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Japanese Culture | Hot Spots | Products | Food

Dec. 2015


Discover the Japanese spin on our familiar holidays UN UNFORGETTABLE NFFORGETTTTAB ABL BLE LE TRAVELS TRA RAVELS LS

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Ka Ka Kasa asa sa Moto’s Mo otto to’s ’s ar a artistic rrttis istic ic c cu cuisine uisi sin ne e PLUS: SIX GIFT IDEAS

Show your kin some love







December 2015 No.10



04 Japanese New Year food

10 MUJI for the holidays

Looking for a little luck this year? Ring in the new year with some of Japan’s most savoury, celebratory foods.

08 Elegant dining in Yorkville Kasa Moto woos diners with upscale ambience and an eclectic menu of Japanese fusion.

It’s that time of year again. Check out these six thoughtful gifts to spread some festive cheer this season.

12 Tech spotlight Panasonic’s technology-focused beauty products bring professional results at the push of a button.


30 Local events

14 A new year’s delight Chewy, delicious and culturally rich, mochi is the traditional food of good tidings for the new year.

16 The Mercedes of sake Take a look into how this world-class sake is made.

42 Ya! Another B-kyu find Experience a different side of fast food at Japanese Fast Food-YA!: authenticity and creativity in a home-cooked style.


Celebrate Japanese culture in your own backyard.

24 Only in Japan

32 Interview: MUJI’s vision

Explore Japan’s delightful, unexpected twist on our familiar Christmas traditions.

We sat down with Satoru Matsuzaki, MUJI’s new president, to discuss the future of the company.

34 Film focus Sion Sono’s latest follows a conflicted sex industry “scout” in a neon-lit morality tale dressed in shiny faux-Armani.

36 Beauty Dramatic or demure, these Japanese beauty trends will inspire you.

38 Memoir Give the gift of presents wrapped with tender loving care this holiday season.

Travel 18 Featured destination: Nikko

40 Otaku store Swing by 401 Games for some fun and quirky Japanese entertainment.

This mountainous region is home to some of Japan’s most celebrated shrines.


Sample classic Japanese dishes with an artistic flair at Kasa Moto

Celebrate 2016 with a Japanese feast right here in Toronto

44 Kyara-ben

26 One-of-a-kind dining

Ready to jazz up your meal in the most adorable way?

Meet the theme restaurant that is a love letter to the city of Kyoto.

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter


Nina Hoeschele

Another issue all wrapped up

As much as we love (or loathe) the familiar trappings of the holiday season, when it comes down to it, no two peoples’ traditions are quite alike. This is especially true for families, like mine, who immigrated here—our Canadian holiday experiences are inevitably infused with some cross-cultural flavour.

Editors Nina Hoeschele, Amanda Plyley, Yumi Nishio Editorial coordinator Nina Hoeschele

That’s why I loved learning about the unique way they celebrate Christmas in Japan (page 24). They may also rely on a white-haired man to deliver the goods … but it’s not Santa!

Writers Amanda Taylor, James Heron, Jenny McKechnie, Junko Mita, M Crowson, Sheena Kirkbride, Shelley Suzuki, Rondie Li, Rudolf Janns, Yumi Nishio

And while New Year’s is an occasion that can sometimes feel anticlimactic, you’ll be hard-pressed to feel disappointed if you cap off your celebration with an extravagant Japanese New Year’s feast (page 04).

Designers Chiyako Mukai, Reiko Ema

We’ve also collected some advice to help you find the perfect gift for that special someone (page 10)— or perhaps that special otaku? (page 40)—in your life. But don’t forget: more than presents, this time of year is ultimately about togetherness. Oh, and gorging yourself (page 42). Happy holidays!

Photographers Kazu Maruyama, Mari Otsuka

Web designer Hiroyuki Azuma

Production assistants Michelle Trichilo, Chihiro Segawa, Yoo Kyung Jung Publisher Kazu Maruyama

Bento Box Communication Inc.

ISSN 2368-9153


360 Bloor St. W. Suite 207, Toronto ON M5S 1X1


Phone: 416-847-6799







一年の無事を祈ってお正月にいただく、 日本の伝統料理



Looking for a little luck this year? Ring me of Japan’s in the new year with some most savoury, celebratory ry foods. By Rondie Li

Ebi Kinkan

Kuromame Kazunoko 04


Good food, good fortune, good future Looking ahead to a new year Out with the old and in with the new—it’s time ime e ffor o or a fresh start! The new year is upon us, and whether er you’re heading out for a night on the town, planning to enjoy a quiet gathering with loved ones or skipping the countdown in favour of a good night’s rest, est, the passing of a new year is a time to pause and reflect on the year behind while looking forward to o the one utions as a ahead. Many Canadians set New Year’s resolutions way to identify goals and prepare for the future, and a similar tradition is followed in Japan. Ichinen no kei ha gantan ni ari (一年の計は元旦にあり) is a phrase to explain that New Year’s Day is the day to plan for the rest of year. Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be. For many Japanese, it’s also a time of year to be mindful of superstitions, otherwise known as engi (縁起). There are things you can do to keep bad luck away, including enjoying delicious osechi-ryȬri (おせち料理), lucky foods eaten to celebrate the beginning of the year.

unlucky in the kitchen!). Osechi have adapted and changed over the years, starting as humble meals comprised of boiled vegetables and progressing all the way to the present day wherein a wide variety of symbolic treats are represented. Each osechi contains ingredients that vary by prefectures and districts, and there are even Western- or Chinese-style osechi for those who wish to stray from convention and try something a little different. Good luck never tasted so good! But if we’re referring to osechi must-haves, we’re talking about jyubako (重箱). The literal translation of jyubako (“stacked box”) is an accurate description of its appearance. These beautiful and elegant compartmentalized boxes are similar to bento boxes except that they have multiple tiers that are nested and stacked with a variety of treats. Symbolically, these boxes represent fuku wo kasaneru (福を重ねる, meaning “piling up fortune”) or medetasa ga kasanaru (めでたさが重なる, meaning “piling up happiness”). Traditionally a jyubako contains four levels, but these days it’s likely only to be three unless a large family is celebrating together. Each level carries its own significance and purpose, and the levels don’t necessarily have to be enjoyed in sequence.

The tastiest way to improve your luck Osechi-ryȬri—or osechi for short—originally meant festival food. Traditionally, the word “festival” refers to five festivals celebrated throughout the year, collectively known as gosekku (五節句). These days, however, the term osechi refers mainly to new year food. Food is an integral part of Japanese culture and folklore; according to superstition, it is bad luck to cook meals within the first three days of the new year—with zȬni (雑煮) being an exception. Osechi are prepared in advance at the end of the previous year to avoid a troubled fate, but in more recent years, osechi can be purchased at various grocery and convenience stores (perfect for those who are superstitious but find themselves



or district, it can have a base of fish, chicken, mushrooms, vegetables, miso or anything in between. Enjoying zȬni is not limited to New Year’s Day—this scrumptious dish is perfect for any time of the year.

:KDWPDWWHUVPRVW While the many elements of osechi may seem overwhelming at first, they are really just a blueprint for you to customize in a way that best suits your New Year’s celebration. Above all, consuming osechi is more than just a symbolic gesture for good fortune—it’s a way to enjoy delicious food with those you care about most. And you don’t need to be superstitious to appreciate time with family and friends over a good meal.

*HWWLQJDWDVWHIRU\RXUVHOI Now that you’ve mastered the intricacies of Japanese New Year’s food, the only thing left is to get your tastebuds in on the action. But don’t worry, there’s no need to go looking for your passport! Some of Toronto’s Japanese restaurants will be offering their own takes on osechi to help you ring in 2016. Check out some of the offerings on the next page—just make sure to plan ahead so that you don’t miss out on your chance to dig in. Bon appétit … and Happy New Year!

/HYHORQH6QDFNV The first level is called iwai-zakana (祝い肴 or celebratory food) and kuchitori (口取り or hors d’oeuvre). This level contains savoury snacks which are meant to be served with otoso (お 蘇), a sake typically enjoyed during New Year’s celebrations. Items on this level include black soybeans as a wish for good health, chestnut gold mash for wealth and prosperity, kombu rolls for happiness, datemaki (a sweet rolled omelette) for knowledge and wisdom, tazukuri for a good harvest season and fish cakes for good luck.

/HYHOWZR0HDWDQGÀVK Traditionally, the second level contains sunomono (酢の物), pickled food representing fortune from the mountains, and may also include yakimono (焼き物), grilled food representing fortune from the sea. This level is the equivalent to the “main course” of the jyubako and includes herring roe for prosperity, pickled lotus for a clear focus on the future, amberjack for fertility, grilled sea bream to celebrate achievements and congratulations, pounded burdock for a stable future and grilled prawns for a long life.

/HYHOWKUHH9HJHWDEOHV Balance is key to jyubako, and vegetables play an important role in any meal. The third level of jyubako is dedicated to boiled vegetables and is called nimono (煮物). Assorted seasonal vegetables or chikuzen-ni (筑前煮) are the main feature and are meant to represent a happy growing family. Taro, burdock root, lotus root and peas are some of the delicious vegetables waiting to be savoured at this level.

7KHOXFNLHVWVRXSEURWK Aside from osechi, zȬni is another popular dish at the turning of the new year. ZȬni is a soup broth and, depending on the prefecture 06


Chikuzen-ni 'HFRUDWLYH GHOLFLRXVQHVV Kagami-mochi (鏡もち) is another new year staple. Consisting of two stacked mochi with a bitter orange placed on top, kagami-mochi is said to represent the passing and coming years, the human heart, yin and yang or the sun and the moon. The bitter orange is said to symbolize the growth of a family over generations.

Have your New Year’s feast right here in the city -DSDQHVHÁDYRXUVLQHOHJDQWIXVLRQ

Nakamori Japanese Restaurant ÌÊ >Ž>“œÀˆ]ÊޜÕÊV>˜ÊŽˆVŽÊœvvÊޜÕÀʘiÜÊ year with a three-storey bento box that offers up both luxury and creativity. You’ll receive a beautiful assortment of Japanese dishes, including a rich zͻni featuring bacon-wrapped mochi and flavours of mussel and coriander. Finally, your feast will conclude with some delicious dessert. The New Year’s meal will be available from Saturday, Jan. 2, until Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Reservations are required. New Year’s meals are limited in quantity (10 per day). Price: ՏÊÌܜ‡«iÀܘʓi>Êf£Óä Hours:Ê­՘V…®Ê/ÕiÃqÀˆÊ££\ÎäÊ>“qÓÊ«“ÊUÊ­ ˆ˜˜iÀ®Ê/ÕiÃq->ÌÊx\ÎäÊ«“q™\ÎäÊ«“Ê

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A festive take on Japanese tradition

A taste that’s truly worthy of Toronto

Sushi Bar Sushiya

Yunaghi Gastronomie Japonaise

Some truly Japanese tastes will be offered at Sushi Bar Sushiya this new year, including zͻni made with bonito stock, bountiful vegetables and a festive scattering of gold leaf. Meanwhile, the homemade osechi plate will provide a great sampling of traditional flavours, from candied chestnuts to rolled omelette to an assortment of fresh seafood.

Yunaghi serves a unique cuisine that combines Japanese traditions with the multicultural aspects of Toronto. For the new year, Yunaghi will offer an elegant tasting menu— including the chef’s masterful zͻni: rich and flavourful kelp broth with Japanese white radish, carrots, yuzu and arugula, all topped off with roasted duck or chicken on mochi.

The New Year’s menu will be available from Saturday, Jan. 2, to Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. New Year’s dishes are limited in quantity (10 per day). Price: Zͻ˜ˆÊÊfÈ°xäÊUÊ"ÃiV…ˆÊ«>ÌiÊf£Î°xä Hours:Ê/…Õqœ˜Êx\ÎäÊ«“q£ÓÊ>“Ê­>ÃÌʜÀ`iÀÊ££Ê«“®ÊUÊ œÃi`ʜ˜Ê iÜÊ9i>À½ÃÊ >Þ Contact:Ê£™ÎÊ >ÀÌœ˜Ê-Ì°]Ê/œÀœ˜ÌœÊUÊÈ{LJÎxӇ™{xÈÊUÊÜÜÜ°â>ŽŽÕň°Vœ“ÉÃÕňÞ>

The Japanese New Year tasting menu will be available from Saturday, Jan. 2, until Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. Reservations are required. Price: LJ`ˆÃ…ÊfÇÇÊUʙ‡`ˆÃ…Êf™™ÊUÊ££‡`ˆÃ…Êf£££ Hours: 7i`q-՘Êx\Î䫓q œÃiÊ­>ÃÌʜÀ`iÀʙ\ÎäÊ«“®ÊUÊ œÃi`ʜ˜Ê iÜÊ9i>À½ÃÊ >Þ Contact:ÊxÎnÊ>˜˜ˆ˜}ÊÛi°]Ê/œÀœ˜ÌœÊUÊ{£È‡xnn‡ÇnÈÓÊUÊÜÜÜ°Þ՘>}…ˆ°Vœ“



Best of Toronto

By Amanda Taylor Restaurant

Elegant dining in Yorkville Kasa Moto woos diners with upscale ambience and an eclectic menu of Japanese fusion.



Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!

Some restaurants use pretty décor as a smokescreen for mediocre fare. Not so at Kasa Moto. The newest venture from the Chase Hospitality Group, this restaurant and lounge in Yorkville is a win on all counts with highquality ingredients, innovative dishes, artistic presentation—and a huge rooftop patio with comfortable, sofa-like seating.

Hamachi Ponzu

Kasa Moto opened this past spring and features classic Japanese dishes with a contemporary twist. One of the menu’s artistic offerings is the Grilled Sea Bass, garnished with seaweed and dusted with a concoction of

tabasco powder that gives it a deep and spicy kick. Another popular item is the Rock Shrimp Tempura. Lightly flavoured and sprinkled with yuzu pepper, it’s the perfect pairing to a cocktail. Soft lighting, subtle lounge music and attentive servers set the tone for a dining experience that’s a delight to all the senses. Though destroying the colourful and immaculate presentation may cause slight pangs of guilt, it’s worth it as the food is every bit as appetizing as it looks. The restaurant uses a mix of ingredients imported from Japan, like authentic wasabi, and fresh meat and fish from right here in Canada. For a trendy lounge and quality Japanese cuisine that lives up to the ambience, you can’t beat Kasa Moto.

One of the menu’s most popular dishes, the Hamachi Ponzu sashimi is fresh and full of flavour, with a light yuzu infusion.

The Kasa Moto Roll Kasa Moto’s signature sushi roll combines spicy salmon with scallops and lobster for a mouthwatering fusion delicacy.

Grilled Sea Bass Featuring the unlikely combination of dried tabasco and seaweed flakes, Kasa Moto’s Grilled Sea Bass is spicy and delicious.

Soba Salad

Tableside Yakiniku Kasa Mato’s Yakiniku (self-cooked barbecue) uses top-quality Japanese Wagyu beef. The soft, savoury meat pairs beautifully with the house-made sauces.

This healthy salad features Japanese buckwheat noodles infused with green tea. It’s garnished with a creamy sesame dressing and crumbled cashews.

Kasa Moto TEL: 647-348-7000 115 Yorkville Ave., Toronto "* Ê"1,-\œ˜qÀˆÊ££Ê>“q œÃiÊUÊ->Ìq-Õ˜Ê 10:30 am–Close



Special lifestyle feature

MUJI for the holidays Gifts to spread some festive cheer It’s that time of year again. December has arrived, bringing us all the joy of the holiday season—and the opportunity to show our loved ones some appreciation! Create your own gift-set compositions and wrap them up with MUJI’s fantastic wrapping accessories. It will make your gifts more personal, fun and memorable.


Non-woven Wrapping Cloth, Masking Tape, Wrapping Bags Gusset Type and Chiyogami: Fun and unique wrapping ideas!

These eye-catching wrapping products help you put the finishing touch on your thoughtful gifts.

Try this traditional Japanese wrapping cloth called furoshiki. It’s eco-friendly and suits gifts of any shape. MUJI’s simple and cool-shaped gusset bags are another way to dress up your seasonal gifts. Complete your wrapping using beautifully patterned chiyogami and elegantly designed masking tapes.


Non-woven Wrapping Cloth: $3.00 Wrapping Bags Gusset Type (available in 5 sizes): $4.00–8.00 Masking Tape (3pc): $6.00 Chiyogami: $4.50

Porcelain Tray and Ring Holder: ,SLNHU[JOPJHUKYLÄULK Display your favourite accessories with these softly curved trays and corn-shaped ring holders. Keep them wherever you remove your rings, glasses or watches. The round trays and ring holders are also available in five colours, which can match any room in your home. Porcelain Tray: Small $7.50 Large $12.00, Round $5.50 Porcelain Ring Holder: $5.00





Wool Ribbed Scarf and Wool Ribbed Watch Cap: Stay comfy in style.

These cosy, warm and soft-textured watch caps and scarf sets aare great Christmas gifts for everyone. The simple des design looks great with any outfit—so these items will kkeep you warm and stylish. Wool Ribbed Scarf: $39.00 Wool Ribbed Watch Cap: $39.00


Toning Water and Moisturizing Milk:

The perfect gift for the skincare lover.

As the temperature begins to drop, the air becomes dry and our skin needs special care. Formulated with spring water and other natural ingredients, MUJI’s skincare products help keep your skin looking smooth and healthy. Toning Water: 50 mL $4.50, 200 mL $10.00 Moisturizing Milk: 50 mL $4.50–5.50, 200 mL $10.00–11.50

For more information

Porcelain Teapot and Dong Ding Oolong Tea: Warm up in wintertime.

It is time to enjoy the indoor pleasures of hot drinks from a beautiful teapot. There is no doubt that this traditional, yet modern teapot would be anyone’s favourite. It makes a unique and cool gift. Porcelain Teapot: $25.00 Dong Ding Oolong Tea: $5.00


Notebook, Pen Case and Pen:

Create your ideal stationery set.

Bring a smile to someone’s face with your original stationery from MUJI’s extensive collection. They are the biggest sellers at MUJI’s downtown location—because they’re suited for anyone, from children to adults. Afforestation Paper Notebook: $4.00 | Hexagonal Twin Pen: $1.25 Aluminum Pen Case: $9.00

MUJI Atrium

MUJI Square One

Atrium, 20 Dundas St. W., C-03, Toronto Tel. 416-591-2233

Square One Shopping Centre, 100 City Centre Dr., Mississauga Tel. 905-276-2737

Store Hours: Mon–Fri 10 am–8 pm ->ÌÊ£äÊ>“qÇÊ«“ÊUÊ-՘ʣ£Ê>“qxÊ«“

Store Hours: Mon–Fri 10 am–9 pm ->Ìʙ\ÎäÊ>“q™Ê«“ÊUÊ-՘ʣ£Ê>“qÇÊ«“

ore n m res! e v e to Find UJI’s s in M



Tech spotlight

Technological innovations for beauty

Panasonic’s technology-focused beauty products bring professional results at the push of a button. Who better to trust with the engineering of your beauty products than one of Japan’s leading electronics companies? Flat-screen TVs and cameras might be the first things that come to mind when you hear the word “Panasonic,” but the versatile company has also been innovating in the world of beauty products since 1937. The same level of cutting-edge technology and thoughtful design that characterizes Panasonic’s more mainstream products is also showcased in each of its offerings that are engineered to beautify its customers. The Nano-Ionic Facial Steamer is an example of where Panasonic brought together some of its 12


best engineers to get tech geeks and beauty queens equally excited. Ultrafine nanoparticles flow out in the form of steam that is hundreds of times smaller than normal steam, and they penetrate down to the deeper layers of your skin to retain moisture—which is the key to helping skin appear younger and elastic. This machine rivals the finest steamers in professional spas and is a must-have item for people serious about taking care of their skin.

Ionic Facial Steamer Steam made with nanoparticles deep-cleans your pores and penetrates the skin with lasting moisture. Choose from two steamtherapy sessions depending on your skin’s needs: full (six minutes) or half (three minutes).

It’s all because of Nanoe TM

Nanoe TM is Panasonic’s claim to fame: it’s a technology that produces nano-sized electrostatic atomized water particles, or more simply put, ionized droplets that provide moisture for smooth and shiny hair.

only does the dryer protect your hair and scalp from heat damage, but it restores moisture back into them. The tiny NanoeTM particles are thousands of times smaller than regular steam, and absorb deep into the hair strands from root to end to give you healthy and shiny hair. You won’t want to dry your hair with anything else after you see how instantly silky and shiny this dryer makes it—and you’ll certainly be grateful to have it during the dry winter months ahead.



No more bad hair days with this moisturizing dryer The NanoeTM Hair Dryer uses NanoeTM technology to create an unprecedented kind of dryer that directly infuses moisture captured from the air into each hair strand while you dry it. Not

Quick Dry Nozzle for healthy drying

Nanoe Hair Dryer

This nozzle emits alternating airflows to separate hair for rapid and efficient drying. The unique mechanism dries hair from the root for a healthy and beautiful scalp.

Designed with your hair’s health in mind, this nourishing dryer comes with settings and attachments that allow styling for all hair types and hairstyles.


Enhancing your beauty regimen Add some drama to your lashes You use hot curlers to curl your hair, so why wouldn’t you use a hot eyelash curler? The Heated Eyelash Curler uses gentle heat and rotation to give your eyelashes a longer-lasting curl. You can control if you want natural or dramatic curls, and it works beautifully both before and after applying mascara. The detachable comb makes it infinitely reusable and easy for you to keep it clean. This curler is battery

operated, meaning no fussing with a cord, while its sleek design lets you can carry it with you wherever you go.

Handle gel nail polish like a pro Do you love gel nail polish for its robustness but hate it for the impossible task of removing it? Most of us either make the dreaded trip back to the nail salon or sit at home peeling it endlessly. Panasonic has created a solution for such woes

with its Gel Nail Polish Remover. A gel-sanding attachment quickly buffs the gel, making it easier to remove with nail polish remover. After the gel is softened, it can be gently peeled away from your nails. Two other attachments— the filing attachment and the cuticle remover attachment—are salon-grade tools that let you easily and expertly beautify your nails.

Beauty devices by the leader in electronics Panasonic has long held its reputation as a company that produces cutting-edge and solid electronics—and you would certainly want your beauty tools to be just as effective and reliable, since they are some of your most personal and frequently used devices. Always several steps ahead of everyone else, Panasonic innovates and reinvents products in ways that challenge our conventional thinking. The company builds its products based on serious scientific research and engineering that can span decades and involve hundreds of dedicated experts, which is why there is no better place to find something to boost your beauty regimen.

Nail Gel Remover Heated Eyelash Curler Longer-lasting curls and no more of the crimping or pinching that you get from conventional eyelash curlers.

Peeling away those stubborn gels is a cinch with this handy and multifunctional little tool.

Panasonic Canada Inc. 5770 Ambler Dr., Mississauga Products available at



Flavour of the month

By Sheena Kirkbride Ingredient

煮ても焼いても美味しいお餅。 一年の幸せを祈り、 美味しくいただこう。

Mochi musings A treasured part of Japanese cuisine, mochi is culturally significant in more ways than one. Mochi is popular among athletes because of its compact size and richness in carbohydrates. In fact, it is 35 per cent richer in carbohydrates than its equal amount in rice. Depending on the region, mochi is moulded into circles (Kansai region) or rectangles (Kanto region).

Mochi 餅


A new year’s delight Ring in the new year with mochi, one of Japan’s chewy, delicious and culturally rich foods. Air horns and cheering are often associated with New Year celebrations in Canada, but in Japan, it’s the sound of a mallet pounding on rice.

Its chewy texture and mild flavour make mochi a versatile companion to various foods, much like the role played by white rice.

Step out into town on New Year’s Day in Japan and you’ll find grand festivities and celebrations taking place on every corner. With kimono-clad crowds heading to local shrines to pray for good luck and fortune in the coming year, the streets are filled with busy stalls and festive shoppers—but nothing is more symbolic of the new year than the activity of mochitsuki, or the making of mochi by pounding rice in a large wood or stone pestle. People line up to take turns holding a heavy mallet and pounding the sticky white substance as the surrounding crowd cheers and shouts. Eventually, after enough pounding, the substance is transformed into chewy cakes which are handed out to everyone.

Rice and mochi have historically been considered the food of the gods in Japan. A famous legend tells the story of a rich man who disgracefully used leftover rice to make mochi as a practice target for his bow and arrow. Before he could release his arrow, the mochi turned into a white swan and flew away. Thereafter, the man’s rice fields were devastated and his family fell into ruins—the moral of the story being that rice and mochi should not be used wastefully. Mochitsuki is a ritual that brings whole communities together to symbolize the preparation of foods for the gods, who in turn bring forth a fruitful and blessed year.

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from mochigome, a sticky and sweet type of rice that is pounded into a paste and moulded into shapes. Although it was traditionally consumed in savoury dishes on New Year’s Day, it is now eaten yearround and widely used in desserts. In fact, you might be familiar with the heavenly and delicious mochi ice cream (mochi filled with ice cream), which can be found almost anywhere nowadays. 14


A New Year’s staple, the kagami mochi is a traditional decoration made with two flat and round mochi—a small one on top of a larger one—that symbolizes a seat for the gods. The Shinto belief is that the gods of the new year reside on these mochi until a ritualized eating of them (kagami biraki) on the second Saturday or Sunday in January, at which point the spiritual power of the gods enters the body to renew the eater’s life force for the rest of the year.

Because of its chewy and dense texture, mochi is a serious choking hazard. Each New Year’s Day, dozens of people reportedly choke to death. Remember to take small bites! An early predecessor of mochi ice cream using rice starch and rice milk appeared in 1981. Mochi ice cream as we know it was made popular stateside by a Japanese-American woman in the 1990s. It can now be found in grocery stores across North America, Japan, Europe and Africa.

Mochi is eaten in various ways, including in zͻni (a soup eaten on New Year’s Day), daifuku (soft mochi stuffed with sweet red bean paste), shiruko (a sweet dessert soup with azuki beans), or simply toasted, dipped in soy sauce and wrapped in seaweed. You can find packages of plain, dried mochi in most Asian grocery stores, and they’re easily prepared by cooking in a toaster oven for four to six minutes.



Drink up!

By Sheena Kirkbride Sake

雄町米特有のやわらかな香りと甘み。 時代に左右されず、飽きの来ない極上純米大吟醸。


Hangover no more You won’t wake up in the morning with regrets when you drink this super-refined beverage.

Junmai Daiginjo Bizen-Omachi


純米大吟醸 備前雄町

The Mercedes of sake Take a look into how this world-class sake is made.

ou hear a lot about the quality of grapes when wine is discussed, but did you know that the quality of rice is just as important in sakemaking? The sake masters at the long-standing Kyoto brewery Tamanohikari are no strangers to this fact. A selection of the finest rice grains are hand-chosen by the discerning brewers—and in fact, these brewers are so intimately familiar with the importance of good rice that they get involved by going out into the rice paddies each spring, dressed in long rubber boots, to join the farmers in the planting process.


Pure rice Once the carefully cultivated and high-quality grains are harvested, they are taken to the brewery to start the purification process. The purification or polishing process is the milling of rice grains to strip them of their outer shells, where there is protein, bran, fatty acids and other components that are undesirable in sake. A lot of skill and patience is needed in this purification process, which is slow and gentle to prevent cracking the rice kernels or generating too much heat. It takes Tamanohikari between 30 and 48 hours to mill down to less than 50 per cent of the original grain size, leaving only the purest and most delicious elements of the rice to be used in the Junmai Daiginjo Bizen-Omachi. 16


Nature’s bliss Tamanohikari is situated in Fushimi, Kyoto Prefecture, where incredibly pristine and pure groundwater flows. In fact, the water here was recognized in a survey by the Ministry of the Environment in 1985 as being one of the top 100 waters in Japan. Nature’s secret recipe for this pure and delicious water lends to the splendid flavours of Tamanohikari in a way that can’t be imitated anywhere else in the world.

Supreme rice plants that require unique cultivation techniques give harvest to Omachi rice or Okuhomare rice. These plants grow much taller than typical rice plants and produce grains with unique structures that are ideal - for brewing premium sake. Little pearls of starch make up the core of each rice grain, with other elements like fatty acids and proteins wrapped around it—unlike ordinary rice, in which these components are mixed together throughout the grain. The fatty acids, a cause of hangovers, are stripped away in Tamanohikari’s polishing process to create a sake that is delicious and gentle to your body.

Koji brings the rice to life Koji, or the mould that is used for fermentation, is massaged into the polished rice by the hands of the sake masters. The koji process requires an incredible amount of skill and experience, as constant fine-tuning is required to get the perfect amount of fermentation.

Top class The pure and simple ingredients of Tamanohikari make it a smooth sake that’s gentler on your stomach than the average bottle. Bursting with aroma and full-bodied, the flavours are delicately balanced between sweet and dry with notes of peach, apple and pear. This sake can be served hot or cold, or even on ice, depending on your mood. Junmai Daiginjo, considered the Mercedes of sake, makes up only 5 per cent of the sake market because of the skill and time required to make it. If you want to find out what real sake tastes like, there’s no better place to start. The Tamanohikari Omachi “Gold” Junmai Daiginjo 300mL bottle is available for $17.05 at the LCBO.



Featured destination

By Amanda Taylor Travel

世界遺産に登録されたパワースポット。 四季折々の美しい自然が待つ日光へ


A hub of Japanese beauty and culture

While not as well-known as Kyoto, this mountainous region a couple of hours north of Tokyo is home to one of Japan’s most celebrated shrines. ©JNTO



Find beauty and peace in Nikko

©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Nikko 【日光】

©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

ne a d o K ishi

T Photos: left and middle © Michelle Trichilo, right ©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

he saying goes that you haven’t seen beauty until you’ve seen Nikko. Cradled in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture, Nikko is famous for its exquisite scenery and stunning complex of temples and shrines. In autumn, the most popular season to visit, the mountains are painted in vibrant reds and oranges as the leaves change. It’s possible to do Nikko in a day, especially if you stick to the central area, but to see all that Nikko has to offer spending a few days is ideal. Shinkyo Bridge, a gorgeous vermillion structure belonging to Futarasan Shrine, marks the entrance to central Nikko. The complex including Rinnoji Temple, Futarasan Shrine and Toshogu Shrine is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the buildings are connected by a peaceful walking path lined with cedar trees. Toshogu is the undisputed crown jewel of Nikko. The lavish, colourful shrine was built for Ieyasu Tokugawa, the founder of the Edo Shogunate— the last Shogunate in Japan. Among the hallmarks of Toshogu is the famous wise monkeys carving (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil), which

can be found above the sacred stable. The sleeping cat carving, attributed to the famous carver Jingorou Hidari, is also considered a national treasure. This year marked the 400th anniversary of Ieyasu u Tokugawa’s death and was commemorated with festivals throughout, hroughout, including a procession of a thousand decorated “warriors” escorting a portable shrine. Early morning is the best time to visit as the crowds can be overwhelming during the day. The shrine is open from 8 am, though visitors should be aware that Toshogu is undergoing renovations until March 2019. The Taiyuinbyo is a less elaborate version of Toshogu dedicated to Iemitsu Tokugawa, the grandson of Ieyasu Tokugawa and third Shogun of the Edo Shogunate. Futarasan Shrine is dedicated to Nikko’s mountain deities, and Rinnoji Temple was founded by the Buddhist monk who brought Buddhism to Nikko in the eighth century.

Th The Kanmangafuchi Abyss is a bit of a walk from the complex, but iit’s worth the extra effort. A white river rushes beneath the trees while a famous line of statues depicting the Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo sit sentinel along the gorge in various staghilo es of preservation. It’s said if you Tric lle che i count the statues you’ll never come M © up with the same number twice. Because of the distance, there are fewer tourists here and it’s a nice break from the busy air of the temples. About an hour’s bus ride up the Irohazaka Winding Road leads to Oku-Nikko, or inner Nikko. Beautiful Lake Chuzenji and its namesake shrine dominate the area. Also of note is pristine Kegon Falls, and a hike through the picturesque Senjogahara marshlands is like walking through a painting. The Yumoto Onsen area boasts hot springs rich in sulphur which are smelly, but great for the skin. The annual Yumoto Onsen Snow Festival, an exhibition of snow sculptures, takes place here in January and February. These incredibly detailed



Exploration, relaxation and entertainment

Nikko Kamen 【日光仮面】 Cities and prefectures in Japan are in a heated battle for best mascot. Nikko Kamen (loosely translated as “the masked Nikko”) is Nikko’s superheroinspired mascot.

sculptures draw tourists every year, and there are light and music shows once the sun sets. Best of all, this festival is free. Edo Wonderland theme park (Edomura), in the Kinugawa Onsen area, recreates medieval Japan—including an edge-of-your-seat ninja show. It’s a good place to pick up souvenirs like sweets or engraved ninja stars. Nikko is easily accessible by train, and discount passes like the All Nikko Pass are available from Tobu Railway. The pass is valid for four days and includes round-trip fare from Asakusa in Tokyo to Tobu Nikko station, rides on Tobu buses, and access to Toshogu, Futarasan and Rinnoji. For more information see Continues on page 24

idge r B o y k Shin

日光 Experience Nikko’s true natural beauty

Taking the Irohazaka Winding Road to inner Nikko is an experience in its own right. The road is famous for its dizzying turns and beautiful mountain vistas.



The town of Yumoto Onsen is centred on a hot spring, so this water isn’t imported. Enjoy a mineralrich soak after a long day of sightseeing.

At Edo Wonderland, visitors can experience Japan’s Edo period through ninja shows and even by dressing up as one of the townspeople.



日光ゆば Yuba: Nikko’s hometown delicacy

Yuba is the skin that forms on top of soy milk in the process of making tofu. It became popular in Nikko due to the number of vegetarian Buddhist priests in the area, who exist on a diet heavily made up of soybeans. Yuba is served in a number of ways including cooked in soy sauce, deep-fried and served in udon soup.

Lemon gyunyu B級 グル Forget メ lemonade. Try Lemon Milk!

Photo by あばさー


Nikko’s eats and treats

Kanto Tochigi Lemon is a milky, lemon-flavoured drink that’s famous in Tochigi Prefecture. Though it’s not quite milk and not quite lemonade—and doesn’t necessarily include either in its list of ingredients—it’s definitely a unique treat: the super-sweet drink tastes like the leftover milk in a bowl of fruity breakfast cereal. Skip the bowl and go straight for the good stuff! Just start off with a small box, as the sugary taste can be overwhelming for the uninitiated.

Courtesy of Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd.

おみやげ Souvenirs Nikko has tons of omiyage (souvenirs) for travellers hoping to bring home a piece of this beautiful city. From a buffet of delicious regional delicacies to gorgeous handicrafts, there’s a lot to choose from. Try a bottle of local sake, made with Nikko’s highly lauded rice and clear mountain water. Or pick up a Nikkobori carving featuring flower motifs such as the cherry blossoms or peonies. And don’t miss out on the area’s stunning Ashioyaki ceramics.


Tochiotome Strawberry flavour Tochigi Prefecture is famous for its Tochiotome— big, bright red strawberries known for their balanced flavour. The limited-edition Collon available in Tochigi Prefecture uses Tochiotome for its filling.

Mizu-youkan Mizu-youkan is a refreshing, jelly-like dessert made of Japanese sweet red beans ground into a paste. In Nikko, mizu-youkan is made with Tochigi’s pure mountain water.

All photos courtesy of Nikko City Tourism Association unless otherwise noted



Japanese Culture | Hot Spots | Products | Food

Oden Winter comfort food Next Issue Jan, 2016



Cultural curiosity

By M Crowson Only in Japan

Celebrating on Christmas island Explore Japan’s delightful, unexpected twist on this traditional holiday. イチゴショートのクリスマスケーキにKFC。 日本独特のクリスマスの過ごし方 It’s that time of year: the halls are decked with boughs of holly, plastic baby Jesus is cozied up in your neighbour’s front yard, children are jostling for presents under the tree and mistletoe kisses are in the air. For most North Americans, Christmas is a family-centred spiritual holiday with an ample side of shopping, along with some obligatory Santa Claus-style cosplay. But if you’re in Japan on Christmas, get ready for a whole different kind of celebration. Only a tiny fraction of a fraction of the Japanese population identifies as Christian—most Japanese identify to varying degrees as Buddhist or Shinto—so you’ll be hard-pressed to find any carolers or nativity scenes. Despite this, Christmas in Japan comes with much fanfare, plenty of festive decorations and the warm, fuzzy spread of happiness. However, the defining characteristic of Christmas in Japan is not religion, but romance. Long considered a holiday for couples, Christmas Eve is a day for Japanese lovers to dress up, have a fancy dinner and enjoy the atmospheric view of evening lights, especially in the big city. Any fan of Japanese dramas has seen the classic Christmas scene where the main couple gets



the iconic, at-home Japanese Christmas dinner: Kentucky Fried Chicken. That’s right, Colonel Sanders, not Santa, is the white-haired man making magic happen in Japan on December 24. But even KFC diners need to call a week in advance—and then wait in long lines to pick up their order.

together after a dramatic conflict, or confesses their love for each other at long last. Christmas in Japan is more romantic and reciprocal than Valentine’s Day (when women are obligated to make or buy chocolate for the men in their lives, including co-workers). Rather than saving the major celebrations for Christmas Day, Japanese ladies and gents spend Christmas Eve giving each other gifts, and they have to make dinner reservations months in advance at fancy restaurants, which offer special holiday menus. But if the Japanese aren’t coupling up at chic restaurants on Christmas Eve, they’re savouring

When the Japanese are done with that finger-licking chicken dinner, they partake in a delicious, classic Christmas cake. Christmas cake is a little bit like North American strawberry shortcake, but the quality will blow your corner grocery’s baked goods out of the water. Starting with a light vanilla sponge cake topped with airy swirls of whipped cream frosting, these tasty treats are decorated with plump red strawberries and slivers of chocolate, then cheerfully adorned with holiday messages. It wasn’t long ago that these treats had an oppressive symbolic power. There was a popular saying that a woman over 25 was like a Christmas cake after December 25—stale and undesirable. Luckily, this distasteful connotation has become passé in recent years, leaving us with only the sweet justice of women who have their cake and eat it too.

Know the Christmas DOs and DON’Ts

HOW TO DECK THE (JAPANESE) HALLS Japan’s adaptation of Christmas is an affectionate ritual that fits with the spirit of love and togetherness we associate with this Christian shindig. If you’re celebrating in Japan, here are some tips:

DO love the one you’re with.

DO rely on Colonel Sanders.

KFC puts out a very special menu for Christmas Eve, so get your butt over to the franchise chicken shack.

If you have a secret crush, tonight’s the night for you to kokuhaku: to confess your feelings to the apple of your eye.

DON’T skip work.

Christmas isn’t a national holiday, so you’ll just have to dream about that hot date while you handle the boss’s paperwork. Illustrations by Chieko Watanabe



One-of-a-kind dining

By Jenny McKechnie Restaurant in Tokyo


Tokyo hearts Kyoto Meet the theme restaurant that is a love letter to the city of Kyoto. So, you find yourself in Tokyo for a quick business trip or a couple days’ stopover. You want to see as much as you can—and explore as much Japanese cuisine as possible—in a limited amount of time. Well, if this is your predicament, there is some good news to share—and that good news goes by the name of Kyomachi Koishigure. Without stepping outside of Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, this theme restaurant will transport you to the streets of Kyoto and give you the opportunity to taste the dishes that have put Kyoto dining on the map. Before we get into the food, let’s talk atmosphere. Without a doubt, this restaurant has a comfortable, cosy ambience. Tokyo is known for its lights, busy streets and fun attractions, but stepping into this space is like entering a whole other world. Kyoto, although a large city in its own right, was the imperial capital of Japan for over a thousand 26


years. It is a city steeped in history, and it’s visually spectacular with its traditional buildings and lush surroundings. Kyomachi Koishigure seats 365 patrons, but captures the romanticism of ancient Kyoto’s streets and architecture. Be prepared to go up some stairs, cross a couple of bridges, gaze at the beautiful cherry blossoms and walk along a stream en route to your private dining area. Venturing into this theme restaurant is like venturing into another corner of Japan—all without leaving Tokyo, of course! In terms of cost, especially when considering that the cost of the average theme restaurant can run higher than other establishments, this pick is really a winning choice.

Dine in the old capital (without leaving the new capital)

d l an u f r s ou Col eliciou re d o fa t Kyo

Kyoto 101 Some facts for your night on the town Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan from 794 until 1868 AD Kyoto contains approximately 2,000 shrines and temples within its city limits It’s known as being an academic hub in Japan, containing 37 centres of higher learning Kyoto is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture in the Kansai Region of Japan Yudofu is a popular Kyoto dish—it contains Kyoto-made tofu (a city specialty!) simmered in a broth of vegetables (yum!)

Guests can expect to pay a 500-yen (about five dollars for us Canadian folk!) seating fee— reasonable by theme restaurant standards. After that, a meal can run around $40 to $50 (depending on how hungry you are). Considering what it would cost to get yourself to Kyoto, this is a bargain. Best of all, the food at this theme restaurant is hearty and delicious. So, let’s explore what’s on the menu! Before deciding on your dishes, take some time to peruse the appetizers and the drinks menu, which Kyomachi Koishigure is known for. Guests are invited to try one of the many pairings— bringing out the flavours of the sake as well as the scrumptious appetizers. Tofu and fresh vegetables are highlighted in many of the dishes, and the winter hot pot is no exception: this is a creamy, soy-based favourite that allows diners to warm their stomachs. If you’re more in the mood for su-

shi, you’re in luck! The sushi options at Kyomachi Koishigure are plentiful and each option is a combination of delicious tastes with visually pleasing colours. It’s kind of like eating little pieces of art (it’s not uncommon to see diners snapping photos of their meals at this restaurant!). Finally, make sure to choose a dish that includes tofu—Kyoto is well-known for its tofu, an ingredient which has become an important part of many dishes. Whatever you choose, be mindful … you’ll want to save some room for dessert! So, if you’re looking for something a little different, while sticking with an experience that lets you explore Japanese food and culture, make sure to add Kyomachi Koishigure to your list of things to do in Tokyo. Spend the day exploring the excitement of Shinjuku only to relax on the peaceful streets of Kyoto by night.

Obanzai Ryori is a traditional style of cooking from Kyoto. It is comprised of a number of small dishes that are easily prepared, but very tasty!

Kyomachi Koishigure Honkan Located a two-minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station. Take the east exit and walk toward Shinjuku Sanchome. The restaurant can be accessed from Shinjuku Sanchome Station as well. kyomatikoisigure/ TEL: 03-5360-7644 Musashino Hall Bldg. 6th floor, 3-27-10 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo OPEN HOURS Sun–Mon 5 pm–11 pm UÊTue–Sat 5 pm–4 am



1-Day Nikko World Heritage Tour This 1-day bus tour from Tokyo takes you to the highlights of Nikko, including World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu Shrine, the beautiful Kegon Falls and Lake Chuzenji. Experience the nature and long history of Nikko. Includes free unlimited Wi-Fi on the tour bus. 1 Enjoy a visit to Nikko Toshogu Shrine, a registered World Heritage Site. 2 Visit Kegon Falls, counted among the greatest waterfalls in Japan. 3 Travel around efficiently to famous sightseeing spots in Nikko.

TOUR BASIC INFORMATION Departure city: Tokyo Duration: approx. 12 hours English-speaking guide, lunch, admission to Nikko Toshogu Shrine, other admission fees and transportation costs included in the tour.





*Price is for the month of December 2015 *Price may fluctuate monthly based on exchange rate.

HOW TO PURCHASE Reservations can be made by either telephone or email. Please contact JTB International (Canada) Ltd. at Phone: 416-367-5824 | Toll-free: 1-800-268-5942 | Email: | Website:

I T I N E R A RY 7:30

Pick-up Service

This tour can be joined from various meeting points mainly located at major hotels throughout Tokyo.


Kegon Falls

Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal

Depart from Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal and head to Nikko by bus. (Metropolitan Expressway, Tohoku Expressway and Nikko Utsunomiya Road).



160 min

Known as one of Japan’s three great waterfalls, Kegon Falls towers an impressive 97 metres and gushes water from Lake Chuzenji.

Lunch Enjoy Japanese-style lunch Vegetarian meals, wheat-free meals and soybean-free meals are available

Nikko Toshogu Shrine 100

Lake Chuzenji



Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its lavish decorations and ornate details. The 103 shrines and temples (designated national treasures or important cultural properties) and surrounding natural environment make up Japan’s most culturally rich landscape. This 400-year-old shrine houses the remains of the Edo period’s founder, Ieyasu Tokugawa. Enjoy seeing the traditional beauty of the main hall, as well as the Sleeping Cat and the Three Wise Monkeys carvings.


Created by an eruption of Mt. Nantai, this lake is a symbol of Nikko.




This tour disbands upon arrival near Shinjuku Station West Exit or Sukiyabashi Intersection in Ginza. Please head to your next destination on your own after the tour. ©JNTO

*Yomeimon Gate may be obscured due to repair activity.

*For more information, please contact JTB International at 1-800-268-5942 (toll-free) or email at



What’s happening?

December 2015 Events Performances New Year’s Eve Dinner and Dance Thursday, December 31, Cocktails at 6 pm, Dinner at 7 pm | $110 | Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) | More info: > Join us in the Kobayashi Hall on the last day of 2015 for a night filled with dinner and dance. Ralph and Theresa Yuan will provide the music for dancing and fun on Toronto’s finest double sprung dance floor. A prime rib buffet dinner will be provided by Calvert’s Catering. Each ticket includes dinner, dancing, party favours, midnight champagne and snacks. Seating can be arranged for 8-10 persons per table. Don’t delay—tickets were sold out last year. Purchase tickets before Friday, December 11.

Hatsune Miku Expo 2016 Toronto

New Year’s Eve Bell Ringing Ceremony The 1,200-pound Temple Bell was a gift from Japanese Canadians living in Ontario to the province in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Japanese settlement in Canada, back in October of 1977. The provincial government graciously accepted the gift and chose to locate it on the west island of the province’s premier park, Ontario Place. This service is held on New Year’s Eve to express gratitude for the past year and to reflect on the interdependency of all life. The bell is tolled 108 times on New Year’s Eve, which symbolizes the 108 passions that afflict human beings and bind them to the world of delusion. It is a reminder of the need to free oneself from the entanglements of self-centredness as one faces the new year. This is called Joya no kane or “Bell of the last night.” Thursday, December 31, 11:15 pm to 11:45 pm | Ontario Place (955 Lake Shore Blvd. W., Toronto) More info:

Exhibitions Handcrafted Form: Tradition and Techniques Until Tuesday, January 12, 2016 | The Japan Foundation (2 Bloor St. E., Hudson’s Bay Centre 3F, Toronto) More info: > People in Japan are surrounded by utilitarian craft objects that have been brought into being and nurtured within their daily lives. By making the most of the raw materials of each craft—ceramics, textiles, metal work, lacquerware, wood and bamboo work, paper, etc.—and contriving to use the techniques appropriate to each, goods have been created that



combine ease of use with beauty. This exhibition introduces hand-crafted objects made from traditional materials with traditional techniques from all over Japan. Representative objects designated as “Traditional Craft Objects” under the Japanese government’s Traditional Manufactured Goods Law form the core of the exhibition, supplemented by works of craft artists.

Friday, May 20, 2016, 8 pm–10 pm | $53.39– 102.89 | Sony Centre for the Performing Arts (1 Front St. E., Toronto) | More info: mikuexpo. com/na2016/ > Join Hatsune Miku at her first live concert in Toronto! Hatsune Miku is a 16-year-old Japanese idol singer with more than 2.5 million international followers on Facebook. She has also previously collaborated with big-name artists like Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams, and even made an appearance on the David Letterman show. But what makes her truly distinguished is that she is actually not a human, but a 3D virtual humanoid persona, voiced by a singing synthesizing technology called ‘Vocaloid.’ After the first successful round of concerts in New York and Los Angeles in 2014, she is returning to North America in spring 2016 with an expanded tour schedule in response to increasing overseas demands. Tickets for the Toronto performance are on sale now, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet Hatsune Miku “in person”!

Other Jodo Ongoing | $35 monthly for adults, $25 monthly for youth and seniors | Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) More info: > A new martial arts class commonly known as “Jodo” started at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre in November. In 1968, Jodo became an art under the All Japan Kendo Federation curriculum. Today, Jodo demonstrations are held throughout Japan and practised worldwide. Jodo activities in Canada are overseen by the Canadian Kendo Federation. Classes are held on Sundays from 3:30 pm

Where Canadians can go to celebrate Japanese culture

to 5 pm or Tuesdays from 9:15 pm to 10:30 pm. The class are taught by Kevin Hyatt, David Lee and Marianne Matchuk.

Toronto Kohaku Utagassen Sunday, December 6, 4 pm | $20 | Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Kobayashi Hall (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) | More info: toronto-kohaku. > The Toronto Kohaku Utagassen is back from a two-year hiatus! First started as a charity event back in December of 1977, it is now known as one of the biggest Japanese-Canadian events in Toronto. Enjoy the show with veteran singers, along with many new singers who are ready to pour their hearts out.

Fuyu Matsuri Winter Festival Sunday, December 13, 11 am–4 pm | $5, Free for children three and under | Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) More info:

karaage and Tohenboku’s ramen noodle soup and their famous cheesecake! Based on feedback from past events, the Shͻtengai, or marketplace, has been expanded to give everyone a chance to catch up on their holiday shopping. Take part in the Reindeer Raffle with great prizes for all ages. There will be a door prize for the first 250 visitors!

Oshogatsu Kai Shinnen Kai Friday, January 1, 2016, 4 pm | $65 adult, $32.50 children under 12 | Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) | More info: > Bring your friends and family to a Japanese New Year full of entertainment, prizes, a 50/50 raffle and food. A buffet, to be exact. Indulge in a buffet full of traditional Japanese New Year’s fare (osechi ryori), sushi and North American fare (youshoku) by Master Chef Kunio Ishii. If that’s not enough, there will also be a cash bar for attendees to enjoy!

A Taste of Animethon Friday, January 22–Saturday, January 23, 2016 $35–$75 | Shaw Conference Centre (9797 Jasper Ave. NW, Edmonton, Alberta) | More info: atoa. > A Taste of Animethon was first created in 2010. Now in 2016, it has changed vendors three times to accommodate the growing number of fans. This year, Animethon will promote Japanese anime, manga, various panels, and an Artist Alley where artists can showcase their talents and sell their works. Don’t miss the special guest, REIKA, a Japanese cosplayer from Osaka.


This cash-only event is back with the usual seasonal festive activities, as well as delicious Japanese winter dishes. These great activities include Christmas ornament making, gingerbread cookie decorating, interactive games, etegami (picture letter) and storytelling. Don’t forget the ever-popular photo with Santa! For all the food-fanatics, there will be delicious oden, imoni (potato stew from Northern Japan), Gushi’s

G-Anime has it all. Starting this year, attendees will be able to save $1 on their ticket for every manga they donate to the con. No manga, no problem! Buy tickets early to save on the weekend pass. Check out the website for more activities and info!

G-Anime Friday, January 22–Sunday, January 24, 2016 $35–$55 | Palais des Congrès de Gatineau (50 boul. Maisonneuve, Gatineau, Quebec) More info: > G-Anime is known for its unique cosplay events and attractions in both English and French. From Video Game Jeopardy to the Bachelor Auction,

Sunday, January 24, 2016, 11 am–3 pm | Price TBA Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct., Toronto) | More info: 416-441-2345


Get ready for a day of fun at the annual Oshogatsu Kai (New Year’s Event) hosted by the New Japanese Canadian Association at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. As this cultural event sees more and more attendees every year, make sure to plan ahead—you don’t want to miss the once-in-a-year family fun event!

Toronto Tea Festival Saturday, January 30–Sunday, January 31, 2016, 10 am–5 pm | $15 single, $25 two-day | Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge St., Toronto) More info: > Come warm up at Toronto’s Tea Festival with many tea enthusiasts! Discover the world of tea flavours, processing techniques and preparation styles. If that’s not enough, shop around the exhibition and take home your favourite tea, or gift some teaware to that special someone. The Toronto Tea Festival will present a Japanese tea ceremony by a certified tea ceremony teacher for visitors to enjoy.



Talking Japan in Toronto

By Junko Mita Interview

Satoru Matsuzaki After decades of working on MUJI’s international operations, Satoru Matsuzaki is now the president of the company. We sat down with him for a relaxed conversation at MUJI’s new Mississauga location. In 1980, Seiyu, a Japanese chain of supermarkets, shopping malls and department stores, established the brand Mujirushi Ryohin or MUJI. Since then, MUJI’s product line has grown to include more than 7,500 items—ranging from snacks to furniture—that are sold in over 25 countries. Seeing 32


people carrying a MUJI shopping bag overseas has become common. Satoru Matsuzaki is the new president of MUJI after overseeing international operations since 1990. He told us about the excitement of opening up Canada’s second MUJI store and his visions for the company’s future.

Q: What can we look forward to at the new MUJI Square One location and how does it differ from the downtown Toronto location? A: Customers visiting the Atrium location in downtown Toronto tend to be younger due to the store’s location, so there we focus more on stationery and those kinds of products. However, we expect more families at the Square One store as it is located in a residential area. We’ve made more space for furniture and it is the first MUJI store to launch a children’s clothing line featuring a limited-edition Canadian design.

Bringing Japanese culture and products to Torontonians Q: What do you find different about your Canadian customers compared to your customers in other markets, such as Japan and the US? A: In general, customers are similar across the globe. There is no big difference between customers in Japan, the US and Canada. We don’t offer different products or services depending on the country. Our items are things which are necessary for our daily lives and we sell the same products all over the world. If I had to think of one difference, I’d say that our clothing is most popular in China while North American customers tend to buy more miscellaneous items. Q: Is there anything MUJI offers that might be new to Canadians that you think they should discover? A: We haven’t worked that out yet. As I said, we provide the fundamental products for our everyday lives. Our three-year plan from 2014 to 2016 is to offer the same products all over the world. So, after 2017, we are planning to bring something new to our customers. Q: What is the secret behind MUJI’s excellent customer service in Canada? A: Customer service is of the utmost importance in Japan. To become successful abroad, MUJI called upon this long-standing tradition. Many companies fail because they bring their products to new environments and try to adapt to the culture of others. MUJI, on the other hand, strives to provide not only Japanese products but elements of Japanese culture as well. Q: Can we expect to see other MUJI locations in Canada in the future? A: We would like to open stores in Vancouver and Montreal. We received a lot of requests from MUJI lovers a couple of years ago and we tried to open a store in Vancouver, but the timing just wasn’t right. At the time, we were preparing to open a store in the US, so we decided to postpone our

plans for the Vancouver store for the time being. Now it seems to be the right time to expand there; however, our next store will once again be in Toronto. Our first goal is to make MUJI a staple in the daily lives of Torontonians.

Another reason may be my age: I’m 61, while most of our other executives are in their 40s. Q: What is the most important thing to remember when negotiating with overseas counterparts? A: I always try to speak my mind—even about small things. If you don’t, people will assume that you don’t have any opinion. When I first started working, I was heavily influenced by my boss. He was a person who always gave his opinion and this was quite unique back then in Japan. I learned a lot from him. Q: How would you sum up your relationship with MUJI?

Q: What’s on the horizon for MUJI? What is the company’s vision going forward? A: Our basic philosophy and concept have remained the same since MUJI was first established in 1980 and we have no plans to change them. Many industries with similar concepts in terms of manufacturing have tended to decline. Ideally, we’d like to help those industries and find markets to save them from extinction. Our next goal is cooperation with local communities to enrich public products. For example, the couches in Terminal 3 of Narita International Airport are from MUJI. We would like to expand our products to more public locations like that—in subway stations, for example.

A: I was involved in our first overseas London store opening in 1990. I was in the legal department at that time and I went to the factory to have the contract signed. Since then I’ve been working on the other overseas store openings, so MUJI has been a focal part of my business life for a long time. I have been on the road with MUJI and we will continue to expand together in the future.

Q: Why do you think you were appointed as the new president? A: I believe that the biggest reason was my contribution to the company’s financial growth. I have been involved in overseas operations from the beginning. In the first half of this year, 30 per cent of our sales and 75 per cent of our profit increase have come from overseas markets. MUJI’s revenue from outside Japan will be more than 40 per cent of the total by the end of the year. Also, we are expecting that the number of stores abroad will exceed the number in Japan by 2017 or 2018.

Satoru Matsuzaki Satoru Matsuzaki is the President, Representative Director and Executive Officer of Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd. He started his career at Seiyu in 1978 and moved to Ryohin Keikaku in 2005. He has decades of extensive overseas business experience and has been instrumental in MUJI’s international success.



Film focus

By James Heron Movie

Men—and a few women—behaving badly Sion Sono’s latest follows a conflicted sex industry “scout” in a neon-lit morality tale dressed in shiny faux-Armani.

MOVIE INFO Shinjuku Swan (2015) Directed by Sion Sono Starring GȬ Ayano, Takayuki Yamada, YȻsuke Iseya and Erika Sawajiri Screenplay by Osamu Suzuki and MataichirȬ Yamamoto Based on the manga by Ken Wakui

© 2015 Shinjuku Swan Film Partners

Fledgling sex industry recruiter Tatsuhiko encounters love, violence and moral conflict in the heart of Tokyo’s Kabukicho redpathos light district.

GȬ Ayano brings and a crazy energy to this hit adaptation of Ken Wakui’s popular manga


ith five new features in release, it’s been a busy year for maverick director Sion Sono. So far TIFF has brought us the thoughtful arthouse sci-fi of The Whispering Star, and Toronto After Dark premiered the blood-soaked metahorror of Tag and the delirious feel-good fantasy Love and Peace. In Japan, the director’s adaptation of Ken Wakui’s long-running and immensely popular manga series Shinjuku Swan was probably the most popular of his 2015 output, accomplishing the near-impossible by replacing Cinderella at the top of the Japanese box office. We meet Tatsuhiko Shiratori (Gͻ Ayano of The Snow White Murder Case and The Light Shines Only There), desperate, penniless and wandering the garish streets of Tokyo’s notorious Kabukicho red-light neighbourhood. His indestructability in a furious street brawl catches the eye of Mako (Y΍suke Iseya), a sex industry street captain who takes Tatsuhiko under his wing and introduces him to talent agency Burst. The talents they seek are those necessary to satisfy customers in the countless hostess clubs, brothels and love hotels for which the district is famous. Under Mako’s tutelage, Tatsuhiko becomes a street scout: a master of the fine art of charming, cajoling and 34


even begging the many young women who flock to the area to try their—ahem—hand at the game. Initially emboldened by his success, Tatsuhiko soon finds himself both morally conflicted and in physical danger. Drugs, violence and exhaustion leave the girls he recruits numb, broken and in one case suicidal. The mean streets of Shinjuku are rife with predatory thrill-seekers, violent yakuza thugs and hostile scouting rivals, among them the Harlem gang—one whose star captain, the ruthless Hideyoshi (Takayuki Yamada), is linked to Tatsuhiko’s past. So far, so good. We have the perfect set-up for what Sono does best: outlandish debauchery, hysterical violence, arterial blood sprays and the gleeful pushing of every button and boundary in reach—except this time he holds back. I never thought I would use the words “Sion Sono” and “restraint” in the same sentence but that is what we get here. Shinjuku Swan is Sono’s first film not working with a self-penned script and the entire production clearly skews toward mainstream accessibility. But even restrained Sono is pretty rich stuff: there are intense confrontations between sharply dressed pimps, beautiful women in deep

trouble, and the queasy application of objects like bowling balls and water bottles as instruments of torture. Sono brings his signature energy to the proceedings but the film struggles to sustain momentum over the course of its prolonged runtime. There is much to recommend in the film, though. Shinjuku Swan’s real strength lies in the commitment of the performers, particularly Ayano in the lead. His wild shock of blond hair gives him a vaguely clownish appearance but he infuses the role with a manic energy and charismatic vulnerability that demand your attention. He is almost matched in intensity by the glowering Yamada and the louche Iseya; the interplay between these three is the film’s main appeal. Shinjuku Swan is perhaps not quite the outlandish fun it could have been but remains essential viewing for fans of Sono and manga-based pop cinema, and for audiences seeking the cheerful spectacle of Japanese men behaving very, very badly. Shinjuku Swan’s Toronto premiere will kick off the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s 2016 film program on January 28.

G O Let's

llearn earn

What to say during Christmas Eve in Japan



Christmas Eve in Japan is different than it is in Western countries. In Japan, Christmas Eve is more about couples spending time together than it is about families. There are many different things for couples to do during this time; here are a few.

Intermediate I have a present (for you).

In winter, Japan is lit up with many decorations. Trees, houses and stores have elaborate and beautiful adornments. Many couples go for romantic walks to look at the Christmas decorations.

I made reservations at a romantic restaurant especially for Christmas. クリスマスならではの 素敵なレストランを予約したよ。

プレゼントがあります。 Purezento ga arimasu.

Why don’t we go and look at the Christmas lights together?

Kurisumasu naradewa no sutekina resutoran wo yoyaku sitayo.

クリスマスの夜景を一緒に 見に行きませんか?

Beginner –ga arimasu (–があります) has two different meanings. One meaning is “I have...” while the other meaning is “there is.” During Christmas Eve many couples exchange gifts.

Kurisumasu no yakei wo isshoni mini ikimasen ka?

Advanced Naradewa (ならでは) means special or unique. During Christmas there are unique/special foods to enjoy. Many couples dine out for a romantic Christmas Eve so making reservations is imperative.

Compiled by Amber Chambers and Kozumi Miya-Woolford. Brought to you by the Toronto Japanese Language School | | @tjlsca |

Illustration by Reiko Ema



Styling tips

By Jenny Shin Beauty

Japanese makeup trends ... fad or fab? Dramatic or demure, these Japanese beauty trends will inspire you. Japan has always been renowned for setting daring trends in technology, the culinary arts and even in the fashion world, with edgy Harajukuinspired fashions being picked up by the mainstream. Even the Star Wars saga had Padmé Amidala rocking the timeless geisha look. But the latest Japanese beauty trend to explode on the scene is the socalled hangover look. An alternative way of achieving this look would be binging on sake and staying out all night at karaoke, but your liver will probably thank you if you skip the spirits and go straight for the red blush. Another recent beauty trend is taking eyelash art to the extremes. Mere mascara just doesn’t cut it anymore—Japanese beauty bloggers are sporting everything from crystals to paper butterflies on their luscious lashes. If eyes are the window to your soul, then bring on the eye bling!

k ver loo


de to are ma s e d y e e Th fy— an nd puf a d e r trend look of this s n a f d sion of die-har the illu te a e r c even hair. greasy



Saori Iida, a student at worldrenowned CMU College of Makeup Art & Design in downtown Toronto, believes that controversial beauty trends have their purpose. “Spectacular makeup looks grab your attention and inspire you. As a makeup artist, that is the fun part—taking something extreme and putting your own twist on it,” says Iida.

All photos ©CMU

CMU College of Makeup Art & Design The Old Fire Hal l, 110 Lombard St., Toronto | TEL: 416-968-6739 CMU College of Makeup Art & Design is a specialized private college that provides an unparalleled post-secondary education in makeup artistry for film, television and fashion.



Memoir ࡔ ࡕ ࠕ

By Shelley Suzuki box. From here, it takes some serious geometry skills to master the exact angles at which to fold the paper and produce that final, delicate fold—clean and crisp. I think there must be a secret wrapping society whose members spend hours learning this, because I have yet to master the technique!

Illustration by Chieko Watanabe

Wrapped up with love Give the gift of presents wrapped with tender loving care this holiday season.

If you have children, you know that many little ones prefer the box to the toy it holds. I must admit that I can relate. I adore beautiful wrapping and packaging—I always have. And Japan is a packaging and present paradise. Paper craftsmanship and artistry are held in high esteem in Japan. There is a lovely village in Aichi Prefecture called Obara-mura, well known as the home of traditional washi paper. Fibres from mulberry trees are cooked, bleached and dried to produce a strong but elegant paper. I got the chance to make my own and also added bits of leaves, flower petals and grass to the paper to give it an even more gorgeous look. I was enamoured.



Of course, origami is widely known and we have all seen the intricate and amazingly complex things that Japanese artists can craft with paper. The paper itself often comes in splendid designs, and large sheets of it can also be used to wrap gifts. I’ve spent hours wrapping gifts for family and friends at Christmastime using colourful Japanese wrapping paper and adding unique touches such as gold and red wire, berries and stickers. My mom’s eyes lit up at the sight of her one-of-a-kind, beautifully wrapped gift. Visit a Japanese department store and you’ll likely witness a unique way of wrapping gifts that is unlike that of any other country. The trick is to wrap at an angle rather than perpendicular to the

You can also expect that if you buy something in Japan it will be wrapped well in tissue, taped, folded, separated and divided—whatever is necessary to make sure that your purchase arrives at its destination in perfect condition. At a bread shop, staff will wrap each roll or bun in individual bags so that the flavours are not mixed and the shape is maintained. They will make sure to take off every price tag, carefully and with no glue residue left over. If your purchase is heavy, they will often wrap it in string or vinyl tape and attach a plastic handle for your carrying convenience. All of these kind, attentive gestures are courtesies done out of respect for you and for the work. If you are an environmentalist, you might be horrified at the amount of extra packaging and paper that is being used in Japan—but as for me, I can appreciate the attention to detail and respect for your purchases. It is infinitely satisfying to open a beautifully wrapped package. Taking your purchases home and lifting the sticker off of the pretty pink and white tissue to reveal that fluffy, warm sweater you just bought makes the experience doubly pleasurable—like a holiday at any time of the year.

SHELLEY SUZUKI is a long-time teacher of English as a Second Language in Canada and Japan. She currently runs an English school via Skype and is pursuing a teaching career, or whatever other interesting opportunities may come her way. She appeared on the Japanese TV show Okusama wa Gaikokujin (My Wife is a Foreigner). She hopes to become a children’s book writer and illustrator when she grows up.



Otaku stores

By Rudolf Janns

�ೢ೒ಓ๯ኤ㖕ᓤ Monopoly not cutting it anymore? Swing by 401 Games for some fun and quirky Japanese entertainment.

le & ble s? b a r ta roid Ado ollec ute Nendpolenty of c c

401 Games

e e ell. e ar som for er. Ther res as w g n i u h k Loo no furt rted ďŹ g o k Loo er imp oth

Marketing & Social Media Coordinator



1 2 3 40

Lots of Japanese-themed board g games to choose from! Destroy cities ((King of Tokyo), build ’em (Machi Koro), make ďŹ reworks (Hanabi) or eat sushi m (Sushi Go!). (S

What kind of Japanese products do you offer? We sell a few imported ďŹ gures and other merchandise, but we mostly specialize in card games and board games for the general audience.

What are your bestselling Japanese products? For card games, Yu-Gi-Oh! and PokĂŠmon are steady sellers. For board games, we sell a lot of simple and light “Japanese-inspiredâ€? games like Sushi Go! and Hanabi. Machi Koro—the dice-rolling, city-building game—is also pretty popular.

What game or product do you particularly like and recommend? I really like Tokaido. Each player is a traveller, journeying from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo), with the goal of having the best experiences possible. Beautifully illustrated, it’s really Zen and Japanese!


Choose from Japanese card games like Yu-Gi-Oh!, PokĂŠmon, CardďŹ ght!! Vanguard, d, Force of Will and Weiss Schwarz. The latter er in particular features crossovers of different nt anime series—perfect for the anime otaku! u!

401 Games 518 Yonge St., Toronto TEL: 416-599-6446 | OPEN: Mon–Fri 9:30 am–9 pm ->ĂŒĂŠÂŁĂ¤ĂŠ>“q™Ê“ÊUĂŠ-Ă•Â˜ĂŠÂŁÂŁĂŠ>“qnʍ“




tss Toronto spor Nobu mlosveas nd good food tea

To was tuanllliy B-kyu! T ke any o his poutin ther I’v e e tried Rondie Li


Ya! Another b- kyu find

A Japanese food, literatu re and arts enthusiast, Rondie is pas sionate about the authenticity and creativity behind Japanese culture . He appreciates good food in any form and also enjoys cooking and exp erimenting in his kitchen at home. He loves cats, photography, vintage sun glasses and wearing fun socks with his oxford shoes.

Experience a different side of fast food at Japanese Fast Food-YA!: authenticity and creativity in a home-cooked style. After enjoying some classic Japanese fast food, he words “fast food” may make you think of uninspired junk, but the food at Japanese Fast Food-YA! is completely the opposite. There’s nothing but wholesome B-kyu gu-ru-me (B-class gourmet) deliciousness at this cool local spot. With a wide selection of dishes to choose from, each thoughtfully prepared, at YA! you can enjoy a casual dish made with all the comfort and effort of a home-cooked meal.


Chef and owner Nobuyuki Toyoshima is the real deal. After moving to Vancouver from Japan, he spent years cooking in a Japanese kitchen before heading to Toronto to start up his own restaurant. And now that his dream is a reality, he takes pride in cooking from scratch and showing that fast food doesn’t have to mean mediocre food.



I started with the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen, perhaps the most traditional dish on the menu. The broth had a lot of depth and flavour, and a pleasant saltiness that reminded me of ramen stands in Tokyo. As I chatted with Nobu, I was not surprised to hear that he studied authentic Japanese culinary techniques in Tokyo while working as an apprentice. Next, I opted for the Karaage Donburi, a popular item with a Western twist. A generous portion of deep-fried chicken and eggs (similar to oyakodon) was accompanied by spicy mayo, onion, green onion, nori and sesame, all served on top of rice. What really set this dish apart was the especially crunchy chicken, served in bite-sized pieces that made it easy to eat. And the dash of heat from the spicy mayo added some excitement.

it was time to try Nobu’s take on the ultimate Canadian fast food: poutine! The dish started with hand-cut french fries and featured cheddar cheese curds, green onion, aonori, bonito flakes and spicy mayo mixed with soy sauce—who knew Japanese toppings could taste so good with fries? It was a memorable and creative dish, and a bit reminiscent of okonomiyaki. Nobu infuses so much passion, creativity and attention to detail in his food that you forget this is a fast food shop. And with modest prices and good service, I want to rush back again!

Japanese Fast Food -YA! TEL: 416-201-9491 | 285 Royal York Rd., Toronto | Open: (Lunch) Tue–Fri 12 pm–2:30 pm (Dinner) Mon–Wed Free parking xÊ«“q™\ÎäÊ«“ÊUÊ/…ÕÀÊEÊ->ÌÊxÊ«“q available £äÊ«“ÊUÊÀˆÊxÊ«“q££Ê«“ÊUÊ-՘ÊVœÃi`

[PR] Zakkushi Group


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Yakitori Izakaya


Enjoy new creations and classic izakaya favourites To promote and share Japan’s incredible food cultures with the world, the Japanese yakitori izakaya;BLLVTIJPQFOFEJUTmSTU$BOBEJBO store in downtown Vancouver in August of 2004. Using binchotan charcoal imported GSPN+BQBO ;BLLVTIJXBTUIFmSTUSFTUBVSBOU to bring genuine charcoal yakitori to Canada, and it has been offering savoury Japanese soul food to Canadian foodies ever since.

Zakkushi has established itself as a leader in Toronto’s Japanese food scene.

In 2012, Zakkushi was warmly welcomed in Toronto, and the restaurant group quickly expanded its business to include ramen and sushi by opening up Ramen Raijin and Sushi Bar Sushiya in the following years. With its group of unique restaurants offering a diversimFEBQQSPBDIUPEFMJDJPVT+BQBOFTFFBUT 

Some of the most tempting items in the new lineup include skewered pork cheeks and curry poutine. Some Canadians may not be too familiar with pork cheeks, but they’re one of the most popular items in Japanese izakayas. Cheek meat is both tender and low in fat—and this dish gives you a taste of real Japanese

Zakkushi Group in Toronto

The well-loved Sapporo Beer Blast campaign (which offers a Sapporo beer pitcher for $9.99) has gone with the summer, but a new surprise is here to stay: Zakkushi has announced great new additions to the menu along with some improvements to its most popular items.

izakaya fare. For a Canadian twist, curry poutine is a fusion creation. Enjoy Japanese-style curry served on top of golden fries. If you can’t decide where to start on the extensive menu, Zakkushi’s signature Premium Set is a great party opener. The set includes Wagyu Beef, Premium Beef Tongue, Duck Breast, freerange Chicken Momo and Wagyu Beef Tukune skewers. It’s a great way to sample a range of the tasty dishes on Zakkushi’s yakitori menu. After enjoining some juicy yakitori, don’t forget to treat yourself some more with Zakkushi’s newest dessert: an ever-so-creamy Hojicha 1VEEJOHUIBUXJMMQVUUIFQFSGFDUmOJTIPOB great night out.






193 Carlton St., Toronto Tel: 647-352-9455

193 Carlton St., B1, Toronto Tel: 647-352-9456

3 Gerrard St.E., Toronto Tel: 647-748-1500



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n e b a r a Ky 今月のキャラ弁



Ready to jazz up your meal in the most adorable way? Put some fun in your lunch box with your own kyara-ben.

Known as the “character bento,” the kyara-ben is a great way to get artistic with lunch—not to mention the secret weapon of many creative parents with fussy kids

to feed. With shapes ranging from cute, simple faces to incredible likenesses of popular characters, there’s no end to the possibilities!

Potato cheese balls, Japanese rolled omelette, sausage, broccoli, and some sweet potato and green bean ama-kara-ni (simmered salty and sweet seasoning).

To make the letters, place cut pieces of nori (seaweed) over a slice of cheese.

Sprinkle some salt on the rice, then form it into a ball with plastic wrap. Wrap some cut nori around the head.

Design the pupils, mouth and whiskers using cut nori.

Today’s tip

e character’s ap to shape th Use plastic wr ld the rice into ou m to r be face. Remem ter removis still warm. Af shape while it eese and ch ri, no stick on ing the wrap, d nose) an es hiskers, ey and a carrot (w they won’t slip at th so ise na using mayon rice is too ll shrink if the off.The nori wi d a little. ole co s ha til it hot, so wait un



Rie Kamiyama

To make the nose, cut a boiled carrot. Cut the sliced cheese to make the eyes and the shiny spot on the nose.

Mother of two sons, aged 9 and 14 years old. Started making Kyara-ben six years ago when her son came back home without finishing the lunch she made him.



Hakata Ramen

Sho Ryu Ken Come in a group of 3 or more and get a

10% Discount *Please present this coupon upon ordering.

At Sho Ryu Ken, ramen is made in the traditional way it’s done in Hakata—the dish’s birthplace. And with a special pork-bone broth that takes over 12 hours to prepare, you know you’re getting the real deal here. In addition to the signature ramen, diners can treat themselves to delicious homemade gyoza, tender pork and more!

Don’t just read about great Japanese food and culture ... enjoy them yourself! Try these coupons for deals near you.

Ryoji Ramen & Izakaya

Expires December 31, 2015

5321 Yonge St., North York | 416-733-3725 | Open: Tues–Sun £ÓÊ«“qÎÊ«“]ÊxÊ«“q£ä\ÎäÊ«“ÊUÊœ˜ÊVœÃi`

Don Don Izakaya

Free Topping 10 % Discount *Please present this coupon upon ordering.

Expires December 31, 2015

Ryoji Ramen is an Okinawan-style izakaya in Toronto. They serve a vegetable ramen, so vegetarians can enjoy their delicious ramen too! You can also experience their unique side dishes. They have an Okinawa night, an event with a full evening of Okinawa culture, once a month. 690 College St., Toronto | 416-533-8083 | Open: Mon–Thu ££\ÎäÊ>“q£ÓÊ>“ÊUÊÀˆq->ÌÊ££\ÎäÊ>“qÓÊ>“ Sun 11:30 am–10:30 pm

Japanese Seafood Restaurant

Crab Harbour

10% Discount *Please present this coupon upon ordering.

Expires December 31, 2015

Crab Harbour, Richmond Hill’s new high-end Japanese-style crab eatery. Look for the giant crustacean that denotes the entrance. Patrons can choose to indulge in the prix fixe menu or opt for items à la carte. The former is a nine-course ode to all things crab.


The sounds of drums and the typical welcome cheer of “Irasshaimase!” are the first things you are sure to hear as you visit our highenergy setting at Don Don’s. “Don Don,” which signifies the sounds of Japanese drums, also means a place of ”more” ... a place of more drinks, more food and definitely more fun!

130 Dundas St. W., Toronto | 416-492-5292 | Lunch: Mon–Fri ££\ÎäÊ>“q{Ê«“Ê­>ÃÌÊV>ÊÎ\ÎäÊ«“®UÊ ˆ˜˜iÀ\Ê-՘q Thu 5 pm–12 am (last call 11~11:30 pm) Fri & Sat: 5 pm–1 am (last call 12~12:30 am)

Tokyo Acupuncture and Shiatsu Clinic

$10 off

with regular session(55min)

*First time visit only. *Cannot be used with any other discount coupons. *Mention this coupon when you schedule your massage session.

Since 1991, Tokyo Acupuncture and Shiatsu Clinic has provided various types of treatments and advice to alleviate symptoms and improve natural healing abilities including Japanese-style Shiatsu, Japanesestyle Acupuncture, Swedish Massage, Reflexology and Moxibustion. We are here to help you maximize your own body’s ability to maintain and improve your health. 280 West Beaver Creek Rd, Unit 38, Richmond Hill | 905-731-5570 | Open: Mon–Sun 11:30 am –11 pm


*Only dinner time. Cash payment only. *No alcohol included. *Please present this coupon upon ordering.

2350 Yonge St., 2nd Fl., Toronto | 416-488-8414 | Open: Mon– Fri 10 am– 8 pm ->ÌÊ£äÊ>“qÈÊ«“ÊUÊ-՘ʣ£Ê>“qxÊ«“

120115 bentbox  

Bento Box Magazine, a Toronto-based Japanese New Concept Magazine. Our mission is to provide our readers with the latest news in Toronto, ri...

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