McDonald’s Japan founder explains why Japanese people are ‘Short and Yellow’

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Every now and then, we revisit a part of history that some companies would rather be kept swept under the rug. This story comes from the Japanese entrepreneur and self-made billionaire that brought the first McDonald’s to Japan, Den Fujita.

Fujita fell in love with McDonald’s the first time he ate it in 1967 — he was amazed by how popular and efficient the burger chain was. When he saw the opportunity to bring the franchise to Japan, he opened the first Japanese McDonald’s in a Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo in 1971. It was an instant success, particularly because of their Japanese-styled Teriyaki McBurger and Chicken Tatsuta.

But perhaps Fujita’s love for the American burger chain extended beyond just the burgers. On his strategy for selling McDonald’s to Japanese people, Fujita is credited as saying:

“The reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years … If we eat McDonald’s hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white, and our hair blonde.”

Does McDonald’s food secretly hold the key to creating a master race? I guess we won’t find out until the year 2971.

It was Fujita’s dream to see 10,000 McDonald’s in Japan by 2010 — as of 2013, there were only 3,164 McDonald’s in Japan, the second most popular country for the fast-food chain after the U.S.

Den Fujita retired in 2003 and died of heart failure in April of 2004 at the age of 78, two days after McDonald’s then-CEO Jim Cantalupo died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. It is unknown whether McDonald’s food played a contributing factor in their deaths.

COMME des GARÇONS (Japan) Tote Bag

COMME des GARÇON has re-released its signature tote bag after selling out of all stock at the start of 2015. Made of PVC, the tote has the appearance of a paper bag and is upholstered on the inside for additional reinforcement. The bag’s charm intensifies the more it is worn, as the PVC creases like a real paper bag.

Able to brave all sorts of weather, it is set to retail for $60 USD and will be available from the Dover Street Market in Ginza as well as select stockists online.

RSVP Gallery x A Bathing Ape 2015 Capsule Collection

 

JAM HOME MADE x A Bathing Ape (Japan) 2014 Winter Collection

Those that missed the joint collection from JAM HOME MADE and A Bathing Ape have a second chance, as the two brands team up on a second capsule for Winter 2014.

Again comprised of a pattern-blocked hoodie, leather tote, coin case, and wallet, this offering cleverly inverses the color palette from the February release – executing the pieces largely in greyscale version of BAPE’s hallmark camouflage.

Look for these releases to drop as a ‘BAPEXCLUSIVE’ beginning December 6 at the brand outpost in Dover Street Market Ginza.

Louis Vuitton’s Matsuya Ginza Façade by Jun Aoki

Image of Louis Vuitton's Matsuya Ginza Façade by Jun Aoki

When Louis Vuitton commissioned him to design a new facade for the brand’s Matsuya Ginza store, architect Jun Aoki tapped into the Ginza district’s unique history for inspiration. Drawing heavy influence from Ginza’s art deco heritage, he crafted an aesthetic that blends traditional edo-komon patterns with highly stylized geometric shapes.

The result is a look that’s undeniably modern, incorporating clean lines and a prominent nod to Louis Vuitton’s iconic damier pattern. The facade was also designed with brilliant LED backlighting that lights up at night, making it impossible to mistake this storefront for anything but Louis Vuitton.

Check out more images of Aoki’s work here.

Hello Kitty celebrates 40th birthday


 

Hello Kitty, Japan‘s global icon of cute, marked her 40th anniversary on Saturday with a human-size version of the feline character regaling fans at an upscale Tokyo department store and a theme park.

The moon-faced creation, who has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry, began her birthday by trying her hand as manager of the Mitsukoshi department store in Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district. Clad in pink from head to toe with a customary bow on her head, a human-size Kitty showed up at an in-house meeting at the store, drawing cheers and applause from hordes of employees. She bowed to the staff, who bowed back.

The mouthless character did not speak but waved and struck poses, sending many on the floor blurting out “kawaii!“, the Japanese word for “cute”.

As the store opened, she greeted the first wave of customers, many of whom hugged the character and posed for pictures.

Kitty, who adorns everything from pencil cases to pyjamas the world over, also celebrated her birthday with fans at her creators’ theme park Sanrio Puroland in western Tokyo.

Surrounded by hundreds of admirers, she performed dances with other characters including her twin sister Mimmy.

The Keio Plaza Hotel chain, meanwhile, opened Hello Kitty hotel rooms in Tokyo on Saturday, decorated floor to ceiling with pictures of the cuddly character.

On the other side of the Pacific, a Hello Kitty Convention in the Little Tokyo district near downtown Los Angeles has opened for a four-day run through the weekend, expecting to draw some 25,000 fans.

First released in 1974 and appearing on a coin purse the following year, Hello Kitty now features on more than 50,000 products in 130 countries and territories.

Creator Sanrio says cute-loving adults are the main customers driving business.

Despite her years, the timeless character, who insists “you can never have too many friends“, is still exploring new frontiers. Kitty went on a space mission this year aboard a satellite and Sanrio is launching a line of Kitty products for men next year, possibly before Valentine’s Day.

She has also appeared on a dress made for eccentric US pop diva Lady Gaga, while Taiwanese airline EVA Air marked the 40th anniversary by launching a Hello Kitty plane, complete with Kitty-themed airline food and stewardess uniforms.

Fans were stunned in August when it emerged that Kitty is in fact not a cat, but a girl.

Sanrio says it has been saying all along that she is a “happy little girl with a heart of gold” — despite her whiskers and pointy ears.

Kitty was making telephone calls and had a goldfish friend from the very beginning,” a Sanrio spokesman has said.

It is a 100-percent personified character… Barring her cat face, she does exactly what humans do.

According to her official biography, Kitty was born in a London suburb on November 1 to parents George and Mary. She has a cat named Charmmy Kitty.

 

kolor BEACON presents exclusive Camo Outerwear Collection at Dover Street Market Ginza (Tokyo)

Image of kolor BEACON Dover Street Market Ginza Exclusive Camo Outerwear Collection

 

In honor of kolor‘s 10th anniversary, kolor imprint BEACON has released two jackets to be sold exclusively at Dover Street Market Ginza in Tokyo.

The two colorways utilize the same camouflage pattern as the one used for limited edition items sold at the reopening of Dover Street MarketGinza in August. Featuring a hunting camo pattern in dark green and a woodland camo pattern in brown, the jackets incorporate lightly distressed hems and two front pockets for a more worn-in aesthetic.

Find these items for ¥54,000 JPY (approximately $500 USD) at Dover Street MarketGinza.

 

Image of kolor BEACON Dover Street Market Ginza Exclusive Camo Outerwear Collection

 

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Supreme x COMME des GARCONS SHIRT Summer 2014 Capsule Collection

 

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Supreme and COMME des GARCONS SHIRT officially present two new versions of the Vans Sk8-Hi and Era. An image of New York skater Harold Hunter appears along the upper of the Sk8-Hi while both styles feature COMME des GARCONS fabric made exclusively for the streetwear brand. Releasing alongside the sneakers are a pair of New Era 5950 caps.Look for the capsule collection to release in-store on June 26 at the brand’s New York, London and Los Angeles locations, and online. Japan can look forward to the release on June 28. Dover Street Market New York, London and online will receive the collection as well on June 26, while Dover Street Market Ginza will receive it on June 28.

 

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Supreme x COMME des GARCONS SHIRT Summer 2014 Capsule Collection

 

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Yoichi Yamamoto x Issey Miyake “CH-AIR-S” Installation

Following from Japanese architect Yoichi Yamamoto‘s 2011 “2D/3D Chairs” installation for Tokyo retail store Issey Miyake, the two team up again on “CH-AIR-S.” Located in Ginza, Japan, the installation is based off of Yamamoto’s fashion design philosophy, “From 2D Cloth to 3D Dress.”

Those passing the store will see a series of tubes — held up by stainless steel wires — randomly float in mid-air. It isn’t until viewers reach the front of the shop window that the pieces come together to form five simple chair designs. An ingenious installation that toys with one’s perception, be sure to check out “CH-AIR-S” for yourself if you’re in Ginza.

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Travelers on Trip Advisor pick Japan’s 30 best restaurants

 

JR 5

RocketNews 24:

 

Travel website Trip Advisor recently released its annual list of the 30 best sightseeing spots in Japan. Featuring centuries-old shrines, futuristic cityscapes, and no fewer than four whale sharks, it’s an impressive collection of much of what makes Japan such a unique and awesome country.

Honestly, if you had the time, we wouldn’t try to talk you out of an itinerary that hits all 30 places. Of course, with that much sightseeing, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Thankfully, Trip Advisor is back again with its top 30 restaurants in Japan.

As with the sightseeing list, the rankings are based on reviews from Trip Advisor users who dined at the restaurants. While there’s no shortage of high-priced Japanese fare, there are a few budget-friendly eateries that made the cut too, along with some foreign cuisine as well. Let’s dig in and get this multi-course meal started with number 30.

 

30. Abucha Nigoten
Hokkaido,  Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 191-29

JR 13

Visitors to the Niseko ski resort on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido rave about this Japanese eatery’s sushi and hot pots.

29. The Niseko Supply Company
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Azayamada 190-13

If you’re looking for western food in Niseko, the Supply Company is known for its crepes, pastries, and fondue, plus its invigorating coffee and relaxing beer.

28. Niseko Pizza
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 167 3J, Sekka Building basement level 1

Not far from the above entry you’ll find this Italian restaurant that’s popular with the foreign community.

27. Jomon
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 5-9-17, Fujimori Building 1st floor

JR 2

Not only does Jomon serve up outstanding yakitori chicken skewers, its location on one of the secluded backstreets of Tokyo’s rowdiest nightlife district means you won’t have to worry about barkers trying to drag you off to their hostess bar on the way there.

26. Tsunahachi
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-31-8

Just a few minutes’ walk from the always bustling Shinjuku Station, Tsunahachi’s mix of great tempura and moderate prices has had diners lining up out front for years.

25. Kani Doraku
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Dotombori 1-6-18

JR 3

Japan has a number of restaurants that advertise their specialty with a giant animatronic crab, but none is more famous than the Kani Doraku branch in Osaka’s Dotombori entertainment district.

24. Sukibayashi Jiro
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Roppongi 6-12-2 Roppongi Hills Keyakizakadori 3rd floor

Ever wanted to dine at the same sushi restaurant as sake-sampling heads of state and demanding Chinese exchange students? Here’s your chance.

23. Katsukura
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Higashi Shiokojicho, Kyoto Station Building Senmontengai The Cube 11th floor

If you’re not interested in sushi, because of an aversion to raw food, this Kyoto Station restaurant specializes in deep-fried tonkatsu pork cutlets.

22. Yamato Sushi
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market, Building 6

Back to Tokyo, back to sushi with this restaurant located inside Japan’s largest seafood market.

21. New York Grill and Bar
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 3-7-1-2 Park Hyatt Tokyo 52nd floor

JR 4

Yes, you can drink and dine just where Bill Murray’s character did in Lost in Translation. Sip your Suntory whiskey, marvel at the fantastic view of Tokyo, and wonder just how Bob and Charlotte managed to get bored in such a massive city with so many places to explore.

20. Kyoto Gogyo
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Yanagibabadori, Takoyakushi Kudaru, Jumonji-cho

Japan’s ancient capital isn’t all rarified restaurants and delicate delicacies, as proven by the many fans of Kyoto Gogyo’s ramen.

19. Maiizumi
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-8-5

Once again, deep-fried pork proves to be a hit with a wide cross-section of travelers, as yet another tonkatsu restaurant, the Aoyama branch of Maiizumi, makes the list.

18. Kamimura
Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Kucchan-cho, Yamada 190-4, Shiki Niseko 1st floor

The Niseko ski resort shows up again, this time with the Michelin-ranked French/Japanese fusion Kamimura.

17. Midorizushi
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 1-12, Shibuya Mark City East 4th floor

JR 5

Located beneath several floors of offices, you’ll want to get here before the lunch rush for some of Tokyo’s best reasonably-priced sushi.

16. Ro
Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae, 6-2-4

If you’re not looking for the latest fashions, you might be tempted to pass on visiting Tokyo’s shopping mecca of Harajuku. If you’re into deep-fried gyoza pot stickers, though, you owe it to yourself to wade through the fashionistas and try the ones at Ro.

15. Chojiro
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Hashimoto-cho, 103-2

You’ll see a few revolving sushi restaurants in any large Japanese city, but Trip Advisor’s didn’t find any they liked more than Chojiro.

14. Ninja Akasaka
Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Nagata-cho 2-14-3, Akasaka Tokyo Plaza 1st floor

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Even if it wasn’t designed to look like a secret ninja castle, and even if the wait staff didn’t perform incredible magic tricks at your table, Akasaka’s ninja-themed restaurant would still be worth a visit for its beautifully inventive and delicious food. Make sure you reserve a table ahead of time, though, as a two-hour wait isn’t unheard of.

13. Ukai
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shiba Koen 4-4-13

This branch of the Ukai chain, located near Tokyo Tower, specializes in tofu, which is served in private dining rooms surrounded by beautiful gardens.

12. Tapas Molecular Bar
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-1-1 Mandarin Oriental Tokyo 38th floor

With space for only eight diners and just two seating per night, reservations are essential for this molecular cuisine restaurant in the luxury Mandarin Oriental Tokyo hotel.

11. Kaiseki 511
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Akasaka 4-3-28 Dia Plaza Akasaka basement level 1

Although it’s located in the upscale Akasaka neighborhood of Tokyo, Kaiseki 511’s specialty is kobe beef.

10. Ichiran
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Jinnan 1-22-7 Iwamoto Building basement level 1

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While travelers gave the no to the Shibuya branch in Tokyo, there’s a whole chain of Ichiran ramen joints. The first time I ate in one on the outskirts of a red light district in Yokohama, I thought its unique setup, with privacy-insuring walls and a screen that ensures even the waiter doesn’t see your face, was to protect the privacy of diners who stopped in for a bite after spending time at one of the local hostess bars. The reality isn’t anything so untoward, as Ichiran’s owners simply want to make sure nothing distracts you from the delicious noodles they serve.

9. Ippudo
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Higashi Toin, Nishikikoji Higashiiru 653-1 Nishiki Building 1st floor

Edging Ichiran for the top ramen restaurant on the list was Ippudo. The original location of this pork-broth specialist is in Fukuoka, but you can find branches of the chain in Tokyo and Yokohama as well.

8. Yamazaki
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market Building 6

Tsukiji gets still more help in building its reputation as the best place in Japan for sushi with this restaurant located inside the market.

7. Narisawa
Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Aoyama 2-6-15

Trip Advisor’s number-seven restaurant actually did better in Hospitality Magazine’s rankings, where it was picked as the best in Japan for its innovative French-inspired menu that includes such unique offerings as dirt soup.

6. Hofu
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku, Fuyachodori, Ebisugawa Noboru, Sasayacho 471-1

JR 7

This restaurant, which specializes in steak and beef cutlet, was Kyoto’s highest-ranked restaurant on the list.

5. Wakkoqu
Hyogo-ken, Kobe-shi, Chuo-ku, Kitanocho 1-1, Shin Kobe Oriental Avenue 3rd floor

It’s no surprise that Kobe’s top restaurant serves Kobe beef.

4. Kyube
Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 8-7-6

This sushi restaurant, located in Tokyo’s Ginza, came so close to taking the sushi crown away from Tsukiji.

3. Dai
Toyko-to, Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Tsukiji Fish Market Building 6

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No, that’s not a photo of the entrance to Tokyo Station during rush hour. It’s just the line for lunch at Dai, Japan’s highest-ranked sushi restaurant.

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2. Center4 Hamburgers
Gifu-ken, Takayama-shi, Kamiichino-cho 94

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What’s more surprising, that Japan’s number-two restaurant is located in rural Takayama, or that it uses the region’s prized Hida beef to make mouth-watering hamburgers?

JR 11

1. M
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku Namba 1-1-19

JR 12

Surprisingly, Trip Advisor’s top-ranked restaurant isn’t in Tokyo or Kyoto, and it doesn’t serve sushi or tempura. Instead, the Hozenji Yokocho branch of M in Osaka is ready to satisfy your carnivorous cravings with marbled Matsuzaka beef. Oddly enough, Matsuzaka beef isn’t raised in Osaka, but in Mie, two prefectures to the east.

Apparently the logistics aren’t a problem though, as travelers chose M as their favorite restaurant in the country.

 

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Travelers on Trip Advisor pick Japan’s 30 best restaurants