Produced by Isao Tokuhashi
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Tokyo Imperial Palace
The primary residence of the Emperor of Japan, which is right in the middle of Tokyo. It was built on the site of the old Edo Castle.
*Tokyo Imperial Palace. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_Imperial_Palace
Interviews by Akiko Saito, Atsuko Matsukami, Toshiko Abe
Photos by Masanori Tsuchibuchi
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) Vol.9 (Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden)
Girls from the US
We’re from Denver, Colorado. We came here yesterday. I will stay here two more days and she will leave here for China tomorrow to attend my friend’s wedding ceremony.
This is our 1st trip to Japan. It’s very developed. We got a lot of stares from people, but we noticed that they are very nice and polite and there are a lot of English speakers in Tokyo.
We came to this place because we are doing a tour so we have to go now!
Question: What is the one thing to see while in Japan?
Girl from the US
This is my first trip to Japan. I just always wanted to come here, but I didn’t know it’d be 24 hours to get here from Texas. I flew from Dallas to Vancouver and then flew to Tokyo.
I’ve never been to the Imperial Palace. I checked it on the internet and came here. This is gorgeous and flowers are so beautiful. We have short trees in Texas, but we don’t have so many flowers because it’s dry.
I’ve been in Japan for three days. I’m traveling by myself and staying here for two weeks. I went to Tokyo Disneyland on the first day and I went to Don Quijote, a Japanese discount chain store yesterday. I enjoyed sushi at Tsukiji Fish Market and ramen at the Ramen Street in Tokyo Station. I’ll go to Enoshima tomorrow and then go to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka.
Question: Why is everyone in such a hurry?
Couple from the US
“We are from Arizona. This is my (woman’s) second trip and his first trip to Japan. It’s our honeymoon. So we were trying to decide on a trip for us. He’s been to Alaska and I’ve been to Mexico. I’ve been to Japan but he hasn’t, so I thought of combining them.”
“We are big fans of anime and manga so we decided to go to the origin. We went to Akihabara, but actually we found the place by accident.
We’ve been here for almost two weeks. We cruised to Busan, S. Korea and came down around Kyushu. The cruise ended in Kobe, then we visited Kyoto and Nara and came to Tokyo.
We love Japan because it’s beautiful. People are more friendly than Americans. Japanese seem to care about common good. I (man) have always believed more towards the Shinto or Buddhism so I feel I’m with people that believe the same religion. I might have been born in this country!
We love Japanese food such as ramen, curry, sushi and mochi (rice cakes). My favorite types of sushi are tako (octopus) and unagi (eel). We liked red bean jam, too. And we tried natto! Its texture was a little bit odd and it’s very stinky, though LOL.”
Question: Why do the Japanese not support their culture/traditions as much as other countries? (Kimono, tea ceremony…)
Girls from Germany
We’ve been here for eight days, five days in Kyoto and three days in Tokyo. It’s the very first time for us to visit here. This is our field trip, which is a part of university curriculum. We are studying the architecture. There were other destinations such as France, Italy, Portugal and other cities in Germany. I (girl pictured at left in the photo) personally thought that I would never get a chance to see Japan. That’s why I joined the tour to this country.
I personally like the people and the country. People are very friendly. As for Japanese architecture, it’s amazing. We went to Downtown Tokyo and saw huge buildings. We found that all of them are built so close to each other. Also, we went to Omotesando Hills and 21_21 Design Sight, designed by Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect.
Question: What do you like to do in your free time?
Man from Austria
I’m half-American and half-Austrian. My father is from San Francisco and I was born in New York. Then I grew up in Vienna, Austria. I always say I’m Austrian.
My sister and I came to Japan for the first time. It’s very lovely. I really like and respect Japanese culture. I read a novel called “Shogun” when I was 17 and it was really interesting. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to Japan.
We have been in Japan for four days. We went to Akihabara yesterday because I’m a kind of game otaku LOL. We’ll be in Tokyo 2 more days and stay in Kyoto for 2 days, then we’ll stay in Tokyo again until June 10 (*This interview was done on June 3). I’m expecting to experience Japanese culture a little bit more.
It’s interesting to see how European culture made an impact on Japanese culture. But I think Europeans can learn a lot from Japanese. Japanese people always say, “My English is not very good”, but actually their English is very good. On the other hand, Europeans say, “My Japanese is excellent”, but actually it’s not LOL. Maybe, we can learn from each other.
Question: How well do Japanese speak English or other foreign languages?
Family from China
We’re from Shanghai. This is our first trip to Japan. Actually my (woman pictured at left in the photo) friends and colleagues have been to Japan and they told me it’s a good place to visit.
People are very polite and cities and villages in Japan are very clean. Cities are modernized and all the transportation is very convenient. But, they are a bit complicated for us LOL. Also, the Shinkansen is very expensive.
Some of us misunderstand Japan. There were wars many years ago but the new generation of Chinese people may have different impression of Japan. They will learn about Japan more if they come here. Actually, we had very good impression of the people here. My mom (woman pictured at right in the photo) was asked why she was going to Japan by other people, but she likes Japan very much – besides the area of a room of a hotel/house. She says it’s too small LOL.
Anyway, both China and Japan would clear up misunderstandings if we communicate with each other more.
Question; What do you think about the China-Japan relationship? (or “What do you want the relation to be?”)
Family from India (Currently living in Mexico)
“All of us were born in India and are living in Mexico City. My wife and I (man pictured at left in the photo) have been living in Mexico for 20 years. I am visiting Riken, a research institute in Japan. I’m a scientist and have been working with Japanese scientists for 10 months. He (boy pictured at right in the photo) is studying at a university in Minnesota, the US.”
“I (woman in orange attire) want to live in Japan. People are very nice. Even if they don’t understand English, they try to help us. If you ask them something, they will pick up your hand and take you to your destination!”
Question: Why are Japanese hard working?
*They also want to know about Japanese culture/family structure/discipline/festivals etc.
Thank you very much for your cooperation!
… Who wants to be the next questioner?
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)
Tell me, Japanese people! Vol.9 (Shinjuku Gyoen National Park)