Posted in Art, Daily Life, Feelings, Japanese Culture, Place, Restaurants, Tokyo

New Normal: Reservation for Admission

This is a poster for museum at 21_21 Design Sight, Roppongi, Tokyo.

The exhibition date is extended because the museum was closed for two months.

Furthermore, we need to make a reservation for admission to enter the museum.

Even dining at the restaurant, it’s recommended to make a reservation to secure a seat.

Making a reservation is one of NEW NORMALs.

Posted in Cooking, Family, Feelings, Food, Friends, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Place, Shop, Shopping

Furusato Nozei (Home Town Tax Payment Programme)

In 2014, Japanese government introduced new tax incentive system to support local areas: Furusato Nozei (Home Town Tax Payment Programme).

We can purchase local products and services (hotel stay, experience such as diving, etc) to support the area.

We pay for products and services and the government provides incentives for income tax deduction.

There are few Furusato Nozei service providers such as Satofuru, Furunabi, Department Stores, etc.

This time, I purchase Nama Katsuo no Tataki (lightly roasted bonito) from Katsuura-city, Chiba via Satofuru,

My mother side are originally from Katauura; therefore, YES, I would like to support the city and this has sentimental value for me.

I will purchase more products and services from the areas that I would like to support.

This was my first purchase and I’m glad that I was strongly recommended to use this system to enjoy products and services AND tax deduction.

Posted in Feelings, Japanese Culture, Place, Tokyo

Renewing Driver’s License

I supposed to renew my driver’s license this year and I should do it between prior and after one month of my birthday, meaning by 4 April 2020.

At that time, the number of new cases was increasing and I thought going to driver’s license centre where we could expect a large number of visitors is dangerous.

I processed to get an extension for three months for renewing driver’s license.

My deadline became 3 July 2020 after the process.

I thought the three months period would manage the COVID situation, not creating a crowd.

However, I learned that the Samezu Driver’s License Centre (Ota-ku, Tokyo) and other premises were closed till 31 May 2020.

Well, instead of the time solving a problem, it created desperate people to renew the license because of closure of the center!

I waited till very last minutes and asked for a day off to go on weekday on 2 July 2020; hoping there would be less people.

And YES, there were less people at the Samezu Driver’s License Centre and the process went smoothly.

However, I had to sit in two hours lecture due to my record.

My driver’s license became blue and need to come back for renewal in three years.

If you are an excellent driver with no record (which I was for last time), the lecture would be 30 mins and you get a Gold Driver’s License which you don’t need to renew for 5 years – the privilege given to an excellent driver.

I hope I will become an excellent driver (GOLD) again so that I don’t need to sit in 2 hours lecture and I don’t need to come back for 5 years. haaaaa

Posted in Daily Life, Feelings, Friends, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Shop, Shopping, Tokyo

No More Free Plastic Shopping Bags

Japan imposed retailers to charge plastic shopping bags to save environment by reducing producing microplastics and CO2 emission on 1 July 2020.

The retails charge a plastic bag (and some for paper bags) from range of JPY 2 – JPY 20 (ISD 0.02 – USD 0.19).

Therefore, this became a memorable last free plastic shopping bag at Precce, Tokyo Midtown Roppongi.

However, some retailers such as Meidi-Ya continues to provide free shopping bags that is categorized as biomass shopping bags.

There are three types of biomass shopping bags and they are:

First, the bag is made by more than 25 percent of biodegradable material. The Meidai-Ya provides this type.

Biomass Plastics Logo by Japan BioPlastics Association
Biomass Mark by Japan Organics Recycling Association

Second, the thickness is more than 0.05 mm that allows to reuse it and it requires to state state that it is recommended to reuse the bag on the bag itself.

Third, fully (100 percent) marine biodegradable shopping bags.

We are now encouraged to use Eco Bags.

Today, I carry my favorite Eco Bag that my friend gave me years ago, could be a decade…?

I do have a collection of large and durable shopping bags that I bought in the US and given by friends as souvenirs from overseas.

I use them when I visit to COSTCO but now it would be handy when I go to any supermarkets.

Posted in Daily Life, Experience, Family, Feelings, Food, Health, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Restaurants

New Normal: A Table for Three

I took out my parents for dinner at Satsuki, the Hotel New Otani Makuhari.

It’s Father’s Day today, but we missed Mother’s Day due to Stay Home Request so we celebrated both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day today.

We had a nice Italian dinner.

The dinner was nice but when we were ushered to our table (for three), we were all surprised to find the arrangement.

We knew restaurants are recommended to seat customers next each other, not facing each other.

The restaurant was not crowded at all; there are only two couples occupying two corner tables at that time.

Nonetheless, the restaurant arranged our table (for three) to sit next each other.

We were surprised; simultaneously, accepted and make a humor out of the situation.

We are family so we don’t hesitate to talk; we chatted and enjoyed our dinner even we were seated at funny table seating arrangement.

This is one of New Normals that we need to accept from now on.

It became a memorable dinner that we won’t forget.

Posted in Daily Life, Feelings, Friends, Gadget, Health, Japanese Culture, Movie, Tokyo

New Normal: Movie

Tokyo lifted Tokyo Alert and moved businesses to Step 3 on 12 June 2020 (allowing more businesses to reopen such as Karaoke Box) and schedule to allow all businesses to restart on 19 June 2020.

Movie theatre was allowed to reopen on 1 June 2020 when Tokyo shifted Businesses to Step 2.

Accordingly, Toho Cinemas Roppongi opened on 5 June 2020.

It would be nice to watch an action movie, ANNA (Russian KGB Spy Movie) on the big screen.

However, we I learned that there are new normals for watching a movie as well.

The seats are parted by one seat in between.

Even we go in a group, we need to sit according to seating arrangement; we cannot sit next each other.

There are many more NEW NORMALs at the movie theatre to practice.

At the ticketing counter, of course, operated machine is one machine a part.

When we enter, our body temperature would be checked by the thermometer which requires to face the monitor.

Well, I didn’t know every 14th of the month is TOHO CINEMAS DAY so that we can watch a movie for discounted price of JPY 1,200 or USD 12. (Normal Price is JPY 1,900 or USD 19)

The movie was thrilling and breath catching.

It’s nice to watch a movie at the movie theatre.

Posted in Daily Life, Feelings, Friends, Health, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture

New Normal: Virus Shut Out

I was wondering what people on the street are wearing.

It’s smaller than a Corporate ID card.

Only few people wearing it among looks like a group of colleagues so it’s surely not an ID card.

Soon I found out from my friend who is wearing it and giving me this: Virus Shut Out produces by Toa Industry Co Ltd (Tokyo).

It contains sodium chlorite to kill virus for 30 days.

It comes with a neck strap so that we can immediately start wearing it.

Now this also became a part of fashions like masks.

My friend is wearing it with Kumamon character design.

I didn’t know there are choices.

Thank you my friend for considering my health.

Posted in Choco-chan, Exercise, Feelings, Food, Hotel, Japanese Culture, Japanese Food, Nature, Place, Restaurants, Surprise, Tokyo, Travel

Trip to Moto-Hakone

The State of Emergency was lifted; weather is getting nice so decided to go to Moto-Hakone for Onsen (Hot Spring).

Choco found his stay over goods at the entrance so he got excited.

On the way to Moto-Hakone, we stopped to get our lunch and I had my BigMac and Ramune Shake.

Ramune shake (Japanese traditional soda flavored shake) is seasonal and limited menu.

It finishes serving either finishing the ingredients or serving duration.

We arrived Moto-Hakone early so that we stopped at Ashinoko (Ashino Lake).

Some people are enjoying fishing.

I could see a fish, very peaceful.

We checked in at Caro Foresta Moto-Hakone Lucia at 3 pm.

This time, I have chosen a western style room.

There are welcome Onsen Tamago (Hot Spring Boiled Eggs) and cookies for Choco.

These Onsen Tamago were boiled at Ohwakudani: the origin of natural Onsen.

These eggs are also known as good luck because we believe one egg can bring us longer life, 9 years, by eating it.

The air is fresh there.

This hotel is dog friendly and I was busy using facilities for Choco.

First, he exercised at the Dog Run (Dog Playground) at the entrance.

Hakone is famous for Onsen (Hot Spring).

The hotel is equipped with Onsen facility for Choco as well!

He had his first Onsen of his life and it was Iou Onsen (Sulfur based Onsen).

I also dipped myself at Onsen.

After refreshing, I had a nice French for dinner.

All dishes are delicious.

I got so excited when I received the dessert plate!

There is Choco!

After dinner, I took Choco for Indoor Dog Run.

This Indoor Dog Run is opened for 24 hours.

Both of us got tired and slept well.

First thing I did on the next day was dipping in the Onsen.

In the morning, I found a dog greeting me from outside!

I had a nice Japanese breakfast.

After breakfast, I took Choco to the Wood Dog Run.

Again, I took him to the Dog Run at the entrance and Indoor.

The check out time is 11 am; therefore, we rest in the room before checking out.

Choco must have so much fun because he slept in the car on the way back to Tokyo.

I had a big breakfast so I had a late lunch at Misoichi, Nakameguro Shop.

I had a basic Miso Ramen with toppings of corns and butter.

I like it!

After unpacking and resting, went for late quick bite to say hello and congratulate reopening after Stay Home Request to our friend, Sushiya no Goto (Goto’s Sushi Shop), Roppongi.

It’s nice to see smiling face of Taisho (Master) and Mama san (Madam).

I enjoyed Sushi very much after two months!?

It was memorable two days.

Posted in Daily Life, Feelings, Gadget, Japanese Culture, Tokyo, WordPress

New Normal: SNS

Today, many Japanese participate in politics and social issues via SNS, mainly by Twitter.

It is great to know that many of us from various generations have shown interest in politics and social issues.

I’m not a Twitter person because I want to share more than a tweet.

However, one day I might want to participate it so I created an account because Twitter is a major influencer and player in Japan for opinions.

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok and LINE are also influencial in Japan for other targets and purposes.

In order for me to comment freely on SNS; I should take actions as well.

I went to the vote for the election of Minato Ward Mayor.

Posted in Choco-chan, Daily Life, Exercise, Feelings, Food, Health, Japan Technology, Japanese Culture, Shopping, Tokyo, Work

New Normal: Walk to Office

According to the media, on 1 June 2020 (the first Monday after government lifted the State of Emergency), the number of commuters has increased.

To avoid taking subways because I won’t have enough social distancing there, I started to walk to office.

During the State of Emergency, I was required to go to the office twice in a week so I could manage it; however, from 1 June 2020, I’m required to go to the office every weekdays.

As reported in previous blog, it takes 1 hour or 4 km to reach office.

It’s getting warm outside, reaching to 30C with strong sunlight.

Walking with a mask makes me feel hot which leads me to sweat.

Today, I tie my hair.

And carry a drink (amino) in small bottle.

My mask gets wet with my sweat by the time I reach to the office so I keep some (backup) at the office.

In addition, I reinforced footwear.

I have already introduced Asics Walking before.

I started wearing this brand when I hurt my knee because cushions are soft.

I bought other colors and styles that I don’t have yet.

I also bought Tokyo Olympics designed sneaker for memory.

These will surely assist my walking to the office.

Choco checked its quality and approved. hahaha

I’m more ready for next week.