This was my first time ever in Tokyo, and knowing that language would be a barrier to my exploration of the city, I worked with Chie to build a tour to see Tokyo the way I want to see things: Start with the normal "tourist" places, but get off the beaten path as fast as possible. Chie was absolutely brilliant in how she orchestrated the day. We began with a tour of the fishmarkets which included an impromptu visit of a local shrine. This side step would be the first of many intuitions she would have about what to show me that I was really interested in. Even down to describing the washing ceremony at the fountain gave me the insight into the culture of the local community. We continued to visit some of the popular locations (her experience with the train system was amazing - I was able to use that knowledge for the rest of the week while I attended to business in the city). But as we reached the halfway point, we began to explore elements that she saw really excited me... which ultimately ended us up at the city graveyard - not a normal place to go by any means, but her knowledge of history kept the stories coming (including spending time at the grave of the last woman beheaded in Japan and her amazing story). We wrapped up with a traditional tea ceremony in a private room - drinking from cups that were hundreds of years old after walking past locals having a real life mario cart race in the streets. Her ability to synthesize the old with the new made the day with her magical. My only regret was only having one day to spend with Chie.
Wow Blaine, thank you so much for the glowing review. It was my honor to be the tour guide for someone like you! It was indeed an unusual tour but I enjoyed it so much myself as you seemed to be the kind of person that enjoys the same things that we do. Hope you had no problem for the rest of your stay in Japan, and are back home safe. Again, thank you so much for choosing me. Best regards, Chie