With her own official Twitter account and a town in Tottori Prefecture behind her, Japan’s first ever cannabis character comes dressed as a pink-haired shrine maiden.
In fact, Tottori’s governor officially encourages you to venture into the sand to catch ’em all.
Everything in Japan is coming up Star Wars right now. There was the amazing snow sculpture at the Sapporo Snow Festival in February, the stunning rice field art in July, beautiful Nebuta festival floats in August, and of course those amazing Samurai Star Wars figures that are about to go on sale. A new hope has risen for fans as this will be the first time in 10 years that Jedi Masters and our favorite droids will grace the big screen.
Another city in Japan has decided to strike back with a Force-inspired exhibit in the only place in the country that could match up to the desert planet of Tatooine. In the sand dunes of Tottori, a massive Star Wars sand sculpture is going to be erected. A return of the giant sculptures, if you will.
There are many instances of anime successes rejuvenating tourism in some lesser-known parts of Japan, and one of those towns that benefitted from an anime boom is Iwami of Tottori Prefecture, the setting location for the hit anime series Free!.
Even now, two years since Free! first aired, fans are still flocking to Iwami to drink in the atmosphere of the town where their favorite characters “live.” A Japanese fan recently went the extra mile to combine some of the anime scenes and actual locations into a single frame, creating awesome 2.5-dimensional images that went viral and triggered the feels in fellow fans. Check them out after the break!
If you were to overlay a map of Japan with the locations of major restaurant and retail chains both domestic and international, the Chugoku region would look like a meteor hit it and Tottori Prefecture would be ground zero.
Tottori was the last prefecture in Japan to have a Starbuck’s open within its borders and still doesn’t have a 7-Eleven or Circle K anywhere. However, their fortunes appear to be changing, because the Australian coffee chain Muzz Buzz will be opening their first drive-through store in Tottori this autumn.
Here at RocketNews24, every now and again we come across a restaurant or snack maker offering something that doesn’t sound at all appetizing, but is just too unique to pass up. In the past, my coworkers Steve and Amy have sampled wasp-filled rice crackers and bee larvae, and my own stomach and psyche are only now recovering from a dessert of not one, but two types of cakes made with chunks of tuna.
Now, it’s out intrepid Japanese-language reporter Mr. Sato’s turn to pull up a chair to the crazy dining table, and camel hump is on the menu.
Remember when Tottori Prefecture finally got a Starbucks after all these years of being one of the few places in the world without one? Oh man, that was crazy.
Tottori is just one of those places. The kind of area that’s so quiet and uneventful that not even Starbucks, the corporate giant that’s more than happy to smother historic cultural heritage sites with their over-roasted beans and pricey lattes for a quick buck, spent decades more or less pretending it didn’t even exist. The Prefecture’s population of just over half a million is shockingly small by densely-populated Japan’s standards, and it’s just generally ignored by the rest of Japan as a place that, well… doesn’t have much to see, to put it kindly.
But wait a second! What’s this?! Tottori has been sitting on an amazing tourist draw in the form of a sand sculpture museum that features mind-boggling, award-winning and massive sand sculptures and they basically haven’t even really told anybody about it.
Tottori: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starbucks (coffee) enterprise. Their continuing mission: to serve strange new Frappuccinos, to open new stores and new locations, to boldly go where no Starbucks has gone before.
For anyone playing Starbucks Japan bingo, you can now cross off Tottori from your sheet. May 23 officially marks the first day that there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in every single prefecture in Japan. Tons of people showed up for the grand opening of the Tottori Starbucks, but was this a great triumph or another situation of the little guy being pushed aside by a huge mega-corp?
With Starbucks having won the loyalty of so many customers in so many countries, sometimes it seems like the Seattle-based coffee giant has a location in every corner of the world. There’s still at least one place that’s Starbucks-free, though, and that’s Tottori, the last prefecture in Japan without a branch of its own.
The situation is about to change, though, as Starbucks is set to open its first Tottori location this week. Local coffeehouse chain Sunaba Coffee, whose name is almost an exact copy of Starbucks’ Japanese nickname, is bracing for the impact of its new competitor by guaranteeing its product tastes just as good as Starbucks’, while making the humble request that customers get one out of every three coffee fixes at Sunaba.
From December of last year until this February, Tottori City held an open call for mascot ideas for a character to represent the Tottori Castle ruins. The ruins were named one of Japan’s 100 notable castles and have enjoyed an influx of tourists.
The mascot idea which came in second place was Katsue-san, the starving farm girl. When the announcement of Kazue hit, the internet lit up with excitement. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the Tottori City website soon after.
Out of the 47 total prefectures in Japan, Tottori is the only one left without a Starbucks. Total Starbucks domination may seem imminent with plans in the works to open the first shop by spring 2015. However, a new coffee chain opened in Tottori on April 4, and word on the street is that it seeks to rival the international coffee giant. Even its name is a linguistic play on the word “Starbucks.” Do you think this new local business can put a damper on Starbucks’ eventual expansion?
As we mentioned before, Japan can be painfully slow when it comes to releasing overseas movies. Disney’s Frozen doesn’t release here until this Friday, and Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s The World’s End, released in most countries some nine months ago, won’t arrive until next month.
Another late release is Kiss Ass 2 (Kick Ass: Justice Forever in Japan), which although shown in the West last summer, only made its way to Japanese theatres two weeks ago. And if you happen to live in a more rural part of Japan, forget about it. For example, Tottori Prefecture often has to deal with so-called nationwide releases never showing up in their part of the nation.
Tired of being treated as second-class movie-goers, a movement was started to ask for the showing of the latest Kick Ass movie in their land. And for such a job they called in Tottori’s greatest hero: Negiman (Green Onion Man).
American coffee chain, Tully’s Coffee, is set to open a new coffee shop in Tottori Prefecture which will see it secure a firm foothold in every last prefecture in Japan. The absence of a Starbucks in Tottori Prefecture means that Tully’s Coffee will effectively steal the lead over the big S, who has set to set up a store in Japan’s least populous prefecture.