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(English) Japanese Pop Culture at Hakata City

(English) It looks like another rainy summer’s weekend for Fukuoka, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home. Japanese pop culture fans could do worse than to check out some of the events at JR Hakata City this weekend. First stop is Hakataekimae Hiroba where you’ll find a huge 9m tall inflated Pikachu bouncy castle. Kids can bounce inside of Pikachu (¥300/5min) or play fun Pokemon-themed games outside like “Fishing Stunfisk” (¥300/game) with cool prizes. Adults can take photos with the huge Pikachu too, on display until Aug. 17 (Sun.). Next stop is the “Nyan Station” cat-themed pop-up shop on Hakata Hankyu’s 8F. You’ll find a selection of cat iPhone cases, bags, accessories, and more, plus booths to make cat toys and pottery from Aug. 17 (Sun.)~19 (Tue.). Miyawaka City’s cute cat-themed mascot “Sakura-chan” makes a special appearance at the “Nyan Station” on Aug. 16 (Sat) and 17 (Sun) too! Finally there’s “Gacha Gacha World”, a collection of 300 capsule-toy vending machines on Hakata Hankyu 7F until Aug. 26 (Tue). Don’t dismiss this as an event for kids only – these toy vending machines have recently been marketed to appeal to adults too. The 300 vending machines are divided by section by gender and age, and range in price from ¥100~¥300. You’ll find funny toys like the “iPhone futon case”, character toys like Mickey Mouse, Rilakkuma, Anpanman and even some nostalgic characters such as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”! There are also trivia stations where visitors can learn about gacha gacha (capsule toys)! Get your dose of J-pop culture and have a great weekend!

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(English) Sunset Live Pre-event at JR Hakata City

(English) Summer’s grand finale in Kyushu is Sunset Live beachside festival on Sep. 5, 6, 7 at Keya Beach, Itoshima. But you don’t have to wait until September to get a taste of Sunset Live’s entertainment – artists from the big festival get warmed up with a FREE Sunset Live Pre-Event at JR Hakata City this weekend. Artists include the popular “Kiiyama Shoten”, playing at the great rooftop garden of JR Hakata City.

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(English) Bubble Garden at JR Hakata City

(English) *Pop!* over to JR Hakata City this weekend to check out the temporary “Bubble Garden” at the rooftop garden. It’s a great summer activity for kids who get a kick out of playing with heaps of bubbles. The little ones can make big bubbles, chase bubbles from the bubble machine, ride tricycles – they may even forget the summer heat! The Bubble Garden is open from 10:00~, 13:00~, and 15:00~ (10 minutes duration) until 8/10 (Sun). Please note: the event is cancelled in case of bad weather.

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(English) Doraemon at Hakata Station

(English) A Doraemon installation is open to the public at JR Hakataekimae Hiroba until Aug. 11 in commemoration of the new movie “Stand By Me Doraemon” which opens today (8/8). Outside the station you’ll find a collection of giant 3D Doraemon figures, each with a different “secret gadget” (including his “N-S Patch,” “Clean-up Spray,” “Kamisama (God) Robot,” and many more), along with various promotional materials for the new film. Pose with your favorite Doraemon and snap a photo!

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(English) Fukuoka Kau Kau: MING

(English) Fukuoka is a compact city bursting with trendy boutiques, big department stores and everything in between; it’s a shopper’s paradise. We gave a foreigner a budget and a number of items to buy. What will she select? What would you select? Fukuoka Shopping Challenge START! 福岡は流行のショップや百貨店がコンパクトな街中にひしめく、ショッピング好きにとっての楽園。NOWの新企画Fukuoka Kau Kauでは、そんな楽園を訪れた外国人が予算内で何を買うか、をレポートします!

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銀座バッカーナ ジョイア博多

(English) With the World Cup fast approaching, we decided to get into the spirit with some churrasco, or Brazilian barbecue. This March Ginza Bacana, a long-running Brazilian steakhouse in Tokyo, opened a new shop in Fukuoka called Joia Hakata. Here, the sweet aroma of grilled meat greets you at the door. Churrasco is typically an all-you-can eat affair. Not long after you sit down, a Brazilian churrasco chef appears at your table with long skewers of grilled meat and deftly slice off as much as you want right on the spot. Be sure to come hungry! There are 10 kinds of freshly grilled meat, running the gamut from choice cuts of juicy beef to pork and chicken. To top it off, Joia Hakata offers 50 a la carte menu items, including feijoada (black bean stew) and desserts, as part of the course. There are also all-you-can drink options starting at ¥990. The jovial staff make for a lively dining experience, and before you realize it, you’ve had more than your fill. In the end, the Latin mood is sure to rub off, leaving you in high spirits for the rest of the day… or night.

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(English) Japan/Korea Cinema Exchange: Love Technology

(English) Fukuoka and sister city Busan began a cinema exchange last year in which popular films from Korea and Japan are screened in each other’s countries. Currently screening is popular South-Korean film “Love Technology”. Two friends win a trip to the Philippines together – one who believes in destiny and true love, and one who is somewhat of a man-eater. They meet men at their hotel who turn out to be trouble, losing all their money. At the same time, they meet one really nice guy, who helps solve their problems, and both girls start to fall for the same man. The film is screening for two weeks at T-Joy Hakata from 2/15. Don’t miss this chance to see a popular Korean film.

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(English) Christmas Market Hakata

(English) Have yourself a merry German Christmas with hot wine, cheese, German sausages and traditional German crafts! Opened Nov. 29 and running daily until Dec. 25, the collection of eight wooden stalls in front of JR Hakata Station aims to replicate the cheery, festive atmosphere of a German Christmas market in Fukuoka. Under the glittering backdrop of Hataka station’s Christmas illuminations you can buy traditional Christmas products (wooden toys and ornaments), food and drinks from Germany and all around Europe. The project was set up by young local entrepreneurs who saw the need for Fukuoka to have a ‘warmer Christmas’. It’s the perfect event for those who miss or want to experience a traditional, European-style Christmas. Entry is free, but remember to bring along some cash to enjoy the variety of food, drinks and goods on offer.

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(English) JR Kyushu Wine Festa 2013 in Hakata

(English) Sip some of the best wine Kyushu has to offer atop the JR Kyushu roof! This wine tasting event brings together wonderful wines from eight wineries, including Kyoho Winery (Kurume City), Kumamoto Wine (Kumamoto), Fukuda Nojo Winery (Kumamoto) and more. There’s also Kyushu-made natural cheese for sale, and special live performances on stage. Friday’s performers are none other than the winners and runner up of this year’s Gaikokujin Star Tanjo event. Watch Star Tanjo runner up Manisha Bastola’s traditional Nepalese dance from 17:00~ and get your dancing shoes on for the latin dance performance by 2013 Star Tanjo Champions “Calienta Rueda” from 19:00~ on Fri. 10/18. The Saturday stage is a lively belly dance show from 17:00~, and 19:00~ on 10/19 (Sat.). You couldn’t ask for a better venue to taste local wines & enjoy local entertainment – don’t miss it!

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