Cultural tour in Tokyo for 2 Israelis… Visite guidée culturelle à Tokyo pour 2 israéliens… イスラエル夫婦と東京の文化ツアー…

[EN-FR] Koma-inu. [JP] 狛犬。

[EN] 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 😀

[FR] 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 😀

[JP] 何百もの阿羅漢の江戸時代木像の間に、金で覆われた仏像の前に、結婚式場で、小さな通りで、渋谷駅前のスクランブル交差点そして雷門を通して、浅草寺と浅草神社で、綺麗なツツジと賑やかな鯉の隣に、東京スカイツリーの近く… 日本文化を知りたい優しいイスラエル夫婦の旅行者をガイドした。この一日ツアー中、長い散歩と階段を避けて(奥様の弱い膝のため)、和食レストランでユダヤ教戒律の上にランチを注文した(野菜寿司大成功)。イスラエル人のお客さんが、日本について説明と檜前兄弟の伝説をよく聴きました :) この夫婦に私を紹介した昔のお客さん(アブラハム様)に感謝します 🙂

[EN] Azaleas. [FR] Azalées. [JP] ツツジ。

[EN] Carps + azaleas. [FR] Carpes + azalées. [JP] 鯉とツツジ。

[EN-FR] Sushis. [JP] 巻き寿司。

I created a page with forecasts for typhoons from Japan Meteorological Agency

Violent winds and heavy rain affect life in Japan between June and October every year: flights are cancelled, trains stop, flying objects hurt pedestrians, workers sleep at their office, tourists in the countryside stay at their hotel or coffee shops… and many people get nervous when a typhoon heads towards Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant!

To help me and other foreigners plan our days, I created a news page on Inner Japan showing forecast updates for typhoons from Japan Meteorological Agency. Family members and friends should also find this link useful… 3-day track & intensity forecast in English:
3-day track and intensity forecast for typhoons from Japan Meteorological Agency.

Thanks to Japan Meteorological Agency for enabling me to freely share this information 🙂

New project: East of the Imperial Palace map in English for tourists in Tokyo (Japan)

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 😉

10-day tour in Japan with a family from Oman: Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka!

As Travel Stand Japan‘s inbound manager, I just spent 10 exciting days with an Omani family (2 parents, 5 children, 2 maids) on holidays in Japan for the first time. This great experience on 19-28 August 2014 let me for the first time meet people from the Sultanate of Oman, spend more than a week with customers, and guide travellers in Kyoto and Osaka.

I had planned the stay to have fun, provide new experiences, discover Japanese nature, introduce traditional and modern Japan, and eat food suitable for Muslims. We explored 3 theme parks, went to a zoo, enjoyed a Cirque du Soleil show, got caricatures from Japanese artists, spent much time shopping, wrote prayers in kanji and katakana alphabet, rode a shinkansen (notable because Oman has no high-speed train), cruised on a river and lake, drove along the sea and in forests, saw Mount Fuji, ate among the clouds on a mountain, entered a bamboo grove, observed rice fields, walked in ancient streets… The bus drivers and my colleagues at the travel agency helped wonderfully!

No big problem arose during this private tour beyond an insect bite (fixed at a pharmacy), crowds at the theme parks (summer holidays!), and an American Express card unusable at Universal Studios Japan (fixed with cash). As my colleagues had requested, every hotel provided 3 rooms on the same floor, near each other, and the staff of Hotel Nikko Princess Kyoto prepared a delicious birthday cake for one of the daughters.

We met at Narita international airport when the family arrived in Japan, immediately went to Tokyo and spent every day together until the departure from Japan. I personalized the itinerary as I learnt more about everybody, informed, translated in English and Japanese, requested massages and a private room with open-air bath (Hakone is perfect for that), carried luggage, played with the children (my experience as a preschool teacher came in handy)… and learnt some Arabic from the elder son! The goodbye at Narita airport was poignant: the elder son held me tightly for a long time and the 1 y.o. daughter waved goodbye to her parents instead of saying goodbye to me 😉

I promised to visit the family in Oman; shall I go just after spending Christmas in France with my parents?

Japanese photomontage of a tour in 東京 (Tokyo), 箱根 (Hakone), 京都 (Kyoto), and 大阪 (Osaka) on 19-28 August 2014.

More at 19-28 August 2014: Tour in Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka on Inner Japan.

Upgrading my Website Sébastien Duval

Greetings from Tokyo! I am upgrading my English Website Sébastien Duval and adding pages in French, Spanish, Korean, and Japanese. If you wonder about the 寿春・セバスチャン visible here and there: it is my name in Japanese… meaning “Felicitous Spring Sebastian”!

You do not know me yet? I promote good values, nature and happiness to make a better world, strive to become an exciting tour guide/interpreter/storyteller, and plan a 2-year tour of Japan!

Sébastien Duval

Do not hesitate to contact me 🙂