This Week in Tokyo – 17 November 2020

Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Monpaca Alpaca; Kyuta-kun in Kita-Senju; Corporate Katsu Curry; Sukiyaki Udon success and Miso Ramen at the ready. 

Featured image – Monpaca Alpaca: Since 2014, Monpaca has been “the bar to deliver a smile to Ichigaya.” While this tagline may be self-proclaimed, it’s clear that are doing something right from this picture snapped outside the entrance. If this doesn’t make you smile, then Monpaca is not the bar for you.

Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Department mascot called Kyuta-Kun

Kyuta-kun in Kita-Senju: The mascot of the Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Department is called Kyuta-Kun. The name is a pun on the kanji for ‘rapid’ and ‘rescue’, and on the Japanese number nine (the emergency number is 119) – all of which are pronounced ‘kyu’. His helmet is from the future, designed to evoke the image of water dousing a fire. His yellow antennae glow in the presence of danger. His suit enhances firefighting responsiveness, which I would expect as it also comes from the future. In this photo, snapped in Kita-Senju, Kyuta-Kun is performing hi no youjin (火の用心) – patrolling around smacking two sticks, which are called hyōshigi, together. You clap the sticks twice (the sound of which is expressed as ‘kachin, kachin’) and follow it with a call of  ‘Hi no youjin!’ (‘Watch out for fire!’). By the way, these are the same sticks used in sumo tournaments to call wrestlers to the ring, and in kabuki to signal key moments such as the start of the play or an actor’s entrance.

Corporate Katsu Curry: On Friday 13 November we ran a private Katsu Curry cooking class for a corporate team based in Dublin. They were an incredible group of people who produced delicious results and were kind enough to give us excellent feedback.

Our cooking classes are a great teambuilding activity. To book yours, email

Sukiyaki Udon success: We were joined by guests from four continents on Sunday for two Sukiyaki Udon cooking classes. It was a lot of fun teaching everyone how to make their own udon noodles from scratch.

Miso Ramen Cooking Class

Miso Ramen at the ready: Chef Nahoko and I spent the time in between our classes on Sunday perfecting our Katsu Curry recipe. Having eaten in over 1000 ramen shops, I know a good bowl when I slurp one.

Miso Ramen was created in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. The miso creates a thick, hearty soup with a deep, complex flavour. It is a perfect meal for a winter’s day. Traditional miso ramen toppings include sweet corn, butter, and bean sprouts.

One of the highlights of this class will be learning how to make ramen FROM SCRATCH. We’ll also teach you have to construct your broth from the ground up PLUS how to make ajitama – the delicious ramen seasoned egg.

Check out more details about the class then email to sign up!

Maction Planet runs bespoke Private Tours and Experiences in Tokyo, and beyond. To book yours, contact us at

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