- On 4th August 2018
- In Tokyo Tales
Hitomawari: 12 Years a Tokyoite
Today marks 12 years since Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet, moved to Tokyo. He reflects on this symbolic anniversary with a look at the concept of Hitomawari.
Hitomawari: One rotation. One journey. One more go around.
The word ‘hitomawari’ (一回り) is composed of hito = 1 and mawari = cycle.
So, what cycles are we talking about here? Well, it can be as little as a week. For example, before the 1700s people often spent many days at onsen (hot springs) for the therapeutic benefits of a toji (‘cure using onsen water’). A hitomawari meant bathing for one week and a futamawari for two weeks, while a longer three-week stay was called mimawari.
However, hitomawari usually refers to the Eto (干支) – the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac, which in Japan replaces the goat with a sheep and the pig with wild boar:
Rat – Ox – Tiger – Rabbit – Dragon – Snake – Horse – Sheep – Monkey – Rooster – Dog – Wild Boar
If two people have a 12-year-age difference, the Japanese say “those two have a hitomawari difference in age”. When someone says that you’ve grown up a lot since you last met, they will say you are ‘hitomawari’ bigger.
These references can be literal, but often they are metaphorical, referring to a person who has become that much more settled, learned or powerful.
In the world of the craftsman it had an even more significant meaning. Hitomawari was the time an apprentice studied until he was able to create something original.
This is very close to how I feel about Maction Planet.
I have been asked many times by various people what I think differentiates our Tokyo tours and experiences from others. There is no simple answer, but one aspect is that I regard guiding as a craft, and I treat honing that craft with the utmost seriousness. That process of ‘honing’ takes time, energy, passion and yes, competitiveness and drive. It means continually learning and always improving. I want our tours and experiences to be the absolute best that anyone offers in Tokyo. As one recent reviewer wrote on TripAdvisor, “Mac truly cares about your visit as much as you do.”
I truly am honoured that guests trust Maction Planet with their precious time in Tokyo, and it is my role to ensure that that time is as catered to your desires as possible, full of the amazing experiences befitting of the World’s Greatest Metropolis.
Of course, our guests’ feedback is the only metric that matters. I am humbled by the amazing things that have been written in reviews of what we do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without you, there would be no Maction Planet. Thank you for choosing us as your preferred Tokyo Private Tour and custom travel provider. Our overriding goal is to share our love of this city with the world, be it through our tours and experiences, apparel, our blog or Maction Planet radio. I am truly humbled that so many people have joined us on this journey.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me on the journey to get here. Thank you to my friends around the world who have come to visit in Tokyo, or met me wherever I am on my world travels. Thank you to my family for being so wonderfully accommodating. Thank you to my friends in Tokyo, new and old, who continue to help make this the best place on Earth to live.
By the way, a futamawari means literally 24 years, or a much bigger deal than a hitomawari. This was the point at which the pupil became a master and could take on an apprentice. There could be some interesting parallels here in the development of Maction Planet. For now, we continue…