June 25, 2011

Attending Japan Fair in NY

Hello and Welcome to Nipponcraft,

We get a chance to attend Japan Fair to be held on August 21st (Sun.), 2011. This street fair event will be held on Manhattan Madison Ave. 44th Street, NYC USA.

We will showcase our products at a corner. We would like New Yorkers to actually feel our products (not through computer screen).

I will keep updating our status towards the show.

Looking forward visiting NYC.

Thank you!
- Ken

June 13, 2011

Credit card Payment

Hello and Welcome to Nipponcraft,

We have integrated "PalPay Web Payment Plus" system into our website.  You can now process your credit cards (such Visa and Master) directly without having a PayPal account or id. Some customer do not wish to open up a PayPal account. 

The card processing is still done on secured PayPal system. I personally trust on the security and robustness of PayPal system.

Since we pay the PayPal commission, you don't have to pay the extra money besides the goods fee, shipping fee and custom clearance fee.

For PayPal reference, please visit  http://www.paypal.com/ ; you can refer the site in your own language.

Than you,
 - Ken

June 9, 2011

Ayame flowers in June

Hello and Welcome to Nipponcraft.com,

In this season in Japan, beautiful flowers of Ayame (Iris) bloom in June. This is one of the flowers I like best. The color of flowers is purple (I like purple flowers!) with the height of 40cm to 60cm, and they look like this:

Typical Japanese flower in June

Large botanical garden in Katori-city

On of the suitable place I recommend  for appreciating Ayame flowers is located at a park in Katori city, approximately 100km east of Tokyo. The park is called Suigo-Sahara botanical garden.
The reasons of my recommendation is that it is not so far from Tokyo and that the garden is large and full of Ayame flowers. And if you are lucky enough, you will have a chance to see Japanese traditional wedding ceremony held inside of the garden.
The park is located quite close to Kasumigaura-lake, the largest lake in Japan. For better understanding, it is not far from Narita International Airport.
To visit here, you can take trains (JR line) from Tokyo to get off Katori station and then take a city bus.  Actually driving a car is of easier access.

I found the park guide in English at:
The original Japanese written guide is at:

The garden is so large that you need about an hour to look around. There are many pavements going through flower gardens and you can enjoy the flowers .
The park used to be open until night but it now looks like closing at 18:00.

Ayame festival in Suigo-Sahara botanical garden

Katori-city is famous for preserving traditional scenery - the city is enthusiastic for preserving old houses, old bridges and old trees. This is also one of the reasons of my recommendation for visiting.
Traditional houses preserved
Another famous point of this city is that a man named Inou Tadataka once lived in this city. He was the first man to complete the accurate coastline map of Japan. He walked along the coast line and completed the map by spending 17 years.

Inou Tadataka (1745-1818 AD)

The official tour guide is located at http://www.katorishi.com/en/index.html in English . If you click the menus in the left side, you can see various scenes in this city. I am not sure if this city is accounted in Lonely Planet Guide of Japan but I would recommend you to visit here to feel old style of Japanese taste.

Thank you,
- Ken

June 2, 2011

Kappa-bashi street and Ameyoko-street in Tokyo

Hell and Welcome to Nipponcraft,

Today, I went to Kappa-bashi street, wholesale district of kitchenware and knives, just to look for a kettle. Today, lots of kitchenware sold in Japan are made in either China or Korea. They are cheap, but I feel a little of anxiety of quality against them, so I visited this wholesale district to get one at cheaper price. While wholesale is welcome, retail is still welcome at most of the shops.

Signboard indicating Kappa-bashi street
 The street is approximately one kilometer long and you can find hundreds of shops specializing in kitchenware at the both sides of street. Kappa-bashi street is located at north east side of Tokyo, near Ueno station terminal (one of the huge terminal stations). You can get there by taking Hibiya subway line and getting off at Iriya station. Then, you need to walk about 500m from the station.

Hundreds of wholesalers along the street
 While walking the street, you can find food sample wholesalers. In Japan, all the restaurants display food samples made of plastic to show how the menus look like. I hear many visitors from abroad gaze these sample at curiosity.

Sushi food sample sold at 1,000 Yen for a piece
Amazing! Dessert and fruit sample!

From Kappa-bashi street, I walked to the west to visit Ameyoko-streets. These streets are quite famous in Tokyo for looking for cheap things. In this area, shops look disorderly. Ameyoko-streets are more like Hong Kong or South East Asia. This area was used to be a black market just after the second world war, and now you can find lots of cloth shops, shoes shops, watch and jewelry shops.

Ameyoko-street at Ueno; shops, shops and shops!

Shops even under the train railway, disorder shops
While walking the street, you can find fish stores. Fishes are displayed outside! It's unique in Japan!

Raw fishes displayed outside!

Fish market, daily scene in Japan
 If you have a chance, please come and visit these areas and please enjoy the unique culture. 

Thank you,
- Ken