Busy autumn weeks – week 63

November 13, 2015

At Kamakura with the grandparents
At Kamakura with the grandparents

Time seems to fly since we are back from Taiwan.

My work is coming on nicely. Even though I do most of my business through Canning Professional right now, I am slowly starting with my own clients. Preparing Miss Japan for the Miss World election interview was the most challenging one. But I did enjoy it. I need to dive a little bit more into the networking events and get my business cards out. The need for cross-cultural training is great out there, now the task is to identify the people who hold the training budgets and convince them to spend it on my offer.

Mark’s parents arrived only a few weeks after his brother had left and we all enjoyed some days with the grandparents, listening to their stories after visiting Tokyo and Kyoto, taking them out for dinner or accompanying them to Kamakura or Ginza and Omotesando. It felt good to have some familiar voices around and to share experiences on common grounds. It was also interesting to see how much we already adapted to our life in Tokyo when answering their questions or forgetting to point out certain things that are so normal for us, but may be difficult for a foreigner.

One of the floats at Kawagoe festival
One of the floats at Kawagoe festival

Most weeks, we are trying to do some interesting stuff on our weekends. A lot of things happen in Tokyo and we are always happy to attend the local festivals in the different parts of town, but getting out of the city is what I enjoy most. One of my favourite places is Kawagoe. It not only has an old part of town with traditional architecture and a wonderful antique market every 28th of the month, it also holds an annual festival which we went to see for the first time this year. The festival has a tradition of over 360 years and its main attraction are the spectacular festival floats which are pulled around the center of the old town. Those floats carry exquisitely crafted dolls and musicians and dancers in festival costumes. As they face each other, the several festival floats compete with each other in a hayashi performance (a traditional Japanese orchestra comprised of flutes, drums, handbells and dancing), cheered on by the excited voices of festival-goers holding paper lanterns.

Family portrait at the open air museum Hakone
Family picture at the open air museum Hakone

Our latest discovery is the Hakone Open Air Museum. A wonderful place in the mountainous area around Mt. Hakone. I have never seen anything like it. Go to google images and have a look at those amazing pictures from the museum. It is a great place to be with kids as they can experience art in a playful way. At this time of the year it is also a great place to see the autumn leaves. During the train ride in a switch back train up the hill you can enjoy the great view of the colourful forest. Can’t wait to go back there in spring.

Fun facts for today:
DSC_0937I already talked about the large number of Japanese who constantly look into their mobile phones. It is not only annoying when you walk among them, it is apparently also dangerous and can lead to accidents as this poster in some train stations tells us.

DSC_1050This is the lunch offer in one of the Indian restaurants next to my office. The ladies’ set is the best offer on their menu. For 1,000 Yen you even get a dessert which is not included in the same lunch menu for 1,120 Yen. Those who read (Kanji) carefully, will notice the pink writing on the picture: for women only. I recommended this lunch set to a male colleague, but he was not allowed to order it.

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