This Week in Tokyo – 4 May 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: Japan Tour Guide Spotlight; Happy Children’s Day; Mic Building and Our first Kanpai Planet event!
Featured image – Japan Tour Guide Spotlight: I was honoured to be interviewed by Rob Goss, one of Tokyo’s most prolific writers, for his Japan Tour Guide Spotlight series. We discussed the traits that make for a top tour guide, Maction Planet’s online cooking classes and virtual experiences, as well as Kanpai Planet, our new Japan-drinks focused arm. You can read the full interview here.
Happy Children’s Day: Kodomo no Hi is a national holiday which takes place annually on 5 May. It honours children – their personalities and their happiness. The day was originally called Tango no sekku and was one of five annual ceremonies held at the Imperial court. Until 1948, Children’s Day was known as Boys’ Day or the Feast of Banners, held in counterpoint to Hinamatsuri, or Girls’ Day on 3 March. In 1948, the name was changed to Children’s Day and it became an official national holiday.
Speaking of those banners, they are koinobori, carp-shaped windsocks, so designed because of the Chinese legend of the carp that swims upstream, transforms into a dragon and flies to heaven.
Two famous places to see koinobori are Tokyo Tower (above) and Tokyo Skytree (below). I checked them both out this week on a socially-distanced epic walk from south-west to north-east central Tokyo – keeping myself in shape for when tour guests return!
Mic Building: Big Echo has been featured in a previous This Week in Tokyo. They were my go-to karaoke chain when I first moved to Tokyo almost 15 years ago. Seeing what a huge part of like karaoke is in Japan, it makes sense for the buildings that house the rooms to go all in, like this example I spotted in the East Tokyo suburb of Kinshicho, topped with a microphone. Of course, for obvious reasons, I have not been to a karaoke parlour in over a year. Can’t wait to get back into the sing of things (cough, cough).
Our first Kanpai Planet event: On 31 May, Kanpai Planet, the Japan-drinks focused arm of Maction Planet will be co-hosting their first event, a LIVE online sake brewery tour and tasting with Iwate Meijo Brewery, in conjunction with Sake Lovers Inc. The Iwate Meijo Brewery in Maesawa, Iwate was established in 1858. Oikawa-san, the next brewery head, will lead us on tour through his brewery and production methods. Kyoko Nagano from Sake Lovers will be MCing the event and Mac of Kanpai Planet, a certified sake professional, will be there to answer all your background questions about sake in his signature edutaining style!
Participants can sign up for the tour only OR sign up for the tour and tasting options, in which you will receive 3 x 300ml bottles Iwate Meijo sake direct from Japan.