TOKYO Microsoft Corp opened its first Xbox cafe in Tokyo on Wednesday as part of its strategy to gain ground in the Japanese game console market. With sales of Microsoft’s original Xbox falling short of expectations in Japan, the Redmond-based conglomerate is trying a new tactic to catch up on its rivals
in one of the world’s largest gaming markets. (By Rob Gunther)

This is the newsletter Vol.12 from San Francisco Tourism Representative for the City of Tokyo. Let me introduce some popular end-of-the-year events in Tokyo.

The 7th Tokyo Millenario 2005-2006
Marunouchi Naka-dori Street, Marunouchi Exit of JR Tokyo Station Tokyo International Forum
Total 14.39 million visitors have enjoyed the art festival of lights since it has started in 1999. “EU from Japanese point of view” will be the theme for this year. The event features an immense light sculpture, called “Paratura,” which illuminates the Tokyo night sky. Unfortunately, this will be the last year of TOKYO MILLENARIO due to the restoration work of JR Tokyo Station.

Setagaya Boro-Ichi Fair
12/15-12/16 at Setagaya 1-chome, “Boro-Ichi” Street
This street market has taken place since 1578.
Many interesting items will be on sale, including ones for
New Year’s Holidays such as Usu (rice mortars) and Kine (pestles).
This market is only open in December and January every year.

Asakusa Hagoita Ichi Fair
12/17-12/19 at Sensoji Temple, Asakusa
This year-end fair of Asakusa draws great numbers of visitors every year.
A wide range of ornamental battledores, called “Hagoita” are available here.
You don’t have to purchase them. It is very fun just to watch them.