Japan 2015 – Nagomi Visit

by Diane on 27/02/2016

The Nagomi visit was definitely the second absolute highlight of this trip, right on par with seeing Stefan.

If you’ve been following our travels over the last years, you’ll have seen that we’re always keen to catch up with locals. There’s no better way to experience a country than hanging out with those who live there. A great way to meet locals in Japan is Nagomi Visit.

The concept is simple: Nagomi visits brings people together over food. You register on the website, say what day you’ll be in Japan and which train station will be closest to you, talk a bit about yourself, and then sit back and relax. 3 days later you’ll receive a list of potential candidates, who are keen to invite you to their home for dinner.

We received 8 invitations for dinner, and it was really, really hard to choose! Every single person/couple/family sounded amazing and I would have loved to meet them all. But we had to pick one, so we chose Midori and Shinichi.

The experience started with a friendly email exchange, in which the two introduced themselves and sent us perfect instructions to get to their train station (including photos). On the day of our visit we followed these instructions and got picked up from the station by Shinichi. During the short walk to their place it already felt like we were catching up with friends we had known for a long time. When we arrived at the apartment Midori was already waiting for us with the most amazing food you can think of. There were steamed veggies, awesome pickles, tofu steak and lots more – way too much to list it all here.

But not only the food was excellent, the company was great too. We had lots to talk about, shared details of our life in New Zealand and learnt heaps more about Japan. After dinner we even got shown how to make ink from a block of coal (I think it was coal?) and learnt more about Japanese writing. Shinichi even wrote down our dietary requirements in Japanese so we could show it at cafes and restaurants, which made the hunt for food in the following days much easier.

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We absolutely loved our visit and have found new friends in Midori and Shinichi for sure. We’ll definitely catch up with them again next time we’re in Tokyo – and who knows, maybe they’ll come to New Zealand one day too?

If you’re going to Japan at some point this year, feel free to use my Nagomi visit discount code: MA1602. This will give you a 5% discount on your visit (the fee is to cover to costs of food for the host, but I’m pretty sure that our hosts spent much more money on us than what we’ve paid). It’s definitely worth it!



Japan 2015 – A day in Ōsaka

by Diane on 27/02/2016

We stayed at an awesome apartment in Tokyo for the whole time we were in Japan, but for one day we took a day trip to Ōsaka. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, but nor for the usual touristy reasons.

During our 2013 trip to Munich my nephew Stefan and I had a chat about Japan. He was totally into all things Japanese at the time and dreaming about visiting the country one day. Pragmatic as I am, I suggested he should go to school in Japan for a year to experience the country in a true way. Looking back on my own life, not traveling and experiencing different cultures when I was super young is the one thing I regret not having done. So why should he be making the same mistake? His questions about how to pay for it and where to get started I answered with something along the lines of “If you really want this, you’ll figure it out.” Ahh, wise words from aunty Diane…

Fast forward 2 years, and Kai and I were sitting on a shinkansen, on the way to see Stefan. Yep, he really did it. I can never remember the place he ended up staying, but travel time wise Ōsaka was pretty much in the middle, so we met there. We picked him up from the bus terminal and spent an amazing time together.

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  • shopped like mad at the Pokemon Centre (see more pictures over at Tales from the Tummy)
  • had Thai lunch (the restaurant was close by when I started getting hangry)
  • visited Don Quixote (an enormous shop that sells everything, cheap)
  • made rainbow candles at the German Christmas market
  • went to a gigantic electronic store
  • had afternoon tea at a the fantastic Cafe Cante Grande.

And just like that we had to drop Stefan back that the bus terminal and hurry to catch our train back to Tokyo. Such a fantastic fun day – how can it be that time only ever flies when you’re spending it with special people?



Japan 2015 – getting there and back via the Gold Coast

February 6, 2016

I can’t believe that I haven’t had a chance to blog about our Japan trip yet! It’s been almost 2 months since we’ve been on holiday, and life simply got in the way of me sitting down to write about it. There was Christmas with lots of sunshine and gardening time, there was the kitchen […]

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Twitter Secret Santa 2015

December 20, 2015

See what we got in previous years: Twitter Secret Santa 2010-2012, Twitter Secret Santa 2013 and Twitter Secret Santa 2014. We’ve just returned from a trip to Japan, but before I report back on this awesome holiday it’s time for the 2015 edition of Twitter Secret Santa. If you don’t know what that is, please […]

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Europe 2015 – Vienna

September 7, 2015

Final destination of our trip was Vienna where we met with Kai’s parents to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. We stayed at the most awesome Airbnb apartment, run by the most awesome host, and Kai’s parents stayed at a hotel nearby. This way it was easy to catch up with them often, even though we […]

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Europe 2015 – England

September 4, 2015

A while ago Kai and I wrote an article on dinosaur mobile apps. One of the apps we discovered was an augmented reality app called ‘Dinosaur Island’, which allows users to interact with life sized dinosaurs. Downside of the app: it only works on the Isle of Wight in the UK. I love dinosaurs. I […]

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