Thursday, October 30, 2008

Michelin Tokyo " He is back! "

The 2009 edition is to send a wave of enthusiasms, lauds and criticisms. He is a product as much expected at the new Harry Potter. Bibendum is back!

Michelin Guide Tokyo 2009 will be released Nov. 21, as an updated version of the inaugural edition of the restaurant guidebook by the French tire-maker that sold 300,000 copies the first time.

Bookshops expect brisk sales of the latest edition while publishers of other restaurant guidebooks are trying to jump on the bandwagon. The red-covered Michelin Guide is nicknamed the "Red Ship", an allusion to the "Black Ships" led by U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry that ended Japan's isolation policy in the 19th century. Michelin Guide Director Jean-Luc Naret sets a sales target for the Tokyo edition at over 300,000 copies this year and onward, and the ambitious target is backed by careful marketing.

Tokyo edition uses many photos and, for the first time in the coveted guidebook's history, carries only restaurants that got starts. The strategy attracted a wide range of readers from young women to middle-aged men. Michelin aims to attract repeat customers by expanding areas and restaurants covered in the book while reaching out to foreign tourists to Japan. Though the number of foreign visitors remains sluggish due to a global financial crisis, Japan is still a promising market for restaurant guidebook publishers, as the government tries to raise the number of overseas tourists to 10 million in 2010.

And one way to show his Japanese identity is the new symbol in the new Michelin Guide Tokyo 2009 where customers of restaurants marked with it will need to take off their shoes! Michelin, according to some "indiscrétion", might publish a Kyoto version in the future.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sell the Yen?

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said Japanese authorities may sell the yen for the first time since 2004 after the currency surged to its strongest in almost 13 years.

This would be purely when the Yen reaches some symbolic level, according to a source formerly at the IMF, quoted from Tokyo.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Asian beehives, Japan, China, Asean...

Japan too is busy as a beehive! Therefore the archipelago's political agenda seems second rate these days. Prime Minister Taro Aso indicated his reluctance to dissolve the House of Representatives for an election anytime soon, saying he wants to prioritize his ''international role'' during the global financial crisis. ''Rather than the domestic political situation... "I again feel the greater need to prioritize my international role,'' Aso, who took office in late September, told a press conference held after he attended the Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Beijing. But "Francisco" (Prime Minister Taro Aso's Christian name) added that there are ''still various issues'' he has to consider and that he cannot say anything more because he has not ''yet decided at this stage whether I will or will not'' call an election.

Inner sources at Diet told me it had been planned on November 30th, nobody would bet on it, now.