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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
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After living for over 25 years in Japan, I simply can't understand why anyone would ever want to own a car. You can get from just about anywhere to anywhere using your legs, bicycles, buses and trains. Nobody has to fight for bicyclists rights in Japan. Bicycles are everywhere and... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the Sun Rises
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Missed this view even more!!! Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at And the 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 4 days ago at And the Sun Rises
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Given the opportunity, I choose Segafredo over Starbucks every time. The coffee is better and the baked goods are too. This Caffe Lungo and chocolate croissant combo costs about $3.75. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at And the Sun Rises
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Out of the blue this gourmet cooking school for men just opened down the street. May have to check it out. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at And the Sun Rises
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Had lunch with Kaoru at our local burger joint. We shared a cheeseburger and a large Caesar Salad and each of us had a soft drink. Very reasonable total cost of just $20. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at And the Sun Rises
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Here's an exciting new print just added to the Hikifuda.com store. In it Musashi Miyamoto, Japan's inventor of the double-sword fighting technique, battles an enemy. To see the full image (this one is cropped) please click on the URL below: http://www.hikifuda.com/store.html#!/~/product/category=4742257&id=21459179 Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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Three child "warriors" battle it out in this antique hikifuda advertising poster from Japan. Fabulous colors and great action! This print bears the shadow of another print in the left third so it's been heavily discounted. Check it out in the Hikifuda.com shop at http://www.hikifuda.com/store.html Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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This item just added to the hikifuda.com store. We're not quite sure who this young beauty is. There print shows some text in the upper right corner but the cursive style is extremely hard to read. She might be a princess, or she might be a character from a Japanese... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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This beautiful hikifuda is now in the Hikifuda.com store! The Seven Lucky Gods climb a hill against a backdrop showing a red sun and two red-crowned Japanese cranes. Beautiful gold pigmented ink used for the clouds! Hikifuda take well to modern mattes and frames. This example shows a medium width... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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This item just listed in the Hikifuda.com store. Check it out by clicking on "Store" in the navigation bar above, and then choosing the "Samurai / Action" category. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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Great combination: Mt Fuji & the Treasury of Loyal Retainers, also known as the 47 Ronin. Now available in the Hikifuda.com store (click on "store," above). Related articles Gorgeous Mid-Century Modern Art Flower Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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New items in Hikifuda.com store (to see items directly, visit http://www.hikifuda.com/store.html) Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2013 at SPARK GALLERIES
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Recently added to the hikifuda.com store . .Enjoy! Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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This hiki-fuda shows a woman and girl outfitted in fancy kimonos and carrying items used to celebrate the Japanese New Year's holidays. The rectangular portion on the upper left is a mini calendar that provides highlights for the year, Taisho 2, or 1913. The poster would have hung in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
A note on pricing: Be sure to check your favorite items from time to time. Prices can and do change -- that item you were hoping to buy may have just gotten more affordable! Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2013 at HIKIFUDA.COM
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This rabbit-shaped bottle opener was recently added to our home decor store Seleclectic. What a gorgeous combination of modern Japanese design and traditional Japanese craftsmanship! Available here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2013 at SPARK GALLERIES