If you think Japan is only about Sushi, Cherry blossoms and advanced tech gadgets, think again!
This June I had the oportunity to indulge in an amazing Food Tour experiencing the sensory overload of the billboards and neon light streets of Tokyo, the tranquil natural beauty of historic Nikko, speeding through the rice paddy countryside on the Shinkensen (Bullet Train) and observing monastic life during overnight stay at a monastery in Koya-san.
The most memorable experiences for me were the interactions with the many locals we encountered along the way. Hashimoto was our Soba Cooking Class teacher, a retired Insurance Executive with a wicked sense of humour. Another friendly local was Hatsue Murata, an owner of a hole-in-the-wall café which has been serving up strong freshly ground coffee at Tsukiji Fish Market since 1955! Very few words were exchanged, but some conversations have no language barrier it seems.
I was also honoured to witness a group of school children pray for the lives of those lost in Hiroshima and offer 1000 folded paper cranes at the Children’s Peace Monument.
If you have ever considered Japan, do not delay- it’s a spectacularly beautiful country offering an exciting mix of culture, tantalising cuisine and public transport that runs like a dream!!