Arnim from Berlin, Germany
Duration of visit: 3 weeks on April
Destination to visit: Tokyo and Kyoto
My Time in Tokyo with “maddy’s TOKYO travelling”
This Year in April a dream came true: I spent 3 weeks of holiday in Japan while wonderful hanami(cherry blossom viewing). I am a 30years old guy from Berlin, Germany, studied literature, art history and psychology and had so many images of this beautiful country in my mind. First I got interested in Japan when I met two closed friends ten years ago in Paris, who told me so much about their country and culture and I decided to visit them one time. 10 years later the time came – I booked a flight, surprised my friends with my visit and spent one of the best times of my life in Tokyo and Kyoto.
My two friends, both japanese, gave me the address of “maddy’s TOKYO travelling”, cause I had so many questions and plans before my arriving and they knew, that Madoka could help me with all of them. And they were right. Because I had so many different images of Japan in my mind, I wanted to have as much as possible different expectations while my holidays. I had the idea of a country with two contrary sides: This noisy and bumpy mega-city with big shopping-areas and malls, Karaoke- Bars, complete anime-areas and many other weird things.
On the other side I thought about Japan as a calm, nature-based, basically buddhistic country with an unbelievable culture, love and interests for special things like tea or handcrafted goods. I wrote an E-Mail to Madoka with all my imaginations and questions – and I have to say she helped me in an unbelievable way – much more than I expected.
First of all I had the big wish to stay some days in a traditional buddhistic temple in Kyoto – so she offered me some japanese and english pages with many explanations about each temple, she found, their special offers, prices and history of them. I decided for one – and she booked, prepared my arriving – and offered me a further wonderful thing: She proposed me to spend another night in a “MACHIYA” – a traditional japanese wooden town-house. I saw the pictures, decided to go there and she just booked for me.
Finally all preparations before my journey were done, I felt secure because of all this help and arrived at Narita,Tokyo-interntional airport. She received me, gave me many advices – for example to rent a japanese mobile at the airport – guided me from airport to Tokyo city and offered me a special japanese sushi restaurant. My arriving couldn’t have been better.
Cause my japanese friends had to work a lot, I decided to make use of maddy’s TOKYO travelling for the next weeks, too. I told her all my – sometimes special – interests and she offered me many things to do – and accompanied me most time.
For example: I wanted to see some contemporary art museums – next day Madoka picked me up at a station and we went to Mori Art museum and visited some exhibitions. Further she offered me some more different – more unknown – museums, which I visited.
Another day I wished to see some popular and known japanese buddhistic temples. So she organized a whole day with the expectations of the biggest temple of Tokyo – the Senso-ji in Asakusa. We never only visited a sight like this: Rather she explained me everything, showed me the buddhistic rituals, gave me advices and I gained an insight in this part of japanese culture.
For example: Do you know why so many buddhistic sculptures wear red scarfs? No? Ask her!
Further – when we visited a special sight or area like Asakusa, Madoka always showed me unknown restaurants or cafes and offered me special and always so tasty (!!!) japanese food, I never heard of. You even heard about (Please fill in the name of the tasty octopus-balls) or do you know how many wonderful things japanese people cook with eggs?
On our day-trips she extended me some particular japanese sweets and explained me everything.
Besides Madoka showed me some not really known wonderful places and gardens for Hanami, so that I could enjoy the full beauty of cherry blossom. I told her that I watched a German movie about Hanami playing in a special park – next day we went to Inokashira-Park and I felt like in the movies!
Even while my time in Kyoto Madoka gave me a lot of useful and precious tipps. She booked the railway (Shinkansen) for me, explained me how to get there, how to travel in Kyoto and gave me a map of interesting places to visit – not that known, but unbelievable beautiful. So I could visit special flea markets, find hidden gardens with wonderful cherry blossom, call her sometimes when I had a problem and make many different expectations for example of particular restaurants or cafes.
Both Kyoto and Tokyo she showed me many shops with japanese brands or I told her my interests respectively my taste of style and she was looking for convenient shops and stores so that I could shop a lot.
Further I saw all the little special and bizarre things I thought of before my trip of Japan!
When we went to Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Shimokitazawa, Kichijoji and Daikanyama etc– cause of Madoka I have not only seen the touristic places but rather small streets with particular shops, nice little cafés, typically japanese goods etc. Alone I wouldn’t have found them. One evening Madoka showed us a really nice and cool bar, called “Jutèe”, Goldengai, Shinjuku – with space for ten people maximum and really being in vogue for french actors.
Finally I have to say I am a guy with special – more arty interests: I wanted to see a big famous book-store – Madoka showed it to me! (You should go there – It’s amazing!)
Besides I wanted to buy some traditional japanese paper (called Washi) and pencils. I asked her and next day I found a wonderful and particular store only for paper!
Further I liked to find some traditional handcrafted goods – teacups for example. Of course I wouldn’t buy this touristic stuff you can get at every corner. Without her help I hadn’t find it in this huge city.
The best thing at last: One day Madoka organized a day for me and my friends in Kamakura! It’s a little town near Tokyo at the Sea, we passed a wonderful day in a marvelous and fabulous bamboo garden called Hokoku-jii, drank matcha-Tea visited the beautiful little town of Kamakura and saw finally a famous huge big statue of buddha “Daibutsu”.
An unforgettable day!
I really have to say cause of her unbelievable help I got the time of my life in Japan. I went there for only three weeks, but I had a little feeling of living in Japan. It was the best idea to ask her for help, cause I saved so so many time: I never had to look for a longer time, felt guided and guarded in this mega city, saw everything I wanted to see (and more!) and tasted so many particular food!
After all she became a good friend of mine and I have to say again how thankful I am.
Thanks maddy’s TOKYO travelling and Good luck for your business!
June 2014, From Berlin