Tim Key, British comedian, in Tokyo at Tokyo Comedy Bar in February 2023

This Week in Tokyo – 28 February 2023

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, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week:

Tim Key in Tokyo: Thursday, 23 February was a national holiday in honour of The Emperor’s Birthday, and I spent the day guiding, followed by some comedy at Tokyo Comedy Bar, which welcomed one of their biggest guests yet – and their first Edinburgh Comedy Festival award winner – the incredible comedian/actor/poet Tim Key!

You may know Tim from Taskmaster, This Time with Alan Partridge, Peep Show, Inside Number 9 and much, much, much more! He won the 2009 Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival and has since written and performed eight solo shows. The most recent, MULBERRY, was described by The Times as “The greatest stand-up response to Lockdown”, with 125 shows performed in 2022 and a new 2023 UK tour which has already sold out.

Tim Key, British Comedian and Mac, Founder and Lead Guide of Maction Planet

His 45-minute set, featuring his signature poetry, charm and audience banter, was devastatingly good, and I got a chance to tell him so in person after the show!

Devika, Karan and Mac, founder and lead guide of Maction Planet Tokyo Private Tours

Devika and Karan do Japan: I received several last-minute tour bookings this week – yes, they are possible at Maction Planet! We do our best to accommodate every request, even during busy periods like Japan is experiencing now, with three years of pent-up demand leading to even traditionally off-peak periods like now being fully booked.

Introducing Devika and Karan to the World’s Greatest Metropolis was an honour. They were kind enough to write a review of our two days together within hours of our final tour ending. Waking up to that was a lovely surprise!

Lisa in Red: Lisa also reached out last week and we were able to slot in 24 hours of touring across three days! Art was one of her key interests: here we are exploring some contemporary Japanese art at Roppongi Crossing 2022 at the Mori Art Museum.

Kanzake: I had a fantastic time at the Japan Sake and Shochu Information Centre’s recent media event, which showcased the culture of “Kanzake” (warm sake). Renowned Kanzake Master, Masaki Tada, gave a lecture and demonstration and hosted a tasting on how to enjoy warm sake with various vessels and cups, highlighting how the flavour and taste can change depending on the vessel used.

Despite having consumed a lot of sake across various temperatures, I was pleasantly surprised at how much variation could be derived from a single sake across serving styles when the drink is in the hands of a master like Tada-san, who has served as sake sommelier at hotel bars and kaiseki restaurants such as Sokyu in Kagurazaka. Kanpai!

Kubota at Chillmatic: More sake fun was had later in the week at the American and Sake Pairing Experience hosted by Kubota at Chillmatic on Sunday! I was blown away by how well sake can be paired with American cuisine. The various Kubota sake were a perfect complement to the sliders and other dishes we enjoyed. Despite Kubota being one of the premier tanrei karakuchi sake makers – typically a crisp, clean, and dry style – the variation within that style lends itself to a diverse range of taste experiences. Case in point, Kubota Senjyu, the original and still one of the best, paired with a Dry Aged Beef Mushroom Burger. Devastatingly good!

Koto under Ume: A bonus shot this week – I had to share this shot of a lovely koto concert taking place under the plum blossoms at the Okurayama Ume Matsuri last weekend.

Maction Planet runs bespoke Private Tours and Experiences in Tokyo, and beyond. To book yours, or to purchase a gift card, contact us at info@mactionplanet.com

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