This Month on Maction Planet – August 2023
It’s been our busiest August ever… as you can see from this post, which conveys a mere fraction of the adventures my tour guests and I have been having on Maction Planet!
Featured image: On a day trip to Kyoto with the Marsh clan – my amazing guests for a week in mid-August – we stumbled across this highly appropriate torii at Fushimi Inari!
Header image: On the enchanting evening of 18 August 2023, amidst the electrifying atmosphere of a Tokyo Yakult Swallows baseball game, I captured this moment of sheer magic -a symphony of colours exploding in the night sky, mirrored in the awe-struck eyes of spectators. This single frame embodies the unity of sports, fireworks, and pure joy – a memory etched in pixels, emotions, and time. Even better, the Swallows beat the Chunichi Dragons 10-2 and my guests, the Mourads, were there to witness the win!
I went drinking with a Geisha to celebrate my 17-year Japanniversary, which was on 4 August!
Wanna find out more? Check out this post I wrote on this blog!
Kanpai to 6K – we hit 6000 subscribers on the Kanpai Planet YouTube channel, bringing you the world of Japan’s drinks direct from the heart of Tokyo. Thanks for all the support, and stay tuned because there are lots of very exciting things to come. We continue…
Travellers’ Choice award winners rank among the top 10% of listings on Tripadvisor – something we are very proud of! Thank you to all our guests who have written reviews of their tours with us.
The Marshes had a fun time experiencing Monkey Kart on the streets of Tokyo, and so did I, as the passenger in the lead Canam Ryker!
Alicia and family continued what is fast becoming a Maction Planet tradition whenever guests visit Sensoji with me.
Nothing stops my guests from having it large – not even a spot of rain. Actually, Max and Elena were very lucky – despite the forecast predicting a downpour all afternoon, it was only as we were wrapping up a great day together that the showers began!
Lotus Flower and the Benzeiten temple – together at last. Taken on 16 August while I was guiding around Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park.
The Gaburi Suica Frappuccino combined watermelon juice with dragonfruit pulp, passion fruit pulp and ice in a blender, which was then poured into a cup containing kiwi fruit pulp. The watermelon salt topping sprinkled on the whipped cream was a nice touch. Sadly, I have to use the past tense because Starbucks have moved on to the latest limited-time connotation, but I enjoyed several of these while the going was good. Without a doubt Starbucks’ best seasonal effort in a long time.
Bonus points if you recognised the Shibuya Crossing in the background!
On 18 August, I experienced a once-in-a-lifetime… err… experience. To support the people of Maui whose lives have been affected by the devastating wildfires, Spirits for Small Change, the charity founded by Tokyo Whisky legend Stefan Van Eycken, had organised a fundraiser in collaboration with Aloha Whisky Bar in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. A unicorn flight was available (limited to 40 sets) to in-person visitors to Aloha Whisky Bar, as well as a selection of modestly priced “support drams”.
How unicorn you ask?:
-Karuizawa “Five Decades”
-Kupu Maui Whisky
PLUS, you were automatically be entered into a raffle with one lucky winner getting to taste “Karuizawa 1965 Japonism #2372” in a tasting hosted by Van Eycken himself!
All proceeds, and I do mean ALL, from this fundraiser were donated to the Maui Strong Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation.
The baller dram in this flight was, of course, Karuizawa “Five Decades”. This was exclusively bottled for Isetan, a department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. It’s a blend of casks from the 1960s to the 2000s and was limited to 200 bottles. Time-stacking, to quote Van Eycken. Mellow, fruity, balanced and all in all devastatingly good. Sherried Whisky at its finest.
Maholo, and Kanpai!
On Saturday 19 August Slovenia defeated Akatsuki Japan, as the national basketball team is known, 103-68 in a FIBA World Cup 2023 warm-up friendly at Ariake Arena.
It felt like everyone was there to see Luka Doncic, the Dallas Mavericks superstar who, with support from both home and away fans, led Slovenia to victory over Akatsuki with 23 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Doncic was close to a triple-double, but fell short by three assists and three rebounds.
Akatsuki directly translates to “dawn,” rather appropriate for the Land of the Rising Sun!
In the words of The Cranberries, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”
“It” being “Posting photos of sub-par, overpriced canned highballs released by Suntory to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Japanese whisky in Japan”.
The can’t say where I was flying to when I snapped this shot… suffice to say it was an incredible journey and Kanpai Planet fans have something very special to get excited about.
We have a number of spectacular Sunflower fields in the greater Tokyo area. I snapped this photo in a secret spot in Saitama with my tour guests in awe of the beauty around us, both macro and micro!
I was honoured to be invited to take part in this year’s Sumiyoshi Matsuri on 5 August, and my tour guests came along for the ride… or rather, the mikoshi portable shrine did and it was us who were carrying it! The Sumiyoshi Matsuri is a mizukake festival – meaning shrine carrriers are doused in water by spectators – from local residents to the Fire Service themselves with their professional hoses! To somehow make it even better, this year was the once-in-every-three-years super-sized hon-matsuri. Large indeed!
Let’s just say my guests described it as one the best days of their lives!