I'm pretty loyal to Nike, but these are tempting...

Good morning everyone,

Today, I'm off to see dolphins swimming. I'll tell you all about it when I get back to Japan. Keep warm!

In the past, we’ve seen some good-looking limited-edition kicks on the streets of Japan, from big name players like Reebok, Converse and Nike. Now Puma is joining the fray with a red-and-white themed collection, paying homage to one of Japan’s most popular characters: Hello Kitty.

At the centre of the collection is a pair of cool kicks, created to mark the 50th anniversary of the Puma Suede, which first appeared on the market back in 1968. Hello Kitty, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday in 2014, is on her way to turning 50 herself, and is such an icon of pop culture that Puma was keen to get her on board with their new collaboration.

For the collection, Hello Kitty appears with her trademark bow and milk bottle, an image that harks back to the character’s childhood in London, where she made cookies and loved her mother’s homemade apple pie.

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The colourful graphic is accented with red laces and red suede on the tongue, heel and sides of the shoe. Hello Kitty also appears on the tongue, poking out from the laces alongside the Puma logo.

The Puma x Hello Kitty Suede Classic retails for 12,960 yen.

The popular Sanrio character can be found on a number of other items in the Puma range, including a red-and-white tracksuit.

▼ The hoodie retails for 8,640 yen.

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▼ While the pants retail for 8,100 yen.

puma-hello-kitty-pants.jpg

▼ And there’s also a T-shirt, for 4,320 yen, that pays homage to the collaboration.

hello-kitty-puma.jpg

Also included in the range are a gymsack (3,240yen) and a backpack (8,100 yen), which feature the character on see-through designs.

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To see the full collection, and stock up on purchases, head over to the Puma Japan site. Available for a limited time, these items won’t be around for long.

They're a bit girly for me, but still...the shoes are tempting...how about you?

Have a great day!


Can you juggle these two careers?

Good morning everyone,

I'm probably on my way to go scuba diving right now...and hopefully it's sunny and warm...unlike Hiroshima.

Melo Imai is not a woman who’s camera-shy. At the age of 18 her snowboarding halfpipe skills earned a spot on Japan’s 2006 Turin Olympic team, and before departing for Italy she fired up her fans at a pep rally by rapping about her passionate intent to do her best.

Despite her confident enthusiasm, Imai came home without a medal. While it’s not unusual for less successful Olympic athletes to have to transition to other careers after their moment in the spotlight, Imai’s new line of work was eyebrow-raising, as she began working in a hostess bar, and later the wide-ranging sector of non-intercourse sexual services collectively known as fuzoku in Japan. “I needed money,” Imai explains. “I couldn’t even give my friend a wedding gift” (in Japan, wedding guests customarily give the newlyweds a cash gift of roughly 30,000 yen).

Imai was remarkably successful in her new career. “After the Olympics, I was making as much as a company president, and sometimes I’d go party at a host club and drop one million yen in a single night, she recalls.

▼ Melo Imai’s Snow Drop
snow drop

In 2013, a nude photo collection of Imai was released, and she eventually began appearing in adult films, with two of her 2017 releases, Snow Drop and Snow Out, subtly referencing her athletic career. But now Imai is saying she’d like to get back into the sport that was her initial claim to fame.

At the end of last year, Imai took part in the 35th All Japan Snowboarding Championships in Gifu, and she didn’t just compete, she dominated. In the women’s halfpipe final, Imai’s best score out of her two runs was 90.75, far ahead of second-place Momoa Mori’s 76.75. Perhaps even more impressive is Imai’s claim that she practiced for just four days before handily winning the competition.

That suggests that the now 30-year-old Osaka native’s skills haven’t diminished, and her ability to quickly get into championship form might be a necessity if she plans to get back into serious, consistent competition, because it doesn’t sound like she intends to entirely give up on her other line of work. “I want to return to the world of snowboarding,” Imai told interviewers from magazine Shukan Post, “so I’m taking care not to get involved with things that are overly pornographic.”

What do you think? Can she manage to do both careers?

Have a great day!

Air Canada is number 1! Just not for the food...

Good morning everyone,

Sorry...there won't be any weather news for the next few days, because it's going to be warm and sunny for me...for you...maybe not so much...you'll have to check NHK until I get back.

Air Canada has been named the 2018 Eco-Airline of the Year by Air Transport World in its 44th Annual Airline Industry Achievement Awards.

In recognizing Air Canada's environmental accomplishments, ATW cited the carrier's commitment to emissions reductions through supporting the development of alternative fuels and its numerous green programs and partnerships, including being the first airline in the world to voluntarily join the World Bank's IMF Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition.

"Air Canada has made sustainability central to its decision-making and business processes, and this includes acting responsibly with respect to the environment," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive of Air Canada. "We are very pleased that ATW has recognized the effectiveness of our environmental programs, including our participation in the development and support of alternative fuels in Canada, and our efforts to contribute to healthier communities. We have made great strides, improving fuel efficiency by 40% since 1990, and this award will further spur us on to the goals we have set for ourselves to continually improve our environmental performance."

ATW aims to present the Eco-Airline Award to an airline that practices and innovates in exceptional eco-operations. In choosing the 2018 winner, judges looked for an industry-leading commitment to technologies and efforts that increase operational efficiency and reduce emissions and dependency on oil. This includes pioneering solutions to environmental problems, environmental concern and action through community involvement, and best practices at airports.

Karen Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Air Transport World, said, "Air Canada as a company is a committed leader in sustainability, becoming the world's first airline to voluntarily join the World Bank's IMF Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. And Air Canada thinks out of the box in its drive to be an eco-responsible company, donating old business class duvets to good causes where they can be re-used, and partnering with Diabetes Canada so that uniforms can be recycled."

This ATW Eco-Airline Award is the second award won by Air Canada this year related to its sustainability programs. Air Canada's corporate sustainability report, Citizens of the World, was named the Best Sustainability Report in the Transportation Category by The Finance and Sustainability Initiative (FSI). It is the second year in a row Air Canada's report was named best in the sector by the FSI, a non-profit organization that brings together finance professionals dedicated to promoting sustainable finance and responsible investment to financial institutions, companies and universities.

Air Canada has a four-pillar approach to reduce emissions through technology, operations, infrastructure and economic instruments. Among other things, Air Canada is a partner in biofuel research in cooperation with the Canada Biojet Supply Chain Initiative (CBSCI) and the Civil Aviation Alternate Fuel Contrail and Emissions Research (CAAFCER). It has invested significantly with a $10 billion fleet renewal program that has given it one of the most modern, fuel efficient fleets in the world. It maintains innovative recycling, scholarship and community activity programs, many aimed at involving employees in environmental activities. The airline has also adopted the ambitious collective International Air Transport Association reduction targets for greenhouse gases that include:

  • Improving fuel efficiency by an average of 1.5 per cent per year from 2009 to 2020; 

  • Capping aviation CO2 emissions from 2020, or carbon-neutral growth; and 

  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2050 relative to 2005 levels.
If you've ever flown Air Canada, you'll know that they won't be winning any awards for their food. It isn't that it's so bad...it's just exactly like we imagine airplane was...about 30 years ago and they haven't made an effort to make it any better.

Have a great day!

I've already planned my next trip!

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a pretty nice weekend. It'll be slightly cooler than usual but it should be sunny both tomorrow and Sunday. Monday may get some rain, but it'll remain warm and the rest of the week will be sunny and about average for this time of year.

Fasten your seatbelts for a flight departing to Paris, and never leave the ground.

That's exactly what 12 passengers did at First Airlines in central Tokyo this week, where they relaxed in first and business-class seats and were served four-course dinners, before immersing themselves in 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tours of the City of Light's sights.

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Staff help guests to wear virtual reality (VR) goggles.

"A real trip is a hassle to prepare for, and expensive, and takes time. So I think it is good that we can enjoy all this hassle-free", said Takashi Sakano, 39, who was on his first VR trip, adding that he wanted to 'travel' to Rome next time.

At 6,600 yen, a fraction of the cost of an actual trip overseas, it's easy to see why First Airline's two-hour 'flights' to Paris, Rome, Hawaii and New York have been fully booked since the company opened in 2016.

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Guests are served appetizers.

"We have lots of elderly customers, who want to go overseas but are not able to easily, given their physical limitations", Abe said, explaining that the majority of First Airlines' visitors are older Japanese from around the country.

Abe added that domestic flights around Japan will be added soon, with meals highlighting the region's cuisine.

What do you think? Tempting? Not yet for me...but it may be once I get older, or if the world doesn't feel any safer anytime soon.

Have a great day!


Great way to see the game!

Good morning everyone,

Well, it's supposed to be sunny and warm today and through the weekend, but you may get some rain on Monday...not me though, I'll be in Guam. Well, I could get rain in Guam too, but at least it'll be warm and I'll be sitting in a bar on or near the beach...ha ha!
Hiroshima Carp Zoom Zoom Stadium Objet Deck
What’s better than watching the Carp on home turf at Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium? How about watching the Carp surrounded by 12 animal figures, wearing sunglasses.

Mazda “Zoom Zoom” Stadium’s new “Objet Deck” is set up near first base on the 2nd Floor above “Hippopotamus Square”. Along with the animal “objets” placed around the multilevel seating area there are some “grassy” areas on which you kick back and lounge. The weird part is that this is a part of the stadium which doesn’t have a great view of the action on the field so the area can not only accommodate 37 people, but comes equipped with screens on which to watch the game.

It’s ¥80,000 to rent out the space, plus a ¥2500 or ¥3500 food set (which, for some reason, are centered around Dutch-style pancakes) per person. You can add another ¥2000 for all-you-can-drink beer and shochu! You'd think that with the not so great views, this would be a bit cheaper...

How great does this sound?! Do you think we can come up with 37 of us to do it? It's about Y10,000 per person after you add in the cost of the space and the all-you-can-drink option...it's  a bit pricey...but sign me up! I only need 36 other people to join me...

Have a great day!


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