Posts Tagged ‘Hooters’

Trends in Japan 2010: food and drink

Friday, December 31st, 2010

This year’s hottest product, quite literally, was taberu rayu, a spicy sauce that made it into the top keywords of the year and even beat smart phones to the top spot of Nikkei Trendy’s hit product list for 2010. Back in July we reported on how the chili-infused condiment, which contains minced onion and garlic, had gone from a foodie novelty to one of the Japan’s hottest new sauces in just under a year. Figuring out that it tasted delicious on burgers, big-name brands like Mos Burger picked up the trend and ran with it. The chain’s crunchy rayu burger, designed by Terry Ito, was a huge hit this summer.

Sales of All-Free were suspended in August due to high demand

Japan’s unusually hot summer was cited as part of the reason behind the taberu rayu craze (spicy food is said to be cooling in hot weather), and other brands profited from the sweltering temperatures as well. Stocks of Japan’s favorite retro ice lolly Garigari-kun were dangerously low at one point during the summer, causing makers to officially apologize to disappointed customers. Suntory also found it hard to keep up with demand for their new All-Free non alcoholic low calorie beer, and in August, according to Daily Yomiuri, were forced to temporarily suspend sales until September.

One of the more unusual food trends to break over the summer was the new Tokyo-based fad for chowing down on a big bowl of ramen noodle broth for breakfast. The idea is for busy workers to stock up on calories ahead of a grueling day, enabling them to either skip lunch or grab a small snack on the fly during the day. While the number of restaurants serving ramen has increased in recent years, the trend hasn’t quite reached epidemic proportions yet. The idea of morning mochi provided an attractive alternative to those seeking a seeking a hearty breakfast at home: Marushin’s Good Morning Breakfast Mochi, launched in April this year, proved much more popular than the company initially expected with sales figures 180 percent higher than the company’s typical mochi sales.

On the marketing end of things, dozens of companies tried to cash in the Ryoma Sakamoto boom, spurred by the popularity of the yearlong NHK taiga drama “Ryomanden.” Be it associated with burgers, soft drinks, ramen chips, curry, or beer — the face of the legendary samurai was everywhere.

Dining out continued to get cheaper during 2010 as izakaya scrambled to outdo each other with cut-price deals. The biggest gimmick of 2010 was offering free drinks of shochu to get customers through the doors. Another gimmick, which isn’t so new but was in full effect during 2010, was the use of cute young girls to entice male custom. We’re not only talking about Hooters’ arrival in Japan, which opened its doors for the first time this year in Japan but other establishments such as Katsuyama Dojo Style Pub and Nadeshico Sushi, which also entered the restaurant market: Both establishments hired bevies of cute girls to serve food to, mostly likely, an exclusively male clientele.

Today’s menu: frisky fun rolled in novelty

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Nadeshiko serves up sushi handmade by cute young women

Nadeshiko serves up sushi prepared by cute young women

The appetites of Tokyo’s novelty-hungry clientele should be satisfied in October by a platter of new cafes and restaurants, running the gamut from photographer Miwa Yanagi’s pop up Café Rotten-Meier to Hooters, which is opening its first shop in Japan on Oct. 25. Whether you like a coffee served up in high style or prefer a beer delivered to your table by a cute girl with a wide smile, yet more options are now on offer for a one-of-a-kind meal in Tokyo:

  • Hooters: The idea of girls singing songs, playing games and generally entertaining customers has long been the selling point of maid cafes, so we’re certain Japanese men won’t have any trouble getting their minds round the concept. In fact, we have to wonder what took them so long, given the considerable expansion of Hooters overseas. Hooters Tokyo, Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 2F,  2-14-3 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku.
  • Nadeshico Sushi: The girls show a little less flesh here, with the focus instead on appreciating their delicate sushi-making hands. “Bare armed young women handling sushi will make me happy,” commented one netizen on the concept for this new Akihabara eaterie. Nadeshico Sushi (lovable sushi), which opened Oct. 1, features nigiri sushi prepared by women aged between 18 and 25. The menu includes Edo-era nigiri or super kawaii sushi rolls shaped into hearts or animal faces. Chichibu Denki Building 2F, Sotokanda 3-12-15, Chiyoda-ku.
  • Café Rotten-Meier: As part of Festival/Tokyo 10, photographer Miwa Yanagi has dreamed up a concept cafe for lovers of performance art. Visitors will be served up tea and cakes by a coterie of grandmothers and over the final weekend one of the grandmothers will be played by Yanagi herself. There’s no age limit for those who want to perform as grandmother maids, but applicants must have an interest in performance and food. Rotten-Meier is the severe grandmother maid character from Heidi, so we’re not sure whether service will be delivered with a smile, but even if your tea is poured with a sneer, it’s bound to be an entertaining experience. The space will be decorated by Yanagi so expect to enter an enchanting if slightly unsettling fairytale world. The cafe will be located in front of Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space in Ikebukuro and will be open weekends only from midday till 10pm, from Dec. 30 till Nov. 28.
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