Tour Report on 24 March 2018, Morning tour to the East Garden of the Imperial Palace
- East Gardens of the Imperial Palace
We thank many guests joining the tour. On that day cherry blossoms were in full bloom, which was 9 days earlier than normal year. The weather was very fine and warm. We welcomed 19 guests from USA, UK, Mexico, Philippines, Nederland, Italy, Chile, Spain, Malaysia, New Zealand and Ireland. We divided into 3 groups.
Inside the East Garden we spared time to enjoy cherry blossoms viewing. For almost next 2 weeks, you can enjoy pink-white petal trees everywhere in the city.
We are completely in spring season, so the winter ended already. During winter period we met tourists who came to Japan for snow sports now it turns out to be those who come to see the cherry blossoms. White snow to pink white flowers.
But you can still enjoy snow in some highlands. You can take a day trip from Tokyo as described in other report. It is Spring skiing period. Snow still remains but the temperature rose and the weather is mild. Skiers and snowboarders can be naked on the snow. A lot of foreigners are skiing there just like cherry blossom viewering in the East Garden.
In some ski resorts like Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture, a resort condominium for foreigners was sold out. Looks like foreigners like skiing in Japan more than Japanese.
Many foreigners ask us why skiing is no longer very popular sport for Japanese. Current ski population is less than half of peak period.
The peak period was late 1980’s to early 1990’s, which coincided with economic booming period called “Bubble Economy.” Because many people including youngsters were rich, they could afford expensive trips and ski wear and equipment cost and many people thought skiing was a gorgeous leisure so anybody wanted to join. After the bubble economy collapsed, skiing has become less popular and some of ski resorts were closed. Now ski resorts are inviting skiers from abroad. Thanks to foreign skiers, the resorts can manage their local economy. It is good for Japanese ski lovers as well because that can stop closing of good ski resorts.
Last winter season railway company, JR East launched sales campaign using memory of ski booming period. It was titled “Take me to SKI by Bullet Train.”
The title and image were copied and modified from a popular ski film “Take me to SKI” in that period. The film sparked the ski boom. This campaign aims to remind middle age people of their young days when they were eager to go to ski resorts. The film not only depicted youngsters love for skiing but rich life of those days. Not very realistic for youngsters of today. I, myself a middle aged skier remember those days and like the film so I traveled to a ski resort to meet with a professional ski demonstrator, WATANABE Saburo, who was No.1 pro skier in those days and acted as a double for the ski scenes of the protagonist in the film, which was supposedly played by a famous actor.
Nowadays, ski resorts offer youngsters free lift tickets to make them interested in snow sports. Those aged 19 to early 20’s can get free weekday lift tickets. Having good memories in young days can keep you skiing even in older age. That is true for me.
What do you think want to do if you are rich? Coming to Japan to ski and view cherry blossoms? Skiing and cherry blossoms are seasonal matters. All year around, what you can enjoy with big money is playing with Geisha. In Tokyo and Kyoto there are great Geisha entertainment districts. In Kyoto, Geisha girls are so popular that the party house entrance was surrounded by tourists waiting to see a Geisha getting on a taxi. In the town, because of such popularity, warning sign is posted not to cause troubles with Geisha.
Inviting Geisha girls to the party room, they dance and sing and play with guests. That costs a lot, but should be worth it. High ranking party house for Geisha entertainment only accepts guests with referrals. First time alone is not allowed. You should accompany someone who has already become a regular guest there. Such guests are usually executives of the big corporations. In the past a famous auto maker provided bonus to their employees by giving them free access to party houses in a Geisha district.
I imagine being a guest entertained by a Geisha at a party room after skiing and hot spring bathing or in a garden with full-bloom cherry trees. Sorry, I am not that rich. How about you?
Tour Report on 19 March 2018, Asakusa 2018.03.19