First Carl’s Jr. opens in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, massive line-up ensues


RocketNews 24/Business Wire:

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. (CKE), parent company of Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, continues its impressive international growth with the opening of its first Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Japan.

Perhaps influenced by the weak footing of McDonald’s last year, it seems a steady stream of US franchises such as Taco Bell and Shake Shack have been crossing the Pacific and setting up shop in Tokyo. On 4 March, it was to be major burger chain Carl’s Jr. coming the otaku mecca of Akihabara.

This marks the first of a multi-unit development agreement between CKE and Mitsuuroko Group Holdings Co., Ltd. to develop 150 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Japan over the next 10 years. As part of the development deal, Carl’s Jr. restaurants also are scheduled to open in Azabujyuban, Odaiba, Shibuya and Roppongi.

“Japan is the largest burger market in Asia and Japanese consumers are well known for their passionate enthusiasm for quality, great tasting food. The Carl’s Jr. brand and menu are perfectly positioned for Japan as we offer bigger, better tasting, chargrilled burgers served with high quality, fresh ingredients and best-in-class customer service,” said Ned Lyerly, President, International at CKE. “We partnered with the Mitsuuroko Group as our Master Franchisee in Japan to establish our brand across the country and we are confident in our collective ability to deliver to a superior level of guest satisfaction in our restaurants.”

“Carl’s Jr. fills a major void in the Japanese burger market. There’s no other global burger chain that offers such premium and innovative menu items served with industry leading customer service. What’s more is the brand exudes a cool, youthful and edgy persona that will resonate with Japan’s burger lovers of all ages,” said Mr. Kohei Tajima, the CEO of MGHD. “We are honored to open the first Carl’s Jr. in Japan and look forward to elevating the brand’s presence in the market over the next decade.”

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Carl’s Jr. restaurant in Akihabara will offer innovative breakfast, lunch and dinner menu items including the brand’s signature line of 100% Angus Beef Thickburgers, such as the Western Bacon Cheeseburger and Jalapeno Thickburger, along with Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders and Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes. The restaurant will also offer complimentary Wi-Fi, a refillable beverage bar and draft beer.

To celebrate the arrival of Carl’s Jr. in Japan, the restaurant will give away “A Year’s Worth of Free Burgers” to the first 50 people through the door on opening day. This popular promotion is well-loved by fans around the world with some of them lining up days before the restaurant opens.

Key facts about Carl’s Jr. in Akihabara

  • Address: 4-4-3, Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; breakfast hours: 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily
  • Menu features:
    • Carl’s Jr.’s signature line of 100 percent Angus Beef Thickburgers®
    • High-quality, all-white-meat Chargrilled and Hand-Breaded Chicken
    • Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes™
    • Refillable beverage bar
  • Special amenities:
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Tokyo Halloween revelers descend on Shibuya, and urged to be the “cleanest Halloween in the world”

Japan Times: 

Thousands of revelers dressed up in wild costumes and wearing makeup swarmed Hachiko Square in front of Tokyo’s JR Shibuya Station on Saturday evening to celebrate Halloween.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department mobilized hundreds of riot police for the event this year.

Last year, two people were arrested. One was detained for punching a police officer while the other was taken into custody for molesting a woman. Earlier in the day, singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu called on partygoers in the capital to keep the streets clean as a large quantity of litter was expected to result from the gathering.

I want everyone to help keep the streets clean, using these bags (provided by the city),” the singer said in front of Tokyo Tower in Minato Ward.

The event was organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to raise awareness by handing out orange jack-o’-lantern-themed garbage bags.

When you have fun, there will be lots of garbage,” the singer said. “I want to see people in the streets fill the bags in a kawaii (cute) way.

The event formed part of a campaign dubbed “Halloween & Tokyo,” under the slogan of “cleanest Halloween in the world.”

The bags were handed out near stations and large road crossings in busy districts such as Shibuya, Shinjuku and Roppongi.

During last year’s boisterous Halloween celebrations, a large quantity of litter, such as drink cans, were thrown on the ground by revelers, prompting the metropolitan government to launch this year’s campaign.

Cosplaying taxis with monster drivers to offer free rides to cosplayers in Shibuya (Tokyo) this Halloween

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RocketNews 24 (by Oona McGee):

Halloween in Japan keeps getting bigger and better every year, with cosplayers coming out in droves to celebrate the world of costumes and make-believe. This time around, Japanese car manufacturer Nissan is joining the fun with a fleet of taxis dressed up in Halloween costumes, complete with “monster drivers” behind the wheel.

The monsters and their vehicles will be helping fellow ogres and ghouls by offering free rides to people in costume in the Shibuya area on October 29 and 31. What’s more, the unusual vans promise to be so spacious, they’ll accommodate any type of outfit you’re wearing!

The event, called “Ride on Halloween by Nissan”, will feature three “costumed” vehicles: an orange Jack-o-Lantern, a purple-and-green Frankenstein (‘Frankenstein’s Monster’ for the purists), and a pale-brown, bandaged Mummy.

▼ They may be monsters, but they’re Japanese taxi-driving monsters, so they’ll all be wearing white gloves.

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The promotion is designed to showcase the spacious nature of Nissan’s NV200 taxi, which has been ferrying people around New York and London for several years and will finally be making its debut in Japan as part of the preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

▼ New York marked the debut of the NV200 taxi with a #HAILYES interactive marketing campaign in 2013.

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In Japan, they’re using Halloween to highlight the roomy interior of the new taxis, by offering the free rides to cosplayers to show how a van ride can be superior to a sedan ride, especially when you and your clothes take up a extra space. The driver of each vehicle will also take part in the dress-up!

You can catch a ride at three as-yet-unannounced designated pick-up and drop-off points in the Shibuya area, which is one of the main hubs for Halloween celebrations every year.

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The taxis will run between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on 29 and 31 October. The organisers have pointed out that free rides are limited only to those in costume and rides cannot be guaranteed, so if you really want to step inside the cosplaying vehicles, you might want to try your luck before the night of Halloween, when there’s less chance of monsters lurking about.

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The pick-up and drop-off points will be announced soon, so be sure to check out the official campaign website for updates!

Medicom Toy (Japan) x Oakley Frogskins Bearbrick for BEAMS

Longstanding Japanese toy label Medicom Toy outfits its hallmark Bearbrick model with a pair of Oakley’s Frogskins sunglasses for a new release for compatriot retailer BEAMS. The collaboration embodies Oakley’s slick vibe on an equitably smooth translucent Bearbrick, featuring the brand logo on the chest alongside a screen of the silhouette on the toy’s face.

Arriving as a special, limited-edition gift at BEAMS locations in Harajuku, Nagoya, Yokohama and Shibuya, pick up this iteration of the Bearbrick beginning April 17.

Japan’s wildest nail art: Sushi, pirates, scissors and more…

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RocketNews 24:

Nail art is pretty big in Japan. For a lot of women, getting their nails not just colored, but decorated with gems, 3D flowers and mini-paintings is a monthly routine and fashion must. Usually it’s fairly subtle, but some nail art aficionados think bigger and bolder is better, no matter how hard it makes typing a mail or wiping your bum.

Here’s a fairly typical nail art design in Japan. The colors are simple but varied, there are some gems for accents, and some nice paint work as well. It’s stylish and more eye-catching than a one-tone polish job, but it’s not going to put your eye out either.

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Then you have designs like this:

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Often part of the uber-cute Shibuya gal fashions, these nails are long, long, long and festooned with popular children’s characters, flowers and other girly tidbits.

▼Cake, anyone?

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Pop culture themed nails are also big among all ages.

▼Totoro, looking cute

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▼Edward Scissorhands, looking… pointy

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▼Gudetama, also looking surprisingly pointy

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Speaking of eggs, another major category of nail art is food-themed.

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This level of nail art already takes a high level of skill and several hours to complete, but there is a level even beyond that. It goes so far beyond fashion and the bounds of convenience that you might label it a kind of performance art.

▼Sea coral nails, perhaps in response to recent tensions between Japan and China over coral poaching?

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▼Pirate nails, perhaps a call to arms against the scourge of modern piracy?

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▼Some pretty ladies, perhaps for women’s rights?

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▼These things. Just because they are purdy.

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Drew Barrymore arrives in Japan and begins chronicling her #tokyofoodtour on Instagram

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RocketNews 24:

Drew Barrymore is in Japan right now, and while we’re sure she’s got some sightseeing and interviews on her schedule, what she seems most fired up about is the food, as the actress looks to be on a mission to sample all that Tokyo has to offer her taste buds, from cheap ramen joints to Michelin-ranked fine dining.

Barrymore has been chronicling her culinary exploits through her Instagram account, marking updates with the hashtag #tokyofoodtour. The very first entry shows the star looking a little sleepy as she poses, chopsticks in hand, behind a balanced and beautifully arranged Japanese breakfast.

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Next up, a stop by Sukibayashi Jiro, made famous by 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

▼ The famously strict Jiro even cracks a smile.

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The actress isn’t solely interested in such exclusive establishments, though. As a matter of fact, she was up at about at 7 a.m. to stop by popular ramen restaurant Inoue, located in the Tsukiji neighborhood.

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Barrymore also stopped by a Tokyo shrine for a little spiritualism/digesting…

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…plus took time to pose with a fan.

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The hidden drawback to Tokyo’s extremely diverse dining scene is that there’s so much good food to try, it’s hard to find time for all of it. It seems Barrymore knows that when you’re looking to maximize the variety in your meal, a visit to a robatayaki, a type of restaurant where customers can choose from a large number of small dishes, is in order

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Japan doesn’t just have a deep food culture, though. A walk through Tokyo will present you with a staggering amount of beverage options, many of them waiting for you inside the city’s ubiquitous vending machines.

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And, like a true foodie, Barrymore remembers to save room for dessert, which on this day came from a Tokyo branch of American donut chain Krispy Kreme.

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Unfortunately, it looks as though the Tokyo portion of Barrymore’s trip to Japan is over, as the most recent photo of her Tokyo Food Tour has her posing in the middle of Shibuya’s famous Scramble Intersection with the caption “Sayonara! Goodbye Tokyo.”

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Restaurant information
Inoue / 井上
Address: Tokyo-tom Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-9-16
東京都中央区築地4-9-16
Open 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Website (Tabelog)