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Trips to Japan could not be more worthwhile.

Big Hello, to everybody out there reading my blog entries.
At first I thought it was a good idea to make a few stupid blog entries to add to my website. However, soon enough I noticed that I was writing them for myself. I genuinely enjoy that everyone has the interest especially to read more. My content is not presented via video, you have to take the time to read through the text.
Another reason to post my thoughts being, it’s cool to regularly talk about those things to protect tattooing in the way it should actually be protected. At least that’s what’s important to me. Freedom of speech they say…

So it’s my pleasure to share my Japan travels with you. Thank you so much for joining in. 
The themes in this post are going to be a bit diverse, however mostly linked to tattooing.

After numerous ventures to Japan, this is my first attempt to give you a good overview of my experienced trips. Let’s see if it’s fun I might repeat it again in future. 
This review is about my first trip back to Japan after Covid 19. My thoughts evolving around my friends that are asking me about how it was. I’ll include a few points of interest that might make your next trip more worthwhile.

Japan opens border after Covid 19.

As soon as I heard that the borders were open and traveling was possible again, my first thought was to make arrangements as fast as possible. The thought never to be able to return to Japan was terrible. How would I say goodbye to Sensei without standing at his grave. Not being able to travel, appeared to me as a burden. It was my utmost wish. 

It’s difficult after all this time to think back about how we felt. I remember the first two weeks of Covid clearly. Nobody really knew how this was going to end. I remember listening to everyone’s opinions. I think some seemed fascist at the time. Some seemed oblivious. And some opinions seemed open minded. 

It seemed that the world was in a discussion about if a vaccination was the answer to freedom! 

Families were ripped apart and some even promoted this on purpose. Brothers and sisters didn’t speak to each other anymore because the one or other was vaccinated or wasn’t. There was no way to prepare for that what hit our untrained society. 

But the worst was the people around me just didn’t honor the code anymore. The code of life. 

Being well mannered and being good to others. I think this is the big key to understanding the
world. Trying to understand others. Taking yourself back. I learned this on numerous occasions when I was traveling around the world.
I think the more you do it, the more you become open minded as a person. Still the question arose, when will they open the borders again? Able to travel? How long was this going to be possible before the next interesting event would happen. 

My idea was to use that gap and do it right now! 

Saying goodbye at Sensei‘s grave. 

We only live once, we always say it, but we seldomly act accordingly. It’s really hard to stick to your guns. Like people in movies, moving things, be successful, and we… we just let it slip? Be that person.
So you urge to fulfill all of your dreams.

Nothing was more important to me as to say goodbye at Sensei´s grave and to fulfill my obligations to the family. This stays the main reason to visit Japan as much and often as possible.

Hotel and flights.

So I started booking my Japan travel flight and hotels that I needed on the way. 

So generally speaking, I think there are two things, that might be interesting for people flying from Germany to Japan. 
A good hotel chain to always be comfortable in is the hotel chain called “Apa”. I usually use this hotel chain because it’s provides satisfying quality and always adjusts to a reasonal price. 

Secondly, I generally fly with “Swiss air”. I do this for obvious reasons. The first being that, when you have a problem with any questions revolving around your flight, you’re probably going to get a good answer straight away or perhaps latest from a supervisor. No beating around the bush! They have an excellent quality control. If you book in advance, the flight may be a bit cheaper. What I like the most about Swissair and Germany is that on the way back from Japan you are allowed to take 46 Kilograms along with you – in economy class. And another 8 kg as hand luggage. For those of you that have been to Japan for longer than 20 days know exactly what I’m talking about. 

The Sightseeing Show.

I am very lucks and thankful, that I’ve been to almost every major city in Japan and even attractions on the countryside, I thought to keep it basic this time. 

Tokyo, Nagoya, Toyohashi and back to Tokyo. 

First Tokyo two days. Nagoya one night. Toyohashi three nights. The rest of the days were filled with roaming around Tokyo

Narita, home to the God of Fire.

So directly after landing in Tokyo Narita airport, it was definitely time to go and visit the Fudo Myoo shrine in Narita City. 

Generally speaking there is a fast Xpress train taking you from the airport right to Tokyo, Ueno station. 

It actually has a stop called Narita. If you get out there, lock your bags in one of the lockers outside the station. That way you can move freely and avoid carrying them around with you all day. It will generally cost you a couple of bucks and you will need coins to do so. 

Do you not attempt to fly to Japan without cash! 

Nice to have a credit card with you but it’s not accepted everywhere. 

The Fudo Myoō shrine on Narita mountain is amazing. 
Obviously being highly interested in Japanese culture, I already knew a lot about the one or other Japanese deity. I was surprised to meet a tour guide with perfect English who took me around the complex, park grounds and temple areas. Still can’t believe how much I learned. Thank you very much in retro respect. Also keep in mind, that the one or other word might not be translated from a to a guide correctly. It gets lost in translation. It’s advisable to read between the lines. Please enjoy your moments on the mountain.

Narita homes the biggest Myoō figure in Japan. I think you really have to go and work yourself through the complex to make sure that you discover its complete beauty. I enjoyed, that I saw the one, where a cat had been taken out for a walk on a leash. Great! In addition, there is a small flea market in front of the temple, which would easily be able to consume all of your trips pocket money.  On the way back up the mountain towards the train station, it’s possible to eat traditional snacks and even meals delicious as eel! So called “Unagi” on a bed of rice is amongst the best food in Japan.
As I have had the pleasure to try it numerous times, while spending time with Sensei Horikoi in the past, I felt free to skip it this time. 

But normally you should go for it!

Tokyo-Ueno, neighbourhood of night walks.

It made sense to me to stay in Ueno overnight so, that I could take a train out in the morning to go and order custom lanterns. The lantern company creates craftsmanship in ninth generation. Not easy to find. Walking distance 2 1/2 km one-way. Two ways are required. The price of the lanterns is not cheap, however it’s important for Japanese tattooers to have. Do you know why?  

Staying overnight meant that I could also go to Yamashiroya! It’s a modern toy store, but man! It’s something else. The amount of noise, music, lights in the store is overwhelming. Eight stories of new toys for every taste. 
Actually before you enter, you could take the lift on the left side all the way to the top. This way it’s easier just to walk down from floor to floor. 

Being a massive Gundam Robot fan, I imagined that’s one of the places to be and outside you will find a bunch of Gotch! Careful with those, cause they can easily become an addiction… 

There are a lot of hidden restaurants and a fresh fruit markets nearby. Near to Ueno park and the Tokio National Museum just a few footsteps apart from each other. 

Not to mention the shrines from the area. 
So in all on my behalf, it’s one of my three favorite neighborhoods to stay in whilst in Tokyo. 
I got myself a beautiful bowl of Ramen (noodle soup) to end my daily endeavors. After all the walking it seemed like the biggest promise to fulfill my body’s needs. 

In all walking around the suburb until returning to the hotel, it all depends on what you’re looking at. You’ll find reference to be used for tattoo work everywhere. 

Nagoya, Center city of Japan.

Let’s go with the old virtue in the future. It’s very important to keep traditions alive. I had the privilege to visit one of Sensei’s old friends. The one and only, true Horifune from Nagoya! 

Thank you for hospitality and friendship! 

For Horishi it’s important to work alone. Making exceptions, I respect, that old friends from the teacher are visited. It is encouraged to visit one or two people per journey. 
To keep the traditions alive, I organized a batch of new senjafuda stickers. It’s very difficult to find a company to make them. Printed on rice paper. 

Toyohashi, Toyokawa and Inuyama Castle. 

Making sure to visit Sensei’s old house and his family. Together with the family, we visited many sites including Inuyama Castle “Dog mountain castle”. It was still missing on my list and is a superb place to visit. It belongs to the five biggest castles in Japan and is a world heritage site. We drove 250km to the castle. Satsuki drove like a Formula One driver. I still can’t grasp how fast we reached our destination. There and back in a day.

Thank you mother for driving and the sightseeing tour. Thank you for your hard work. 

Old graves from historic Samurai’s were also visited. I think it’s increasingly important to visit graves from legends. 
After visiting samurai graves, the biggest grave of all of them, was visited. A visit to Sensei‘s grave. Next to seeing my mother in Japan, it was important for me to go and say goodbye to Sensei. I spend some time at the grave saying goodbye and speaking to the teacher. Many agreements were reached. I carry on with his pledge. It was very beautiful, the sun was shining  and after a short while of 15 minutes, I was on the way to a sunburn. The mission was accomplished and the feeling was beautiful. 

Tokio Adventures and Sanja Matsuri Festival.

Starting a new trip chapter, I took a train to Tokyo. 

On arrival I was invited to walk along and one of the most important shrine festivals of Japan. So this year was a success and three days of festival were used to study cultural traditions and of course also discover Horimono at its best. Tattoos from different parts of the country of seen. 

During the festival a portable shrine (Mikoshi) is used to take the gods (kami) to the main shrine.

Thank you Asakusa Horikazu for letting me go along. Thank you very much for taking good care of me and thank you to the whole group. 

My fondest memories belong to my dear friends wedding. For us westerners, It’s almost impossible to be invited and to witness something so beautiful in practice. It was partly like being caught in a dream. Not to mention, that we went to the best eel restaurant in Japan for dinner service, followed up by nothing less than Karaoke!
I shall remember those special unreal moments for ever…OSS!

Following Warlord Shingen Takeda to Robots in Yokohama.

I spent a few days off the tattoo track to soak up new vibes and different themes between history and the modern world of tomorrow. You better be ready for a walk.
So I decided to visit the museums and cities concerning Shingen Takeda and other important Samurai Warlords of Japanese history. Those of you who are around martial arts and have surely heard about him. Also a brief stop in Yokohama, the third largest city in Japan is totally worth its while. Here are a few impressions for you to see.

Ideas Satt for Tattoo!

New study routes for tattooing were made out and visited. Soon enough enthusiasm rises, and being inspired, I freshly returned to Germany! Now ready to produce a Batzen of new samurai designs. Of course, as always, you could seek my fresh designs with me in person, as I have not the slightest desire to share them here on the internet.
I have written about this ideal before, so its easy to go back and read old entries in case you desire.

What a trip, now for a few days off to recover from the mileage.

Let’s return as soon as possible.