Chiyoda Town Planning Support subsidy awarded! Subvention de soutien à la planification de Chiyoda obtenue ! 千代田まちづくりサポート助成金を授与された!

[EN] Banner. [FR] Bannière. [JP] 垂れ幕。

[EN] Chiyoda City Management Foundation awarded my team Chiyoda Location-Service Founding Committee a Chiyoda Town Planning Support subsidy of 370.000 yens (≈ 2.900 Euros) to energize Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, increase its charm and make it more pleasant to live in (focus on local citizens). Congratulations to my team, big thanks to our advisers, and special thanks to the 5/7 judges who voted for us after reviewing our written application, attending our presentation and discussing with our Japanese delegate and me! Help & ideas are particularly welcome until June 2018; do not hesitate to contact me 🙂

[FR] La fondation pour la gestion de la ville de Chiyoda a décerné à mon équipe Comité Fondateur du “Location Service” de Chiyoda une subvention de soutien à la planification de Chiyoda de 370.000 yens (≈ 2.900 Euros) pour dynamiser Chiyoda (arrondissement de Tokyo), accroître son charme et le rendre plus agréable à vivre (surtout pour les citoyens locaux). Félicitations à mon équipe, grands mercis à nos conseillers et remerciements particuliers aux 5/7 juges ayant voté pour nous après avoir examiné notre dossier, assisté à notre présentation et discuté avec notre représentant japonais et moi ! Toute aide/idée est particulièrement bienvenue d’ici juin 2018; n’hésitez pas à me contacter 🙂

[JP] 「公益財団法人まちみらい千代田」は東京都千代田区を活気ある住みよい魅力的なまちにしようとする、市民主体のまちづくり活動として、「ちよだロケーションサービスをつくる会」(私達のチーム)に、37万円の「第17回千代田まちづくりサポート」助成金を与えました。チームの皆におめでとう!アドバイザー達にありがとう!チームの提案、発表、代表者と私と相談に対して良き理解と共感を持ち投票してくださった委員さん達(7人の5人)にも感謝します!これから2018年6月迄、我々を手伝ってくれる方や面白いアイデアを持つ方々!是非ご連絡下さい 🙂

[EN] Results. [FR] Résultats. [JP] 結果。

Chiyoda City Management FoundationFondation pour la gestion de la ville de Chiyoda – 公益財団法人まちみらい千代田: https://www.mm-chiyoda.or.jp
Chiyoda Town Planning SupportSoutien à la planification de Chiyoda – 千代田まちづくりサポート: https://www.mm-chiyoda.or.jp/development
Contact – 連絡: http://sebastien-duval.com/contact

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 moved to Machida countryside… J’ai déménagé à la campagne de Machida… 田舎の町田市に引っ越した…

[EN] I moved to the countryside west of Tokyo metropolis and live in a quiet apartment of Machida city with view over Mount Fuji. Locally, I look forward to making friends at Machida Squirrel Garden, visiting Yakushi-ike Park, tasting Japanese sweets (e.g. lotus monaka) at Takohachi, and savouring (black sesame, cherry…) puddings at Kingyodama Coffee! Exciting after 6+ years north-east of Tokyo: I can now go relax on the beach of Enoshima & Kamakura, hike Mount Takao or Oyama, soak at Hakone hot springs, stroll at Odawara castle… on days off if I ride trains for 1-2 hours 🙂

[FR] J’ai déménagé à la campagne dans l’ouest de Tokyo et habite dans un appartement calme de la ville de Machida avec vue sur le Mont Fuji. Localement, je pense rapidement me faire des amis au Jardin des Ecureuils de Machida, visiter le parc Yakushi-ike, goûter à des douceurs japonaises (exemple: monaka au lotus) à Takohachi et savourer des flans (sésame noir, cerise…) à Kingyodama Coffee ! Excitant après 6+ ans au nord-est de Tokyo: je peux désormais aller me détendre sur la plage d’Enoshima & Kamakura, randonner au Mont Takao ou Oyama, faire trempette aux sources thermales d’Hakone, me balader au château d’Odawara… en prenant le train 1-2 heures mes jours de repos 🙂

[JP] 東京都の東田舎(町田市)に引っ越して、富士山が観える静かなマンションに住んでいる。周辺で楽しみにしてること:町田リス園と薬師池公園で散歩、蛸八ではすの実最中を味わう、金魚玉珈琲で(黒胡麻、桜等)プリンを味わう…六年間足立区に住んでたから、電車で2時間以内楽しみにしてることは、江の島・鎌倉の海辺、高尾山・大山でハイキング、箱根の温泉、小田原城で散歩… 🙂

[EN] Pudding. [FR] Flan. [JP] プリン。

New experience & 400-year festival: I carried an omikoshi during Kanda-matsuri in Tokyo (Japan)

As part of the biennial festival Kanda-matsuri entertaining Shinto gods and celebrating this year the move of Kanda Shrine to its current location in Chiyoda ward (Tokyo, Japan) 400 years ago, Eri and I watched a parade with horses and participants in traditional costumes around 09:00 near Jimbocho station.

Horse & costumes during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Shishi-shaped float of Jimbocho-itchome during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Invited by community leaders, I then carried a divine palanquin “omikoshi” for the first time, wearing the festival attire of Jimbocho-itchome district, in company of Japanese locals and of an American married to a local lady. We processed from and to Jinbocho Mitsui Building (16:00-19:00), singing to keep the rhythm on Yasukuni avenue and in small streets of Kanda Suzuran Shopping District, lighting lanterns up on our beautiful omikoshi at night 🙂

Small & big omikoshis of Jimbocho-itchome during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Dragons on the omikoshi of Jimbocho-itchome during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Omikoshi of Jimbocho-itchome towards Shinjuku during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Omikoshi of Jimbocho-itchome carried high during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Japanese girls carrying the omikoshi of Jimbocho-itchome at night during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

I hurt my shoulders due to my inexperience and above-average height (Update: still a bit painful after 7 days in spite of immediate medical treatment)… but I had fun and was glad to experience this piece of Japanese life, share food and drinks with so many happy friendly faces, and meet local friends!

Japanese girls in happi during Kanda-matsuri in Jimbocho area (Chiyoda ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 09 May 2015.

Big thanks to the influential owners of Hanaya restaurant, Hasebe restaurant (local omikoshi manager) and Ohya-shobo ukiyo-e shop (XYZ role) for getting me authorized to carry the omikoshi of Jimbocho-itchome.

I tested SGRS Tourism Agency‘s Sumida river cruise and Walk with Geisha in Asakusa area (Tokyo, Japan)!

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 😉

Odaiba island (Minato ward, Tokyo, Japan) from the Sweet & Sound Cruise boat on 18 April 2015.

Geisha Otoki-san in kimono with Sébastien Duval holding her fan at Asakusa Shrine (Taito ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 18 April 2015. Photo by Eri.

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 🙂

Miki & Ken singing with a piano and violin during a Sweet & Sound Cruise (Minato ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 18 April 2015.

Harusa Matsuyama in kimono with Sébastien Duval at Asakusa Shrine (Taito ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 18 April 2015. Photo by Eri.

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!

Ken with Sébastien Duval on the Sweet & Sound Cruise boat (Minato ward, Tokyo, Japan) on 18 April 2015.