This Month on Maction Planet – December 2023

2023 has been emotional. Maction Planet was the busiest it has ever been, exceeding even 2019 levels. How did we round out the year? Let’s find out!

Featured image: I began the month at Sanrio Puroland with Renata and Jaime. A fun day was had by all. I was impressed by their kumade – the lucky rake which businesses buy at the tori no ichi market. I love these elements that fuse traditional and modern culture.

What to know more about what these things are? Check out this video I made in 2019 to virtually experience a Tori No Ichi and watch me purchase my Maction Planet kumade for 2020!

Icho Namiki, literally “the row of ginkgo trees” is a popular spot for Tokoyoites to visit, especially in November and December as the leaves turn their beautiful golden colour. The ginkgo is Tokyo’s official tree, and the fan-shaped leaf is a common motif in the city. Icho Namiki is an instantly recognizable image of Tokyo and is often used as a visual representation of the city in TV and film. I think I captured it rather well, if I do say so myself!

3 December 2003 was a bittersweet day – the last day I spent with Jaime, Renata, David and Simone. But we parted with many fond memories of an incredible two weeks together in Tokyo and Kyoto, such as going to the season’s opening performance at Kabukiza.

Roy, pictured, has been one of the biggest supporters of Kanpai Planet at its Buy Me a Coffee page since its inception, and it was an absolute honour to finally meet him when he visited Tokyo in December. He booked a tour which encompasses some culture culture and some drinking culture. It seemed only fitting that we end our tour at Aloha Whisky, where I film most videos on the channel. As a thank you, we finished off the night with a special treat from me – the original Yamazaki 12! Thank you Roy for your support!

The next day (5 Dec) I flew to Las Vegas and was reunited with the Bradfords – Pan-Japan tour guests of Maction Planet in 2019. I love seeing former tour guests in my travels around the world. I feel truly blessed to have such an incredible community on Maction Planet and the third planet from the sun.

And yes, I was in Vegas in May!

On 15 April 2021 the Pinball Hall of Fame (PHoF) relocated to a much larger and more prominent spot just across from the iconic ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign! The PHoF is their labour of love – an endeavor to share the world’s largest public pinball collection by the Las Vegas Pinball Collectors Club members. The museum spreads across 2300 astounding square feet filled with machines dating as far back as the 1950s. It is well worth a visit if you are in Las Vegas. Where else can you play Godzilla pinball alongside many other classics?

Back in LA for a couple of days I hung out with Jason Rogers, founder of Yabai, America’s first authentic chuhai. An absolute legend! Yabai is made with shochu imported from the countryside of Nagoya. Check out their current flagship flavours – Yuzu and Grape – and be prepared to have your tastebuds revitalised with more variations in 2024, and beyond. He has an incredible vision that I looking forward to seeing executed. Kanpai!

I returned to Tokyo on 14 December and was greeted with this view upon landing! I was sitting in the middle seats so this was a good test of my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra!

I visited Ballpark Fantasia at Yokohama Stadium and was pleasantly surprised,,, at how something that could have been awesome was, frankly, not. The “Toy de Disco” show, the screening of selected works from the “Galaxy Express 999” music video creation project and the random dance performances by students from the Japan Institute of Technology’s Dance Performance Department were all lost on me. I was so perplexed as to what was meant to be happening that I can’t even eloquently articulate my disappointment. Luckily the craft beer stands were there to save the day.

Nice view from the Bay Discovery Deck though!

Lindsey and Zack were my amazing guests on 19 December. We had an action-packed, and very food-filled, day on the west side of Tokyo!

On 21 December I guided Ting and family, three-time Maction Planet tour guests, in Kawagoe… and when in Little Edo, it is only appropriate to get some Coedo Beer! Marihana means ‘hop flower’ as is the brewery’s core-range Session IPA. My favourite of their regular lineup. Kanpai!

On 22 December I guided Yulia and family for one day, originally planned as 8 hours but extended to 15. I also planned four days of their Japan trip for them. Given our shared love of contemporary art we headed to The National Art Center, Tokyo which had a short-run solo exhibition of work by Shinji Ohmaki (Born in 1971) titled ‘Interface of Being’ from 1 November – 25 December. Ohmaki is known for creating large-scale installations that inquire into the nature of being and disrupt the somatic senses of viewers. He has presented these ambitious works to high acclaim not only in Japan but also many other countries across Asia and Europe. Engulfed in one of Ohmaki’s spaces, we find ourselves examining our own presence in the world from fresh perspectives. By leaving vestiges of ourselves in these spaces we arrive at tangible realizations of our own physicality. The exhibition was held in the largest gallery at The National Art Center with a ceiling height of eight meters and floor space of 2,000 square meters allowing for some spectacular immersion!

All I can say about this photo of me outside the Beauty and the Beast castle at Tokyo Disneyland is that in order to access the spot where I am standing you need to be on a VIP Tour, and in order to access a VIP Tour you have to be as resourceful as my amazing guests! ‘Nuff said.

On 27 December I guided Andrew and Yasmin for a fun-filled evening of great food and drinks in two distinct neighbourhoods. Hope to see them back in Tokyo soon.

I’ve taken many photos of and with this incredible group, but this one, taken on the final day of the year at Owakudani in Hakone, may be my favourite because it says so much about the adventures we have had together. Luckily we have more to go at the start of 2024!

As we bid farewell to an incredible year for Maction Planet, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of our guests. Your enthusiasm for discovering the beauty and culture of the World’s Greatest Metropolis is what fuels our passion to keep providing more. We are truly grateful for your trust and support. Thank you for choosing Maction Planet to be part of your journey.

We can’t wait to welcome both familiar and new faces in 2024. We continue…

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