Thank you for the guests kindly joined our weekday tour on 4th -Feb. We totally had 4 guests from USA, Canada and Germany.
Since we only had four guests, the tour itself became very cozy and friendly, like a private tour. For example, a guide prepared “Charm in the Park Hunting” game, or another guide made “Origami” balloon with our 12-years-old guest.
After the tour in East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, we went to Asakusa (Please note this Asakusa tour is our special tour so far, subject to the guides’ schedule). We had a lunch at Udon (Japanese noodle) shop, walked Nakamise (main shopping arcade at Asakusa), dropped at Ningyo-yaki (doll shaped cake with bean paste inside) shop, did Omikuji (a fortune written on a piece of paper) etc. It was soooo fun!
By the way, we have some annual events based on Chinese calendar or Japanese old calendar. One example is “Setsubun” on Feb-3. This festival takes place on the day before Risshun, the first day of spring on the Chinese calendar. Roasted soybeans are scattered in and around the house to drive out sickness and misfortune represented by a demon (this custom is called “mame-maki”). Recently, some shrine or temple holds such mame-maki event openly: some well-known people (like Sumo wrestlers etc.) or even common people like us perform the bean-throwing ceremony. Guess what, I did such mame-maki at a shrine in Tokyo! The bean thrower wore Happi (simple & short pattern of Kimono) and thrown the packed roasted soybeans to the audience from the stage. They must shout “Oni wa soto. Fuku wa uchi” meaning Demons out! Happiness in. This is my first time to do this, but I really enjoyed and want to do this again next year!
Since such Risshun is over, the spring has already come, based on the calendar, but of course, we have cold days still now. Let me give you one tip to enjoy our tour in winter: Japanese vending machine has warm drinks, as well as cold drinks. The photo below shows both: red rebel under the price means warm drinks, whereas blue one means cold drinks. Hope the hot drink through vending machine will help your wonderful stay in Japan.
(Report by Katsumi)