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 > summer special 2000
For the year 2000

The Best Government Reformer
How Asia Is Governed
The Best Local Administrator
The Best Activist

The Best Dealmaker
The Best IPO
The Best Stock
The Best Advocate of Shareholder Rights
The Best Fund Manager
The Best Cost Cutter

The Best Airport
The Best Hotel Service
The Best Hotel Gym
The Best Store
The Best Food

In Tune with Nature
The Best Forest Preserve
The Best City Park
The Best Transport
The Best Green Test
The Best Marine Preserve
The Best Marine Park

The Hottest Video Game
The Hottest Gadget
The Hottest Portal
The Best Asian Websites

The Hottest Fad
The Hottest Toy
The Hottest TV Show
The Hottest Album
The Best Movie
The Best Short Film


Airport | Hotel Service | Hotel Gym | Store | Food
The Best Hotel Gym

There are good gyms, excellent gyms and truly remarkable gyms. And then there is the gym at the Shilla hotel in Seoul. This is not so much an exercise center as a lifestyle statement. Covering an area of nearly 8,500 square meters of indoor and outdoor space, the gym boasts the usual running machines, treadmills, exercise bikes and weight devices. And then there are the extras — the indoor golf driving range, covered and open swimming pools, two outdoor tennis courts and a walking/jogging track. For those with a more punishing sense of what constitutes a run, the hotel has mapped out two routes — one of 3 km and the other 1.8 km — through surrounding woodlands. There's also a quiet, sculptured garden for a spot of post-exercise meditation. Solar, steamed and dry sauna rooms are a big hit with the wives of wealthy local businessmen, who also swear by the restorative powers of the calcium-carbonated spa, filled with stones imported from hot springs in Japan. Staff galore are on hand to assist every level of gym-goer, from the nervous novice to the obsessive veteran.

— By Laxmi Nakarmi

The Best Store

Matthias Ley for Asiaweek Pictures.
Odd ideas abound at Tokyo Hands.

You may not yet know this, but there is a gap in your life that can be filled only by the Handy Wonder View — a video camera that will give you a look at those parts of the body that you never get to see, no matter how much you wriggle and twist in front of the mirror. The camera, which is held like a shower head, transmits an image onto a TV screen. It will cost you about $118 from the best and oddest store in Asia: Tokyu Hands in Japan.

Billed as a place that sells anything that can be used by hand, Tokyu Hands is in fact a huge novelty store, with products designed to enhance the creative side of shoppers' lives. Each Tokyu Hands shop stocks about 200,000 items, Divided into six sections: do-it-yourself; interiors; hobbies and crafts; miscellaneous; health and outdoor; stationery. In practice, this covers everything from lengths of mahogany to shoe polish to high-tech paper.

The first branch opened in the Shibuya section of Tokyo in 1976 as a new type of do-it-yourself outlet. Since then Tokyu Hands has grown to 14 stores across Japan, with a total of 40 million customers a year and an annual turnover of nearly $1 billion. The chain is now a Japanese institution. The Shibuya store remains the flagship. Spread over seven floors, with each story organized into three tiers, it stocks a range of products to satisfy even the most committed gadget fan. How many ways can you peel a carrot? Visit the kitchen zone to find devices that offer you 12 different methods, some ingenious, some plain eccentric. True to the shop's DIY roots, the basement includes a display of different types of wood. The stores are patrolled by sales clerks whose breadth of knowledge on the minutiae of the laser-beam pointer or the humble lampshade will astound you and leave you anxious to fill your home with a hundred things you never knew existed.

— Murakami Mutuko

Also Available at Tokyu Hands

Beauty Smile Trainer. A curved plastic bar that, held in the mouth, enables the user to form and keep the perfect smile. Price: $8.

Portable Mini-Toilet. For those awkward moments when traffic is heavy and you can't wait. Urine is instantly solidified and deodorized. For male or female use. Two bags for $3.

Portable Changing Room. An instant, easy-to-assemble tent with a hole at the top, enabling the user to get changed in public. For those occasions when modesty outweighs dignity. $54.

Bear Costume
. Fullsized, with eye-holes, the perfect out fit for . . . well, for when you have to look like a bear. $350.

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