Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sayonara Sale in Kyoto

We're leaving soon and that means a Sayonara Sale! We posted on craigslist, Kansai Flea Market and the bulletin board in the Kyoto International Center in Higashiyama.
Here is what we have.

metal rack: Y1500 (166cm tall X 56cm wide)
Toaster: Y500

Nice desk chair Y3000

Sony 29" TV Y3000 (75cm W 57cm H X 50cm D) PROBABLY NOT DIGITALLY COMPATIBLE

another table or desk- about the same size as above but not nearly as nice: Y2000
pair of chairs- Y2000
rear bike child seat Y1000

three drawer metal shelves Y1500 60cm wide X 80 tall

Lots of small things: pots and pans, dishes, cutlery, electric heater (1000), phone, and more.
We live in North West Kyoto- everything available by July 10- some things sooner. Must go by July 17th (Gion Matsuri)
I can help with delivery in the Kyoto area for an extra fee.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kid-friendly restaurants- Sweets of Ninja

Our kids like ninjas. They liked the ninja village in Koga. They like watching the Nintaro ninja anime (NHK education channel just after 6). And so when we found out there was a ninja themed restaurant in town, we wanted to give it a try. There are two restaurants and a ninja labyrinth. The basement is a restaurant with different course meals. Apparently they come with a little ninja magic performance. We went to the all you can eat "Sweets of Ninja" part. The staff are all dressed up and the decor is cool- like an old house with bamboo everywhere. For regular food they have Karage chicken, different kinds of spaghetti, curry rice, pilaf, french fries and salad bar. The focus, though, is on the sweets- with various cakes, crepes, waffles and ice cream. The kids were in heaven. They were very interested in the gift shop too- complete with grappling hooks.
They have a maze that you can go to as well. You have to wait by the outside door and they will show you in. You get a lamp and you need to try to find kanji scrolls to make a bingo before going out. When we were there the woman at the front had very good English.
It is a little hard to find. Here is one way to find it. From the north, head down Shinkyogoku (one block east of Teramachi) until you see the KFC turn right and then go right at your first chance. Here is a map.
The info:
The course meals are from Y2800 per person- probably not as kid friendly.
The buffet is Y1580 for adults (100 more on weekends.)
Kids 7-12 Y850
Kids 3-6 Y420
under 3 are free
Maze- Y300- but Y50 off if you eat there.
There are other branches in Tokyo and New York. Maybe we'll have to try the New York one sometimes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shipping things back home

Well, our time is drawing to a close and this means sending things back to the USA in our case. I thought it might be useful to share some of the things we have found.
Option 1: the post office
If you don't have a lot of stuff the post office is a good option. They have a very good English site and several different shipping options. Here is their rate schedule. If you are sending a lot of books, using a special mail bag might be a good option. Be sure to pack carefully though if you use the boat route- I had some minor damage from a breaking box on an earlier package. This can only be done at the central post office near the station or the Sakyo post office.
Option 2: shipping companies
These are usually based on the cubic meter and go by boat. Good for larger amounts of things. You can often choose to send it to your door, or for a cheaper route they can send it to a port near you. This does not mean that it has to be near an Ocean. I sent stuff to Detroit before. Here are some basic prices to the USA for your reference.
A friend used Economove. They quoted me about 75,000 JPY to the east coast of the USA door to port. They give you a big box to send things in.
We have use Japan Luggage Express before and were pretty happy with it. They quoted me about 60,000 to the east coast USA. For this one you don't get one big box, they just add up the dimensions of your packages (one cubic meter is a lot!).
I had another recommendation for Kuroneko Yamato, the ubiquitous takkyubin. (Sorry the information is only in Japanese) For door to door service they have about .7 cubic meter for 75,000 to the west coast, New York of Chicago or and 110,000 for the rest of the USA. From what I hear this is a very nice option.
Anyway- I hope this helps. This time I think we will go the regular post office route.