May 2023





[Otaru, the City of Sushi]

Otaru is also known as the "City of Sushi," and sushi is an indispensable gourmet food for its citizens.

It is said that there are more than 100 sushi restaurants in Otaru today, but in the past, there were no specialty restaurants and sushi was served at Japanese and Western-style restaurants.

Later, in the early Taisho period (1912-1926), several specialty restaurants were established, and through the Meiji period (1868-1912), young sushi chefs who had trained in various parts of Japan began to set up their own restaurants because of the high quality of seafood harvested from Ishikari Bay. This was the beginning of the city's history as a sushi destination.

Some sushi chefs united at a "fish offering festival" in 1987, which led to the current name of "Sushi-ya-dori," and today there are nearly 20 sushi restaurants lining the street. In addition, Otaru's sushi culture has grown significantly as tourism has flourished along the Otaru Canal.

The existence of sushi is strongly connected to the lives of Otaru citizens. For example, sushi is eaten on special occasions, and elementary schools offer sushi-making experiences with sushi chefs. It is not uncommon to find your friend's parents' house is a sushi restaurant.

Also, since each family has a different favorite restaurant, if you meet a local, you can ask about the characteristics of the restaurant you are interested in, which may help you choose a sushi restaurant when you are sightseeing. There are many inexpensive and delicious sushi restaurants and conveyor-belt sushi restaurants as well as high-end sushi restaurants. Please try out various sushi restaurants and compare Otaru's sushi.

At, we sell Sushi Handai, Pressed Sushi Box, Sushimaki, and other items for enjoying sushi at home. Some of our items are on display in our showroom, so please stop by and take a look.

*Photographs were taken at Sushiya Kodai in Otaru.

Yamaichi's Sushi Handai
Yamaichi's Pressed Sushi Box
Kiya's Sushimaki
Otaru Showroom





[Power Nap]

Are you getting a good night's sleep? Waking up in the morning refreshed and motivated to go about your daytime activities, and at night naturally feeling sleepy. How many times a week do you get such a good night's sleep? Let's take a moment to review. Sleep is a maintenance system that allows the brain and body to rest, but it is also involved in memory consolidation, stress elimination, hormone secretion, and blood production. If you have a slight disorder, one of the first things you may want to do is to question your sleep.

This very important physiological function of sleep consists of approximately 20% "REM sleep," a shallow sleep that rests the body, and 80% "non-REM sleep," a deep sleep that rests the brain. These two types of sleep appear alternately, repeating in waves in a cycle of approximately 90 minutes (sleep cycle). The average person wakes up after 4 or 5 cycles, with a higher percentage of non-REM sleep at the beginning of sleep and longer REM sleep toward dawn. Ideally, you should wake up during this cycle, rather than being woken by an alarm clock! Even if you wake up a little earlier, you will feel more refreshed if you wake up at that time instead of sleeping twice.

Along with sleep, "power naps," or naps, are now attracting attention. A nap of only 20 minutes or so is believed to improve brain performance, and according to a scientific experiment by NASA, a 26-minute nap during the day improves cognitive performance by 34% and attention span by 54%. Surprisingly, it has also been shown to be three times more effective than nighttime sleep. It has to do with the depth of the four stages of non-REM sleep, and it has been shown that the first two stages, which come about 20 minutes after falling asleep, are light sleep levels and strengthen the brain's working memory, which organizes and stores information and prioritizes things in the brain. This is one of the reasons why the brain is refreshed and clear in a short period of time; if you sleep for more than 30 minutes, you will reach an even deeper sleep level of 3-4, and you will not wake up feeling refreshed, and you will feel dazed and sluggish when you wake up. You may want to make it a habit to take a 20-minute "power nap" that will help you feel refreshed and improve your judgment, comprehension, and concentration.

However, daily sleep is also important. In order to feel sleepy at night, it is important to get a good dose of light in the morning to turn on your wake-up hormones! Then we consume protein, which improves the quality of sleep. Then, at night, 1.5 hours before falling asleep, take a bath in warm water, darken the room, and relax. What we tend to do is look at our phones until just before we fall asleep. Just looking at the blue light for 3 seconds stops the release of sleep hormones. How about taking the plunge and turning off your phone after 10:00 p.m.? How about such an attempt? Please try it starting tonight.

Ao's Blanket


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[Lake Biwa Canal]

At the end of the Edo period, Kyoto was losing its vitality due to the burning of most of the city after the Kinmon Incident and the population decline caused by the relocation of the capital to Tokyo. Therefore, the third Governor of Kyoto, Kunimichi Kitagaki, planned to construct the Lake Biwa Canal, which had been a longtime dream of the people of Kyoto, in order to restore Kyoto. The plan was to use the hydraulic power of the canal to build new factories and to increase the traffic of goods by ships for the purpose of irrigation, water supply, water transportation, and power for waterwheels.

The initial budget was 600,000 yen, but in the end, the construction cost was doubled to 1,250,000 yen, a huge undertaking. The engineers were selected from young people who had learned the latest technology and knowledge. The chief engineer was Sakuro Tanabe (21 years old at the time), who had just graduated from the Engineering College, and the surveyor was Michio Shimada (33 years old at the time), who had studied surveying techniques in Europe and the United States and had a proven track record.

Construction began in 1885, and in 1890, the first part of the first hydrophobic drainage from Otsu to the confluence of the Kamo River was completed, and from there to Fushimi was completed in 1894. A total of 4 million workers were mobilized for the construction, making the work extremely demanding. In particular, the first tunnel between Otsu and Yamashina, with a total length of 2,436 m, was regarded with caution as the greatest obstacle. However, the shaft method, in which a hole is dug vertically from the top of the mountain and construction proceeds from there toward both sides of the mountain, was adopted for the first time in Japan, and the tunnel was successfully opened. At this time in Japan, large-scale civil engineering projects were usually carried out under the direction of foreign engineers, but the construction of the First Waterway was the first case in which Japanese hands did everything from design to construction.

The completion of the first hydrophobic waterway changed people's lives and contributed greatly to the development of Kyoto's economy and industry, especially in terms of hydraulic power generation, which was the latest technology at the time and contributed to the mechanization of small and medium-sized factories and the start of electric railroad operations. The plan was to use hydrophobic water for powering the water wheel, but after observing hydroelectric power generation in the U.S., Sakuro Tanabe and others suggested that the plan be changed to hydroelectric power generation during construction, leading to the construction of the Keage Power Plant. The Keage Incline, used to transport ships, was also powered by hydroelectric power.

In the late 1887s, the demand for electric power increased year by year, and the first hydrophobic water supply was no longer sufficient to meet the demand. Construction began in 1908 and was completed in 1908. To prevent pollution, the entire length of this second hydrophobic waterway is a tunnel and reclaimed waterway, and it joins the first hydrophobic waterway at Kegami. To use this water resource as a water supply system, the Keage Water Filtration Plant was completed and became the foundation of people's lives.

In addition, the Keage Incline, Nanzenji Temple's Suijikaku (Waterway Pavilion), and the Philosopher's Path, a branch line of the Sosui, became famous landmarks in Kyoto, bringing cultural scenery to the city. These are important legacies that convey the efforts of our predecessors to the present. Lake Biwa Canal is an indispensable part of Kyoto's urban development and will continue to enrich our lives.

Showroom Information