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Michael Fiorella
Tokyo, Japan
Bilingual, 25-year resident of Japan. Expert on Japanese consumers, lifestyle products and Japan market entry. Curator of The Spark Galleries, a syndicate of online shops selling art, antiques and home accessories.
Interests: Sosaku hanga, Japanese woodblock prints, Japanese kokeshi dolls, Japanese antiques, Japanese vintage, fine art photography, graphic design, market trends in Japan, Japanese consumers, Japan market entry strategy, Japanese language, Chinese martial arts, world travel, world cuisine, movies, TV, books.
Recent Activity
Hi and welcome to Gimlet Eye. I don't know where this blog is going (if anywhere), but it's likely to evolve considerably if anybody starts reading it and they find it informative, useful or entertaining. I like stories (books, TV, movies) and I follow a lot of television programs. While... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Gimlet Eye
Are the producers of Castle running out of steam? The show used to be smart and a lot of fun. I'm wondering why more resources aren't being applied to maintain and or improve its quality. This episode felt pretty underwhelming and sloppy. See my notes below. **SPOILER ALERT** The episode... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Gimlet Eye
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Boy oh boy. I love the fresh bread that's available in Japan. One of my favorites for breakfast is this one that's packed with toasted sesame seeds. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Delicious steak and side dishes for lunch. All this plus a salad and drink for $16. Not too bad. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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They seem to be out of pamphlets so I don't quite know how this new service works. Love the fact that they're using little bikes with baskets though. . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Thrilled to be eating from our favorite Indian delivery joint! Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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What could I say to convince you that this tart may have the power to change your perspective on cakes and pastries forever? Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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No matter how much time you spend in countries where English is not the native language you never quite get used to the curious ways people put words together. . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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I just acquired this item for one of our stores. Made in 1936 by a Japanese artist whose name escapes me at the moment. Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Such a pleasure to walk along Omotesando near my old apartment. The view only gets better and better with spectacular new structures popping up all the time. The speed of change in Tokyo is staggering so the adjoining backstreets are constantly evolving too. I took a quick walk around the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Methinks I sees new uses for saws . . . Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Picked up these carvings and castings from a local antiques dealer who had them priced at about one-tenth of their value. He told me he was happy to sell them cheap because they had been donated by a nearby temple that was disposing of old statuary as preparation for renovations... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Happy to have ready access to fresh fish again! This Japalian pasta dish prominently features Pacific Saury (aka Sanma or Mackerel Pike). Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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View from the elevator of Tokyu Honten department store looking down the main way to Shibuya Station. Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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After living for over 25 years in Japan, I have gotten so used to life without a car. You can get from just about anywhere to anywhere using your legs, bicycles, buses and trains. Bicycles are everywhere in Japan and the infrastructure is built to reflect it. The picture on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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A lot of people are under the impression that Japanese culture is traditional, conservative and risk averse. While there are plenty of cases where that's true, there are many instances when the opposite is true. Take architecture. If you are a fan of urban planning or gated communities then you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Speaking of festivals, just a couple of blocks closer to Shibuya Station I came across another group getting ready to hold their event today too. I love the fact that they are preparing their portable shrines right in front of an ultra modern department store. Japanese culture is very resilient... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Japan loves festivals and somewhere in the country one is being held every day of the year. Large ones attract huge crowds but local festivals are often very intimate (and just about every neighborhood holds one sometime during the year). I snapped this picture in a residental area just five... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Grabbed something to eat at a nearby Japanese coffee chain bakery. French toast sandwich and coffee $4. French toast is better than any I've ever had in the US (how do they manage this?). Coffee is good (not great), but certainly equal to anything you can get in the States... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
We live only about a mile and a half from one of the most popular areas of Tokyo. But because it's about a 10 minute walk to the closest train, it's a lot quieter than you'd expect. This video compresses the stroll to the station to about three minutes. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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The Japanese are always tearing down and rebuilding. The apartments across the street completely disappeared in my absence. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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While I was in the US crews had to come in and replace our gas lines along with the hardwood floors in every room. All of our things had to be moved out for the two weeks of construction, but the contractors got everything done on time. Plus, the 2,000... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Missed this view even more!!! Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises
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Back in Tokyo after 3 months in California. Really missed this view from our bedroom window. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2014 at New Sun Rises