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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Yokohama shops kick off '150' sales campaign


Staff writer

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Yokohama port and stimulate local shopping areas, more than 100 shopping areas in Yokohama on Saturday kicked off a sales event linked to the number 150.

News photo
Let the slurping begin: Mayor Junki Yamao (second from right) of Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, Yokohama official Katsunori Watanabe (left), Rokkakubashi shopping district chief Kiyotaka Ishikawa (second from left), and soba chef Akira Shoji slice noodles to mark the opening of a 150-themed shopping event in Rokkakubashi on Saturday. KAZUAKI NAGATA PHOTO

About 100 people attended the opening ceremony for the event in the Rokkakubashi shopping district near Hakuraku Station on the Tokyu Toyoko Line to check out the various 150-linked items on offer.

Realtor Aisaika, for example, was offering a one-room apartment that comes with a rental fee of only ¥150 for July to anyone who signs the contract by the end of this month. The rent is usually ¥50,000.

Aisaika manager Sawako Sato said that she at first didn't think her office could participate in the 150 event. After talking with the apartment's owner, however, she said the owner was positive about offering the July rent special — as long as a dependable tenant moves in.

"Because the economy is in recession, I am glad that we can help in some way," Sato said.

Other 150-themed items in Rokkakubashi included a ramen shop selling ¥150 bowls of noodles to the first 150 customers, and a barber shop offering haircuts for just ¥150.

At fruits and vegetables store Yaomi, customers lined up to purchase melons of all sorts, including watermelons, for Yokohama's anniversary price.

"I think there are more people than regular Saturdays," said Yaomi employee Emiko Hashimoto, who said the event is a good way to energize the shopping district.

Tsuyoshi Kato, a spokesman for an association representing Yokohama's local shopping districts, said the influx of large stores in recent years has taken a toll on local shopping districts over the years by taking away customers.

"With the 150th anniversary, we wanted something in the local shopping districts to cheer up the mood," Kato said.

He said he learned about a ¥100 shopping street event held in Shinjo, Yamagata Prefecture, and thought it would be interesting to do something similar in Yokohama.

The event will be held on the second Saturday of every even-numbered month until February.



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