母 ＋ 妹夫婦と息子 ＋ iSOさん、それに儂の６名での晩餐と相成りました。
相変わらず iPhone 14 Pro での撮影ですが… 萬珍楼は光源も盛り付けも補正不要♪
記憶にある範囲で多分、儂の 65 年弱の人生で、いちばん美味しい春巻きだったと思います。
明朝からお仕事がある iSO さんとは店頭で別れ、残る５名はタクシーのりばへ。
I'm sorry, my first comment may be irrelevant to the content of your article.ReplyDelete
The main reason I'm typing in English here is to keep up with my limited English skills through our conversation, but I also intended to secretly write a little gossip about your Shonan senior (for example, that your one article is equivalent to 10 of his articles, or just trivial things). But it seems that he has been peeking at our conversation by using a translator.
He also remembered the Chinese food we enjoyed at the InterContinental Yokohama and the hidden sushi restaurant we went to with my spouse. Senior, if you are reading this comment with the help of a translator, please come and visit us in Okayama, the Land of Sunshine. Of course, I also understand that you may have circumstances that make it difficult for you to travel far. If you have some free time in the future, please let us know.
By the way, you originally said that you were planning to come to our clinic by bus after performing a self-colonic irrigation in your room at the Crowne Plaza Okayama on the morning of the endoscopy, but I think taking a taxi would be better. After all, even if you've completed the enema, you might have difficulty if you suddenly feel the need to defecate while on the bus. With a taxi, you could take emergency measures like running to one of the convenience stores that are located along the way to our clinic. I'm such a great doctor for being able to send such accurate advice, don't you think? (lol)
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
Those off-topic comments are being posted often so you don’t have to say that, but thank you anyway.
Sensei, I do remember and understand you wish to write in English to keep your language skill up and running. For me, my blog has similar propose – keep my Japanese language in a certain level. But please remember, my better-half told you your written English was hundred percent perfect when you asked to check your letter to Mr. Sidle. If you wish to brush up your English, you’d rather try improving the colloquial form, I think.
It’s a surprise for me that the Senior-san relies on the mechanical translator… The Senior-san is one of the brilliant persons of T-Gakuen colleagues. When I joined the photographic club and friends found I am sporting my knowledge, they told me there was a great competitor who is also bright for everything and he is also studying in farmers. Then when I saw him, he is much quieter than me… a low-key person but hiding sharp and smart talents. Therefore, I am surprised he uses translator… but I wonder how my broken English can be translated by Machineries… just curious.
Either bus or taxi, I will certainly prepare for the accident(s) for sure. I have already packed 5 adult size diapers in vacuumed shrunk Ziploc bag for Okayama trip. I will wear it under my trousers so no one knows if I made a mistake… isn’t this a kinda S&M play like thing? (lol)
Anyhow, see what happens in late May…
By the way, you went to Manchinro in Chinatown for dinner on the night you stayed at the Yokohama Grand Intercontinental, as your mother had long hoped for a dinner in Chinatown. If it were still in business, you would have chosen Heichinro instead.ReplyDelete
It seems that Chinese cuisine is enjoyable with a group of six people. As I mentioned in my correspondence with Atsu-san, when I go to Tokyo in April, I'll be staying at the Strings Hotel in Shinagawa using Ambassador Weekend Night Certificate and IHG points. We had planned to have dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the same hotel, as there will be five of us staying there. However, we had to give up on that plan because the restaurant was booked for a wedding reception on that day, and we had to settle for Italian food instead. It's a bit disappointing.
Chinese cuisine can get quite lively and loud when you go with a certain number of people, so it's good that your sister made a reservation for a private room over the phone.
By the way, the Chinese lion dance with "Nebuta" is really cute and incredibly colorful. Is this photo not color-corrected? The bright red and yellow colors are almost dazzling, but it seems to increase the anticipation for the Chinese food that you're about to eat.
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
It’s been a while… already a long time ago… when I stayed at Yokohama Sheraton, I invited my family in the tower-level. Then my parents and sister went out to eat somewhere in Chinatown. (I, myself stayed in Sheraton – I always have fever or sever diarrhea on the special occasion … once happened in Okayama as well as you remember, you suspected the infection of flu and forced me to take two inhalers because I’m large!)
Then, “Chinese dinner in Yokohama Chinatown” was the dreamed event for mom just like visiting San Mateo to see my kitties… and the better half. I made both for her, and the rest of event will be visiting hot springs. So my sister and I will take her Hakone Yumoto where my parents visited on their honey moon.
Sensei, it’s only 18 minutes from Shinagawa to Yokohama by Keikyu, or you may take Shinkansen (the closest platform from your hotel) to Shin-Yokohama then change to Yokohama metro to Chinatown. Either way it’s only one time changing the line and Manchinro is really adjacent. If the party is 5 or above, Chinese cuisine would be the perfect dinner for sharing the same experiences on their palate. Please consider visiting Chinatown when you stay at InterContinental Strings, an IHG property®.
I usually retouch my pictures for better impression for the viewers. However, I didn’t have to retouch the images when I took those at Manchinro. Mostly because they don’t use so many LED’s but halogen lights, which give better color rendition.
In Chinese cuisine, chopsticks are placed vertically, while in Japanese cuisine they are placed horizontally. Now that you mention it, I do see the difference, but I haven't really been conscious of it.ReplyDelete
It seems that there was one waitress who served exclusively for your group of six in the private room. Was it because of the private room or because it seemed like you were going to spend a lot of money based on the atmosphere? It's helpful that she carefully divided the dishes served on the large plate into six portions, but what happens if someone wants more of a particular dish? Do you all work it out among yourselves?
I think if I were to have Chinese food, I would choose a la carte and only pick and choose what I want to eat. The opposite is true for French food, but I always have trouble deciding what to order for Italian food. Although I'd want to share the dishes in a Chinese-style way.
After the shrimp chili dish, the dim sum arrived. I thought dim sum would normally come first. Is the shrimp chili a type of appetizer? Given your comment on the best spring roll you've ever had in your almost 65 years of life, I can only imagine that it was delicious.
It might be a bit disappointing if they named the dish "stir-fried scallion and ginger with carabineros" and then used black tiger shrimp instead.
By the way, was ISO-san skilled with Chinese spices?
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
I didn’t pay attention about the directions of chopsticks either. But when I visited Hong Kong years ago, serviceperson mentioned me the difference between Chinese and Japanese.
This is my guess that every personal room has a serviceperson in charge. Our room had only one serviceperson who’s serving our foods, but outside of the room, every time a cart with foods and drinks comes over, then handing over her in a right time manner. We didn’t wait the next dish at all, and each large serving were separated, decorated and served by her which was quite amazing. Considering those service quality as well as the foods’ qualities, Manchinro is one of the best in Chinatown.
For the food portions, we are big boys and girls. When someone can’t finish or demanded more, there are a help always. Especially the girls (my mom and sister) don’t have much appetites then my brother-in-law and nephew helped a lot… cos they are physically huge boys!
Picking items from à-la-carte varieties is a great option for the perfect satisfaction at typical Chinese cuisine, because Chinese meal starts from cold and/or hot starters, soup, seafood, fish, poultries, meat, rice and/or noodles then dessert… there must be ‘not in favor’ item(s) amongst these varieties and that’s why we just stuck with à-la-carte items even there were lots of course menus available.
The success of placing order is – pick a starter whether hot or cold, sometimes dim-sum items are helpful, followed by seafood, meat then finishing with rice or noodles. You may enhance the items from this basic structure – ‘seafood’ can be shrimp and crab, or ‘meat’ can be duck and beef, etc. Serviceperson is always helpful if you stuck picking the right ones. Please be friendly and frank to those helpers.
That spicy shrimp was an irregular timing. It must be served after the dim-sum items… and my mother was firstly horrified because spicy may attach her colon severely. (you know better than me (lol))
Kuruma-ebi prawns are impressively cooked. IF those were Black Tiger ones, I won’t argue either. The taste was great.
And iSO-san was happily drinking and eating as usual – when good meals and a bottle of wine are in front of him, so am not sure about his skill for Chinese herbs and spices. But I am quite sure he must be good for those because he spent several years (or over ten years?) in Hong Kong. I think he was being a low-key person when he was totally surrounded by strange and kinky obaKoba family… (lol)
Yes, I understand that I don't need to tell you that I often write off-topic comments on the blog.ReplyDelete
You mentioned that writing this blog in Japanese helps you maintain your Japanese language skills, but compared to the purpose of me commenting here, I think it's a much easier task for you. You recommended improving my colloquial expressions if I wanted to improve my English skills, but as a typical Japanese person with no experience studying abroad or living overseas, I can only do so much in terms of reading and writing, and my listening and speaking skills are poor. Perhaps my persistent commenting here is a form of self-gratification to alleviate such feelings of inferiority.
I'm surprised to hear that Senior-san relies on machine translation. He is one of the talented individuals among your colleagues at T-Gakuen, and even from my perspective, he appears to be a person with various abilities, gentle and calm, and of high class. He's exactly the type of person who embodies the proverb "A skilled hawk hides its talons." (If Senior-san is reading this comment with the help of a translation tool, he should know that I am praising him…lol) I'm also interested in seeing how my questionable English is translated by machine.
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
I totally understand your points regarding the language issue… Opportunities, demands and postures are really important. But simultaneously, confidence – self-confidence must be required for learning language, sue to my experiences. Sometimes I saw some comments that Japanese are being hesitated using their foreign language skills by worrying too much about mistakes. This is sometimes very true. When I started working in US office, I didn’t answer phone calls, waited for the massage to be recorded, replay those voicemails again and again until I understood the massages completely. It took a half year for me to comfortably answer phone calls with confidence. Even I became confident to pick a call, my colloquial English was so broken and didn’t follow the grammar at all… and no improvements so far. (lol)
The Senior-san is an exceptionally brilliant in T-Gakuen. And believe or not, surprisingly, T-Gakuen students are not birdbrains… because vast majority of students are from wealthy families, they had quite good chances to learn foreign languages. And that school has a strict rule – if you didn’t attend language class (or chapel too) a quarter or more, you can’t pass to the next level… and even there is a department of foreign languages besides farmers! (lol)
Your written English is good enough for mechanical translation since you follow the grammar. Mine is much worse because it’s filled with slangs and abnormal phrases. ;)
…now, I just tested ‘Google Translate’ with the recent comments above.
Your comments are nicely and smoothly translated, but mine is… so broken and sometimes doesn’t make sense at all. This is the solid evidence your written English is better than mine. (LOL)
Yes, I'm also aware that it only takes 18 minutes from Shinagawa to Yokohama by Keikyu (although I wouldn't use the Shinkansen, of course). However, among the group that will gather in April, there is one person who will be coming all the way from Yamagata with four children, including a one-year-old, and his wife, so we anticipated various accidents that might occur during the meal and thought it would be better to have dinner in the hotel. Otherwise, we would have chosen Manchinro as you recommended.ReplyDelete
By the way, I can just imagine ISO-san happily eating and drinking as usual while placing the wine bottle in front of him (or perhaps hogging it all to himself?). He's the kind of person who "never stands out from his surroundings but never forgets his own path," so I'm sure he'll be just fine even in a slightly different environment (lol).
At T-Gakuen, it seems that if you miss more than 1/4 of the language classes, you can't progress to the next level. This was also the case when I entered the Faculty of Medicine at Kobe University. It may have been different in other faculties except for the faculty of Literature, but for some reason, medical students were required to take up to the fourth foreign language. English, German, and medical Latin were required, and in addition, we had to take at least one of French, Russian, and Chinese. Even though I thought I had entered the Faculty of Medicine, I felt like I had entered a foreign language faculty. What was even stranger was the student ID number. Until high school, I had always been listed in order of the Japanese syllabary, but for some reason, Kobe University was listed in alphabetical order. I felt sorry for a female student named Zushi who said, "I used to be a little bit ahead of the middle of the list, but now I'm the very last one!"
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
When I was at T-Gakuen, one of our colleagues is train-nerd (densha otaku). He told me Ministry of Transport gave Keikyu a license up to 105 Km/h but Keikyu didn’t follow that approval, scheduled the train diagrams up to 135 Km/h. Also, another train-nerd told me why Keikyu paints in dark red… that’s because when they hit people, they don’t have to wipe and clean the train cars… I do understand those rumors. Oh, they also said the Keikyu’s behavior fits in Kansai, not in Tokyo. (I didn’t say that, I just heard that)
I now understood the situation you will have. Having dinner at the hotel is the most conservative option for sure. But party of six must be fun and perfect at Chinese cuisine…
If I reply seriously about iSO-san, the Koshu white wine was nicely chilled in the ice bucket behind him and I kept pouring it. Therefore he is a happy camper although all other guests are obaKoba family. However, he is well experienced such situations – spending memorable time with his clients’ family, I guess.
Even the students to be farmers required to learn some Latin, Medical Doctors do need learning Latin words! The official/medical names of deceases sounds like a spell in Harry Potter…
I didn’t realize the order of sorting in the class. In elementary school, we were sorted by the heights, then sorted by phonetic surname in mid school to high school. I don’t remember at T-Gakuen but they call their first name each other which was very strange for me who is from public high school. I am sorry for Ms. Zushi but my mid school classmate Ms. Teru Arai had a hard time too. When she was in the ist grade of English class, she had to introduce herself as “Hi, my name is Tell a Lie.” (we can’t distinguish L and R at that time, of course)
And I don’t want any healthcare givers miss any of their professional classes… their knowledge and experiences are directly linked to someone’s quality of life. This is another reason I gave up medical or pharmaceutical courses besides fainting by bunch of bloods. Farmers take care of plants (no, I didn’t take zoology / livestock classes either), Photographer keeps 3rd person of point of view so they don’t involve the events, and the Game Company is the best. We make children viscous and insane, then suck bunch of money from them! That was a dream job for me. ;)
Yamada Denki sensei,ReplyDelete
I used to keep Starwood’s Platinum membership but IHG is easier for me because…
- if I purchase Ambassador membership, it comes with IHG Platinum
- My MasterCard branded IHG credit card is bundled with Platinum
Unfortunately, there is Diamond membership but Platinum is good enough for IHG hotel chains. Most of the cases they upgrade my room with special attention or welcome gifts – therefore, I made a good relations with the managers at Crowne Plaza Istanbul, for example. Basically, at any hotel, if I became a frequent stayer with whatever the elite status is, they offer me better experiences. Hotel Indigo Singapore, IC Athens and Crowne Plaza Istanbul are my favorite properties and they treat me very well, a little bit beyond the written benefits.
So… a dose of Inavir is designed for age 12 or under, I guess. Next time I will take 3 doses because I am large, please! And I truly appreciate those extra exams at Dr. F’s hospital. Next time I would like to meet Dr. F in person to receive ‘special’ and ‘personal’ treatment, but he is a bit outdated due to the pictures of most recent La Fiesta Saidaiji. (but he’s still edible).
Well… my mom doesn’t go out by herself. For almost 70 years, she never planned any trips or attending events except meeting sea otters in Ikebukuro Sunshine. All of trips are lead by my father, so she has no crew how to travel… for example, when papa past away, I bought a Suica and we had to educate her how to use it… Now she is comfortably and appropriately uses Suica, but the pandemic happened. She suspended riding buses and trains hence my nephew gave her rides to Yokohama. Otherwise she didn’t make it. So, visiting Hakone by Odakyu Romance Car is a big challenge for us. She is currently complaining about the scare of Covid infections… the good news is, the numbers of cases are going down right now.
When you and I were both Starwood Platinum members, it was a dark age when we were forced to bow down to that dictator and be scolded under public scrutiny. In the midst of all that, you and Mr. Longhorn saved me. But as a weakling, I couldn't endure that world and escaped. And it was you and Mr. Longhorn who contacted me right after my escape. I still thank both of you to this day.ReplyDelete
By the way, I didn't know that IHG Platinum came with purchasing Ambassador membership. I wasn't very interested in continuing IHG Platinum as it's automatically included with Centurion, but I bought Ambassador membership just because of the free night during weekend stays.
In fact, the first time I stayed at an IHG property after IHG Platinum was automatically added to Centurion was at InterContinental Yokohama Grand. I was excited to see what benefits they would give me, but it was a bit disappointing. Looking back, I think it's because I had made the reservation through Centurion's FHR, so the IHG Platinum benefits overlapped with the AmEx FHR benefits and I couldn't fully experience the IHG Platinum benefits. I regret not making the most of it. Since then, when making reservations with IHG, I have made sure to book the cheapest room on IHG's website without going through Centurion.
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
Did you also know you will receive 15,000 points when you renew Ambassador membership? That amount worth $75, so the actual fee per a year is only $125 which is a bargain for me. I also receive free night from J.P.Morgan Chase, so the Ambassador weekends offer is not so attractive for me since the rates for that promotion is relatively expensive.
I don’t know Amex Japan but US Amex is really degraded for traveling needs… I don’t expect anything special by FHR, or Visa Infinite Travel. Directly negotiating with reservation team at the hotel is the best way, I found. I contacted and asking the chance to be upgrade or receive lounge access at Crowne Plaza Istanbul, then I got an offer by paying 40 euro/night to receive both. These days, I don’t rely on ‘liaison’ but speaking direct. This fixes lots of concerns actually.
By the way, IHG has a Diamond membership above Platinum. It feels like a membership qualification for some airline FFPs. Certainly, the general impression is that Diamond is greater than Platinum. However, I'm not sure how much difference there is in benefits between Platinum and Diamond in IHG hotel chains (there seems to be a reasonable difference in airline FFPs). Surprisingly, one of the good FSP benefits that comes automatically with Centurion is HHonors Diamond. So, my policy is to first check whether IHG or Hilton is available at the destination when I decide to travel somewhere (usually, IHG is available but Hilton is not, for example in Toyama, where I will be visiting in June). If neither is available, maybe Bonvoi will be the choice (although such cases are rare). Golden Circle Diamond also comes automatically with Centurion, but I usually can't afford to stay at Shangri-La hotels as their room rates are too high. I've only stayed at their properties in Tokyo and Vancouver (both were top-notch hotels, though).ReplyDelete
Still, IHG Platinum usually upgrades my room and takes good care of me. Overall, I think it's a good FSP membership tier.
F Hospital is where we always go for our patients’ treatment, so I understand your desire to meet Dr. F in person for "special" and "personal" treatment. However, if you end up eating Dr. F, it will have a negative impact on our clinic, so I prefer to avoid taking you to F Hospital (lol).
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
The most attractive IHG Diamond Elite benefits is free breakfast for two, I think. But some of my frequent staying destinations, they offer me free breakfast because I am a frequent stayer. They even prepare welcome fruits or extra water bottles… so without staying over 70 nights at IHG properties, I could receive similar benefits by just staying the same hotels again and again.
Hilton HHonors Diamond can be purchased. For us as a resident in US, we can ask Amex to issue HHonors Aspire card. The annual fee is at $450 but we can reimburse $250 by spending at Hilton properties.
US Centurion members are grading down their membership, I guess. Every time when I need to speak reps at Amex, they offer Centurion card and tell me we can pay initiation and annual fees by MR points… the card benefits are overqualified to our lifestyle, we already found and the Platinum card perks and benefits fit for us.
IHG is very honest and try caring their elite members. Room upgrades for Platinum ellites are almost guaranteed in most of properties.
I totally understand your concerns if I try receiving ‘special’ and ‘personal’ treatments from Dr. F. I can find someone else who keeps nice white mustache. Furthermore, I don’t have that kind of desire these days. I need to ask you to shoot me some 'steroids' for beefing me up again…
Like my mother, it seems that your mother also does not go out by herself. However, there is a big difference in the reason for this, as my mother's physical ADL has declined, while your mother never planned any trips or events on her own as your father always led the way, leaving her with no knowledge of how to travel.ReplyDelete
Still, now that you have bought her a Suica and taught her how to use it, she can comfortably and properly use it to ride buses and trains. I understand your mother's fear of COVID-19, but visiting Hakone by Odakyu Romance Car would be a big challenge for you, but if it can be realized, it would bring great joy.
As for your story, you mentioned that Keikyu was running at speeds up to 135 km/h despite only having a license for up to 105 km/h, which sounds like JR West. When I go to Tokyo, I used to use the monorail from Haneda Airport, but recently I have been choosing Keikyu exclusively. Should I reconsider?
If the reason Keikyu is painted in a deep red color is so that they don't have to wipe the trains clean after hitting someone, then maybe the reason why the Hanshin Limited Express is orange is the same. After all, it is the railway of choice for passionate and hot-blooded Hanshin fans. In that sense, Keikyu's choice of train color is not suitable for Tokyo and is more appropriate for Kansai (lol).
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
At least my mother attends physicians, ophthalmologist and an orthopedist by bus or walking. After the pandemic she walks most of times which helps her physical strength, I believe. She also go supermarket but her favorite store has delivery service so she goes there, pick desired items, pay and bring items to delivery counter. This is great for her because she cut her shoulder tendon several years ago.
What I heard from my mom is that her most favorite bathing time is Jacuzzi, but she doesn’t want to share tubs with someone… what a ****! So I searched hotels where has a room with personal Jacuzzi. Then I found one in Hakone Yumoto. That hotel has a Jacuzzi equipped rooms on the top floor and the bath has a great view. However for me, my concern is; over 80 percent of hotel guests are female… I might be disrespected over there…
It’s nothing wrong with taking Keikyu from Haneda to downtown. That part of Keikyu was Anamori-Line, designed for people go for warship at the shrine. obaKoba family was residing that area so I am quite familiar with Anamori line. Even they’ve got modified, running above or under the ground now, Anamori line can’t get maximum speed.
Another reason my train-nerd friend told me Keikyu must follow West culture was; the warning sign of the doors. It says “ゆびつめ注意’” which is horrific and shocking for Eastern Japanese and my friend told me this expression is found often in Osaka area. Sorry if his explanation is disrespecting Kansai.
At T-Gakuen, the fact that students were called by their first names instead of their surnames, as in my case, also a public high school graduate as well as you, felt very strange. But I wonder if the teachers also addressed the students by their first names? If they were that thorough... I can confidently say that it would not have been an environment where I could have fit in. Amen.ReplyDelete
The story about your classmate in junior high school, Ms. Teru Arai, is quite interesting. If she really was a liar... I'll stop digging any further for her sake.
I heard that you were aiming to study medicine or pharmacy before. When I had my first anatomy practice and saw the body preserved in formalin, I felt like I was going to faint, but I gradually got used to it and by the end of the practice, I was even able to have lunch next to the body. So if you had gone on to medical school, you would probably have become a great doctor with both the skills of a great photographer and the ability to create games that excite children.
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
Yes! The professors at T call their students and kids by first names!! Isn’t that something??
Also, I was so ‘impressed’ when I had an honorable meeting with the “Chancellor of T” which was honorably assigned every new comer for spending 5 munities of free conversation with Him. He called me by first name, and questioned why I’m hiding my forehead. He told me to show my forehead because wide forehead is not a sign of bald but the sign of clever inside. He was wrong! I became completely bald!!
Furthermore, did I tell you we received a “brain washing” movie? When we entered T, the very first ‘orientation’ was horrific, All of the freshmen were put into a large dark room, forced watching a long movie – which is introducing the history of T and how the founder of T was respectful person. After this session, everybody was crying and tearing. But it’s not emotionally impressed but the eyes are physically itching. However, the professors were weeping because they thought we were so much impressed and tearing. (LOL)
Lucky you, doctor… even now, this morning’s NHK showing a doctor from Ukraine lerning the surgery, and showed he’s practicing micro sutura on an artificial vain… I was about to puke by watching that fake injured vain without blood. I might not be able to eat kon’nyaku if it’s colored in bloody red.
> I was even able to have lunch next to the body.
All the doctors are becoming like this during the trainings… one of my friend kept talking about live organs, operations or even parasites when I was having spaghetti!! I can’t imagine how medical doctors can be callous after a year or two spending at the school…
If I attend a medical school, I would be a great sociopath quietly killing numbers of citizens by the knowledge of chemical formulas – ah, in that case I would join my famous/infamous schoolmate at Ohm. (oops…)
If I become an IHG Diamond Elite member, I can get free breakfast for two people, which is certainly attractive, isn’t it? Although I use the Crowne Plaza Kyoto quite frequently, I have not yet received the benefit of free breakfast that you experienced. Maybe I could receive similar benefits by staying at the same hotel more often?ReplyDelete
I didn't know that HHonors Diamond could be obtained by requesting an HHonors Aspire card from American Express for residents in the US like you. HHonors Diamond also includes daily food and beverage credit or continental breakfast during our stay, as well as access to the executive lounge, which is quite generous.
It seems that the membership status of Centurion in the US has been downgraded, and it appears that the same situation is happening in Japan. The annual fee has also increased to 550,000 yen since last year. As a new benefit, they now offer a new design metal card and a PRADA wearable bracelet. I haven't used the PRADA bracelet because I feel too embarrassed to wear it, but my spouse, who is always up for a challenge, has already used it at a convenience store (!). According to my spouse, "The location of the IC chip inside the bracelet is hard to find, and even when I get close to the touch payment device, it doesn't respond very quickly. I had to take it off my wrist and push it directly onto the device. It seems to take a little longer to respond than a regular plastic card." It may take some getting used to. However, if I have to take it off my wrist to use it, then the bracelet becomes impractical. Since touch payment is only available for purchases under 10,000 yen, I’m not too worried about losing the bracelet.
Another improvement in the benefits of the Japanese Centurion is the Free Stay Gift. Previously, it was a common benefit with Platinum and could only be used at low-end city hotels. However, since last year, Centurion has become a separate category, and the Gift can be used at high-end city hotels. My spouse and I also used this benefit at The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo. Nowadays, the regular room rates at this hotel exceed JPY 200,000, so it's impossible to stay there properly. Additionally, the hotel has recently become ineligible for Marriott points, making it difficult to aim for a free stay, so the Free Stay Gift has become more attractive in this regard.
Whenever I talk to the Centurion representative, they persistently tell me that I can pay the annual fee with MR points. As someone who rarely travels (I haven't been abroad in nearly 15 years), I feel that the perks and benefits of this card are already too excessive for our lifestyle. I'm planning to retire completely in about three years, so I might cancel the card or have no choice but to cancel it.
Yamada Denki sensei,Delete
Those hotels are franchisee so unlisted perks and benefits are really depends on the properties and the relations with the guests. I think Japanese franchisees are following the benefits based on IHG specified… but if you start speaking with the managers, hopefully the general manager of the hotel, you may receive extra treats beyond the ruled ones.
FYI, my secrets are… I exchanged emails with managers of reservation team, then if I satisfied the committed by those negotiations, I bring a small candy box – typically Ghirardelli chocolates which is a local from San Francisco. Also, I chat with receptionists for most updated dining information, and exchange business cards with the key person who is in charge of guest relations. I learned these tips from my father… he always spent lots of time at hotel receptions and the staffs became very friendly, then he could see the boss – general manager or chief of receptionists. My father didn’t use Internet but he writes, he kept writing messaging cards… like your wife-san. Ah, why don’t you ask your wife-san to communicate with the key persons at the hotel you frequently stay?
I personally don’t want to show off Plada bracelet with microchip either… For me, using ApplePay in my iPhone 14Pro is sporting something enough to the sales clerks… which is very risky in California to get hold-up or simply shot.
And the max cap is only JPY10,000?? That’s useless… if I try to buy a carton of cigarettes which I don’t smoke but just an example, it costs way over USD100 which is JPY13,500. I think Japanese Centurion members are just between US and China… In the States, showing off a status doesn’t work anymore, and in China, they love to sports something highest-end things.
The Stay Gift for Japanese Centurion members is very attractive indeed. But considering the annual membership fee, it doesn’t meet our lifestyle. And the day of retirement is just around the corner for me!! (lol)
But I hope sensei keep serving for Okayamans’ health, I hope… so that I can visit there and receive a ‘special’ and ‘personal’ examinations (without fun, though).