Obon

Obon is the celebration of the deads in the family. Depending on the regions, it is celebrated in july or August but mostly on 14th and 15th August.

This is not a bank holiday but many companies give days off to the employees. This is a time when Tokyo becomes very quiet, this is very enjoyable.

People go back to their families and celebrate the memories of the dead family members. They go to the temple and dance Bon-Odori. I was lucky, I have a temple close to my place where local people gathered.

In the center of the square, was set up a Yagura, a quiet high wooden stage, where the drummers would stand up successively. Dancers in the middle would show the way and public would copy around.

Then, there is a variety of shops for street food around that you can enjoy, yakitori, beer, etc.

 

Nagoya – a great hotel guests love

Thursday was business trip for me to Nagoya.

As this is the beginning of the Obon week, you can imagine that train stations and airports were packed. Even though JR has planned shinkansen in the Tokaido line every 4mn (how do we do in France that they cannot manage to get one train every 90mn to arrive on time, it always intrigues me), I had to let a large number of trains go until I could get a seat!

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I approached this trip with a pure business focus in mind and hardly any expectation on Nagoya. I have been there years ago and had not found anything special to it. I knew I would have an interesting afternoon as we had to review a specific segment of clientele where we need some work done.

Let me tell, what I found was extraordinary. Although the hotel does not enjoy the best location out of all luxury business hotels in town, it is a gem!! Fully renovated, beautiful restaurants and what a team!! So far, all I heard was that Nagoya people are “different” and they don’t like to spend. Instead, it was a friendly and outgoing bunch of people, all extremely competent and professional, smiling, attached to service, client oriented.

First surprise happened upon arrival. there was a meeting to taste the winter menu, each chef for each of the 6 restaurants was describing his new menu, the recipe, the preparation, the presentation, the ingredients. All the newcomers (young people just out of university) were religiously taking notes, at the end of the session, all could taste. When I asked whether it would be too early to try the December menu in August, all looked at me astonished, they explained this is why they do it, all have notes and have time to review, learn, ask questions and the chef to prepare orders, suppliers, produce etc.

 

We then moved to our meeting. After that, I was lucky enough to be here for the welcome celebration party for the new General Manager and again what I found was amazing – a great atmosphere, a buffet that some of our clients would envy, fantastic team, the owner present and mingling with his teams, the GM very open and approachable, the employees smiling and coming naturally to me asking questions, so refreshing

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Nagoya indeed has not got much too offer in terms of heritage and monuments BUT you could consider it as a stop on the way to Kyoto (only 30mn train), to enjoy the Nagoya Meshi, great cuisine, based on red miso, eel, deepfried meat, chicken wings. and enjoy the people!! thank you ANA Crowne Plaza Nagoya for this experience.

The Boston Museum is linked to the hotel, nice place, there is a shrine, the port to visit and the Toyota site of course.

A bit more on Sendai

here are few more photos of what I saw in Sendai. I recommend to use the loople bus, this is an old fashion type of hop-on hop-off version, very cute and with that you get an overview of the city.

 

 

Here are some views of the tour

 

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We were there at the end of July just before the week end of Tanabata Festival on 5th and 6th August, this is very special apparently. While Japan celebrates and have their Matsure in May, Sendai celebrates in early August and that brings over 2M visitors in one week end!

Everywhere, where displayed the Tanabata and the hotel do their own with the employees every year.

 

 

Fire at Tsukiji fish market put out after 15 hours; no injuries – Japan Today

A fire at the famed Tsukiji fish market in central Tokyo was extinguished Friday morning some 15 hours after it broke out, burning a roughly 935-square-meter area but causing no injuries, firefighters said. The Tokyo fire department mobilized around 60 fire engines to battle the blaze, which started around 4:50…

Source : Fire at Tsukiji fish market put out after 15 hours; no injuries – Japan Today

Tsukiji on fire tonight

4 buildings are on fire, over 40 firemen trucks are on site, I can see the smoke from where I am and helicopters over the site

Hot streets – Japan Today

Tokyo Gov Yuriko Koike participates in uchimizu, a Japanese water-throwing tradition, with several company heads and other city officials at a summer festival in Tokyo, on Friday. The festival is held to help cool down the sidewalks and streets.

Source : Hot streets – Japan Today