Plum blossoms in Okurayama

This Week in Tokyo – 16 February 2021

Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: When the old plum tree blooms, the entire world blooms; Doraemon x Gucci; ShiBOOYA; Happy Valentine’s Day from Maction Planet and Mascot Mania.

When the old plum tree blooms, the entire world blooms: Dogen (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) was a Japanese Buddhist priest, writer, poet, philosopher, and founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan. As a function of all this, he was full of wise words. “When the old plum tree blooms, the entire world blooms” is one of my favourite quotes from him. This is how I feel about this time of the year. I snapped this shot in Okurayama Park, and it’s one of my favourite Plum Blossom photos I’ve ever taken.

I wrote extensively about the history and cultural significance of Plum Blossom season in my ‘Ode to Ume‘, so click there to find out more about the importance of this most beautiful of blossoms.

Doraemon outside Gucci in Parco Shibuya, advertising the Doraemon x Gucci collaboration

Doraemon x Gucci: Four weeks ago in ‘This Week in Tokyo’ we featured statues of Doraemon outside Parco in Shibuya. I did not think we would be featuring another example of the same thing so soon, but here we are. This time, we have the Doraemon x Gucci collaboration to thank for it.

No, that’s not a typo. The world’s most adored robot cat from the future and one of the world’s most luxurious brands have joined forces. The collection features, amongst other items, a $650 oversized T-shirt. a $580 bucket hat, a $1700 wool sweater and a $1980 small backpack.

Gold Mercedes parked by Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

ShiBOOYA: In what seems to me like a perfect sequitur from the previous item, allow me to present to you a Gold Mercedes, parked near the Shibuya Crossing at 14:15 on Saturday 13 February. ‘Nuff said.

Valentine's Day beers from Baeren

Happy Valentine’s Day from Maction Planet: Valentine’s Day in Japan is a unique cultural experience that revolves around chocolate, be it buying, making, giving or receiving, as a proxy for communicating romantic feelings to others. That includes Chocolate Stouts, like these delicious offering from Baeren Beer, who are located in the beautiful Kitayama area of Morioka City in Iwate Prefecture.

If you want to learn more about Valentine’s Day in Japan, Maction Planet Resident DJ Royce Leong explored the latest trends, the traditional customs and the emotions involved leading up to 14 February in the ‘Love and the City’ episode of Tokyo ON, our flagship show on Maction Planet Radio.

Mascot Mania: What’s it like to be surrounded by cute and crazy characters at a Japanese Mascot Festival? Find out in the latest video on Maction Planet YouTube.

I attended Nassyi Fes – Gotochi Kyara Fes – in Tokyo in July 2018. It was a great day hanging our with crazy Japanese mascots like Funnasyi, one of the highest-earning mascots in Japan, the world-famous drummer Nyango Star, and other favourites like Chichai Ossan, Shinjo-kun, Kikuchi-kun and more!

Long-term readers (with great memories) will recall that we featured this festival in a previous ‘This Week in Tokyo’, with me getting photobombed by the aforementioned Kikuchi-kun!

I guarantee that this video is 8 minutes well spent. BTW, if you’re new to Maction Planet YouTube, subscribe now. ​

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