, yes, EOY is a good event for cosplayer to showcase their skills and hard work. However, for the "skills", mostly new and not-very experienced cosplayers dominate the population of cosplayers who attend the event (might be due to EOY being not as big as Cosfest; not noticed so much in case the cosplay is bad). So for those who have attended both Cosfest and EOY, might note a significant difference in the cosplaying grade. Of course, the popular cosplayers who attend EOY always stand out from the new cosplayers.

EOY 2008 : Jesuke, a very popular cosplayer (in my opinion she's the best in Singapore currently), cosplaying "Rai" from Lamento
Photographer: Shiro Ang, http://shiroms08th.deviantart.com/

For those interested to attend these cosplaying events, I'll post up notifications of upcoming cosplay events in this blog whenever there is any approaching and that I know of.

EOY 2007 : Famous Indonesian cosplayer from the Indonesian cosplay team, "Endless Illution" cosplaying "Cain Nightroad" from Trinity Blood (won the Best male cosplay category for EOY 2007)

EOY 2007 : Also from the Indonesian cosplay team, "Endless Illution", cosplaying characters from Trinity Blood

EOY 2008 : Some character cosplay which I don't know