Exactly a year ago since I have been to Japan. I must say, that trip was one of the best trips ever! I’m half-Filipina and half-Japanese so I guess it’s very likely for me to be naturally attached to the place. Japan will always be close to my heart. Enough with being sentimental, I still couldn’t believe I will be travelling to Japan really soon! I mean, come to think of it, last year’s visit was the first in 15 years. March 27, 2016 has been marked in my calendar and I have been counting down for this first jaunt this year. I know this is going to be epic!
Japan is the epitome of all contrasts – tradition and innovation. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is a perfect representation of its entirety. This is the main focus of this year’s tourism campaign there “& TOKYO”.
“Tokyo” – What word can best describe Tokyo? To those who have been there before, what word can you associate to your experience? To those who are planning to visit this spring season, what are your expectations?
“Exciting & Tokyo” was the theme of the seminar by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government conducted mainly for the media and travel agents here in the Philippines. Eager participants gathered for this very first promotional event at the Dusit Thani Manila last January 26, 2016.
The lively and constantly progressing city has been one of the travel destinations we, Filipinos, have high interest in. In fact, over the last four years, the number of Filipino tourists has not only doubled but has multiplied four times. I can personally attest to that based on my visit a year ago. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the dramatic increase was due to "alleviation of multiple entry visa regulations" and also the "simplification of single entry visa application for participants of packaged tours organized by accredited travel agencies" in 2013. I think this was a major effort among others not solely to boost the tourism industry but to give the world more opportunity to explore and appreciate the rich culture and impressive innovations of Japan, especially in the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic games in 2020.
My senses were hyperactive all throughout the seminar because we’re not simply listening to what they have to say. I felt I was actually transported because of the attractions presented that triggered some familiar emotions in me. There was a musical performance using the customary string instrument called shamisen (a traditional Japanese three-stringed lute with a square body, played with a large plectrum.)
The Japanese tea ceremony is called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese. It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. Preparing in this ceremony means pouring all one's attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one's heart. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture. Even the placement of the tea utensils is considered from the guests view point(angle).
Japanese tea ceremony utensils, such as chasen (wooden whisk) and chashaku (tea scoop)- specially designed whisks and scoops-and accessories including natsume, hishaku ladles and braziers, are important implements for the Zen art of chanoyu, bringing a special delight to the practice.
I relished the tea during the tea ceremony demonstration! I thought I was going to a business meeting; it turned out to be an incredible experience and delightful premise to my most awaited come back to the Land of the Rising Sun.
I wonder what word I will match with “& TOKYO” after this forthcoming trip. Wait until I share with you my Trip to Japan 2016!
Feel free to comment your “EXCITING TOKYO” moments. ☺
Check out my Trip to Japan 2015 post click here.