Auction for Lunch with Warren Buffett

According to Reuter, a bid for lunch with the worldly renowned investor or businessman, actually, the world’s third-richest man, Warren Buffett, was closed last week. The charity auction has been held every year since 2000 and has generated a record this year. The final price was 2.63 million dollars for a steak lunch with Buffett at New york’s Simith&Wollensky’s Grill. The name of the winner was not revealed. What a steakholder!


Tsukiji Fish Market Limits Tourists for Tuna Auction

Tsukiji Fish Market announced that they would accept only 140 visitors per day for their famous early morning tuna auction. They had placed a one-month ban from April 8th and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which is in charge of markets in Tokyo, finally decided the new rules for those who want to see the real auction because of the safety reasons. More than 500 visitors per day in the beginning of April, came to the auction. Most of the visitors are from other countries. Please give respect to the traditional business and culture. It’s not a show and tour. Please be courteous in the market.

Izakaya Revolution

As I was watching TV a few days ago, a new izakaya concept was featured. The story was about an aspiring entrepreneur who had already succeeded in a number of businesses(He even owns a private jet!) His new business concept is an izakaya which serves house shouchu for free. Nomihodai—all-you-can-drink. Of course, they charge for other liquors such as beer and sake. Moreover, cigarettes are free. Many people gathered at the izakaya restaurant with close friends and looked so happy on TV. The show said the business was doing well and making a profit with a high turnover at an average price of 2,500 yen per person. I’m not quite sure that this business model will be sustainable but it definitely breaks the stereotype of a typical liquor-earning-profit mentality. This may be part of Chris Anderson’s FREE concept. What a give-and-take!

Ferran Adria Takes Two-year Break from the Kitchen

According to The Daily Telegraph, worldly renowned chef, Ferran Adria, has announced that he was closing El Bulli at the end of 2011 and was thinking about what to do next. Also, he implied he may not come back to the kitchen for good. I was really surprised and it was sad to hear that. Visiting Spain to dine at El Bulli is one of my gastronomic dreams. I saw his demonstration at Tokyo Taste, the World Summit of Gastronomy in 2009. He said that he has gained great insights from Japanese cuisine. I hope he comes to Japan sometime again to show off his great work. The article also said that he may work on several culinary projects—including one at Harvard University, which once he had been invited and signed an agreement with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences(!!!) His innovations were also taught at the business school. Degree in gastrochemistry?


O-sechi is a traditional Japanese food to celebrate the New Year’s holiday. It’s usually served in bento boxes with beautifully decorated ingredients. Often, the boxes are stacked in two to three high. O-sechi is prepared on New Year’s Eve and served during the New Year’s holiday. Basically, the ingredients are grilled or marinated well to keep them for long period. Therefore, people don’t have to cook and can relax during the holiday. Nowadays, people often buy luxurious o-sechi bento boxes at department stores or famous Japanese restaurants and never cook at home at all. According to Nikkei MJ, MAXIM’s de Paris Tokyo started selling o-sechi bento boxes with the price range of 19,000 to 84,000 yen(!!!), which originally were sold only to special customers. An abundance of caviar, truffles, and foie gras are decorated in the boxes and Japanese spiny lobster and Yamagata wagyu beef are also prepared gorgeously. I am thinking about serving it to my parents next year. Once is enough, I suppose..

Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010

The restaurant list of the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2010 was released to the press yesterday(The guide itself will be on the shelves this Friday.) Three-star was given to eleven restaurants over the last year’s nine restaurants. This exceeds Paris in numbers at this point, which has ten three-star restaurants. The 2010 edition gave one star to various kinds of Japanese cuisines, including shojin ryori, izakaya, kushiage, and yakitori. It’s just amazing! Also, I saw some of the same old names on the list. For example, Sukiyabashi Jiro has been a three-star and Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi was just awarded one star this year. You’ll even see three of Robuchons on the list. How many more stars do they need?

Here’s the list of the three-star restaurants:

Japanese: Esaki, Ishikawa, Kanda, Koju, Yukimura
Sushi: Sukiyabashi Jiro, Sushi Mizutani, Sushi Saito
French: Joel Robuchon, Quintessence, L’Osier

Hoshino Resort

I read a book about Hoshino Resort, which operates 17 luxurious resort facilities in Japan because the company is really “hot” these days and President, Yoshimichi Hoshino, an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to change the resort business in Japan, is really in the media almost every day. Mr. Hoshino, who is a graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Administration, is a 4th generation resort hotelier from Nagano and has drastically grown the family business and made it widely known throughout the nation. His company is currently working with Goldman Sachs, which is now targeting onsen(hot-spring) market for investment.

According to an article by Nikkei MJ, he said they would be opening a hi-end “Hoshino-ya” brand hotel in Kyoto this December, which will be the second “Hoshino-ya” in Japan. Hoshino-ya Karuizawa, its first, provides not only green tourism with its nature guides but also eco-friendly “green facilities” such as an energy-saving system, using recycled heat and traditional Japanese building techniques. He believes that Kyoto attracts many foreign tourists and his hotel’s average room rate of 73,000 yen for double occupancy per night is not too high compared with other luxurious foreign-capital hotel chains. His target room occupancy is 70 percent, which is quite challenging. He is also planning another Hoshino-ya in Okinawa in 2010 and the Mt. Fuji area and Kusatsu after that. Michelin will publish a Kyoto/Osaka restaurant guide this fall. Hope he will bring back many foreign tourists to Japan and let them experience his story.

Hoshino-ya Kyoto