Tea Ceremony

This will remain as one of the highlights of my 2018 stay in Japan. A friend invited to join a tea ceremony class in April.

I was blown away by the level of quality, precision and meditation in there. We spent a couple of hours and every minute was inspiring, full of information. I was told this is one of the Zen pillars and I wish I would have time to continue the journey and take this class on a regular basis.

 

from the way you present the matcha in its box, to the  type of bowl you will use depending on the season, the way you open the door, close it, listen to the sound of water, respect the kakemono, walk across the room, everything is thought. loved it, absolutely loved it

Happo-en Tokyo

On a Saturday lunch time, I went out to picnic in the Shirokanedai area, in the Tokyo University park. Across the road, I discovered the wonderful Happo-en.

This is a place that gives you serenity, calm, peace in the heart of the city, suddenly, you forget about the noise, the cars, and the daily life.

The park has a collection of bonsai, a banqueting space and a tea ceremony house that you may book although I have heard they dont always reply

 

Kobe has a lot to explore

Check out Ikuta Shrine, worth a day out, close to the beach, walking and hiking area

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Walking distance from there, about 30mn away, is an old fashion amusement park, quite ruined, in bad shape, and with an amazingly low safety level, we had great fun but it was scary and not to recommend to kids definitely

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Strike in Japan

One thing that I truly appreciate in Japan compared to Europe is the lack of strikes and demonstrations, this is such a relief.

Of course, there are but different!! Typically, demonstrations happen on Saturdays from 10h00 to 11h00 where cars ride around the government buildings shouting their queries from loud speakers. One lane on the road is allocated to the demonstrators so that public is not disturbed.

Here is a strike that happened yesterday in Okayama

Gym and Fun

As anything they do, Japanese go to the max when it comes to sport. I noticed that a lot of Japanese people enjoy jogging.

Go to the Imperial Park and you will confirm my statement, the park is packed from 5am to 10pm with joggers. I now know a lot of regulars with same timeframe as mine!

Soon after I arrived, I subscribed to this studio, great atmosphere, a lot of Les Mills class (in fact only Les Mills classes), just next to Shibuya Crossing. All are extremely professional and I found here the same sense of team/club atmosphere as I had in Brussels.

When Izumi San left, it was very sad for me as she was the one subscribing me and making all possible efforts to get our broken Japanese/English communication going, always smiling, energetic, she was a sunshine in the club. Of course, it is great to see her challenge herself and move to Auckland but she is missed!!

 

 

Living in Japan almost meant I could attend the Les Mills Live day last November. In Europe, we are not so privileged and Les mills Live never happened in Belgium so I made it!! Let me tell you, getting the tickets when you are not a Japanese reader is an adventure

1- get the website and “understand” how to navigate

2 – choose your sessions, at that stage, I had to ask a colleague to handle for me

3- get the emails to confirm, one per session!!

4- find another colleague to go along with you and collect the tickets from the combini

5 – find out that these tickets are not printed out from the automated machines but at the counter in the Kombini (even my Japanese friend struggled with that)

6 – get the tickets one by one and not all together!!

7 – take a deep breath, it is almost over!!

the day itself was great, I enjoyed very much. As always, Japanese super equipped, very elegant and trendy, make you feel really underdressed and guilty!! they are all expert at whatever they do when I feel like a beginner after 6 years of Shbam, 6 months of Body Jam and 5 years of Body Balance, but great fun!! aim higher as they say…

 

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Sundays in Tokyo

Every day is an adventure here but Sundays allow you to see a bit more than usual as people have quality time with themselves, their families, friends, pets, and can dress as they fancy. What do you think of this one?

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Beer Garden

Did you know that Japanese literally love the Beer Garden concept and imported it in mass from Germany?

From June to September, so many restaurants and most hotels offer a 2-hour package with all you drink ! they have partnership with the famous brands and depending on the location, offer random junk food for up to elegant dinners. I tried a number of them and it is fun. This is where you see families, salary men, relaxed and friendly people in numbers.

I enjoy one in Tokyo Bay, very classy with a Thai food theme in August, the place was full of families and we enjoyed a nice evening although not quite comparable to what you would find in Frankfurt or Munich!