Flying cars are just around the corner

Good morning everyone,

I'm thinking that the only people you'll see wearing shorts this week are Canadians (in Canada any temperature over 20C is shorts weather) or elementary school kids. It's going to be chilly all week with overnight lows closer to 10C than 20C.

Yamato Holdings Co. said Friday it has agreed to jointly develop an unmanned cargo aircraft with Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of the United States, aiming to launch the "flying truck" by mid-2020s amid a labor shortage in the logistics industry.

Image result for yamato bell flying truck

Yamato said it will develop the cargo container, while Bell will build the body of the autonomous aircraft, which will take off and land vertically and cruise horizontally.

The vehicle is expected to carry cargo weighing up to 453 kilograms at 160 kilometers per hour.

Japanese logistics companies are keen to introduce cutting-edge technologies such as robots and drones to address a shortage of delivery staff and enhance business efficiency.

In a related move, the Japanese government has begun discussions with private businesses on the practical use of flying cars, aiming to commercialize them in the 2020s.

Such vehicles are expected to help ease traffic jams in urban areas and be used in mountainous areas and remote islands as well as in the event of natural disasters.

Plus, it just looks cool, doesn't it?

Have a great day!

Which are you? A witch or a princess?

Good morning everyone,

It's looking like we will be enjoying some more fall-like weather for the next week or so. The good news is there's no rain in the forecast, although it'll be crisp.

It hasn’t even been a fortnight since we were sitting at Starbucks licking our lips after tasting their brand new pumpkin Frappuccino. But things move fast in the world of seasonal beverages in Japan, so it’s time to get ready for another new release this month, and now there are two limited-edition Frappucino beverages coming our way.

▼ Say hello to the Halloween Witch and the Halloween Princess.

These mouthwatering photos, released just yesterday, show us everything we need to know about the new seasonal beverages. Both contain the delicious flavour of apple, but the big question is: Are you a witch or a princess? Let’s take a look at the different apple combinations to find out.

First up is the decadently dark witch version, which contains a vivid red apple compote on the bottom layer, followed by a middle layer made from a whole caramel-flavoured cookie, blended into the drink to create a “dark apple” dessert sensation when combined with the compote. The drink is finished off with a chocolate sauce dripping around the inside of the cup and on the whipped cream topping, to make all your witchy Halloween fantasies come true.

On the other side of the naughty/nice scale is the Halloween Princess Frappuccino, which blends the apple compote into the drink with white mocha sauce and whipped cream, to create a sweet and milky apple flavour. A sprinkling of tiny sugar pearls in pink and blue complete the princess mood while evoking the image of a glamorous ball gown.

Complementing the new Halloween drink duo are a couple of matching doughnuts (price TBA). The witch variety contains a bright red apple compote filling, with chocolate icing and crunchy dark cocoa pieces, while the princess variety contains a melt-in-the-mouth smooth pink icing, topped off with a splash of edible silver glitter and sugar pearls for a bittersweet apple experience.

If you’re having trouble deciding whether to go witch or princess this Halloween, Starbucks is ready to help you out with a special Twitter campaign. But you'll have to be on Twitter to do it. I say you should just have both!

The Halloween Witch and Halloween Princess Frappuccino will be available in a tall size only for 590 yen at Starbucks outlets around the country from 18-31 October.

I'm thinking I might be more of a witch in this scenario...how about you?

Have a great day!


Why can't I find one of these in Hiroshima?

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be sunny and cool all week with daytime highs in the low 20s and overnight lows in the low to mid teens. In Canada, we'd call this weather 'crisp'. It's perfect for doing stuff outside.

While it is the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four major islands, Shikoku is filled with a vast array of historical, cultural and natural gems. History buffs flock to the area for its ancient shrines while others come to continue the “88 temple pilgrimage.” Nonetheless, what every visitor should take the time to enjoy while on the Zen-steeped island of Shikoku is konyoku onsen, or mixed-gender bathing.

Mixed bathing has been a part of Japanese culture since the 9th century. Sadly, more and more konyoku onsen are closing their doors due to the effects of a somewhat imposed  “taboo” and an increasingly negative view of mixed bathing that many younger Japanese people have due to the bad manners of (mostly male) bathers. Experiencing and supporting this dwindling breed of onsen is not only a rare treat, it’s the only way to continue this old tradition. With proper etiquette and decorum at these previous community hubs we can do our part to help ensure they stay around for generations to come!

With that, many of Shikoku’s konyoku onsen have not survived the passage of time. This list, therefore, includes many kashikiri onsen, or private rental baths, that can also accommodate mixed gender bathing while letting you soak up the best of the region with your partner, family or friends. This is another great way to experience onsen culture for those who aren’t keen on bathing with strangers.

In the last installment of our series on mixed gender onsen across Japan, here is a list of nine great onsen in this regard that you can check out while visiting Shikoku.

1. Asuka no Yu

If you’re visiting Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture, a must-see attraction is Dogo Onsen, one of Japan’s oldest hot springs. In December 2017, Dogo Onsen opened an annex to its original location, a mix of modern interior design and traditional Japanese art that mirrors Japan itself. Asuka no Yu is a luxurious visit for those who want to bathe in style — and privacy.

Though the establishment is known for its public baths, the two luxurious private rental are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. One of the baths, named Yushiden, replicates the Honkan’s Yushinden bathing room, a bath that was constructed in 1899 that was strictly reserved for the Imperial family.

  • Admission: ¥2,000 plus ¥1,650 per adult for 90 minutes for Yushiden, ¥1,650 per adult for modern-style private bath
  • Access: About 15 minutes by car from Matsuyama City station
  • Address: 19-22 Dougoyunomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture

2. Hoshi no Oka

One of the best things about Japan is that many karaoke rooms here have something called “free time,” where you pay a base fee and can sing for hours on end without accumulating cost. Hoshi no Oka uses this same concept, except with a private rental bath. Of course, you can pay for a short 1 ½ hour visit, but for anywhere between ¥4,800 to ¥5,500, you can enjoy endless bathing and lounging in the attached rooms from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can chose between 16 different onsen rooms, with some that have both an indoor and an outdoor bath.

  • Admission:
  • Access: About 10 minutes by car from Matsuyama City station
  • Address: 1 Chome−2−16, Hoshioka, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture

3. Hotel Kazurabashi

Hotel Kazurabashi is the namesake of the famous vine bridge, Iya Kazurabashi. This 45-meter long suspension bridge with creeping plants wrapping around its cables overlooks the Iya Valley and is one of three O.G. Japanese structures left of its kind. Today, these spans aren’t completely made out of creepers due to safety laws, so the vines are wrapped around steel cords that make it a modern suspension bridge. This historical attraction is only a short 20-minute walk from Hotel Kazurabashi.

To make the visit more worthwhile, patrons who wish to use the mixed bath must ride a wooden cable car to the remote pool. Sadly, in April 2018, the mixed outdoor onsen named “Take no Yu” was converted into a private rental bath. However, the beautiful, secluded bath is a perfect destination for couples looking for a quiet moment together.

  • Admission: ¥1,200 day pass, ryokan option available
  • Access: About 15 minutes by car from Oboke station
  • Address: 33-1 Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku, Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture

4. Ikoi no Sato Onsen

Camping is great, but pair that with a private rental onsen and its pure magic — and Ikoi no Sato has both of these perks! Located deep in the mountains with gushing blue rivers cutting through, Ikoi no Sato is a popular destination for families and campers who wish to enjoy the cozy log cabins and riverside activities. This location has both public (but separate) bathing facilities and private rental baths that are perfect for relaxing your body with good and familiar company.

  • Admission: ¥1,800 for 50 minutes
  • Access: About ½ hour by car from Sukumo station
  • Address: 4082-1 Midoriotsu, Ainan, Minamiuwa District, Ehime Prefecture

5. Iya Onsen Hotel

A perfect escape after a busy day, Iya Onsen Hotel is just a 15-minute drive from the Iya Kazurabashi bridge. Though this location does not have a public mixed onsen, it’s private rental bath is worth a visit. After making an appointment, you and your company are led to an outdoor stone bath with a beautiful view of the teal-colored river.The bath is rented out in 60-minute increments, giving you enough time to relax and bathe before dinner.

  • Admission: Must call and make an appointment to receive total
  • Access: About 20 minutes by car from Oboke station
  • Address: 367-2 Matsumoto, Ikeda-cho, Matsuo, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima Prefecture

6. Kamitoku Onsen

If you’re one who doesn’t need anything extravagant or expensive for a short stay, Kamitoku is the way to go. Only a six-minute drive from the ocean, Kamitoku is your standard cozy onsen with private rental baths. Visitors have the option of renting a room with just an onsen or upgrade to a room with both an onsen and sauna!

  • Admission: ¥2,600-¥3,000 for 60 minutes
  • Access: About 10 minutes by car from Imbari station
  • Address: 711-1 Kamitoku, Imabari-shi, Ehime Prefecture

7. Onsen Yurara

A short 20-minute drive from Matsuyama Castle can take you to the homey Onsen Yurara. With a spacious lounging area, bathroom and stone bath, Onsen Yurara is one of the best hot springs to get the most bang for your buck. On a side note: if you happen to have your furry companion with you, Onsen Yurara also has a dog spa!

  • Admission: ¥2,800-¥3,800 for 90 minutes
  • Access: About 15 minutes by car from Matsuyama City station
  • Address: 130 Takaokamachi, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture

8. Seapa Makoto

When traveling in large groups with friends, sometimes you need a little private time with your significant other. Seapa Makoto can provide you with the opportunity to bathe with your partner, or a group of friends, all at once. With several rooms to choose from, you can opt for a cheaper room with a view of the surrounding mountains or splurge on a more expensive room with a seaside view and a sauna. If you don’t feel like going anywhere else post-bath, renting the room for the whole night is also an option.

  • Admission:  ¥2,300-¥4,500 for 90 minutes
  • Access: 10-minute walk from Iyo-Hojo station
  • Address: 1180 Hojo, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture

9. Yumoto Yachio

Located only a short, 16-minute car ride from the famous Kotohira-gu, or Konpirasan temple, Yumoto Yachio is a great ryokan to stay for a culture-loving visitor. Konpirasan is the main temple of many scattered throughout Japan that are dedicated to those who spend their lives out at sea. Every year, visitors from around the country make the pilgrimage up all 1,368 stone steps to the ancient Shinto shrine to get a real slice of Japanese culture. Finish off one historical activity with another by enjoying a mixed onsen experience. What makes this experience even more exclusive is that this mixed bath is the only one found in all of Kagawa Prefecture and is only open to those staying at the inn.

  • Admission: Ryokan stay only for mixed bathing
  • Access: About 15 minutes by car from Konzoji station
  • Address: 611 Sonota, Kotohira-chō, Nakatado-gun, Kagawa Prefecture

A trip to Shikoku involves discovering and experiencing Japan’s more intimate and quiet side. What better way to relax during a cultural visit than to enjoy one of the region’s many onsen? Whether it’s with friends or a lover, bathing together in the natural paradise of Shikoku is an absolute must.

I wonder if I'll have a chance to hit one or two of these before heading home...

Have a great day!


Good morning everyone,

It's going to be nice and clear for the next few days, although it won't be very warm. Daytime highs will be in the low 20s for the next little while, which is actually great for going to check out the fall leaves, don't you think?

A new fish market opened in Tokyo's Toyosu waterfront district on Thursday, replacing the aging Tsukiji market after the popular tourist attraction ended 83 years of operation last week.

The market will be open to the public for shopping and tours from Saturday, after around 900 businesses moved to the new site with around 2,600 haulage vehicles and forklifts.

Trading at the new site began after midnight, two years later than the initial schedule due to additional safety work to address contamination concerns.

At Tsukiji market, which closed last Saturday, visitors could get close to the auction sites, but at the new market, they will be behind a glass wall on a second-floor deck.

The Toyosu market on a 40-hectare site, 1.7 times larger than Tsukiji market, has an enhanced sanitary management system and enclosed facilities to regulate internal temperatures.

The opening of the new market was delayed as soil and groundwater contamination at the site, previously used by a gas production plant, raised safety concerns and additional work was undertaken to deal with the problem.

The site of Tsukiji market, on reclaimed land in the heart of the capital, will be used to pool transport vehicles for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. A stretched section of a beltway will also run through the site to improve access from central Tokyo to the bay area, where some Olympic facilities will be located.

I, for one, thought that the old market was dirty, cramped and in dire need of being renovated and am looking forward to checking out the auction at Toyosu. How about you?

Have a great day!


Allergic or intolerant?

Good morning everyone,

We may see more rain today, but even if it doesn't rain, it's going to be grey and dreary for the whole day. Things should clear up from tomorrow, but we're looking at pretty cool weather for the rest of the week with daytime highs in the low 20s.

These days, it seems like just about everyone is following a special diet. From gluten and lactose intolerances to peanut and shellfish allergies, it appears no food is safe when it comes to our health. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of indigestion and nausea post-meal, you might wonder whether you fall into one of those categories yourself. But you might also be wondering what the difference is between a food intolerance and a food allergy. 

Food intolerances vs. food allergies

“People often come to my office with concerns for food allergy and intolerance not knowing that there is a difference,” Dr. Kathleen Dass, an allergy immunologist at Michigan Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Center, tells SheKnows. “A food allergy is mediated by the immune system and can occur with even tiny amounts of food. Patients with true food allergy cannot eat the food they are allergic to. On the other hand, food intolerance is not mediated by the immune system. Symptoms are usually predictable and the same with each ingestion.”

Common food intolerances include lactose intolerance, celiac disease, fructose intolerance, alcohol dehydrogenase deficiency, sulfite sensitivity and sometimes dye sensitivity, Dass explains. Common food allergies include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.

While the symptoms of a food intolerance and food allergy can be similar, the key difference between the two comes down to life or death. An intolerance might make your belly ache, but an allergy can kill you. Both can cause vomiting, diarrhea and bloating, but an allergy can also affect the skin in some way. 

“Food intolerances usually can cause bloating, diarrhea, nausea or upset stomach. Some people also complain of headaches or fatigue,” Dr. Purvi Parikh, allergist/immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, tells SheKnows. “A food allergy almost always has some type of skin involvement — like rash, itching, swelling — and can be accompanied by coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, dizziness or loss of consciousness.”

Diagnosis & treatment

Knowing the difference is key when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. To determine if you have a food intolerance vs. food allergy, Dass recommends having an evaluation by an allergist/immunologist. 

“A thorough history should be taken to find out the symptoms fit a description for allergy or intolerance," she says. "After that, your allergist may recommend skin testing. Sometimes, the skin testing for food can be falsely positive. This is where having the history is helpful.” 

After skin testing, your allergist may want to do blood tests because sometimes, there may be still be a question of food allergy vs. food intolerance. Your allergist may recommend an oral food challenge, where you eat incrementally larger amounts of the food in question under medical supervision followed by close monitoring, Dass says.

Once diagnosed, Parikh says food intolerances aren't dangerous like food allergies, so you may not need to avoid the food completely. She says that sometimes, eating less of a food or trying it in a different form can help; for example, people who are lactose-intolerant may be able to eat yogurt or cheese but not milk. "A simple rule of thumb is: If you feel better without it, avoid it," she adds.

However, if you are diagnosed with a food allergy, both Parikh and Dass say you most certainly should avoid that particular food. While it is possible to outgrow some food allergies, Parikh says there is no guarantee. “It is dangerous to keep eating [something] you are allergic to, as reactions can get worse on subsequent exposures,” she explains.

Dass also recommends having an emergency plan of action if you have a food allergy, including knowing how to use an auto-injectable epinephrine device (e.g., an EpiPen). “Make sure to notify any waitstaff at restaurants of your food allergy and carefully read labels,” she adds. 

What the diagnosis means for you

While a diagnosis of food intolerance or allergy may be disappointing, Dass says there is still hope left for those who dream of eating peanut butter sandwiches again. “Because food allergy is increasing in prevalence, more research and advancements are being made,” she says. “We are also learning more about specific components in the food that lead to the food allergy.” 

There are also other types of medicine or treatment for some allergies that you can look into. 

Maybe someday, peanut butter sandwiches can be a reality for those who’ve been doing without. But for now, if you're diagnosed with a food allergy, you're going to have to avoid it.

There are a few foods that I have mild intolerance to like dairy products and I think maybe alcohol too, but luckily no allergies. How about you?

Have a great day!


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