This Month on Maction Planet – June 2024

June 2024 was an exceptional month at Maction Planet, filled with unforgettable experiences and unique moments that highlighted the beauty and diversity of not just Tokyo but the whole country of Japan. As summer began to take hold, our tours showcased everything from the iconic energy of Tokyo to the towering castle of Himeji. I had the pleasure of guiding a wonderful mix of returning guests and new Maction Planeteers. Join me as I reminisce about the highlights and standout moments from June.

Featured image: On 22 June, England played a rugby match in Japan for the first time in 45 years, and I bumped into some old friends!

I started the month by guiding Barbara and her sons for three days in Tokyo and Kamakura. We attended Sumo training at Tatsunami Stable and were honoured that their two highest-ranked wrestlers, Meisei and Hoshoryu (pictured), were present. Hoshoryu is the nephew of the 68th Yokozuna, Asashoryu! Meisei is also in this picture—he is working out behind me!

Pianist/producer Kiefer graced Tokyo with his Jazz-beat fusion presence on 5 June, alongside Cameron Thistle on Bass and Myles Martin on drums!

The next day, we were blessed with incredible weather for our visit to Kamakura, which made for a stunning selfie with the Giant Buddha! Thank you, Barbara, for choosing Maction Planet!

I am honoured to have been invited to the pre-opening of Mizunara: In Tokyo. Mizunara: In Tokyo is not just a bar; it’s a celebration of their journey over the past ten years, bringing back their rich experiences from Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore. Congratulations on this new chapter in the heart of historic Kagurazaka! The cocktails were exquisite, each sip a testament to their dedication to Japanese hospitality and culture. Next time I go In planning to sample some of their PB whiskies and shochus! Huge appreciation to Chandrakant and the Mizunara team for their warm welcome and for creating such a unique experience. Welcome to Tokyo, @mizunaraintokyo! [Opened 8 June 2024. 1400-2300 daily]

Thank you to the Yebisu Brewery Tokyo for the hospitality shown to me and my guests on 7 June.

The Yebisu Beer Museum standing on the former site of the Yebisu Beer brewery which closed in 1988. The area was developed into Ebisu Garden Place which opened in 1994. The Museum of Yebisu Beer opened in 2010 and a recent-ish redevelopment means it is better than ever! A highly recommended spot for beer lovers!

Together again for the first time! I first guided Jennifer, Violet and Garret back in November 2019. Now, over 4 and a half years later, they were back!

TeamLab Borderless continues to delight and on 9 June it delighted me and Jim and family.

If you need to understand what the TeamLab Borderless fuss is about, check out our ASMR video here!

Cat Cafe. ‘Nuff said.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows were away on 11 June, but that didn’t stop Jeff and Family from taking in a baseball game all the way out in Makuhari. Sadly, the Marines were beaten 4-0 by the Baystars in this Interleague encounter, but that didn’t prevent us from having a fantastic time!

I don’t get out to Sakamichi nearly as often as I want. The main issue is that I want to go all the time. I took advantage of my heading out to watch FC Tokyo (see below) to pop in, hang out with Daniel and sink a couple of their delicious beers, including this collaboration brew with Open Air called Haze Craze: Open Roads. Kanpai!

On 16 June I attended FC Tokyo vs Jubilo Iwata with my good friend Kei, husband to my online cooking cohost Nahoko from At Home with Nahoko! A 1-1 draw was out reward for the trek out to Ajinomoto Stadium. Not the greatest game of all time, but a phenomenal atmosphere and lots of fun nonetheless.

Woodford, Kelli and Greer – thank you for the Kentucky shirt!

Kinkakuji. ‘Nuff said.

Master at Work at Bar Silent Third in Kyoto.

Thank you Hashimoto-san. We continue, and Kanpai!

I have a love hate relationship with the deer in Nara. When I see sights like this, it most definitely swings to love!

We found it again! Supersleuths Calvin and Jaidyn were my guests for 4 days in Kansai and 2 in Kanto. IT was Jaidyn who took the shot of my at Kinkakuji above. Together we had lots of adventures spanning food, drink, culture, history and more!

On 20 June we attempted an epic Himeji – Miyajima – Hiroshima day… and of course succeed with flying colours!

Chiitan, also stylized as Chiitan☆, is a Japanese mascot which was formerly a self-declared unofficial representative of the city of Susaki. It is a self-described “0-year-old fairy baby” otter that wears a turtle as a hat.

Sentences like the above make sense in Japan. What didn’t make sense to me what how we rounded a corner on Miyajima and there was Chiitan!

We hit Miyajima at low tide, meaning we could walk out to the now-not-floating shrine gate and snap this photo!

A large-scale solo exhibition of works by Takashi Murakami, an artist at the forefront of contemporary art, is being held at Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art from 3 February – 1 September 2024 as it celebrates its 90th anniversary. For Murakami, who has developed his career primarily overseas, this is his first large-scale solo exhibition in Japan in about eight years and his first outside of Tokyo.

The England vs Japan test match was the first time the two teams have met here since May 1979 when they played two matches which were not officially recognised to hold test match status. The first of those nearly saw the home team pull off a shock before a late converted try saved England’s blushes at a time when Japan were nowhere near the force they are today.

Fast forward to 22 June and England comfortably won the encounter 52-17. However, there were lots of positives from Japan’s performance, and it was a warming feeling for me to see my two teams in Tokyo finally. The last time I watched them fight it out was in Nice at Rugby World Cup 2023!

On 23 June I was back in the Tokyo Dome, watching my beloved Tokyo Yakult Swallows take on the Yomiuri Giants in their home stadium. Sadly the result wasn’t as tasty as this beer. At least my guest had a good time!

My final day with Calvin and Jaidyn was spent in Kamakura and Enoshima. In keeping with the tradition of this week in Tokyo and this month on Maction Planet, I have to pick one photo to represent the day. Who wouldn’t pick the three of us trying Denim Ice Cream at Shonan Denim Street?!?

It was an absolute honour and privilege to be a large part of your time in Japan. Until next time!

Dive into the fascinating origins of Nanbu Bijin Vodka and Gin, Japanese spirits born from the desire to save lives! In this video, we explore the incredible story, rich history and unique production methods behind renowned sake brewery Nanbu Bijin’s first foray into spirits – the Nanbu Bijin Vodka and Gin. Nanbu Bijin’s CEO and Chief Brewer, Kosuke Kuji, is a legend in the world of Japanese sake, and now he has crafted these exquisite beverages using traditional techniques and locally sourced ingredients from the heart of Iwate Prefecture in Japan. Join us as we take you on a journey through the pristine landscapes of Iwate, delve into the heritage of Japanese spirit-making, and reveal what makes Nanbu Bijin Vodka and Gin truly exceptional.

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