Sunday, December 13, 2015

A New TV Programme to Watch in January! Set Sail for Japan's San-in Area and Savour Delicious Seafood!


"Enjoy! Cruise Japan!" airs on Mediacorp Channel 5 from Sun, 3 January at 12.30pm!

Ever fancied travelling to Japan by cruise? Wait- who takes a cruise there? Well, you'd be surprised!

Starting 3 January next year, let Asia's popular travel show host Anita Kapoor take you to the beautiful San-in Area! With its mouthwatering fresh seafood, rich nature, history and culture, this southwestern region of Japan is the perfect destination for food and nature lovers.

From the producers of "PRIDE FISH from Japan" comes "Enjoy! Cruise Japan!", a new four-episode series which will be aired every Sunday on Singapore's Mediacorp Channel 5, starting from Sunday, 3 January at 12.30pm!

Anita Kapoor, host of "Enjoy! Cruise Japan!"

The show will introduce viewers to the San-in Area of Japan, showcasing the delectable seafood in Sakaiminato City, the magnificent castles and shrines of Shimane Prefecture and the awe-inspiring Mount Daisen. Featuring cruises around Asia and to Japan, the programme will also show viewers this new and exciting way to arrive in and explore Japan.

"Hosting this programme has revealed to me a different way to travel and explore cities," said Anita Kapoor. "A cruise allows me to leisurely enjoy the open sea, immerse in scenery, and then explore on shore. It is a beautiful, relaxing combination and a fun and comfortable way to see a country."

XDantheManX Online was honoured to be invited to the launch event at Japanese restaurant Kanda Wadatsumi last week.


Opening with the aims of the programme, which will also be broadcasted in the Philippines and Japan, Eiji Yamada, Tokyo Branch Manager of San-in Chuo Television Broadcasting said, "We wish that many Singaporeans and Asean people will watch the programme, get to know the attractions of the beautiful Shimane and Tottori Prefecture, and be interested in the cruises in the San-in Area."

The San-in Area: Home to many things - Kei Nishikori, Matsuba crabs and Spooky Kitaro

Japanese professional tennis player Kei Nishikori, ranked eighth in the world, was born and grew up in Matsue City, the capital city of Shimane Prefecture. The city is also known for its many sightseeing spots by Japanese people.


Next, Michiko Seki, Chief of Port Sales Section and Ayumi Denouden, Port Sales Representative of Sakai Port Authority gave a brief introduction of the Sakai Port. Located in Sakaiminato City, situated between Tottori and Shimane Prefecture, the port lies on the Japan Sea coastline.

Sakai Port - one of the busiest fishing ports in Japan

Its close proximity to South Korean, Chinese and Russian ports gives it a strategic position in cruise itineraries. Cruises have become an increasingly popular way for tourists to travel to San-in, with the number of tourist arrivals by ship to the area hitting a record high in 2014. That figure is only set to soar even higher, with the expected completion of the Sakai Port Cruise Terminal in 2019.

Travel show host Anita Kapoor was then invited to share about her experience hosting the travel programme, which was shot over a week.


On the San-in area, the TV host remarked, "It is a very complete destination. It has everything."

"It has suddenly opened up this whole new way of wanting to travel and see the country," the TV host spoke regarding cruises as an alternative mode of travel to Japan. "More often than not, when we want to go to Japan, we just want to be on a plane and get there fast."

The DBS Cruise Ferry "Eastern Dream", which operates between Korea, Japan and Russia

"This time, I can slow down. I can cruise the area and explore the castles, mountains, countryside, great food and all the wonderful attractions."


Next, she shared about some of her favourite places, starting with the Izumo Grand Shrine in Shimane Prefecture, one of the most important and ancient Shinto shrines in Japan, which she visited on the first day of filming.

Dedicated to Okuninushi , the Shinto deity of marriage, many young couples visit the place to pray for happiness every year.

The Izumo Grand Shrine - one of the most important and ancient Shinto shrines (source)

Describing it as a very special place, Kapoor said that she does not think that people will realise that shrines in Japan are for everybody, regardless of religion, until they actually visit one. "It is peaceful and has a very, very big energy. It was a wonderful way to start my tour," she commented.


Kapoor also visited Matsue Castle, one of the few surviving intact castles in Japan and described her experience. "When you go up to the top, you can see the entire city. You feel like a king when you're standing up there."

The castle, painted in black, is unlike most other traditionally white castles. Built for an invasion, it was never once raided. As a result, many parts of it have been preserved and are still standing today.

Matsue Castle in Shimane Prefecture (source)

Recalling the time when she took a pleasure cruise in the moat around the castle and passed under many bridges, she described it as "fun and cute", especially the time they had to lie flat as they went under the final bridge. Thankfully, the boat had been built in such a way that its roof could be lowered.

Matsue Castle and the moat surrounding it (source)

Summing up her experiences, Kapoor said, "It's a very elegant area and there were all these old samurai houses. You can just imagine what it was like because so little has really changed in the area. Everything slows down, your heart slows down."


"I'm going to find a Japanese boyfriend and I'm going to live there," she exclaimed when speaking about one of her favourite places, Mihonoseki, a beautiful, old small fishing town a short 20-minute drive from Sakaiminato City.

Old-school charm of Mihonoseki (source)

Touring the town, which still had stones from the Edo Period on its roads felt like "walking through history".

She also gushed about the speciality of the area- its beautiful, sweet, succulent squid even as she reminisced about staying in a beautiful old ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) facing the sea and the slower pace of life.

Mihonoseki harbour (source)


One of the best experiences she had was when an old lady owner of a shop selling squid walked into their filming session without warning and warmly invited her to have tea.

Speaking about one common trait shared by every area which she visited, she remarked, "The people are very willing, easygoing and so proud of the area. "

A shop selling squid in Mihonoseki (source)

Giving a possible explanation for lukewarm encounters with some people in the city, she said, "It's not that people are unfriendly. It's just that they don't have time. But when you go out further, people have time. You get a chance. Even though we didn't speak the same language, we could understand each other."


Apologising for having so many favourites, Kapoor picked Shussai Gama Kiln as her last. Adding that visitors could easily walk through the final location of their shoot and watch the potters at work, she said the place was special and magnificent.

 "This colour- nobody else has it."

As event emcee Misa held up a fine ceramic dish which she had bought, she professed her love for its beautiful shade of Shussai blue, a trademark of the potters in the area, hailing it as "one of the most amazing potteries made in Japan".

Viewers can look forward to these destinations and other exciting attractions of the San-in Area on the programme, which will be broadcasted over four weeks in Singapore.

After the presentation, guests and members of the media were invited to sample an array of mouthwatering dishes prepared by Kanda Wadatsumi's executive chef Hara Shinji, using fresh ingredients specially flown in from Sakai Port.
Emcee Misa and Anita marvel at the delectable food prepared by Chef Hara

Highlights included the nodoguro (Blackthroat Seaperch), a fatty and tender high-grade fish found along the coast of the Sea of Japan. A white-flesh fish, they are nicknamed "blackthroat" for the black colouration on the inside of their throats. Large volumes of nodoguro thrive in the waters of Shimane Prefecture.

 Fresh nodoguro sashimi awaits you in Sakai Port!

Matsuba crabs, male snow crabs caught in Tottori Prefecture, along with the freshwater shijimi clams from Shimane Prefecture were also on the menu. The prized crabs were served in three different ways- marinated with yam and mozuku (a type of seaweed), steamed together with egg or paired with Japanese claypot rice, which the clams were also served with.

Some of the savoury dishes which you can enjoy in the San-in Area

Lastly, guests also got to have a taste of the delectable hatahata (sandfish), often eaten with soya sauce but deep-fried for the special occasion. Along with nodoguro, matsuba crabs and shinjimi clams, Sakai Port sees the largest haul of hatahata in all of Japan too.

Guests and media at the launch event at Kanda Wadatsumi

Having seen and heard so much, wouldn't you want to find out more about Anita's travels in and the many exciting cruises to the San-in Area?

Just looking at all that appetising seafood makes us want to sink our teeth into some fresh nodoguro already! We also yearn for the slower pace of life in Mihonoseki!

Before you book that cruise, check out a trailer of the TV programme below!

"Enjoy! Cruise Japan!" will be airing for four weeks on Singapore's Mediacorp Channel 5 starting Sunday, 3 January at 12.30pm. Don't miss it!