Among hundreds of ancient wooden sculptures of Arhats, before a statue of Buddha covered with gold, at a wedding centre, across Shibuya Crossing, in little streets, through the Thunder Gate, at Senso-ji Buddhist temple and Asakusa Shinto shrine, beside splendid azaleas and dancing carps, near Tokyo Sky Tree tower… guiding a couple of nice Israeli travellers wishing to discover the Japanese culture in Tokyo today! During this tour, I avoided long walks and stairs (lady with a weak knee), and ordered lunch at a Japanese restaurant based on Jewish religious dietary laws (think vegetable sushi). We had a great time, and the Israelis carefully listened to my explanations about Japan as well as Hinokuma brothers’ legend 🙂 Thanks to my former customer Avraham G. for recommending me to this couple 😀
Entouré de centaines d’anciennes sculptures en bois d’Arhats, devant une statue de Bouddha couverte d’or, à un centre de mariages, dans de petites rues, à travers le carrefour Hachiko et la Porte du Tonnerre, au temple bouddhique Senso-ji et sanctuaire Shintoïste d’Asakusa, à côté de splendides azalées et de carpes dansantes, près de la tour Tokyo Sky Tree… à guider un sympathique couple de voyageurs israéliens souhaitant découvrir la culture japonaise à Tokyo aujourd’hui ! Lors de cette visite guidée, j’ai évité les escaliers et longues marches (dame ayant un genou faible), et ai commandé nos déjeuners à un restaurant japonais en me basant sur le code alimentaire juif (grand succès des sushis aux légumes). Ce fut une excellent journée et les israéliens apprécièrent beaucoup mes explications sur le Japon et mon récit de la légende des frères Hinokuma 🙂 Merci à mon ancien client Avraham G. de m’avoir recommandé à ce couple 😀
The Asia Inbound Sightseeing Organization certified me as tour guide for all Japan (AISO certification number 38 for English & French)! Its training and validation process took more than a year: I attended model tours in Tokyo metropolis, acquired experience with groups of Japanese & foreign travellers in several prefectures of Japan, went through interviews in Japanese and English… Big thanks to my colleague Ms Oshima for her support and help all along!
L’organisation pour le tourisme entrant d’Asie “AISO” m’a agréé comme guide touristique pour tout le Japon (certification AISO numéro 38 pour le français et l’anglais) ! Sa procédure de formation et de validation a pris plus d’un an: j’ai assisté à des visites de démonstration à Tokyo, acquis de l’expérience avec des groupes de voyageurs japonais et étrangers dans plusieurs préfectures du Japon, ai été interviewé en japonais et en anglais… Merci beaucoup à ma collègue Mme Oshima qui m’a motivé et aidé du début à la fin !
[EN] Thanks to those who share(d) Get Japan‘s news videos featuring me as newscaster in Tokyo! Every share is heartwarming, career-building for my team, and thoughtful for our acquaintances wishing to discover Japan 🙂
[FR] Merci à ceux partageant les vidéos de Saisissez Le Japon dans lesquelles je présente les informations à Tokyo ! Chaque partage me réchauffe le coeur, avance la carrière de mon équipe et sert notre entourage souhaitant découvrir le Japon 🙂
[EN] I am Get Japan‘s newscaster today: blue sky, autumn & winter illuminations, evening cruise with fireworks, 2017 World Cosplay Summit, sushi-making classes for Muslims… And I think about improving the format of the video news, wondering: what should we keep or change? (subtitles available)
[FR] Je présente les informations de Saisissez le Japon aujourd’hui: ciel bleu, illuminations d’automne & hiver, croisière nocturne avec feu d’artifice, Sommet Mondial du Cosplay 2017, cours de cuisine “sushi” pour musulmans… Et je réfléchis à l’amélioration du format, me demandant: que garder ou changer ? (sous-titres disponibles)
[EN] My Get Japan team made & published the following video “Matcha green tea preparation at Go Native Japan café (Bakurocho district, Tokyo city) with Mariko Tanabe” on YouTube, with subtitles in English, French and Japanese. Watch it if you wish to enjoy a tea ceremony in English while sitting in a comfortable chair rather than on a tatami mat, or if you look for a cultural activity to do when it rains/snows. Vegetarian- and Muslim-friendly 🙂
[FR] Mon équipe Saisissez le Japon a fait et publié la vidéo ci-dessous “Préparation du thé vert matcha au café Go Native (quartier de Bakurocho, ville de Tokyo, Japon) avec Mariko Tanabe” sur YouTube, avec des sous-titres en anglais, français et japonais. Regardez-la si vous souhaitez profiter d’une cérémonie du thé en anglais assis dans une chaise confortable plutôt que sur un tapis tatami, ou si vous cherchez une activité culturelle à faire un jour de pluie/neige. Végétarien ou musulman ? OK 🙂
Invited by SGRS Tourism Agency to test its tours for foreign tourists in Tokyo, I enjoyed this afternoon a fun Sweet & Sound Cruise on the Sumida river and a Walk with Geisha in Asakusa area then attended its business presentation and a funny show (see next post). As a tourism professional and former preschool teacher, I believe these tours will be great once refined, providing fond memories of Japan to Western adults and children alike! I now look forward to a walk with a Japanese warrior, ninja or samurai 😉
I had a great time all along: Ken (from Hawaii) and Miki (from Japan) sang in English and Japanese during the cruise while Oui played the piano and Nanako the violin, Harusa (from ???) guided us in the streets of Asakusa accompanied by the “geisha” Otoki-san… Bilingual and wearing a kimono, Harusa motivated us to look for statues on rooftops (e.g. the thief Nezumi-kozo) and portraits of Japanese movie stars (e.g. Takeshi Kitano), touch a giant straw sandal at Senso-ji Buddhist temple, pray under cherry blossoms… Under a big blue sky, we took splendid photos of Odaiba island from the platform of our boat as well as cool photos with the staff here and there 🙂
The cruise is fine for Westerners but would be even more exciting with albums containing old maps, photos or ukiyo-e woodblock prints placed on the tables, with sale of traditional Japanese sweets/snacks like wagashi and karinto (plus a list of ingredients for allergic travellers), and with more Japanese songs (adding a lullaby would be great to transmit the Japanese culture).
The walk requires a method to avoid losing participants in the crowds and to prevent interruptions by bystanders jumping in for a photo with the geisha! To enhance the tour, the guide may bring a piece of kimono fabric to freely touch and may introduce holy seals at the last spot (Asakusa Shrine): watching a Shinto/Buddhist calligrapher write a goshuin is amazing but few Westerners know that! Finally, the guide may give maps introducing local restaurants and shops (see the Get Japan maps for examples).
I hope this feedback will help SGRS Tourism Agency make a better world, happier people 🙂 I just e-mailed the team!
Tomorrow, my team will start preparing its first “East of the Imperial Palace” walking map in English to support foreigners in Tokyo city and promote local gems using help from local communities, our expertise, and our human networks. Contact me before June 2015 if you wish to advertise or recommend an exceptional business near Ginza, Nihombashi, Shimbashi, Tsukiji, or Tokyo station 🙂
As Travel Stand Japan‘s inbound manager, I mainly search businesses that interest foreign tourists and residents, that provide high-quality products or services for adults and children, that are unique or characterize the area, and that make the local communities proud! I thus favour old local businesses with eco-friendly Japanese-style products by Japanese designers and handmade in Japan, Japanese companies with headquarters in the area, event organizers, stores with friendly bilingual staff accepting payments by credit card, and tax-free shops open 24 hours a day. If needed, our travel agency can design menus/labels (translations, explanations, pictures…) and train staff to better interact with tourists (language & culture). Of course, the team also happily guides tourists to the great places on our maps to help them buy or order what they dream of during Yes in Japan tours 🙂
Making this online and paper map should be fun and rewarding but exhausting like when I prepared the “North of the Imperial Palace” map of spring/summer 2015. I enjoyed cycling in small streets, discussing with hotel staff, informing and learning from various shopkeepers and owners in Japanese language, clarifying my values while honing my sales/negotiation skills… but that took much time and energy! Wish me exceptional holidays afterwards 😉
We had a great time discussing life in Asia, Western practices and ways of thinking… while shopping, walking among beautiful flowers, observing lucky charms for computers at Kanda Shrine, and discovering a cool exhibition of paper animals at the International Origami Centre! Next time, we may also enjoy a special restaurant/teashop or attend a tea ceremony 🙂
Interested in joining a Yes in Japan language study tour to discover Japan and discuss cultural/lifestyle differences with Japanese people or foreigners in English, French or Japanese language? Contact me 🙂
Invited tonight at the 6thTokyo Local Thinking free seminar by Editory‘s dynamic organizer KAWARADA Yasuhiko, I enjoyed live music, attended talks, joined a group exercise, and networked in Japanese language with local guests wishing to dynamize, enhance and promote the Jimbocho area of Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo. Sadly, I missed 20 minutes as the owner of a nearby restaurant requested an interpreter immediately to explain his menu to American customers.
Like last time, the seminar was refreshing 🙂 I chatted with acquaintances but also met the CEO and an executive officer of the excellent Good Morning Café, a cooking instructor who worked 5 years in California, staff from real estate agencies… OnJapan‘s UCHIYAMA Masayuki asked my views (as the sole foreigner in this packed room) about his Jimbocho Yomatsuri project: a festival in May with Japanese food stalls, traditional music and songs, dances in kimono… I notably suggested to end the event late to attract and entertain Japanese and foreign tourists after a full day of tourism elsewhere. Update: I e-mailed him additional suggestions on 07 March 2015.
I invited some participants to eat together near Travel Stand Japan on a Friday evening or week-end before the next seminar on 01 April to network and make a better world without worrying about our last subway/train or work the following day!