Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet Bespoke Japan Travel, holds a pack of Japanese Curry

This Week in Tokyo – 28 April 2020

In this week’s ‘This Week in Tokyo’ Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet, keeps us abreast of the Maction Planet comings and goings, or rather stayings! This week: Mac plus Curry with Jonelle Patrick; Late Night Monogatari Vol.2; A Dialogue with Lee Ufan; Pepper Graveyard and Together as One.

Konnichiwa from Tokyo. Once again, our thoughts go out to all those who have lost loved ones or are suffering as a result of COVID-19.

We are eternally grateful for the incredible outpouring of support for Maction Planet. We continue to fulfill our mission of bringing Tokyo and Japan to the world across out various outlets – our website, blog, YouTube channel, radio station and social media. See new followers cheers us up during these dark times. Links to the various outlets are at the bottom of this post. You can also find ways to help your travel agent, tour operator, artist, musician, interpreter and other freelance pals. 

Featured image – Mac plus Curry with Jonelle Patrick: I was invited to read an advanced copy of Jonelle Patrick’s new standalone mystery which will be coming out this autumn from Seventh Street Books. So mysterious in fact that I am not allowed to reveal the title! I was honoured to be able to contribute some input into this highly-anticipated novel. Three word review: IT’S BLOODY BRILLIANT! For those not familiar with her work, Jonelle Patrick is writer who splits her time between Tokyo and San Francisco. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters In Crime and the elite club of Mac on Tokyo intervieweesIf you are looking for some Tokyo-themed lockdown reading I highly recommend her four ‘Only in Tokyo Mysteries’. Buy them on Amazon here:

The featured photo is the last one that Jonelle took of me on the last occasion we were able to hang out in Tokyo in November 2019. There is a story behind why I am excitedly holding a packet of Japanese Curry, but that’s a tale for another time!


Late Night Monogatari Vol.2: Maction Planet Resident DJ Royce Leong continues to keep busy! He released another edition of the Mix series on Saturday. It’s perfect for for chilling out, staying up, wandering aimlessly, convenience store runs, reading or contemplating your existence. This lo-fi Japanese music mix features indie artists like pinoko, Sweet William, WILYWNKA, EVISBEATS, KURO, iri and more. Listen to ‘Tokyo ON In the Mix: Late Night Monogatari Vol.2’ here, listen to Volume 1 here  and check out the Tokyo ON website,

For the mix’s listing and its blogpost we used a photo I took at Candle Scape Kawasaki 2019. A lot of thought and time goes into selecting the images we use for Maction Planet Radio. Above you can see the image that made the final two – a beautiful lantern butterfly Perhaps we’ll use it for Volume 3?

Lee Ufan, 'Dialogue' (2018), Acrylic on Canvas on display at SCAI the Bathhouse, Yanaka

Lee Ufan, ‘Dialogue’ (2018), Acrylic on Canvas on display at SCAI the Bathhouse, Yanaka from 6 March until 25 April 2020

A Dialogue with Lee Ufan: We have been very committed to keeping the information flow coming about Tokyo to assuage any FOMO that our guests, who had to postpone their trips to Japan, may be feeling. Part of that has been has been sharing information about art which we were able to experience before they closed due to the Japanese’s government’s declaration of a state of emergency. Lee Ufan’s latest exhibition, ‘Lee Ufan – paintings’ at SCAI: THE BATHHOUSE opened on Friday 6 March 2020 and was due to continue until Saturday 25 April. It consisted exclusively of paintings, featuring Lee’s latest works from the Dialogue series that he has worked on since 2000. We took the opportunity to look back at Lee’s global influence through the Mono-ha movement he co-founded and its links to his current work. I hope you enjoy my commentary, titled ‘Lee Ufan: Dialogue’. This piece from 2018 and wasn’t included in the article.

Pepper Graveyard on Sunday 15 December 2019 at 3331 Arts Chiyoda

Pepper Graveyard: In next week’s ‘This Week in Tokyo’ we’ll be celebrating two years of… err… ‘This Week in Tokyo‘. No spoilers here for the special anniversary edition that we have planned, but I will say that I am personally extremely proud that, despite being fully booked since November 2017, we have been able to put up a weekly roundup of Tokyo life and Maction Planet comings and goings every Tuesday irrespective of how busy we have been. We just love sharing the Tokyo experience in every way possible. A lot of effort goes into each week’s selection of five photos. Some weeks there are just too many great shots and I have to be ruthless. It does mean some fantastic photos ,with some intriguing stories behind them, get left out… like this one. This secret look into a  Pepper Graveyard was taken on Sunday December 15 2020. Pepper is a human-shaped robot and, according to inventors at Softbank Robotics, “he is kindly, endearing and surprising.” They have designed him to be the first humanoid robot capable of recognising the human emotions. Pepper went on sale in June 2015 for ¥198,000 and the first batch of 1,000 units sold out in 60 seconds. Sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words, so I am just going to leave this one here. I am sure you can figure out what is going on!?. Just a perfectly normal scene in the World’s Greatest Metropolis. I know, I know – I didn’t explain the curry photo either. Perhaps reading Jonelle’s mystery novels has rubbed off on me!  

And finally… Together as One: Here are ways to support your tour operator or travel agent friends. These suggestions apply to all freelancers and many other businesses – artists, musicians, interpreters. We hope they are useful to you. 

Ways to help your tour operator or travel agent friends:

These suggestions apply to all freelancers and many other businesses – artists, musicians, interpreters -#SupportLocalBusinesses:

If you have used their services:

  • Write a review of your trip on TripAdvisor, Google Reviews or Yelp – check with them for what their forum of choice is. Ideally do this if you enjoyed your trip and are going to give a high rating 🙂
  • Talk about your trip with your friends – word-of-mouth recommendations are the most powerful.

Even if you haven’t used their services:

Maction Planet runs bespoke Private Tours and Experiences in Tokyo, and beyond. To book yours or to purchase a gift card, contact us at

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