Sunday, February 27, 2011

Japan Luxury Travel Forum 2011

Late last week I took part in the Japan Luxury Travel Forum 2011 seminar held at the Hotel Granvia Kyoto.  Highlighting on how to attract high net worth travelers to the region, Ricco DeBlank of Sun Hung Kai Properties based in Hong Kong and James Samuel of Reed Exhibitions out of the United Kingdom where on hand to share their insights with the Kyoto-based majority crowd.

It was a pleasure to see Ricco again as I had not seen him since he left his post as the general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Osaka property in 2007.  After leaving Osaka, Ricco moved to Tokyo to open the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo hotel before coming to his current position as CEO for the hotel division at Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Following the talks of Ricco and James, a panel discussion was held with representatives from the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, Kyoto City Tourism Bureau and Iori.

I have highlighted Iori in the past on my blog here and here.  For those wishing to experience a traditional Japanese machiya (townhouse) around Kyoto city, I highly suggest one of Iori's properties.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Harima Science Garden City

Nestled in the hills to the west of Kobe lies the Harima Science Garden City and its prized SPring-8 (Super Photon ring-8 GeV) synchrotron radiation facility producing an amazing 8 giga electron volts of power.  As the world's largest third generation synchrotron radiation facility since 1997, SPring-8 is one of eleven similar-like facilities nationally, which places Japan only behind the U.S. (13) in terms of number of synchrotron radiation facilities for one country. 

Taking six years to build and surpassing Advanced Photon Source (APS) in Argonne, Illinois and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France in terms of power and size, SPring-8 allows for researchers to study electrons moving at the speed of light and with a light intensity one billion times that of the conventional x-ray.

With personal and group site tours available for the public, come and see for yourself what it is like to be inside this mammoth facility with a circumference of 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles).  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Japanese Novelty: Food Sample Art a.k.a Fake Food

A sight that many people see upon their first encounter with Japan is the various food and drink menu samples such as the ones seen in the picture and video above that are normally displayed outside of the restaurants in showroom cases.

Unlike in the States and many other places in the world for that matter, the samples are a big help for not only foreigners but Japanese alike when determining where to stop by to satisfy one's appetite or quench one's thirst.  

With scalable models just as appetizing as the real thing, the plastic food/drink samples are truly works of art.  In addition, they are a great way to judge whether the restaurant/bar is worthy of your presence and cash as dust gathering and/or color faded samples are a good indication of the atmosphere and level of service on the inside.  

As Osaka is known as the food capital of Japan, it is fitting that there are several major food/drink sample manufacturers right here in town. One of those is Iwasaki, who has been in the sample manufacturing business for almost 80 years dating back to 1932.  Another is Morino Sample, which even offers 120 minute sample creation workshops to interested parties up to 50 people per day on the weekends.  

For those of you not ready to create your own menu item, you can always pay a visit to the Food Sample Art Gallery R&M conveniently located a few minutes away from the Takashimaya department store in the Namba district of Osaka.    

As a popular souvenir among visitors, if you are planning a trip to the "land of the rising sun" anytime soon, be sure to pick up a part of Japanese culture with a plastic food/drink sample of your choice. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kyoto Research Park (KRP): The Premier Privately-Owned Research Institution

With over 40 universities and several major blue-chip companies in Kyoto, the city is known throughout the country as a "venture city".  Kyoto Research Park (KRP), which was founded by Osaka Gas in 1989, was the nation's first privately operated research park.  To aid the city of Kyoto is becoming the place to be for ventures to create a name for themselves, KRP relies upon its strong overseas and national network in the fields of IT and R&D to support its tenants.

For those of you interested in the research park, some of the facilities include:

- Laboratories
- Data Centers
- Restaurants
- Science Hall
- Meeting Rooms

With space available to conduct meetings up to 350 people, second-to-none support system, and a convenient location less than ten minutes from Kyoto Station by taxi, it is no wonder why more than 250 venture businesses call KRP home.

For a breakdown of the tenants at KRP, please refer to the graph above.  As you can see, even though IT-related companies make up more than a third of the occupants, the research park is very diverse with more than 13 different industries represented.

With just over 20 years in operation, KRP is looking to solidify its place as the premier privately-owned research institution in the city for the next generation and beyond.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

World Forum for Bio/Medical Device in Kansai 2011

Organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI - Kansai) and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI), the World Forum for Bio/Medical Device is back in Kansai for 2011.

Taking place the week of February 21-25, the first day will include a site visit in Osaka followed by two days of company presentations and panel discussions before the forum moves to Kobe and then Kyoto to round out the week.

Dedicated to promoting the development of innovative medical, diagnostic and analytic devices and businesses, the World Forum for Bio/Medical Device brings the foreign industry leaders together for a week to exchange their recent findings with the Japanese bio/medical device community.  This year representatives from the following overseas locations will be on hand to participate:

Assistive Medical Equipment Corp. (Illinois)
BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota
Boston Scientific Corporation (Massachusetts)
Brown Medical Industries (Iowa)
Devicix (Minnesota)
Fredrikson & Byron Attorneys (Minnesota)
Gnarus Medical Consulting (Minnesota)
Johnson Matthey Medical (Pennsylvania)
Lake Region Medical (Minnesota)

Invetech (Melbourne, Australia)

Burster (Germany)
Contec GmbH (Germany)

Philips Electronics (The Netherlands)

For more information about the forum, please click here for details in English and Japanese.

As one of the core industries in Kansai, the region is making headway towards becoming the place in Asia for one's bio/medical device needs.  It will be interesting as to what affect the forum has on the community here in Kansai.