In this report we would like to share with you our fantastic trip with the team Kaizen to Japan and take you on our adventure journey.
We were so excited….
In January, Nikken congratulated us on the 2 seats in the Kaizen 2018 team. I couldn’t believe we qualified for 2 tickets.
In May, all the other team Kaizen members were going to Japan.
This part is not particularly glamorous:
- Saturday noon we drove by train and some luggage;-) from Bremen to Frankfurt by train.
- 1st Night at the hotel right at the airport-with all the excitement we got no eye to.
Early in the morning on Sunday we flew to Helsinki and met 4 other Nikken specialist advisors from Europe and ASA. She is European director of Sales and training at Nikken. Again a wave of positive excitement.
After a short: Hello, hello, bon jour-the exciting trip to Tokyo went “right”.
After 9 hours greeted us on Monday morning Japan with sunshine and our enchanting travel companion/interpreter Izumi.
We are in love with Japan from the beginning
Nikken has blessed the Kaizen 2018 team with incredible accommodations in Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. Our rooms are always fabulous with very nice views. In Tokyo we enjoyed an incredible view from the 31st floor over all of Tokyo. And everywhere we went we were surprised with new attentions.
Immediately after arrival we drove into a beautiful park in Tokyo and looked at our first Shrein and were introduced to its rituals. I have been infected by the Japanese in a discipline. I collect stamps – not only in the passport, but also in other ways. The Goshuinchō (御朱印帳) is a book where you can collect stamps from Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Japan. A Goshuin contains the name of the shrine or temple, and the date of the entry, if any, a positive spell. In addition, the Red seal is stamped. Collecting the Goshuins has a spiritual meaning. But it is also a very nice souvenir that you can “work out” in the course of a trip to Japan – and this has been my intention openly and honestly. Every single Goshuin is a work of art which is handmade at the temple and includes artful calligraphy and stamps.
After visiting the park we drove to the very famous Shibuya intersection. It is famous for its crowds of people who cross the intersection at every traffic light. In the evening hours up to 15,000 people go over this intersection and create a unique picture. Of course we went through this crossroads and had a look at the Starbucks on the first floor of a house from the top of the hustle and bustle.
Around noon we drove to the hafencity in a traditional restaurant-there we met the other approximately 70 Latin American Nikken specialist consultants. Now we were all complete and another language and temperament filled the room:-). We are a very colourful group and we had the feeling of comfort from the beginning. Japan will be good-really good!
Towards the afternoon we went to our hotel. In the rooms were for all day backpacks, pers. Trailers with our Japan program, thick jackets with the label team Kaizen, 2 tshirts by Nikken as well as a traditional fan and a Japanese Frottietuch. So many attentions at once. A dream!
After a short break we went to the wonderful gala dinner in white in the evening. This did so well after the long journey with everyone together and so nicely dressed to talk, eat or just listen to the different voices.
After the many impressions and encounters, we were able to sleep this night relaxed.
Today is a temple day:-)
- Breakfast at 7 am
- 3-Bus departure to the gigantic Buddha Temple: The bronze statue on the Pacific Ocean stretches over 13 metres high. Right in front of the Buddha we made a super great group photo with all the participants of the trip. All wore the T-shirt from Nikken.
- Next we went to the Hare Kannon temple. This temple was very large and had beautiful gardens, sculptures, caves and plants. It was spread over several levels, so we had to be on the road to get to the top of the platforms.
At noon we were driven to a beautiful hotel by the sea-there was again a fantastic lunch. In the afternoon it rained so we drove back to the hotel. By the way, we sat with 20 people-Europe, USA and Canada-together with Izumi in the “Bus No 1”. At first we had to be 10 minutes before the departure at the meeting point, as it worked with us all but so good, Izumi in the shortest time even 5 minutes;-). Every exit on the bus was affectionately commented on by her: “Hurry, hurry but not rush”. She was our mother for everything. She cared about everything, she knew everything and she was always there when you needed it. Everything was so perfectly organized by her so that we could enjoy our days relaxed. We could just let ourselves drift-it was all taken care of.
Due to the rain we had gained some free time, but had to pack the suitcases first, because we wanted to leave for Hakone the next day. In the evening, Team Europe went together Sushiessen. Sushi… I thought I know how sushi tastes-what we ate there was a taste explosion. It will be difficult to eat at home against “good” sushi;-).
The day was not quite over yet and we drove on one last bagger to the Skybar in the 45 floor and marveled at Tokyo at night. By the way, my English always works better through the daily conversations with other specialist advisors.
Today we tried the mixed breakfast (Western style and Japanese)-which was a good experience. At 7.55 it went on again, but this time with KL. Hand luggage. By bus No. 1;-) we travelled to the mountains to Hakone. Wow! It was all green. Lush green. Green Mountains, so many different tall, green trees, green bamboo-everything was green. It was balm for the soul. I felt so relaxed and didn’t want to stop looking.
We have a KL. Boat trip over the dreamlike Lake Ashi made and are then driven by a mountain railway to the Komagatake Mountain. The mountain is located in the shore of Fuji. In good weather you have a very good view of him. Today, however, he hid behind a few clouds. On the Komagatake, a beautiful, small, red Shrein awaited us.
On the way to the restaurant we stopped for a “sporty” visit to the outdoor museum in Hakone. We looked at Picasso “in Flight”-stayed 4 minutes at the hot outdoor footbath and with Izumis words “hurry, hurry but not rush” we were already on the bus again and were on the way to lunch. We ate in a H0tel with a view of the beautiful lake.
Every day we experience a lot of amazing things at an incredible pace. If we did not have our clever booklet with the day program and the many beautiful photos, there would certainly be a mess in our minds. And once we stop, we’re just thankful. Thankful for what is happening, thankful that we could work it all out here and thankful that we can discover and feel such beautiful places in the big, Wide world.
On the way to the new hotel, Izumi opened up to us the wonderful world of Onsenbäder.
Short: hot, nude and man-female separated.
Japan the land of Hot springs-
Onsen, ryokan, food- a feast for all the senses
Already at the entrance to the Onsen resort we felt moved to another world. Steaming rivers flowing under curved bridges, traditional Japanese rooms with their own bathtub on the balcony overlooking the waterfall and people strolling in comfortable Yukata-kimonos to the next bathing, let the packed last days immediately in Far back. We were from now on right in the land of paradise of relaxation. Before we travelled to Japan, I was so stressed-could hardly grasp any clear thought. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to “get ‘ the Extra”. It was the best, the best thing that has done us well for a long time.
In our room was a surprise 2 traditional towels folded as a kimono.
The visit of the Japanese onsen meant for us relaxation on many levels. The effect of the hot thermal water combined with the incredibly beautiful surroundings worked wonders. Next to the magnificent room there was a terrific meal. All this made the onsen experience complete.
In the evening we served classic Japanese cuisine with regional and seasonal delicacies. The prepared menus were very elaborately arranged. The food in Japan has been exceptional every day and this time it topped the previous day again. All the fellow travellers arrived at the Yukata for the sacrament. This was a nice experience…
At night we all went to the onsen bath. The average temperature of a Japanese onsen is 41-42 °c for welding. It was a great relaxation for us. We were at night in the dark in the hot pools and looked at the lighted green mountains and listened to the waterfall… just heavenly.
Today is again a further travel day. And so we did not sleep the beautiful hotel, we went to the onsen at 5 o’clock in the morning. We just don’t get enough of this wonderful water. That day the ladies were in the other onsen and we enjoyed the view over the distant mountains. The sun just went up and light Nebeltau lay in the air. The morning began as in fairy tales:-) it could always be like this.
We broke up our onward journey to Kyoto in the Shikansenzug. Lunch was served in a lunchbox-even that looked good. In the hotel the luggage from Tokyo awaited us again. Again everything went smoothly. Sometimes we feel that Japan, in a positive sense, is like an ant nation. Everything is absolutely well organized, everything runs as planned and really everything is in a fantastic condition and in an extremely high quality. Everything is so extremely clean and we never feel that anything or anyone is stressed. Everything happens as if by magic.
The afternoon we had free. Leisure-What to look for? We had 4 hours left before we met with 3 other advisers for dinner.
Alex and I visited 2 temples/shrines in time, walked to the Craftvillage on foot and found the restaurant. Not bad for the giant program in the “Little” time.
In the evening we ate in a traditional Sukiyaki restaurant. The choice is much on the Komaitei and is a famous Sukiyaki restaurant that has a 100-year history in Kyoto. We enjoyed the Wagyu (Ohmi) beef prepared by the hostess for us at the table. Again a new experience and a very good:-). Then we plunged together into the night life of Kyoto. We were driving through the craziest alleys and found a very small bar. There were 4 people inside-in addition with US 5 she was also sufficiently full. We ordered sake and exchanged our lives for half the night. What did we laugh? 🙂 But then it was better to go back by taxi….
At 7.30 (!) Our 6th day began with a journey to Hiroshima. We were expecting a very emotional day. We visited the peace Monument and the Peace Memorial Park. The monument to World peace. Each of us travelers had crafted several origami cranes, which we had tied together to garlands. We put them together at the memorial and thought together about the victims and asked for world peace. It was very emotional and the further course to the Peace Museum was quiet.
After that we drove again with buses to the young, busy city centre. We ate a Hiroshima Spezialtiät today: Okonomiyaki. In a KL. House, on over three floors we enjoyed the Okonomiyaki-baked cakes. It is fried cabbage, sprouts, egg and dough and then served. A kind of Japanese pancake. Really yummy.
Afterwards we visited, after a KL. Boat trip, the Itsukushima shrine. This shrine is part of the World Heritage Site. The huge Torii (over 16 meters) can only be reached at low tide. The visit was impressive. There were even more shrines, as well as a narrow alley with all sorts of souvenir stores and food opportunities. Oysters were grilled everywhere… unfortunately we were still very tired of the lush Okonomiyaki.
We came back the evening very late, grabbed the suitcases again, because the next day we went back again towards Tokyo.
The morning we actually had a free time. We had breakfast but as usual very early to see as much of Kyoto as possible. This time in the Japanese breakfast restaurant. Hmm, I like that:-). Then we went to the Foodmarket. Also I always imagined Japan: narrow, long lanes and right and left everywhere craftsmanship, fish, fruit, sake, Teestores, fan shops and at the end of the alley of course again a shrine;-)
Our lunch was back on the train-the afternoon we had free in Tokyo. Together with Team England we dared to go to another area of Tokyo alone in the subway. We really wanted to go to the Hard Rock Cafe;-). Searched, found and the rest of the time we sat alone for the first time in a week, during the day for a long time in the café and enjoyed a beer and watched Japan as it lives and drifts. I could have been sitting here for hours.
In the evening, Kurt Fulle, CEO of NIkken, invited us to all expert advisors from Europe, USA and Canada for a fabulous dinner at the steak restaurant. It was perfect. A round evening with excellent food and valuable conversations made this day a very special one. After that we decided to go to a karaoke bar. It was a great fun and brought us all together even more closely. Unfortunately I did not dare to crush a hit alone-maybe next time.
The last day. We have full time for ourselves until the evening and can plan our own excursions. Today we asked Tokyo on our own on foot. Hours we have run, have amazed and felt all the green candy bought in Tokyo;-). Today the day was very difficult for me, because I missed my children infinitely doll.
In the late afternoon we drove again to the Skybar high to see one last time this gigantic city and tried to grab it. Not once did we feel crushed by the size-we always have the feeling that it is very wide.
We were able to do the gala dinner and found in our rooms the next surprise: For everyone there was a kimono jacket. 🙂 By bus we were taken to a unique place in Tokyo. We expected a nice reception in a stunning park with beautiful ancient bonsai. The dinner was accompanied by geisha dancers. After the very high quality food, there was a performance by a well-known Japanese drummer group. We were intoxicated. We danced together, we were laughing and crying in our arms, because we were all well aware that it was so slow to say goodbye. But it became even more emotional on our way back. We had become a big family after a long time-as different as we are: linguistically, each has a different history, different ages, different countries-different customs. Our bus was turned into a karaoke shuttle. Who wanted sang songs. And since we were the bus with a colourful variety of languages, songs were heard in Swedish, English, French and Italian. Our enchanting Izumi, we all still handed a cl together. Gift as a thank you for the unforgettable time. Also Izumi was close to tears. I think she also had a lot of fun with us. The hotel was still hugged for hours and addresses exchanged and finally we had to pack our suitcases (phew, the place is still enough for everything) and a little sleep.
The Nikken team Kaizen trip is over, and although I am sad to leave Japan and all the great people I know and appreciate, I am also very excited to embrace my sons.
Early on, Team Europe and Izumi went to the airport. Izumi Our Lady of the heart, brought us to the check-in-next she was not allowed. Probably she would also have liked to come on the plane to see that we also have all our right places. She is a gold piece and the best travel companion I have ever experienced.
After 31 hours of return, Bremen had us again and we had our children. This was so good to keep you back in your arms and to tell you about our adventure trip and of course to unpack our green souvenirs;-)
By the way, my greatest treasure of the trip was my Goshuinchō. 11 Stamps decorate the beautiful book:-)
What is our conclusion:
It was perfect.
We had good conversations and delicious, healthy food and we both had a lot of new Nikken friends gained.
This trip was so relaxing and impressive. It is exactly what we needed at this time in our lives, and we are Nikken so thankful that you invited us to everything. What an incredible way to reward people for their efforts! … I could get used to it.
Thanks for reading on our trip. I wish you much well-being and happiness. And if you want to be part of the team Kaizen and want to experience unforgettable journeys: you can make it!