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Sunday, July 31, 2016


Earlier this month I took my first look at Shirokiya's Japan Village Walk at the Ala Moana Shopping Center (located one floor below Bloomingdale's):  56 shops and 900 seats, over 44,680 square feet, a bit more than an acre. Yesterday I returned with a group from 15 Craigside.

That sign indicating 1662 is not a typo.  Shirokiya began in Japan as one of its first stores, at one point became the nation's largest retailer, opening a branch in Hawaii, and suffering through buyouts, economic difficulties and the like,  so that this is now the only Shirokiya store sign in the world.

Lot's of condiments.  This is a huge food court, mostly Japanese, with $1 beer in four separate bar corners:

I went to the gourmet area, where the very expensive Vintage Cave restaurant operates 14 food stations.   I ordered half a ribeye with the rice set:

With the beer, tax and tip, my meal cost $30.  At J-Shop in Honolulu, a pound of wagyu sirloin costs $80/pound, and in the basement of large department stores, Japanese beef can come up to $200/pound.  Under those pricing conditions, my lunch was a bargain.

Our table, with three wagyu meals, two ramen and sushi:

If you don't know your wagyu from hamburger, click on THIS.  I will return to Miyazaki next month to enjoy the #1 beef in the world.

My general sense was that the meals here are a bit expensive, but okay.  The $1 beer is fabulous.  My steak was overcooked and so was the other order.  They placed this fried meat on a hot metal plate, making the tray heavy.  I also noticed that other customers were carrying a large and steaming ramen bowl on a tray to their table.  Something will need to be better organized or there will be some serious accidents, for most don't know how to handle this load, and people are bumping into you.  There are small children everywhere.

Incidentally, the Waikiki Shopping Plaza (across Kalakaua from Royal Hawaiian Center) basement will soon open Yokocho Gourmet Alley, another Japanese food village concept, this one of 16 restaurants.  On 23,076 square feet, which once housed Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, Love Culture and similar shops, there will be sit-down eating/drinking establishments representing Sweet Sake Alley outside of Ningyocho Station in Tokyo, Omoide Yokocho (memory lane) and even drunkard's alley from Shibuya.  Hmmm...sounds like my kind of place.

Typhoon Nida, which just swept over northern Philippines, will strengthen into a Category 2, with an eye projected to pass right over Hong Kong at 9AM on Tuesday:

Up to a foot of rain fell over parts of Luzon:


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