• Establishments that Aim to Attract Female Customers

    [From January Issue 2015]

    Horse race tracks, pachinko parlors, motorboat race tracks… all of these are places where the majority of visitors are male. Recently, these kinds of facilities are devising various schemes to increase female custom. For example, Boat Race Edogawa holds art tours to show off the facility’s art collection.
    During the tour, a guide accompanies customers around the Art Museum located in the facility. The combination of a motorboat race venue and art is surprising and SUZUKI Kenji, who is in charge of this Art Museum, talks about how the art collection increased: “About seven or eight years ago, we began decorating the dreary reserved seating area with object d’art.”
    The tour of the works scattered around the hall began in 2010. In 2012, when the collection increased and it became difficult to travel round the hall on foot, an Art Museum was established to bring the artworks together in one place. Currently, the museum houses many works, including pieces by Muttoni – known for his mechanical dolls – and FUKAHORI Riusuke – who creates three-dimensional goldfish with acrylic resin. The museum is highly regarded for its large collection of valuable modern art.
    The tour costs 1,500 yen including lunch. It’s also possible to watch races from reserved seats, which usually cost 2,000 yen. The tour does not make a profit, but Suzuki says, “A boat racetrack is a difficult place for a casual visitor to drop in on. We hope that this tour will provide a different way in for those visiting our boat racetrack.”
    The impression that this is a male dominated place with a rough atmosphere has been successfully changed, with some tour participants remarking, “Is this really a boat race track?” The art tour only takes place on boat race days and is by reservation only. Numbers are limited to ten people per day. Since the artwork can only be seen by participating in the tour, bookings are always made on holidays.
    Considered to be mostly full of male customers, pachinko parlors also hope to attract more female visitors, particularly housewives. This is because the regular pachinko crowd is on the decline. Eyecandy Co., Ltd. specializes in designing pachinko parlor restrooms and gift exchange counters for women. All the employees are women, which is unusual in the male dominated pachinko industry.
    Originally the company created pachinko hall advertisements, but came to deal in interior decor at the request of the parlors. The parlors particularly want housewives in their 50’s and 60’s to visit. However, the interior decoration, being rather gaudy, does not create a tranquil atmosphere. “Because we want to create a space for women to shine, we intentionally avoided age-appropriate designs,” says the CEO, FUKUMORI Kanae.
    Devices that appeal to the customers’ inner girl have been installed; for instance “actress mirrors” in the powder room create a flattering reflection. The designs suggested by Eyecandy Co., Ltd. were sometimes ridiculed by other competitors when the company was bidding for an interior design contract. However, its bid was successful and after the refit was complete, it was popular with female customers. Other halls have altered their interior decor to be more appealing to women after seeing this response.

    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2015年1月号掲載記事]




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  • Experience and Learn the Charm of Traditional Performing Arts in Tokyo

    [From January Issue 2015]

    Tokyo Traditional Arts Program
    Launched in 2008 by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, “Tokyo Traditional Arts Program” is part of the Tokyo Culture Creation Project. In Tokyo there remain numerous performing arts traditions. The scheme aims to hand down these skills to future generations.
    This year, three major events took place: Traditional Arts Performances, Traditional Performing Arts for Kids, and Tokyo Grand Tea Ceremony 2014. The content of the programs is specifically chosen with an emphasis on making traditional performing arts welcoming and accessible. At Traditional Arts Performances, for example, a show called “Japanese Comedy Traditional and Contemporary” was held. Kyogen actors and comedians perform together and explore the differences and similarities between classic and modern comedies.
    Traditional Performing Arts for Kids operates training programs. Children choose their favorite art from options such as Noh, Japanese dancing; shakuhachi (bamboo flute)and shamisen (Japanese guitar). They then receive lessons directly from top-notch artists. At the end of the program, they have a public show. MORI Ryuichiro, a public relations director of Tokyo Culture Creation Project says: “Learning traditional performing may feel awkward. But these programs offer seven months of intensive training so they can learn in a relaxed atmosphere.” So far, some 1,800 children have participated in these programs.
    Mori says he wants students to get a sense of the value of Japanese culture through these programs; that nothing similar can be found in the rest of the world. “Practiced continuously for 600 years, the art of Noh is an aural tradition that has been handed down through imitation. Registered by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, it’s the world’s oldest performing art tradition still in existence. By experiencing such Japanese traditional performing arts, they will hopefully develop a sense of respect for Japanese culture.”
    Mori says that one characteristic of Japanese traditional performing arts is that they are linked to ordinary people’s everyday lives. “In Japan, Noh stages can be found in the countryside, and kabuki is performed in some farming villages.” Nagauta (long epic songs), kouta (ballads) and the shamisen were popular accomplishments amongst the merchant classes in the Edo period. Bon odori dances held in summer throughout Japan are also a traditional performing art.
    The Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held in six years, will be a great opportunity to promote traditional performing arts in Tokyo. “In the Olympics, the host city is expected to hold cultural and educational programs. We’re still deciding what we’re going to offer, but there will be many opportunities for people to immerse themselves in traditional arts. Rather than just watching professional performances, for a more direct experience, I want people from abroad to informally participate in bon dancing.”

    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2015年1月号掲載記事]



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  • 冬の風物詩となったイルミネーション

    [From Decemberber Issue 2014]

    Every year from around November to December, many commercial complexes and municipalities turn on their spectacular illuminations. These brilliant displays get people in the mood for Christmas. The switch-on ceremonies held at large commercial complexes are featured in the news and have become an annual winter attraction.
    During this period, 5.6 million people visit the illuminations at Tokyo Midtown. This year is the eighth time the display has been held and its theme is a journey from the earth into space. It’s a yearly tradition for a pool of blue LED light to be created in the 2,000 square meter Grass Square. This year four meter high light sticks are installed there. This creates the feeling of being in a zero gravity environment. Illuminated by a total of 500,000 LED bulbs, until December 25, the commercial complex is transformed into a luminous space.
    Founded in 1995, Kobe Luminarie was the first light display to become well known in Japan. The Great Hanshin Earthquake had occurred in January that year. And the Kobe Luminarie was organized to put its victims’ souls to rest and to pray for the restoration and rehabilitation of Kobe.
    There was a great demand for it to become a regular event and citizens, business owners and visitors have contributed every year so that it can been held. This year marks the 20th year since the Great Hanshin Earthquake. The event ensures that the quake will never be forgotten by future generations, and this year it will run from December 4 to 15.
    There are some cases where light displays have been instrumental in attracting more visitors to a particular locale. Ashikaga Flower Park in Tochigi Prefecture is known for its giant 150-year-old wisteria and 80-meter-long wisteria tunnel. Between mid-April and mid-May when the wisteria flowers are in bloom, 50,000 people visit each day. Because the park was well known for its flowers, the management was concerned with the question of how to attract visitors during wintertime.
    Because of this, they installed illuminations in 2002, and since then, the number of visitors gradually increased until last year 500,000 came during that period. This year, 2.5 million electric bulbs are being used over a 92,000 square meter area. Images of birds flying across the night sky can be enjoyed on organic electroluminescent panels which change depending on the angle they are viewed from. Special opening hours and admission prices are in effect until February 5 for those who come only for the illuminations.
    The illuminations at Decks Tokyo Beach in Odaiba, Tokyo, have been revamped this year. To attract more visitors they will be switched on all year round. One of the new attractions is a tunnel that projects different images onto its walls depending on the motion it detects from people inside it. A large heart-shaped light display has been installed at this spot where it is possible to take photos that include Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Sky Tree and Rainbow Bridge, all in one shot.

    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo










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  • 女性がDIYにはまる理由

    [From Novemberber Issue 2014]

    These days, more and more women are taking up DIY as a hobby. DIY is an abbreviation of “Do it yourself”, but is often translated into Japanese as weekend carpentry. Compulsory “technology/home economics” classes in junior high school were once taught separately according to gender; with boys learning “technology” which included woodwork and engineering, and girls learning “home economics,” which included cooking and sewing. People therefore have an image of weekend carpentry as being a male hobby.
    Tools used for DIY are quite different from those in the past. Home centers have lots of safe and convenient tools such as compact saws and lightweight electric screwdrivers. They have become such familiar objects that even 100-yen shops have DIY sections. Tools made especially for women are on the market, including pastel-colored tool boxes and hammers with flower patterns on the handle.
    The “DIY Joshi-bu®” is a social circle for women actively involved in DIY. Since its foundation in March 2011, the number of members has been increasing every year and they now have over 1,800 people registered. Besides its Tokyo headquarters, there are three workshops in Japan and one overseas – these have become places for DIY-loving women to communicate. Lectures are given there on such topics such as how to make things and how to use tools.
    Vice President MUTA Yukiko says, “The appeal of DIY lies in the fact that you can create a finished product with a size and appearance that suits your own tastes. Since women almost invariably add some cute touch to the basic form, their personality will show in the product.”
    The “DIY Joshi-bu®” has a good reputation for the quality of its work, so they sometimes get commissions from companies. “As consumers, we make products that we really want, from the point of view of businesses this allows them to target the needs of today’s era and develop products. Truly excellent products become essential to the user’s life. In the future, we’d like to help create (more) workshops and environments where anyone can enjoy DIY without traveling far. We’d like to provide social support not only for women, but also for the elderly and children so that through DIY they can get a taste for the enjoyment of creating things and gain a sense of accomplishment,” says Muta.
    ISHII Akane, a housewife living in Saitama Prefecture got started with DIY when she decided to make a piece of furniture because it was too expensive to buy. She’s now reconstructing everything in her house – not only the furniture – to her taste, remaking interior doors in an antique style and changing the wallpaper to patterns of her liking.
    Ishii says, “I often use books on interior design and homes in other countries as a reference. Rather than making simply functional shelves or tables, women want to find beauty in them. DIY is a way of realizing your ideals.”

    Text: MUKAI Natsuko[2014年11月号掲載記事]

    近頃DIYを趣味とする女性が増えています。DIYとは「Do it yourself」の略ですが、日本ではしばしば日曜大工と訳されます。中学校の必修教科である「技術・家庭」は、かつて、木工や機械などの「技術」は男子、食物や被服などの「家庭」は女子というように男女別々に学んでいました。そのため日曜大工は男性の趣味というイメージがあります。


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  • ロリータファッションでまちおこし

    [From Novemberber Issue 2014]

    The city of Otaru in Hokkaido is known for its beautiful streets. A new type of tourism event called the “Otaru Kawaii Tea Party” was created there. Aimed at fans of Lolita fashion, it’s been held since last year.
    Lolita fashion is about clothing with frills and lace attached that resembles the outfits once worn by modern Western women. Young women started up the Lolita fashion trend, which is characterized by its antique design. As part of Japanese pop culture, it’s been gaining fans around the world.
    In 2012, a contest was held in Sapporo City for business ideas that might revitalize the city. The winner was a plan to make use of the Lolita fashion trend. Lolita fashion goes well with the historical cityscape of Otaru. Putting this idea into practice, a decision was made for the city of Otaru and the local tourism association to host events.
    This year, 73 people took part. They strolled along a canal and through old streets, all the while enjoying photo opportunities. A fashion show – eating cakes and so forth – took place at a nearby stone warehouse which had been repurposed as a live music hall. Many participants expressed a wish that the event would continue in the future. The participants weren’t only young Japanese women; men and foreigners also took part.
    “Many people told me they were happy there was a new place to enjoy Lolita fashion,” says MITSUHASHI Asako, head of the Lolita fashion brand “Kita Loli,” which helped to organize the event. Otaru City’s aim is to spread awareness of Otaru’s scenery alongside Lolita fashion. With this in mind, they’re hoping to spark the interest of many other kinds of people.
    “Just as people try on maiko (trainee geisha) costumes when they go to Kyoto, I’d like people to try on Lolita outfits when they come to Otaru. I’d like to firmly establish it as part of our interactive tourism,” says NAKANO Hiroaki of the Sightseeing Promotion Room of Otaru City. In the city hopes have been raised that Otaru’s sweets and fashion will also be promoted.
    These days, there are more and more inquiries not only from domestic media, but also from Chinese media and French media. In Hong Kong, too, more people are paying attention to Lolita fashion. Hokkaido is already a popular tourist spot with South East Asians. In the future, Lolita fashion may end up becoming one of Hokkaido’s tourist attractions.

    Text: TSUCHIYA Emi











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  • 途上国の子どもの未来をひらくランドセル

    [From October Issue 2014]

    Many women in developing countries still die from pregnancy and childbirth. Hoping to decrease the numbers of these victims, the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) began its activities in 1968. The main focus of its efforts involves giving women from developing countries the opportunity to have health checkups and providing them with health advice. For the past ten years, the organization has been actively engaged in the “Omoide no Randoseru Gift” (Memorial Backpack Gift) project. For this project, school supplies and used randoseru (school backpacks) are sent to children in Afghanistan.
    Peculiar to Japan, randoseru are leather bags used by primary schoolchildren on their school commute. Shaped like a box, these are carried on the back. Back when they were conceived of in the Meiji era (19 – 20th centuries) only children from affluent families possessed them. Nowadays, nearly 100% of children have one. Typically given by parents or grandparents upon enrollment, when the child leaves primary school the randoseru’s six year duty is over.
    The randoseru are sent so that more Afghan children can receive an education. In addition to providing concrete support, they create an environment conducive to education. Under the Taliban regime – which collapsed 13 years ago – women were forbidden to receive an education. There are still a lot of parents who think that education is not necessary for girls. In addition, many poor families rely on child labor to survive.
    “Many women have lost their lives because knowledge about health and hygiene is poor. If they could read and write, they could acquire knowledge that would safeguard their own lives, and could secure their own future,” JOICFP Partnership Promotion Group Program Officer YUYAMA Satoru says.
    “It would be hugely significant if boys and girls made their way to and from school carrying the same items. It may be that if parents who believe that it’s not necessary for girls to go to school see a neighboring girl going to school with a randoseru on her back, their mentality might gradually change. Through study, boys will also be able to protect their families in the future.”
    The unique form of the randoseru also helps students to learn. Due to a shortage of classrooms – many of which were destroyed in the civil war – classes often take place outdoors. In such cases, the box-shaped randoseru can be used as a desk.
    The campaign to collect randoseru is held every year from March to May and this year 18,674 randoseru were collected. However, Yuyama say that it is not yet enough. “In Nangarhar Province where JOICFP distributes randoseru, it’s estimated that approximately 90,000 children enter school each year. It’s believed that the same amount of children are unable to attend school.”
    A randoseru is no ordinary bag. It is crammed with the good wishes of parents and grandparents celebrating a child’s entry to school and packed with the child’s own memories. Yuyama says that it would be nice if, by sending their precious randoseru over, Japanese families begin to think of these Afghan children.
    Text: ICHIMURA Masayo[2014年10月号掲載記事]


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  • 動物のおしりがブーム

    [From September Issue 2014]

    People like videos and photos of cute animals. Recently many of them have been drawing attention to animals’ behinds. It seems that animal bottoms exposed to the elements are so adorable that they lighten people’s hearts and for this reason looking at them has become a trend. The boom began in Japan and is spreading around the world.
    At Kobe Oji Zoo, Hyogo Prefecture, the special exhibition “Animals Seen From Behind” is being held until October 31. To let visitors learn through experience, the zoo has had plushy versions of animal behinds made. The shape of the buttocks and tail of an animal is closely related to the creature’s way of life. The appeal is that you can acquire knowledge through entertainment. “Since many children like bottoms, we thought we could get them interested in animals by starting with their behinds,” says head of public relations MANABE Daiki.
    Although it started out as a project aimed at children, it’s been popular with adults, too. “On entering the exhibition, the bottoms of zebras, bears, snow leopards and more are displayed side by side. Children are delighted and cry out, ‘Wow, bottoms!’ Many families chat with each other while looking at the exhibition,” says Manabe. Having a photo taken of yourself while wearing a bottom costume is also popular.
    Sekai Bunka Publishing, Inc., released a collection of photos of hamsters’ bottoms titled “Hamuketsu (hamster’s butts) – Cute Enough to Make You Pass Out.” The collection gained popularity through the Internet and sold out soon after it was released. As an unusual Japanese phenomenon, the foreign media, including the Wall Street Journal and CNN, picked up the story.
    Afterwards at the suggestion of a member of staff, Sekai Bunka Publishing, Inc. adopted a hamster named “Sebun-chan” as a pet. “He’s the star of the office and is now popular among the followers, too, because we introduced him on Twitter. There are also many fans of Sebun-chan’s bottom pictures,” says MINAMI Yukako, of the media-marketing department. Responding to calls from readers, such as “I want to see more hamuketsu” and “Aren’t you going to make a sequel?” they are going to release a desktop calendar in late September.
    KAMIYA Hiroko, a housewife who likes reading blogs written by hamster owners, says: “I would like to have a hamster at home, too, but since my child is still small, I cannot do that for fear my child would hit the animal. So I enjoy looking the pictures on these blogs. I think pictures of bottoms are especially cute.”
    As a result of the boom, a site specializing in animals’ bottoms has been created and merchandise is being sold. It’s not only small animals that are popular. Photo collections of the rear ends of birds and large animals are also being published. Creative types are also making bottom mascots out of woolen felt. Variety goods stores are putting on exhibitions of merchandise related to animal behinds. It could be that animal bottoms provide comic relief for tired people. The end of the bottom boom is not yet in sight.

    Text: TSUCHIYA Emi[2014年9月号掲載記事]

    世界文化社は今年4月、ハムスターのおしりの写真集「かわいさに悶絶 ハムケツ」を発売しました。写真集はインターネットをきっかけに人気に火がつきました。発売後、すぐに売り切れてしまったほどです。日本での珍しい現象として海外の「ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル」やCNNでも取り上げられました。


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  • 生まれ変わる学校

    [From August Issue 2014]

    Due to the declining population, many schools in Japan have been merged or closed. In 2008, Yoshimoto Kogyo, a company known for its comedy shows, moved its Tokyo head office to abandoned school buildings in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Some of its original classroom desks and chairs are still being used. Thus, there are many ways to repurpose abandoned school buildings.
    Arts Chiyoda 3331 (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) has turned a former junior high school building into an arts center. With its galleries and café, the site is a focal point for cultural activities, including exhibitions and lectures. At lunch it’s bustling with people who work nearby and mothers pushing baby carriages. In the evening you can find children doing their homework there.
    “Visitors appreciate events like bazaars and music festivals that are held in spaces which were formally a gymnasium and rooftop. There’s an organic garden on the rooftop. One of our defining features is that anyone, not just people interested in art, can easily use it (the center),” says TAMAOKI Makoto, head of public relations. There are plans to periodically invite foreign artists there in the future.



    In the town of Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, the buildings of Sarugakyo Elementary School – abandoned in 2008 – were given a new lease of life in 2012 as a hostel called “Elementary School for Lodgers, Sarusho.” Surrounded by lush nature, guests are free to use the swimming pool, the playground and the kitchen. Among the lodgers are students attending sport camps, working adults attending company training sessions and many others there purely for leisure pursuits.
    “Other abandoned school buildings are often remodeled for use as ryokan or minshuku (traditional Japanese-style lodging). At Sarusho, we wanted to repurpose them as accommodation, but to leave the school buildings as they were. It was hard to get the fire brigade, the Bureau of Public Works and the public health center to understand this idea,” says IIJIMA Kenji, the “principal” of Sarusho. He’s attempting to run the place with his own funds, without receiving any subsidies from local government.
    ITO Masaaki, who has used Sarusho’s facilities with a small group, says, laughing, “We enjoyed playing fondly remembered games such as tag, long rope jumping, catch, and truth or dare. It was a novelty to drink alcohol in a classroom and run along the corridors.” An additional charm of this facility is the fact that you can make as much noise as you want, since it’s rented to just one group per day.
    Depending on your creativity, there is no limit to the ways abandoned school buildings can be reused. They’ve been used as hospitals, libraries, welfare facilities and locations for film shoots. School buildings are solidly built. While it’s costly to demolish them, they can regenerate areas and create jobs when effectively repurposed.

    Text: TSUCHIYA Emi[2014年8月号掲載記事]

    アーツ千代田 3331 (東京都千代田区)は中学校だった建物を利用したアートセンターです。ギャラリーやカフェなどがあり、展覧会や講演会といった文化的活動の拠点として利用されています。お昼時には近くに勤める人たちやベビーカーを押す母親たちで賑わいます。夕方にはここで宿題をする子どもたちの姿も見られます。

    2008年に廃校となった群馬県みなかみ町の猿ヶ京小学校は、2012年に宿泊施設「泊まれる小学校 さる小」として生まれ変わりました。周囲に豊富な自然があり、プールやグラウンド、調理実習室が自由に使用できます。学生のスポーツ合宿や社会人の研修だけでなく、レジャー目的で宿泊する人も多いです。


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  • なりたい自分になれる魔法「なりきりメイク」

    [From July Issue 2014]

    Trends are sometimes born when fans try to recreate the hairstyles or clothing of the TV and movie stars they idolize. Now the latest boom, which got underway via social media, is for “makeovers that transform you into a celebrity.”
    Using makeup techniques, these total makeovers transform your face so that it resembles the celebrity you’d like to become. Many people upload photos of their makeovers onto Twitter and Facebook or outline the makeup process on videos shared on video sites. After sharing their knowhow, those producing high quality makeovers have evaluated and gained popularity, so that some have even published books.
    KAJI Eriko is one of those people. She’s been interested in makeup since childhood and began doing makeovers in her senior year in high school. She shared her photos on her blog and rounded off 2012 by choosing 24 of the best of her celebrity imitation photographs she’d done that year for a compilation. Her blog was retweeted many times and the term “mane meiku” (get the look makeovers) became a No. 1 trend word. This led to appearances on TV and in magazines. She’s published two makeup books so far.
    HANAFUSA Miyako who works in the editorial department at Takarajima, says, “The book ‘Mane Meiku Recipe’ shows how to do your makeup to resemble 32 different celebrities – including KITAGAWA Keiko and Rola – that are popular with women. Special makeup tools aren’t necessary. These (looks) can be easily achieved with what you have to hand. Readers’ comments have included: ‘I was told I looked just like the entertainer’ and ‘Just browsing through (the photos) is fun.’
    Total makeovers have even branched out into CSR (corporate social responsibility activities). Meiji Sangyo Co., Ltd runs a CSR activity for women called “Ah! Meijingu Club” (Amazing Club) under the tagline: “Making myself and my town beautiful!” One of the themes they’ve adopted is ‘trends’ and the seventh and most recent group to be founded is the “Total Makeover ☆ Fukuoka Star Club.”
    Club captain NAGASUE Yuki says, “Fukuoka is a city that many people have moved to either because of job relocation or because of the effects of the earthquake. Our intention is to provide an environment where they can mix with locals. Total makeovers are quite popular, so when we advertised to recruit members, there were five times more applicants than the spaces we had to fill. When we held a party to show off our work, everyone had such a good time and got so excited that we burst out laughing many times. Our members get along together very well and keep in touch.”
    A characteristic of this trend for total makeovers is that many people upload their makeover photos onto social media. Interaction through the Internet is lively as people comment and click ‘like.’

    Text: HATTA Emiko[2014年7月号掲載記事]

    宝島社編集部の花房美也子さんは話します。「『真似メイク RECIPE』は、北川景子さんやローラさんなど、女性に人気がある芸能人計32名の顔になれるメイク方法を紹介した本です。特別な道具は不要で、手持ちのメイク道具でできます。読者からは『芸能人に似ていると言われた』『見ているだけでも楽しい』という声をいただいています」。


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  • ケータリングでパーティーやイベントを演出

    [From June Issue 2014]

    Recently, more and more people in Japan are holding parties at home. After hosting several parties, many people want to create an atmosphere that is a little different than normal. Because of this, caterers have been attracting attention. Besides house parties, they also cater corporate events.
    Futaba Fruits, in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, is a catering service that deals with fruits. The company originally sold fruit retail, but when regular customers requested that they provide fruits for events and parties, this prompted them to launch their service. Seventy percent of their customer base is female.
    At the turn of the seasons, there are more exhibitions by clothing manufacturers. In the summer, they often set up shop at outdoor festivals, and at the end of the year, the number of company parties they cater to increases for the bounenkai (forget the hardships of the year) party season. A colorful reminder of the changing seasons, fruit is reputed to create pleasing decorative effects at parties.
    IWATSUKI Masayasu, a spokesman for Futaba Fruits says: “We started out as a retailer, so we didn’t get the opportunity to witness our customers consuming our fruit. However, since we started our catering service, we’ve had increasing opportunities to see the smiles on our customer’s faces as they consume our fruit, telling us they find it delicious.”


    Tokyo Masala Boys’ curry

    TAKAGI Shintaro and HATSUMI Ken run a weekends-only, Tokyo-based curry catering service called Tokyo Masala Boys. The two used to cook as a hobby. One day, when they made an authentic Indian curry to eat with friends and family, the consensus was that it was really delicious. Takagi says that making curry requires an in-depth knowledge both of spices and Indian cooking.
    “I simply liked curry, so I wanted to make more of it. If I think that a curry is delicious, it makes me happy when other people find it delicious, too,” says Takagi, with a smile. They offer a set meal for 2,000 yen a head that consists of two kinds of curry, two side dishes and a portion of rice. Another reason for their popularity may be the reasonable price of their catering.
    They’ve catered at a variety of different venues: not only at typical house parties, but also at flea markets, discussion events aimed at regenerating local areas and at youth hostels for backpackers.
    ONO Daisuke, who has tried the catering service, says: “They devise a menu tailored to your budget and the dishes, made by professional cooks, create an exotic atmosphere. They take care of the tableware and so forth, so I wasn’t caught up in preparing for the event. Despite being the host of the house party, I was able to enjoy it, too.” Allowing both organizers and guests to have a good time, caterers may become even more popular in the future.

    Text: TSUCHIYA Emi[2014年6月号掲載記事]




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