JapanMania Bento Box 3: Loving Sapporo!

April 3rd, 2014
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Aloha All! Happy April!

This edition of JapanMania features highlights from our Doko Ga TV: JapanMania trek to the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival). Truly an adventure in white-the snow, chills and ice are countered by Sapporo's WONDERFUL people, beautiful sites and incredible food.

Winter Wonderland
After landing in Chitose Airport, we were on our way to a truly winter wonderland-Sapporo.  The annual Snow Festival is truly a sight to behold.  Giant ice formations, a ski jump in the middle of Odori Park (the main heart of the Snow Festival), intricate ice sculptures, food, games, activities for kids of all ages and then some.

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Sapporo's incredible foods...
I'd always heard how good the food is in Sapporo.  The sashimi, seafood and crab was amazing!  Speaking of crab, the 'taraba' (King Red Crab) and 'kegani' (hairy crab) is the best, hands down. Both grilled and sashimi style.. the king crab and hairy crab were so sweet! 

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I also decided to try Sapporo sushi (duh). From sushi bar style to kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi. Both were equally SO fresh, buttery and just melts in your mouth. Kaiten we went to was Sakana Isshin.. the price was
between $1.50 and $3.50 per order-but it tasted exactly like super high priced sushi!!! Amazing!

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More Food goodness..
Ghengis Khan (name for a style of BBQ cooking that's VERY popular in Sapporo) was also beyond
description.. and of course, Hokkaido Ramen.  Definitely the best ramen I've had yet... butter corn
ramen. The char siu just melts in your mouth! For fans of sweet milky goodness, the Shiroi Koibito Park
is a must-visit while in Sapporo. The amazing cookies, candies and Hokkaido soft cream ice cream
is the absolute BEST.  The park houses a very interesting museum as well and is a really fun and great
experience for children and parents.

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Special thanks to Sapporo natives Makiko and Yui for being the Sapporo experts taking our Doko Ga TV crew around (and Yui as my special Sapporo correspondent!). HUGE mahalo to Hokkaido Broadcasting Company's Mitsuri Kodama for the shoot coordination and Hokkaido Travel Bureau for welcoming us!

<HEART> Hokkaido :)

JapanMania Bento Box II: Oishii and then some!

December 10th, 2013
By

Aloha all!  Happy belated Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas..

Getting ready to fly out for a couple of weeks to Japan for a couple of concerts (Aloha Yokohama) and more filming.  It's pretty cold there so for anyone that's going to be there, bring something warm!

So this bento box is about food.. more food and some Japan travel tips!

Restaurant Wada
* 611 Kapahulu Avenue (808) 737-0125

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They've been open for a while now and some dear friends of mine took me to Wada. It's really good. REALLY
good. Izakaya with an edge. Highly suggest all things fish and beef. Yeah, I know, it doesn't narrow it down
at all, but everything I've had there, fish or beef, has been incredible (especially the beef tataki and chicken
kaarage tartar sauce)

The Corner Kitchen * 477 Kapahulu Avenue  (808) 732-3217

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Definitely a go to and one of my favorite places to eat.  The Corner Kitchen balances good local-palette
Japanese comfort food/dishes, sushi with a kick-in a great sports-bar feel like place.. think Cheers
(for those old enough to remember that tv series).  Corner Kitchen is the home to great entertainment about
6 nights a week. If you want a quiet, romantic place to have dinner.. you may want to go later in the evening
or Sundays. For other nights of the week, it literally feels like a party with ono Hawaiian and Contemporary
music/artists.  Definitely do the garlic ahi and garlic salmon rolls (pictured above). I like doing
the garlic salmon with fried crispy onions, vs. raw ones.. but that's just me.  Also, gyu-katsu aka SUPER
TENDER KALBI KATSU!!! Right?!? that and a bowl of rice!

Restaurant Hokkaido * Shinjuku Island Tower +81 3-5323-0255

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Ok, this one is for folks going to Tokyo (though, I really wish they'd open one here).  Restaurant Hokkaido
has a great view and as it's the penthouse of the Island Tower building (right across Tokyo Hilton), it's open
air beam and ceiling is cool and vast.  Hokkaido features the foods of Hokkaido. So for fans of fish and
especially all forms of crab (sashimi, tenpura, kegani.. hairy crab), restaurant Hokkaido is a must.
One of the biggest assets, seafood in Japan is GREAT. It's also pretty expensive, or can be. With Hokkaido,
prices are pretty fair and if you can't fly over to Hokkaido (literally), I'd highly suggest trying it out.

Japan Travel!  A couple of tidbits...

* Some great events coming up around the corner.  Sapporo's Ice/Snow Festival is in Feb. We'll be filming
there so if you see me there, do say hi and you can be part of the Doko Ga TV: JapanMania audience!
(Feb. 2014)

* Nagaoka Winter Matsuri was a blast. With such a rich history and connection between Hawaii and Nagaoka,
I'd highly suggest checking out Nagaoka as well (Feb. 2014)

* Speaking of being a part of the audience, the Doko Ga TV team and I will be hosting a number of tours next
throughout 2014. If you'd like more information, check out the JapanMania website, www.dokoga.tv

* Finally, I often get the question, where's the best place to exchange dollars for yen?! That's easy.
Hands down, Pacific Money Exchange. The best exchange rates, no service fees (do NOT exchange at
your bank!!!) and special rates for kama‘aina, Pacific Money Exchange is the real deal. Itʻs located right
across DFS. I know, you're thinking, what about parking?!?! it's in Waikiki!!! fear not, there's a loading
zone right in front that you can pull up to and have enough time to do the deal.  Call in first to check the
rates: (808) 924-9318 and to call in larger exchanges.

Finally, in case I don't post on here before Christmas, from the Doko Ga TV: JapanMania ‘Ohana:
Shane, Sanae, Erina and I, we want to wish everyone out there, a very very Merry Christmas, Happy
Holidays and all the best!
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p.s. we covered one of the best food trucks, Ono To Go, on a previous episode of DGTV.. They
had a Doko Ga Bowl which featured spicy ahi and oishii chicken.  Many a heart was broken
when they disappeared, but they've been featuring at TASTE. The BBQ meats are incredible,
spicy ahi-to die for.. just a great, hearty plate lunch. Ono To Go is on feature Wednesday
morning/afternoons-be sure to check it out!  (get the spicy ahi, pulehu chicken combo!) Will
be there this Wednesday with the Nonstop Honolulu's Melissa Chang and Russ Sumida, 11:30am!

JapanMania Bento: Oni-Con 2013, Oishii ramen etc...

October 19th, 2013
By

Aloha all and ひさしぶり! (been a while!)

Hope you're all doing well-good to be back and lotsa new stuff coming up soon and in the works.

First up, Oni-Con Hawaii makes its debut Nov. 1st at the Hawaii Convention Center.

For fans of anime, Japan's Pop Culture, J-Rock/J-Pop, cosplay, maid cafes and then some, Oni-Con is the place to be.  The Oni-Con is going on 10+ years in Texas and this will be the Con's first time in Hawaii. Guests include: Nobou Uematsu/Earthbound Papas, Hiroki Takahashi & Sana, J. Michael Tatum, Atelier Pierrot/Ashizawa Yuko and super group EMKE.

Director Aaron Yamasato and I will be doing a Hawaii/Japan Filming Workshop (aka Blood of the Samurai, Ninja EX, Doko Ga TV: JapanMania 2.0)-please come down and talk story!

Check out the Oni-Con Hawaii website for more information and tickets.

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New Oishii Ramen: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

It's right next door to Don Quijote Kaheka Street.  Kept hearing about how good their ramen is and had to see for myself. With locations across Japan, Asia, Canada and the US, it's easy to see why Santouka is the real deal.

Having eaten ramen in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka-I'm always looking on the look out for good ramen especially here in Hawaii.  I ordered the char siu miso ramen and the toriniku (chicken) side order.

Verdict: AWESOME! the broth is OISHII!  Thumbs up on the noodles (consistency is just right) and char siu was tender and perfectly seasoned. The super standout, the toriniku. With negi (green onion), was totally blown away.

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Here's the website.. do check Santouka out. If you're going at lunch or dinner time, prepare to wait in line, it's that good.

Finally, check out the new Doko Ga TV: JapanMania website.. been filming over a year and working on the new DGTV 2.0 episodes-coming soon! www.dokoga.tv

Have a great week and all the best!

Pali

Hawaiian Airlines Fukuoka TweetUp at Shirokiya

April 5th, 2012
By

April 16th will mark the inaugural flight of Hawaiian Airlines to Fukuoka! (ramen here we come!)

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...Attended the TweetUp event at Shirokiya Yataimura celebrating the Hawaiian Airlines flight! Lotsa fun, prizes, tweets and pics! Had the shrimp garlic gyoza (which was AWESOME, but boooy that garlic is pretty strong). Media, bloggers, PR folks, and fans of Hawaiian Air were in attendance. Shout out to Asiana, Melissa and Mona-great event!

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Known for the incredible ramen, yatai (out door food stalls), Fukuoka Tower, Hakata Station, Matsuri
(festivals), culture and then some..

Fukuoka rocks! Been there before to perform with the band and had the opportunity to stay
there for a few days-loved every minute of it.

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Also, while at Shirokiya, popped by the KZOO studio!

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Haneda, Osaka and now Fukuoka! Congrats to Hawaiian Airlines and see ya'll at the gate!

What the??? cool Japan products... (Part 1)

February 29th, 2012
By

Aloha all (アロハみんなさん!)

Aside from some great tv commercials (not to mention very funny ones), sometimes there are some great (and more often than not, what the?!?!) ads. On a train ride over, these were some of the great what the?!?! ads I came across.

Innovation indeed!

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1. The mouth muscle tightener. Lips and mouth tightening. Not much can be said about this.. other than.. o-k.

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2. Like to sing karaoke but am afraid of anyone hearing you? Here's the solution! Private karaoke!

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3. Portable stone foot therapy. For those that have gone to onsen before with the stone/rock walk paths, these are designed to knead (painfully) your feet. Now, you can bring the pain wherever you go!

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4. This one makes LOTSA sense for those not accustom to sitting on your legs, tatami style. For most (ok, some) of us, sitting like this for long periods of time (for me, about 10 seconds), will equate to numbness and pins-n-needles in your feet etc.

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5. A swear word catcher! unleash your audible attacks and verbal vulgarity into this little bad boy and then find your happy place afterward.

Kiwotsukete and more to come!