Produced by Isao Tokuhashi
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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
A large park and garden in Shinjuku and Shibuya. It was originally a residence of one of the most powerful and wealthy Japanese families (Naito Family) in the Edo period. Afterwards, it became a garden under the management of the Imperial Household Agency of Japan. It is now a national park under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment.
Interviewed by Masao Shibata, Tomoyuki Nakagawa, Isao Tokuhashi
Photos by Akira Tamachi, Isao Tokuhashi
Edited by Daniel Penso
*See also; Vol.1 (Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref) Vol.2 (Haneda Airport) Vol.3 (Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square) Vol.4 (Meiji Jingu Shrine) Vol.5 (Ginza) Vol.6 (Akihabara) Vol.7 (Samurai Armor Photo Studio) Vol.8 (Asakusa)
Family from France
We came to Tokyo from a small town in the Eastern part of France yesterday. We have friends who have been to Japan and they said it was great. That’s the reason we came here. First of all, we were surprised at the big crowd on the train! LOL
We’re staying at a little apartment in Itabashi, which we booked with Airbnb. We’ll stay in Japan for two weeks and will visit Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Odaiba, and then Kyoto. We want to see typical Japanese places such as cities, temples, shrines and natures.
We want to see Japanese people, who are different from us. Also, we want to enjoy the atmosphere of Japan, which is different from the one in France.
Question; Why do the Japanese eat with chopsticks?
Couple from Belgium
This is our first trip to Japan. We were interested in Japanese food and culture, such as beautiful nature and temples.
Japan is safer than Belgium. Nobody will take your bag away, even if you leave it on a seat in a café. Actually, he dropped a Pasmo, a Japanese smart card for public transportation, but a girl picked it up and brought it to him! In Belgium, people would put it into their pockets.
Japanese are very kind and they often smile. We think Tokyo would be a good place for us to live, especially after we have kids.
We’ll stay in Kyoto for three days and in Osaka for two days, then go back home. But, we’ll be back again!
Question; Why do you work so late?
British woman from Australia
This is my first trip to Japan. Everyone always wants to go to Japan and a lot of friends have been here. People that I know say it’s an amazing country and its culture is great. Also Japan is safe so it’s good for a baby. Actually, I came here with my husband and our 11 month-old baby.
We’ve got three days in Tokyo, then two days in Hiroshima. I want to visit the Peace Memorial Museum because we’ve learned about the history at school when I was younger.
Then, we’ll have six nights in Kyoto and two more nights in Tokyo. I’m very excited about sushi, ramen and all the food and seeing the completely different culture.
We stay in accommodations booked with Airbnb so our question to the Japanese is…
Question; Why are Japanese hotel rooms so small?
And another question is…
Question; Why do some Japanese people wear masks?
Boys from Taiwan
We’ve just graduated high school and will have free time until this September so we came to Japan. We wanted to come to Tokyo because we learned about the city through anime like “Your Name”.
We’ll stay here, only in Tokyo this time, for a week and go to Shibuya, Asakusa and Ueno.
1. Why do Japanese walk so fast in Tokyo?
2. Why is the Japanese subway system so complex?
Couple from New Zealand (Currently living in Australia)
We arrived in Japan today. We stay in an apartment near here, which we booked with Airbnb. That’s why we came to Shinjuku Gyoen Garden.
We’ll visit Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima after Tokyo. We expect great food, culture and “cuteness” like this (They showed us a Totoro iPhone case.) so we’ll go to Pokemon Center in Ikebukuro later today, then visit so many other places. We’re tightly scheduled, so we’ll be really busy while in Japan! LOL
Question; What do you think of so many tourists in Japan?
Girls from London
We’ve been in Japan for two weeks. We stayed in Tokyo and went down to Hiroshima, and up to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Nagoya, Hakone – the hot springs were so nice – and came back to Tokyo yesterday. We’re going to Harajuku later and will leave here for London tonight.
We liked Hiroshima because it has a lot of history. The Peace Memorial Museum and A-bomb Dome were so impressive. Now, the city is very peaceful so we felt that Hiroshima built up quickly even though it was so devastated.
We want to bring Okonomiyaki and hot springs back to London. Okonomiyaki is so good! We’ve never heard of it before and tried it both in Hiroshima and Osaka. We tried takoyaki in Osaka and pork cutlets with sesame sauce in Kyoto. Those were so nice. There is a big Japanese food restaurant chain called “Wagamama” (“Selfish” in Japanese) in London so we know what Japanese food is like, but the food here is way nicer. LOL
We’re very happy to try everything, even grated yam put on rice and sushi including sea urchin and cod salmon roe. We love Matcha-flavored KitKat and green tea. But, we didn’t like red bean jam because we do not have red beans with sugar. We use red beans for chili or spicy food.
We don’t know anyone who’s been here before because a lot of English people either travel within Europe or go to Thailand. Not many English people seem to come to Japan. But, we’ve noticed a lot more ads, like geisha girls saying “Visit Japan!” in London in the past three months.
We want to come back to Japan to see the cherry blossoms and Japanese people. They are also generally very calm, peaceful, polite and welcoming. Honestly, they are the loveliest people in a whole world that we’ve met!
1. Why do Japanese schoolchildren wear uniform at the weekend?
2. Why do Japanese people always bow?
Thank you very much for your cooperation!
… Who wants to be the next questioner?
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.1 (Kamakura, Kanagawa Pref)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.2 (Haneda Airport)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.3 (Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.4 (Meiji Jingu Shrine)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.5 (Ginza)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.6 (Akihabara)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.7 (Samurai Armor Photo Studio)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.8 (Asakusa)