This Month on Maction Planet – May 2023

Welcome to the first edition of ‘This Month on Maction Planet’!

After five years of ‘This Week in Tokyo‘, I’ve shaken up the format of our round-up of what’s happening in the Maction Planet (and Kanpai Planet) universe. Expect it to hit this blog on the last day of each month. On with the May Day(s)…

Featured image – Hello Kitty takes Vegas: I recently spent four days in Las Vegas visiting former and future Maction Planet tour guests. Here are some Japan-related highlights of my time in the bright light city where, yes, my soul was set on fire!

Sin City wouldn’t be complete without this twin kitty! (Yes, Hello Kitty has a twin sister, Mimmy.)

Hello Kitty Cafe Las Vegas offers a めちゃめちゃ可愛い menu featuring cookies, cakes, doughnuts, seasonal goodies, handmade hot and iced drinks, along with a selection of Hello Kitty Cafe merchandise.

With a franchise worth over $80bn, it did not surprise me to find Kitty White cashing in in the entertainment capital of the world!

On Home Turf with The Bradfords: Remember these guys? The Bradford Family – Lance, Leilani, Luke, Lex and Ashlee AKA the LA Train – were my guests in June 2019 for the entirety of their 11 days in Japan on a Maction Planet Pan-Japan Tour. You can read their reviews of their time in Japan with Maction Planet herehereherehere, and here.

This shot, features the renuion of the international consortium known as the LA(M) Train, has been a long time coming. We continue…

Day Ghost: “The known world slips away when Day Ghost is uploaded to your bodily machine. Clouds part, new realities bubble, and an inner vista is revealed. Psychically supervised by Meow Wolf, this Japan-style Rice Lager has been configured to taste crisp and effervescent while maintaining multiple dimensions of flavour.”

This spiel only makes sense if you head to Area 15, visit Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, find the semi-secret bar called Datamosh and enjoy Day Ghost, a collaboration between Meow Wolf and Alberquerque-based Marble Brewery. Kanpai!

U-Knight the Realm: The hospitality of Maction Planet tour guests blows my mind. Amongst many wonderful experiences, Matt and Michelle were kind enough to invite me to share phenomenal second-row seats for the opening game of the second round of the playoffs, which was the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 in one of the most of exciting games of Ice Hockey I have witnessed live!

Nobu Yamazaki: It’s $200 a pour for this dram of Yamazaki Whisky bottled exclusively for the Nobu restaurant chain, which I enjoyed at Nobu Las Vegas in Caesar’s Palace, courtesy of Matt! The label features the restaurant’s silhouette logo and the signature of Suntory’s chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo. The single malt contains liquid between 12 and 30 years of age, a large component of which is aged in sherry casks. Only 250 bottles were released. Enjoy it while you can!

Veranda-ists: I had a lovely lunch at the Four Season’s veranda with Susan and Mark, two-time Maction Planet guests who also live in Las Vegas. They toured with me in November 2019 and most recently in April 2023. It was lovely to meet them on their home ground, reminisce about good times and plan for their next trip to the World’s Greatest Metropolis!

Sumo Sanctuary: Back in Tokyo, I enjoyed 3 days at the May 2023 Grand Sumo Tournament. Arriving at JR Ryogoku Station, this was the sight that greeted you.

This is a large – 25 metres by 2.8 metres – advertisement for Sanctuary, a drama series about Sumo, which is currently streaming on Netflix. The wrestler depicted is the show’s main character, Enno.

The giant sumo wrestler was lying down on the station’s no-longer-used ‘Phantom Platform 3’ until 28 May!

Back once again: Dudley is a record-breaking 4x Maction Planet guest. It was an honour to welcome him back with his family for 5 days.

Here we are at the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel in Kasukabe City, Saitama Prefecture,

Should you go here instead of setting the Shibuya Crossing? Probably not. Should you visit when your love of science intersects with your 19th day of Tokyo Maction? Absolutely!

Sakamichi Nights 99th Episode Spectacular!: On 17 May I headed down to Saitama to appear yet again on Sakamichi Nights, the official podcast of Sakamichi Brewing. Once again, I was able to claim my rightful crown as the Guestingest guest. The lads made it worth my while, serving me some dubious grape juice and some of their own Crank Session Hazy IPA with Yuzu. How did I do in the Sakamichi Nights Trivia Quiz? Find out by listening here and wherever you prefer to find podcasts!

Trunk-tastic: I was very proud to witness Maction Planet Resident DJ Royce Leong fulfil his lifetime ambition of DJing at the Trunk Hotel on 24 May! He spun some fantastic tunes during his uplifting hour-long set. We continue…

One Good Day: Melissa contacted me in October 2022 and booked a full-day 14 hour Maction experience for 25 May 2023. That day finally rolled around, and we had an absolutely fantastic time together. Rather than me tell you all about it, you can read her review of our time together here!

Fluffy Blanket Dream House: Makoto Egashira created DX Fluffy Blanket Dream House for Roppongi Art Night 2023.

“When a friend came to my room where I lived alone,” he says, “I was told that the blanket I brought from my parent’s house was ugly, and I suddenly felt embarrassed about the rococo floral pattern that I hadn’t paid attention to before, and now I cannot not be aware of it, and it shows up in the pieces I create. Floral blankets, which were made in Japan from around 1968, blended and coexisted with the Japanese culture of the people at the time, like a gradation, by producing the longed-for Western luxury. This time, with Rika-chan’s house as a motif, which expresses a longed-for lifestyle that changes with the times, we will create a long-awaited dream house with a floral blanket that produces the Western luxury that we once longed for.”

Using flower-patterned blankets, which were popular in post-war Japan, as the main material for his works, he creates three-dimensional works and installations. Major exhibitions include ROPPONGI ART NIGHT 2017, Rokko Meets Art 2019, and BIWAKO BIENNALE 2022.

All together now: I just wrapped up seven days of Tokyo touring with Mark, Anne, Charles and Carline. 

I cannot convey what an honour it was to show them the city I love. The week they entrusted to Maction Planet allowed us to explore the World’s Greatest Metropolis in a depth few get to experience. No Tokyo stone was left unturned.

We took a lot of photos together, and this is one of my favourites… under the lantern of the Thunder Gate at Sensoji!

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