CLOSE to the yuletide season every year, the Consular Office of Japan in Cebu, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission–Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Atsushi Ueno, celebrates the birthday of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan.

Venue of this impressive diplomatic event was the Shanghai-Beijing rooms of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu where guests were welcomed at the reception line by Minister Ueno and Counsellor and Director Chiharu Tsuruoka of the Consular Office of Japan in Cebu.

Ably representing Cebu Province was Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, while Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella did his role for the City of Cebu. Very visible too, was Vice Mayor Carlo Fortuna of Mandaue City.

There was a sprinkling of Honorary Consuls who arrived to grace the occasion, as well as members of the local Chambers of Commerce. Ever-present was a large segment of executives from Japanese manufacturing firms and companies from MEPZ, and around the Mandaue Industrial zone.

Long live the Emperor of Japan!

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On the subject of Japanese gourmet cuisine, Cebu was the first stop of Okada Manila’s Kappou Imamura Restaurant, during an exclusive two-night preview dinner called “Taste of Okada.”

Easily the star of this high-end gastronomic affair was Michelin-starred Chef Hirofumi Imamura, whom the upscale Japanese restaurant is named after. He enchanted his Cebu’s food aficionados with refined Japanese delicacies prepared with passion, precision and palatability!

A run-through of his cuisine: Flash-smoked seasonal fish salad; sake-simmered live lobster in thick winter sauce; truffle rice and miso soup; some ultra-luxurious specialties were stewed Japanese wagyu beef and Yaki-Nituke style charcoal–grilled Kinki fish.

When asked to describe Imamura, Okada Manila Resort’s board member Steve Wolsten Holme says, “The gentleman is an artist, and what you’ve experienced here tonight is his art, which is exceptional!”

Located on the upper ground level of Okada Manila, Kappou Imamura will soon open its doors to diners for a gastronomic experience of the senses.

When operational, the 44-hectare Okada Manila, will be the largest integrated resort complex in the entertainment city of the Philippines.