This Month on Maction Planet – October 2023

September and October 2023 are very special months on Maction Planet as Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, is attending the entirety of the 2023 Rugby World Cup – from the opening game to the final! Along the way, he’ll be at all the Japan group games. But enough of this third-person blurb; let’s find out what I’ve been up to!

Featured image: I’m back in the World’s Greatest Metropolis… and look who was there to say Welcome, and Hello!

October kicked off as it meant to go on – in spectacular fashion. On 1 October I attended the Whisky Show in London, where I had the honour of facilitating a tasting of the much-coveted Suntory 100th Anniversary releases. Hosted by Suntory’s UK Brand Ambassador Raffaele Di Monaco, our guests were none other than Jota Tanaka, Master Blender at Kirin and his team, alongside Yumi Yoshikawa, Brand Ambassador for the Chichibu Distillery and its founder Ichiro Akuto. What a confluence of Japanese whisky royalty! Together we enjoyed the Yamazaki 18-year Mizunara and Hakushu 18-year Peated Malt. Kanpai!

The game itself was held on 28 September, but it was on 4 October, while I was in London, that I released my vlog of the Japan vs Samoa Rugby World Cup 2023 group match. Feel the energy surge as you jump into the heart of the fan experience at the biggest rugby tournament in history. Enjoy!

Back in France, I headed to Lyon for New Zealand vs Uruguay and France vs Italy. Despite being busy with the Rugby and Maction Planning, I made time to check out the city’s art museums.

New Myth, an exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon from 22 Sept 2023 – 7 Jan 2024, illuminates the unique world of Aya Takano. Showcasing both significant and unseen works, it delves into the artist’s themes of neo-animism and reality beyond perception. Behind an exterior of kawaii art lies complex explorations of duality and female emancipation. Her earliest works, previously unexhibited, are displayed in suitcase houses – encapsulating her fantastical worlds within these miniature realms.

On 8 October, Japan’s Rugby World Cup 2023 journey came to an end. I released a vlog which dives into both the highs and the heartaches of the game. Despite the loss, the buoyant atmosphere offered a captivating, unforgettable experience.

Max is a supporting character from Pokémon the Series. He was Ash’s first companion who is too young to be a Pokémon Trainer. Apparently, was in La Rochelle not too long before I was, judging by the condition of the sticker!

At the Cite du Vin in Bordeaux, I delved into the rich textures of viniculture. I was of course very happy to see a spotlight on Japan’s unique wine-making practices focusing on Ayana Misawa, the 5th Generation Winemaker at Grace Wine, named after the three graces of ancient myth..

As I crisscrossed the expanse of France, I couldn’t help but notice Japan’s cultural outreach. Every city was hosting a festival of some sort – a matsuri, an anime convention, a manga comic con. In fact, this entire post could have been photos like the one above, which I snapped in the great city of Montpellier.

The love affair between France and Japan was more alive than ever and brought a smile to my face as I saw a piece of home away from home.

Sometimes you had to be eagle-eyed to spot Japan’s influence, but it was everywhere. Marseille was the home to this Mt Fuji and bonsai mural on the side of an apartment building which I saw on the way to watch Wales vs Argentina battle it out in Quarter Final 1 at the Stade Velodrome.

After the Quarter Finals I jumped on a plane to Tunis for 96 hours in Tunisia – my 109th country! On my final full day I did a tour to Sousse, Kairouan and El Jem – to see its great amphitheatre. My guide was Chekib and he was an absolute legend. His knowledge, curation, storytelling, enthusiasm and much more was beyond compare. If there is ever a Tunisia branch of Maction Planet, he will be my first hire. I cannot recommend him enough, and he is one of a mere handful of licensed Japanese-speaking guides in Tunisia. Drop him a line at You will not regret it.

Back in Paris for the semi-finals, I was honoured to receive an invitation to attend Whisky Live Paris, the largest whisky show in Europe. It was a great event, and I was able to catch up with industry colleagues and friends, including the inimitable Momo Kato from Mars Whisky! Always great to see friends I made in Japan on the other side of the world!

Vincent Van Gogh painted three portraits of his paint supplier Julien Tanguy, called “Père Tanguy” by his artist friends. In the version acquired by Rodin, now on display at the Musee Rodin, Tanguy is shown wearing Breton costume and sitting in front of a wall of easily identifiable Japanese prints. The bright colors, flat perspective and treatment of light are characteristic of Van Gogh, whom Rodin saw as “an admirable demolisher of academic formulae”.

It’s final-ly over.

At the climactic Rugby World Cup 2023 final held at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on Saturday 28 October I ‘found myself ‘enjoying’ my final glass of Asahi Super Dry. Not my preferred brew, but as it was the official beer of the tournament, I couldn’t escape it. There was something oddly sweet in bidding it adieu – 52 days. 18 matches. 2 whisky festivals. 3 countries. 2 birthdays. Malmo XXIII. Many friends, old and new. 8 flights. 3 Eurostars. Untold TGVs and TERs. From Large highs to devastating lows, on and off the pitch, this was one of the biggest adventures of my life.

Just 11 hours after landing at Haneda Airport, I jumped straight back into Maction, hosting Brooke and Mikey in my home city. Jetlag? What jetlag?!?

Thank you to them, and all our guests, for choosing Maction Planet for your guiding and trip planning needs.

We continue…

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