March 2016

Pop Culture

Hyakunin Eshiten (Japan Eshi World)

I recently went to Hyakunin Eshiten at Solaria Stage in Tenjin. This event displays a large collection of Japanese contemporary illustrators. The word, Eshi, originally meant an Ukiyoe painter, but now describes his contemporary fellow artist. Japan Eshi World has been held annually since 2011.


I was so impressed by the superior quality of the works and the surprising variety that I didn’t get tired of looking at them at all. The organizers use this venue to spread information on artists not just within Japan but also to overseas customers. You can also find works by non Japanese Eshi. Since the books of illustrations sold at this event also have English introductions and descriptions, you will be able to understand them in depth.


Live Show

Last month, I went to an EGOIST live show at ZEPP Fukuoka. EGOIST is an imaginary vocalist based on an anime series called Guilty Crown. The real singer, a young woman, does not show her face, as the artist is this fictitious EGOIST. I really didn’t know what to expect.  When the live started, I saw a large screen showing the anime character EGOIST singing, the music did not come from recording. The real singer was wearing a sensor-equipped suit that is connected to the movements of EGOIST on the screen.  This special system is called 3.5 Live.


Since this particular show was at a small venue, the singer was able to answer questions, etc. from the audience. It is not that unusual to listen to anime characters singing, but this was different and fresh. If you have the 3.5 technologies, you can really experience the virtual world of anime live shows. I hope to go to such events again in the future.

Shopping in Hakata-ku

JR Hakata City

This is a large commercial building located at the Hakata Exit of Hakata Station. It contains fashionable shopping venues including Tokyu Hands, the Tokyo Department Store, and Amu Plaza (specialty stores).


In addition to shopping, you can treat yourself to a fabulous meal on the restaurant floor, Kuten, or watch a film at T. Joy Hakata Cinema Complex. There is a large rooftop park called Tsubame no Mori Hiroba where you can walk around in a beautiful garden and attend various events catered towards families with children.  Because of its convenient location, JR Hakata City attracts a number of visitors from young people, families with children, and business travelers.


Today, I would like to introduce Calbee Plus Essence, one of Calbee Corporation’s shops designed to gauge customers’ interest. In this location, you can taste Hankyu’s limited edition potato chips as well as freshly fried chips and special Kyushu potato chips flavored with Kyushu soy sauce, Ishigaki salt, and Mentaiko Butter (flavored cod roe).  These Kyushu flavored chips are 756 yen; freshly fried ones are 310 yen. Mentako Flavor (limited edition in Hakata) is 310 yen.



Kitte means a stamp in Japanese, and KITTE is a new commercial venture of Japan’s Postal Service. There is a KITTE in Tokyo already, and the Fukuoka version is slated to open on April 21st, 2016. Marui, a large retail corporation, is opening its first Kyushu store in this KITTE building. Although Marui is popular among young shoppers for its reasonably priced clothing, 70% of its content in Hakata is supposed to be non-clothing to attract a wide range of customers. I am very excited about this!