June 13th, 2012

Tokyo Most Expensive City for Expats — Again

Rents go down, grocery bills shrink, companies lay off workers and people move away to live in the countryside — and yet somehow Tokyo continues to be the world’s most expensive city for expatriates to live in. Most of the blame can be placed firmly on the relentless strength of Japanese currency against the U.S. dollar, according to the annual cost of living survey by international human resources consulting firm, Mercer.

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Suntory tries carbonated coffee drink - Espressoda

In recent months, we’ve brought to you news on several interesting and creative beverages such as fat-busting cola, salty watermelon flavored Pepsi and Okinawa brown sugar cola.

Now, major beverage maker Suntory Holdings Limited has announced another new innovative drink that will come on to the Japanese market on July 31. The new drink, called Espressoda, is actually a carbonated coffee drink. However, based on the response on the internet, it appears that Japanese consumers are not so sure about coffee soda as a drink.

The drink combines the rich taste of espresso coffee with the refreshing feel of soda, and Suntory hopes it will be popular with the 20s to 30s age group. They have also made the packaging stylish, with a black and silver label on a plastic bottle with a unique surface texture created in the image of ice to give it a cool look. What’s also of note is that Suntory apparently spent 5.8 billion yen on new carbonating technology which made it possible to carbonate the drink without ruining the flavor of coffee in the process. That’s some expensive soda making technology.

While the idea of Esspresoda sounds intriguing, the response from Japanese Internet users has been somewhat lukewarm. Some people apparently have not had good experience in the past with other carbonated tea or coffee drinks. Others feel that people may buy the drink once out of curiosity but are not likely to make repeat purchases. Regardless, the drink will probably attract a certain amount of attention when it comes out next month. 

Espressoda will be sold at a price of 140 yen for a 330ml (11.22oz) bottle. Since sales of carbonated drinks have risen significantly in Japan in the past five years, I’m sure we can expect more interesting sodas from Suntory in the future, especially now that they have their new carbonating technology.


Weekly Oricon Chart: Albums/Singles/Music-DVDs

arashi-your_eyes hey_say_jump-jump_world arashi-arashi_live_tour_beautiful_world

Popular Johnny's group, Arashi have achieved their 28th consecutive no.1 single with their 39th single, "Your Eyes", starting from "PIKA★★NCHI DOUBLE" (February 2004). This is also their 35th no.1 single overall. The title track is currently being used as the theme song for the NTV drama, "Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri" starring Arashi member, Aiba Masaki.

In the albums chart, Johnny's group, Hey!Say!JUMP have topped the ranking with their 2nd full studio album, "JUMP WORLD." This is their 2nd consecutive no.1 album following their debut album, "JUMP NO. 1" (July 2010).

Meanwhile, popular rock band, Mr.Children continued to place in the the top 5 albums chart with their 20th anniversary greatest hits albums which placed 3rd ("Mr.Children 2005-2010<macro>") and 4th ("Mr.Children 2001-2005<micro>"). The last time the same artist has placed in the top 5 with 2 simultaneously-released works for 5 weeks in a row was Yellow Magic Orchestra with their LPs "Solid State Survivor" and "Zoushoku" in August 1980, 31 years and 10 months ago. For CDs however, this is the first time.

This week, "Mr.Children 2001-2005<micro>" has also achieved the million-selling status after "Mr.Children 2005-2010<macro>" did it last week, making it Mr.Children's 14th million-selling album, placing them in 2nd place after B'z (with 19 million-selling albums). The last time the same artist has 2 million-selling albums in the same year was EXILE 4 years ago with "EXILE LOVE" (January 2008) and "EXILE CATCHY BEST" (April 2008). For Mr.Children themselves, they have had 2 million-selling albums in the same year 11 years ago with "Mr.Children 1992-1995" and "Mr.Children 1996-2000" back in July 2001.

Posting the top 30 albums/singles and the top 10 music-DVDs. The second column in the top 10 refers to sales in 2012. New release in bold.

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Congrats for an excellent record, Misuchiru! XD

Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Kashii Yu to make a comeback and star in new drama ‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha’

It has been announced that actress Kashii Yu will star in a new TBS psycho thriller drama titled ‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha‘ which will begin airing on July 16th. This will mark her first comeback since after her childbirth and childcare leave. Kashii officially married to actor Odagiri Joe back in February 2008, and gave birth on February 2011.

Kashii stated “This will be my first drama in a while, so I’m nervous, but I’m also really looking forward it. Because it will be my first lead role in a drama series, I feel pressure, but I want to try my best.” and added “I hope the viewer will enjoy this psycho thriller drama and tremble with fear in front of the TV as if it were testing your courage.

‘Somato’ has come to be used in the words to describe the flashback of one’s lifetime memories during a near death experience. The story will revolve around a mysterious place called ‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha (Somato Inc.)’. It’s a place where people can see a visual representation of recordings recorded over the course of their life in the form of DVD’s. A few people stray into Somato Inc. by accident and the guide of the place Kaminuma (Kashii) allows these people to look back on their life. The number of DVD’s given to the person is dependant on their age (IE: 20 DVD’s if the age is 20). The DVD’s are from the viewpoints or perspectives of other people, so the people who watch the DVD’s may learn many shocking facts about themselves that they never knew about nor realized.

Kashii said her character Kaminuma is very mysterious. Her age is unknown and her background is unexplained, no one knows if she is a human being, an angel, or the devil.

‘Somato Kabushiki Gaisha’ will begin airing on July 16th, every Monday at 00:20am.

Source & Image: Oricon and tokyohive

Ashida Mana to sing theme song for new drama “Beautiful Rain”

Ashida Mana (7) will be co-starring with Toyokawa Etsushi (50) in Fuji TV’s drama “Beautiful Rain”, which will begin airing in July. It has been revealed that Ashida has also been chosen to sing the theme song for the drama.

The new song, currently untitled, will go on sale August 1st and will mark Ashida’s first time singing solo for a drama theme song. She has previous experience singing as part of a unit, having performed “Maru Maru Mori Mori!” for the drama “MARUMO no Okite”.

Ashida commented, “I will work my hardest at singing and acting, so please continue to support me in the future!

Source: Sanspo and tokyohive

Spider-Man swings into Tokyo for 'Amazing' premiere

The cast and crew of “The Amazing Spider-Man” swung into Tokyo on Wednesday, bringing the comic book crime-fighter back to the big screen in the world premiere of one of the summer’s most anticipated movies.

Fans swarmed around the red carpet in Roppongi Hills area for a glimpse of Garfield, co-star Emma Stone and other cast members as a stuntman dressed as Spider-Man swung over the crowd, then scaled a wall into a large “web.”

Garfield, who plays Peter Parker said the role had appealed for many reasons.

“Spider-Man has always been the only teenage superhero, and the most human one in my humble opinion, and that’s just one of the things that sets him apart,” he told Reuters. “He’s all too human, that’s what’s wonderful about him.”

“The Amazing Spider-Man,” which opens on limited release in Japan on June 23 and then worldwide on June 30, reboots the franchise that started in 2002 with Tobey Maguire in the lead role.

Now it is Garfield, 28, who dons Spider-Man’s famous red-and-blue suit in a story that explores the origins of teenager Peter Parker and how he became a superhero.

Stone, who portrays Gwen Stacy, Parker’s first love interest and has been linked romantically with Garfield off-screen, said the change offered fresh perspective on the tale.

“New love interest, the story of Peter’s life, there’s a lot of stuff to learn about Peter Parker,” said Stone, 23, who wore a burgundy dress.

“He’s a real underdog, and he’s bullied, and I think everyone can relate ... He’s an incredibly inspirational character.”

Among the changes was the use of 3D, made possible due to recent advances in technology, said producer Matt Tolmach at a news conference earlier in the day.

“In so many ways, what’s magical about Spider-Man is that we all identify with this character - he’s all of us, he’s everyman. So what would it feel like if you could experience flight, and sailing through the city, what it feels like to swing on a web through New York?” he said.

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Source: japantoday

NEWS reborn

Since the departure of Tomohisa Yamashita and Ryo Nishikido, NEWS are set to release their first single as a four members, it was announced on June 12, reports Nikkan Sports, Sports Hochi, Daily Sports Online, and Chunichi Sports.

“We can finally make a start.  I’ve been waiting for this day,” Shigeaki Kato said.

“The feeling that it’s about to start is finally sinking in,” Keiichiro Koyama said.

It has been reported “チャンカパーナ (Chankapana)”, meaning “the person I care about or love”, will be released on July 18.  It is the group’s first single in 20 months.

“When I first heard the title I was like, ‘excuse me?’, but I like the fact that it makes you want to know what it means,” Koyama said.

The group talked to the media about how all of the members decided it was best for Yamashita to focus on his solo work and Nishikido on Kanjani8, and how the remaining four changed a group threat into a chance.

“I was worried, I didn’t know what was going to happen or where my life was headed,” Koyama said.

“There’s no way I couldn’t be upset.  But I turned a corner, I knew it would be a challenge but the four of us could do it,” Kato said.

“I wasn’t worried at all.  I’m sure the two had things they wanted to accomplish and it’s a big no for NEWS to make someone stay who doesn’t want to,” Yuya Tegoshi said.

“I was frustrated that the dream the six of us had had was torn apart, but it also made me want it more.  I felt like I wanted the four of us to achieve it, and more,” Takahisa Masuda said.

It has been reported even though the four of them had different thoughts about last year’s event, Koyama had said they all loved NEWS and did not want it to end.  It is also the reason why the four had spent six months preparing new material.  During the time the four would catch up for meals, talk about the new single, and started suggesting more of their own ideas to producers.

“There’s no song we have that has more of us in it than this.  Because there are fewer of us, it’s easier for our personality to come through.  I’m confident the four-member NEWS can overtake the six-member NEWS,” Tegoshi said.

“There aren’t many four-membered groups in Johnny’s.  I want to use it as an advantage.  We’ve even made four versions of the new single,” Masuda said.

The group started with nine members in 2003, but Koyama had said this was the last change.

 ”We’ll do this till we’re old men.”

It has been reported a summer concert tour is also being planned.


Apparently Lee Minho is the most popular (Korean) actor in Japan

A recent article in a Japanese magazine showed that readers voted Lee Minho as the most popular Korean celebrity in Japan. This magazine, which is estimated to have 80,000 copies in circulation each month, provides its readers with news on Korean dramas and movies and also keeps track of all the latest popularity rankings and Japanese CFs starring Korean celebrities.
The results of this month’s poll shows that Lee Minho, who was originally in the 21st place in a previous poll, rose to first place while Lee Junki rose to second place from 13th place. Cha Seungwon went from 34th place to third while Park Sihoo and Jang Geunsuk both dropped in rankings, with Park Sihoo dropping from first to fourth and Jang Geunsuk from third to fifth.
Lee Minho’s agency, upon hearing this news, attributed the actor’s popularity in Japan to the success of his drama “City Hunter.”
Lee Minho is currently filming for his new drama “Faith,” which is set to air this August.

Source: Koreaboo & BNT

MYNAME names Arashi and SMAP as their favorite Japanese artists

Korean boy group MYNAME attended a press event on June 11th for their upcoming Japanese debut single “Message”, scheduled for release on July 25th.

At the event, the boys were asked who their favorite Japanese artists were. Rapper Seyong mentioned that his favorite Japanese artist is Arashi. He smiled, “It’s because Arashi has five members and so does MYNAME. I like Matsumoto Jun.” Main vocalist Insoo said, “I choose SMAP, since each one of them is charming and has individuality. I want MYNAME to become like SMAP.

Insoo also delivered a message to the group’s Japanese fans, stating, “The fans in Japan have given us so much support. We’re preparing a lot of different things, so please look forward to it.” Leader Gunwoo commented about the group’s song, “We also debuted in Korea with this song. When you listen to this song, you will know what kind of group we are.

After having debuted in Korea on October 28, 2011, MYNAME has signed with Yoshimoto Group’s label YM3D for their Japanese debut. The group will also be featured as comic characters in the shoujo manga magazine “Sho-Comi”.

During the same event, the group also held a fan event including a performance of their song, a talk session, and games, getting the fans pumped up for their upcoming debut.


TVXQ’s “Android” preview and album jackets released

The preview for TVXQ’s upcoming Japanese single “Android” has been released.

The single is set for a July 11th release, and it’s already claimed the #1 spot for pre-orders on charts like Tower RecordsAmazonTsutaya, and more. “Android” is the first dance song TVXQ will be releasing in Japan after “Superstar”.

The ‘Android’ single will include two new tracks titled “Android” and “Blink“, and will be sold in three versions: a CD-only version, a CD+DVD version, and a Bigeast (official fanclub) CD version with special footage from the group’s ‘Tone Live Tour 2012‘.

Check out the short preview of “Android”


Yuta Tamamori Talks About Struggles in “10,000 a Month Challenge!”

It has been earlier reported that Kis-My-Ft2’s Yuta Tamamori, together with comedian Takahashi and competitive eater Gal Sone, will be participating in TV Asahi’s “Ikinari! Ougon Densetsu”. The said TV-reality challenged the participants to live within the means of JPY 10,000 (USD 124.00) for 30 days.

In the recent press conference held to celebrate the show’s upcoming finale, the three challengers shared their struggles and sacrifices they made to succeed.

Comedian Takahashi has to learned to cook healthier meal; thus, he has lost 7% of body fat and his face got thinner. Competitive eater Gal Sone, who treats food as luxury, is satisfied with her performance. She even made a diary of the challenge just in case she and her husband were to become a 10,000 Yen couple.

Lastly, Tamamori confessed the biggest challenge for him was to live alone for the first time and cook his own meals. “I got really homesick,” he shared. Moreover, the Johnny’s talent has to change his eating habits in order to control his food expenses; thus, his meals were reduced to onions, like onion curry and fried onion rings among others.

“It was tough and tiring; nevertheless, we want to accomplish this until the end,” Tamamori said with a determined face.

Source: jpopasia

Hideaki Takizawa Appointed as Ambassador of Goodwill in Micronesia

Japanese morning news programs ZIP! And Mezamashi reported that Tackey and Tsubasa’s Hideaki Takizawa have been appointed as the Ambassador of Goodwill in Federal States of Micronesia.

Takizawa personally attended the event along with Japan’s former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. Takizawa hopes that his appointment would be the start of stronger relationship ties between Japan and Micronesia. He also hopes that more Japanese would be able to appreciate the healing nature and splendor of Micronesia in the future.

Micronesia is a group of small islands in western Pacific Ocean.

Source: jpopasia

love you

SCANDAL reveals full PV for upcoming single “Taiyou Scandalous”

Girl band SCANDAL will be releasing a new single “Taiyou Scandalous” on July 11th.
Ahead of its release they’ve recently revealed the full PV for the single.This single is produced by NAOTO of ORANGE RANGE, and the girls perform this summer tune at the pool in the PV.
As mentioned previously, the girls created two units to sing different songs. HARUNA and RINA’s unit ‘Almond Crash‘ sing “Koi no Hajimari wa Diet”, while MAMI and TOMOMI sing “Cherry Jam” as a unit ‘Dobondobondo‘.
The single comes in three different versions, limited edition A, limited edition B, and regular edition.

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Source:  Tokyohive

Youkai Ningen Bem Getting a Movie Adaption!!!

It has been confirmed; The popular drama “Yokai Ningen Bem” starring Kamenashi Kazuya, Anne & Suzuki Fuku will be getting a movie adaption! With 10 times the CG and 3 times the amount of time spent on make-up (as compared to the drama), the producers of the show, as well as the actors, will be going all out to make the movie a success.

The movie will be released nationwide on 15th December this year.

【NTV News】Receiving the offer of the movie Kamenashi commented in high spirits "I'm so glad! And looking forward to it since I was wondering myself where they are now and how they existing there. And I'm thrilled that I'm going to meet Bera and Bero, and that I can act as Bem again. I want to be a Humanoid Monster quickly~"
Seems like they are set on a new town. and Belo will encounter his first love.