【オーナー酒井の日常ブログ】IELTS test results〜〜アイエルツテスト結果発表




I took IELTS test last August.
I thought I could use a bit of my spare time to prepare for the test after I closed Global Cafe and before I move to Sydney. I decided to take the test in case I feel like going to university or postgraduate in the future during my stay in Sydney.

I ended up not having enough time to study because I had too much other stuff to do, such as practicing driving, packing and so on.


Enough of my excuses!!

My results were as below.
Overall band score–7.0


I aimed to get an overall score of 7.5, so I was a bit disappointed.
However, I was satisfied with the results in a way, because it was my first attempt and I only had one month to prepare for the test.
Moreover, the results are good enough to get into MBA of the University of Sydney!
I will share my tips and experience of studying and taking IELTS with you soon!







オーバーオール(総合点)– 7.0
リスニング– 7.0 リーディング– 7.5  ライティング– 6.0   スピーキング– 7.0


* 注:あくまで英語力がシドニー大学のMBAの入学条件を満たしているだけで、学力は別の話です(沈)






【IELTS test preparation】アイエルツテスト対策まず一番にすべきこと

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】The way I am ~1~ 目標IELTSスコア取得

【オーナー酒井のブログ】Farewell !!


It’s sad that this will be the last blog before the cafe closes.
Ever since I decided to close the cafe and move to Australia, I have had such complex feelings. Part of me is very excited about going to Australia and part of me is very sad about the cafe’s closing.
Since the day that I announced the closing of the cafe, I’ve received many messages and comments which have encouraged and made me happy. Many customers expressed how sad they are, but at the same time, they thanked me, told me how much they cared, encouraged me and even celebrated my new life. Recently, I’ve been very emotional and tearing up often.
Closing the cafe has made me realize how much this cafe really means to me. Come to think of it, I established the cafe and built it from scratch. The cafe feels like my third child. I always think about the cafe (even without realizing it) and have put so much work into it over the last 4 years.
We have created such a unique cafe here. It’s not only about English anymore. It has become a meeting place, a small community. It took a lot of trial-and-error, but we have finally created a place we can call our own.
Most importantly, we have so many lovely customers whose numbers have been increasing more and more. Closing the cafe is not just sad, it gives me a deep sense of loss.
However, thanks to warm messages from the customers, I think I have finally sorted out my complex feelings. I can finally feel that my effort over the last 4 years has paid off.
I had several people offer to carry on the cafe after I move to Australia. Unfortunately, none of them were feasible and didn’t happen. But, many wanted to continue the cafe because they appreciate our community and they don’t want it to disappear. I think many love the cafe’s cozy atmosphere as well as meeting with all the other wonderful customers who support the Cafe’s philosophy of cross-culture communication. These offers made me feel extremely happy and honored.
I am so grateful for meeting with each customer and all the staff here. I also learned a lot from all the conversations and from getting to know many customers. At the cafe we talked about various things and got to know each other’s background, life, dreams and stories through simple questions such as , Why are you learning English? or Where did you learn your English?.
I have also obtained a different perspective after having so many conversations. Many customers who have visited and lived in different countries, not to mention the foreign facilitators who work here, have shared their different ideas, opinions and points of view. By just listening to the conversation at the cafe, my worldview has expanded much more than I expected it would.
There are some customers and facilitators who had a big life event such as marriage, childbirth, changing jobs (changing jobs is still a big life event in Japan!), or studying abroad during the last three years and eight months. I feel so honored to witness and sometimes even participate in these important events.
Finally, I would like to thank my family. I sometimes had to sacrifice time with my family, but my boys always embraced me and showed me love when I found time to be with them. Whenever I had a tough time at the cafe they gave me strength and motivated me to get through it. Last but not least, I would like to express my appreciation to my husband. He is not particularly the sweetest husband, but he’s been the biggest supporter of Global Cafe and my passion for it.
As a farewell message to Global Cafe English learners, I would like to share a small conversation I had with our old facilitator Jesse.
Jesse: 「Your English is Amazing!」
Motoko: 「You really think so? I’ve got an accent and I still make some mistakes.」
Jesse: 「Why should you talk like us? I understand you perfectly. I like your accent.」
This conversation opened my eyes to a new idea. Speaking correct English is maybe one thing, but the passion to communicate and to learn about one another counts much more. English is a global language and so diverse. Nowadays, most English speakers around the world don’t speak ‘native’ English anyways. You’ve got an accent. That means you learnt a second language, English, in addition to the language you already have. That’s great. Learning a language takes so much effort and time! You should be proud of your English.
Be confident and enjoy speaking English! Get to know people from across the globe and expand your world using your hard-earned English, whatever level it is.
I wish you all the best and I look forward to our paths crossing again someday.
Motoko SAKAI
経営的にも順調に成長し、ずいぶんよくなってきたところでカフェを閉めることになってしまいましたので、やるせない気持ちもありましたが、 閉店のお知らせ以降たくさんのお言葉を頂いたおかげで、今までしてきたこと、力を注いできたことが報われたという気持ちになれました。
最後の最後にGlobal Cafeから、英会話を学んでいらっしゃる皆さんへのメッセージとしまして、元Global Cafeのファシリテーターのジェシィとの会話をご紹介したいと思います。 
Jesse:「Your English is Amazing!」
Motoko:「You really think so? I’ve got an accent and I still make some mistakes.」
Jesse「Why should you talk like us? I understand you perfectly. I like your accent.」

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】The way I am ~1~ IELTS目標スコア取得

Hi, everyone. How have you been? 

As I mentioned before, this time I want to talk about myself. It might be long, so I will divide it into two blogs.

I finally got the required IELTS score to study business in Australia! IELTS is an abbreviation for International English Language Testing System, and it’s predominantly a test for non-native English speakers who want to study and get a job in Australia, England, or Canada. The test has listening, reading, writing and speaking sections. The overall score is a combination of the individual section’s scores; therefore, the hardest part is to get a good score in all modules at the same time. I didn’t know any specific strategies for passing the test and the examination fee is high, thus I can’t take the test many times.

I started aiming to get the required IELTS score when I came back to Japan from Australia, where I was on a working holiday visa, around 2 years ago. At that time, it was so hard to make time for studying and I had to make money to pay back my college scholarship. I also needed to save money for my future tuition fees,  IELTS examination fees, and unfortunately, I had to get braces. Of course I had to handle it by myself, so I was in a difficult situation.

However, I made the decision to pay off all my debts, to save money for studying abroad, and to get the desired score within 2 years. Then, I would definitely go back to Australia. For 2 years, I worked three or four jobs at the same time and studied very hard, late into the night. The way I studied for IELTS was very simple. I looked for the IELTS textbooks with the best reviews online and bought them. Then, I did the exercises repeatedly. This way might not be the best way to get a high score but, it was good enough for me. The score I got is actually not very high. However, I am proud of myself that I could achieved this score. I was able to bounce back after my difficulties and achieve my goals after a lot of sacrifice.

I think I’ll call it here! I’ll give you some study tips. ( not really) 

See you!





IELTSとはInternational English language testing system の略で、主にイギリスやオーストラリア、カナダでの進学や就職を目指す英語のノンネイティブの人達のためのテストです。リスニング、リーディング、ライティング、スピーキングの4つのセクションに分かれていて、結果は4つのスキルごとのスコアと4つスキルのオーバーオール(平均点)が出ます。4つのスキルがあるので一気にレベルがあげられない、どう攻略すればいいのか分からない所が私にとっての最大の難関でした。また受験料もとても高く、そう何度も受けられない点も非常に大きな壁でした。





【オーナー酒井の日常ブログ】IELTS test results〜〜アイエルツテスト結果発表

【IELTS test preparation】アイエルツテスト対策まず一番にすべきこと








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(自由と多様性のある社会に向けて、英語を道具に様々な国の人と人が話すコミュニティー創りの場を提供する Global Cafe代表 酒井 資子さん。)https://note.mu/ogajun1127/n/n9c144a2a35e3



【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 後半(2)

Hi, everyone! This is the last post about the Kansai region! Have you been enjoying them? 

I am going to talk about Kobe’s other aspects. I think many people already know this, but there was a big earthquake in Kobe and Awaji in the past. The earthquake took the lives of many people. There is an earthquake memorial museum called “Hito to mirai no Bousai center” in Kobe. The museum exhibit has many pictures and videos of the victims and a life-sized model of a street after the disaster. They look so real that some school teachers, who were victims, cried when they visited the museum.

The exhibits also introduce some helpful ways to prepare, escape, and protect yourself if you are caught in an earthquake. Currently, we are not able to forecast when and where an earthquake will happen, so I think the museum is really helpful.

On the other hand, Kobe is home to one of the three major Chinatowns in Japan. The name of the town is “Nankinmachi”(南京町). This town is not that big, but you can feel like you are in China there. In addition, there is a Family Mart convenience store in front of the gate, but it is decorated in a Chinese style and most store clerks are Chinese too:)

Now, I want to recommend some restaurants in Chinatown. The first is “Roushouki”(老祥記), a shoronpo (steamed bun) restaurant. It is located in the center of the town, and it often has long lines in front, so you can’t miss it. The shoronpos are not too big, so they are easy to eat, and they are juicy and very good.

Across from Roushouki, there is a roasted pork specialty shop called Ekiseigou(益生號). They only sell roasted pork, but it is very tasty. There is also “Frantz” sweets shop on the south side of the town. The red exterior looks like a fancy western shop, and they sell delicious “caramel custard jar puddings”. Another sweet that I recommend is the cheesecake from Kannonya. Unfortunately, it is not sold in Nankinmachi. This cheese cake is kind of unique. You can take it home and have it right away or heat it up in your oven to melt the cheese and enjoy a warm treat.

The final city in the Kansai region I want to talk about is Osaka, one of the most famous cities in Japan. There are many sightseeing places in Osaka, but my favorite is the tourist area “Doutonbori”. There are many cheap restaurants. This place is also famous for takoyaki. Another famous sightseeing place in Osaka is Osaka Castle. The castle was Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s passion project. It is a spectacular and beautiful building, but there is a problem in my opinion: it has become a museum. For this reason, the inside of the building has been updated to include elevators, TVs, videos introducing history, and exhibitions behind glass panels. It has become too famous. However, it is still well preserved, and the Golden tea room is a beautiful spot that I highly recommend. 

Another nice spot in Osaka is Kaiyuukan, one of the biggest aquariums in Japan; there is even a whale shark! It is located across the bridge from Universal Studios Japan (USJ). Recently, USJ has been holding many unique events and received high evaluations from kids to adults! Especially, the Jurassic Park area is known to have the most fun rides. Here, I’d like to give advice about the Fast pass. Unlike Disneyland, we can buy the fast pass in advance and it is definitely worth it, so I recommend that you buy them for the days when it’s expected to be crowded. 

The last recommended sightseeing spot is Tsuutenkaku, also known as Osaka Tower. A famous statue of Biriken, the god of happiness, is enshrined inside Tsuutenkaku. They say, if you rub the statue’s feet, you will get lucky. Give it a try! Shinsekai, at the foot of Tsuutenkaku, is a famous place for Kushikatsu restaurants. I recommend that you try some and find your favorite Kushikatsu restaurants! Kushikatsu is a well-known dish from Osaka, it is fried vegetables and meat skewers that you dip in a special sauce and enjoy with a beer.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading it. I really want to write more, but I already wrote a lot. If you’re interested, we can talk more in person at the cafe! I will talk about other topics next time! See you.





は焼豚専門店の”益生號”です。ここでは焼豚しか販売されていませんが、こだわっている分やはりおいしいです。このお店は老祥記のすぐ斜め前にあります。また、この南京町の南側に真っ赤な洋風のお店の「Frantz」があります。ここのツボプリンは絶品です(^▽^)/ ぜひ食べてみてくださいね!南京町では販売されていないですが、神戸のもう一つのおススメのお土産は、「観音屋」というスイーツショップです。ここのチーズケーキは一風変わったチーズケーキを販売しています。それはなんと、オーブンで温めて食べるチーズケーキなんです。実際温めると、上にのったチーズが程よく溶けて絶品です!


家族で楽しめるスポットでは、海遊館もあります。世界最大級の水族館でジンベイザメも見ごたえ満点です(^▽^)/その海遊館から橋を越えた向こう側はUSJですね!最近多くの画期的なコラボ企画やイベントを行っているUSJですが、その評価も高く子供から大人まで楽しめます!特に、最近はジュラシックエリアがリニューアルし、ますます魅力的なアトラクションが増えてきました!ここで一つアドバイスですが、USJは人気のアトラクションのファストパスが販売されているので、混雑が予想される日に行く場合は事前に買っておくことをお勧めします( ・´ー・`) 




【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(1)

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai ~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(2)

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 後半(1)

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 後半(1)

Hi, everyone! It’s been a long time! How have you been? Today we’ll be revisiting the Kansai region and this time I’m going to talk about Nara and Kobe. First, let’s take a look at Nara.

Nara is famous for having many world heritage buildings, shrines, and temples. I especially recommend that you go to “Yakushiji”. Yakushiji is one of the most famous temples in Nara. It has a building to commemorate the gods of medicine.

You can enjoy seeing beautiful ancient statues as well as listening to a special sermon from a Buddhist monk; it’s surprisingly funny! The monks of Yakushiji manage to grab the hearts of everyone listening — the students, the teachers, the guides and the tour conductors with their comedic storytelling skills. They are so famous that people from all over Japan come to listen to them.

Speaking of Yakushiji’s monks, my favorite monk is Mr. Murakami. He is the funniest monk in Yakushiji. It’s difficult to get a chance to talk to him because he has always been popular and is always surrounded by students and teachers. However, I got a chance to talk to him once. I told him I was his biggest fan and got to shake his hand.

Speaking of Nara, there is also the Todaiji Temple Daibutsu and many deer in Nara Park. First, I would like to talk about the Daibutsu. A long time ago, Japan was stricken by a great famine and natural disasters. The Shomu emperor built the Daibutsu statue of the buddha to pray to god for help. He collected gold and wood from all over Japan to build it. Since its construction, it has been damaged by fires and sometimes by disasters and war, but it has always been rebuilt by people and it still stands today. 

One time, the Daibutsu’s eyeball got damaged and they tried to repair it, but they had no idea how to reach inside and place a new one there. One guy rose to the challenge. The man went inside the Daibutsu eye and he pulled the eyeball into place from the inside. Everyone was curious about how the man would come out from there. The man emerged from the Daibutsu’s nose! He was admired as clever by everyone who saw him. A famous Japanese saying about cleverness was created from this story “目から鼻に抜けた” (me kara hana ni nuketa) which literally means “through the eye, out the nose”.The meaning is similar to the English saying “as sharp as a needle.”

By the way, in the temple, there is a column with an opening as wide as Daibutsu’s nose hole and legend has it that people who crawl through it will become smart.

Deer were also considered sacred at a similar level to Daibutsu because legend has it that some gods used deer as mounts when traveling. So, I will discuss a few stories about deer in Nara. Did you know one of the Hanafuda cards has drawings of a maple tree and a deer? Once upon a time, a boy called Sansaku was practicing calligraphy in a room but a deer came into the room and suddenly ate his paper. The paper was his best work. He was angry and he threw a paperweight at the deer to dismiss it, but accidentally killed it. At the time, if someone killed a deer, they would have received the death sentence even if they were kids. So, Sansaku was forced to dig a grave by himself. He went into it with the deer’s dead body and was buried alive with it and covered by rocks and blocks. His mother was very sad and she planted a maple tree on the grave as an offering.

Killing a deer wasn’t the only deer-related law the people of the town had to follow. If a deer died in front of someone’s house in the morning by accident, they had to pay 3 mon (Japan’s old currency). So, they usually woke up early to check whether a deer had died or not in front of their house. If a deer had died, they dragged it to the next house and left it there. When the town patrol came around in the morning, whoever’s house it was found in front of had to pay the 3 mon fine. Legend has it that “早起きは三文の得” (hayaoki ha 3-mon no toku which literally means those who rise early get 3-mon or the early bird catches the worm) came from this.

Now, I’ll talk a bit about Kobe. Kobe is a sophisticated and beautiful town, famous for its shoe industry. Therefore, this town is called “Hakidaore no machi”. Kobe used to also be known for its port tower. That tower has many stores and activities you can participate in. For example, when night falls the place becomes a romantic, illuminated place.

There is another romantic spot in Kobe called “Akashi Big Bridge” that also lights up at night.

In my next post, I’ll mention some other facts about Kobe and surveniors as well as Osaka! Please check it out. (^▽^)/


皆さんこんにちは!お久しぶりです(^▽^)/ 今回は関西第2弾として奈良、神戸です!まずは奈良からスタートです!





そんな東大寺ですが戦や自然災害により損壊を繰り返し、その度修復され今現在の姿で祀られています。そんな折、目の修復をしなくてはいけなくなった大仏様ですが、みんなどうやって内側から目をはめたらよいのかと頭を悩ましていた時、一人の男が名乗りを上げました。その男は大仏様の目から体内に入り、内側から目を付けました。その後みんなどうやってその男が大仏様の体内から出てくるのか見守っていると、その男は大仏様の鼻の穴から出てきました。そうして「目から鼻に抜けた賢い男だ」と称賛を浴び「目から鼻に抜ける」=賢いという意味になりました。英語では”as sharp as a needle”が意味の近い表現になります。




また、鹿関連の被害はそれだけでなく他の庶民にも及びました。もし家の前で鹿が偶然死んでいたら、罰金としてその家は3文を払わなくてはいけませんでした。そのため家の人は朝早く起きて家の外に鹿が死んでいないか確認し、もし死んでいたら隣の家に引きずって置いたそうです。そしてその隣の家も家の前で見つけたら隣の家に、という形で最後に見つかった家は罰金として三文を役人に払わなくてはいけなかったそうです。ここから「早起きは三文の得」ということわざが生まれたという逸話が残っています。ちなみに英語でも同じ意味のことわざがあり、”The early bird gets the worm.”です。


他の名所で言うと明石大橋も有名ですね!夜はライトアップされるのでここもロマンティックなスポットとしても有名です。そんな華やかな神戸のまた別の違う顔と、お土産、そして最後大阪を次回後編(2)にてお話したいと思います(^▽^)/ お楽しみに!
【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 後半(2)はコチラ


Hi Everyone! Global Cafe recently had its 3rd anniversary on the 12th of September.

 I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and write a bit about the last three years since the cafe’s opening.


I remember the very first day we opened the cafe. I had been very nervous for a few weeks before the opening. I was worried if any customers would come to the cafe. I was worried people would not even understand our concept.

 So when we had our very first customer and received the very first payment I was so happy and it felt surreal.


 These last three years have gone by very fast and have been super interesting. I like being at the cafe so much. I meet many people (customers) there and standing at the counter at the cafe listening to the conversation has become my favorite pastime.  I don’t even consider it as work. I probably should do so but it’s too much fun to take it as work. By listening to the conversations I learn not only English but also a lot about various cultural stuff, the latest news and trivia and so on. 

The customers at the cafe vary a lot too, age-wise and background-wise and everything and they meet at the cafe and sit at one table, talk about the same topics in English, and share ideas with one another and that makes me very happy. They might not have ever met if there was no Global Cafe. 


 I’ve also met many teachers from different countries at the cafe. They are also very interesting and I always enjoy talking with them.

 Many teachers left Japan and had to leave Global Cafe. I am always sad when a teacher leaves Global Cafe but I have become friends or even like family with many of them so it does not make me too sad now. 

I feel like all of those who worked at Global Cafe are alumni or family of the cafe. I would not have met them if I hadn’t opened Global Cafe so I’m really happy about opening the cafe. 


 Since the cafe’s opening, there are many changes in my private life. My eldest son is tuning four soon and I have another baby boy too. During my pregnancy I left my work to my staff. Until then I did everything in my own way and there is no clear instruction or manual about how to run/handle things in the cafe. So I had to make the everything clear and systematize the thing and I had realized how irresponsibly I did my job and how difficult it is to manage a business.

  There were some difficult times too. My sons were hospitalized twice. My husband has been to transferred to Tokyo from this August. Actually the idea of closing the cafe had crossed my mind a few times but each time I thought about our lovely customers and the cafe as a community place which we have created and then I kept going.   


Without the support from the customers and staff Global Cafe would not exist now and would not continue.

 I am really grateful to our customers and Global Cafe staff. Thank you so much everyone!! 
























【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai ~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(2)

Hi, everyone! This time I’m going to talk about my recommendations for souvenirs and restaurants in Kyoto! 

Do you remember that I recommended you to go to Kiyomizu temple? The other reason I strongly recommend this temple is because of the souvenirs! Don’t you buy Yatsuhashi every time you travel to Kyoto? I will give you my latest recommendations for sourveniors. I recommend visiting the main path that leads to Kiyomizu Temple because it is surrounded by many souvenir shops. Below I will tell you about some of the different souvenirs you can purchase.

Firstly, Kyo-Baum. Many souveniors shops sell it, and it’s not expensive. The sweetness of the macha and baumkuchen match each other really well without being too sweet overall.

Next is Ajyari-mochi, sold at the Japanese sweet shop, Mangetsu. The shop is located in the basement of Kyoto station, and it always has a long line. Sometimes the line is so long that it goes all the way around the shop. The worst case scenario is that it is sold out. But, at the beginning of the Kiyomizu path, if you turn left onto Sannen-zaka, there is another Mangetsu who also sells Ajyari-mochi. You don’t need to queue up and the mochi is freshly made. The texture is more like manjyu than mochi. They are moist and soft, making it easy for old people to eat.

There is a seasonings shop that is near to Mangetsu, called Ochanoko-sai-sai. They sell Maiko-han-hi-hi”, which is a very spicy chili. If you like spicy flavors you will love it. I also recommend you buy Kyo-no-odashi. Add it to Miso Soup or nimono to make it more flavourful and delicious.

If you continue up hill on the Kiyomizu path, about half way up, there is a narrow path on the right. This path is easy to miss so you have to look for it carefully. When you find the path, there is a famous hidden shop, Fumonan. This shop also sells Japanese sweets and manjyu which are named Ofukuhan. These manjyu are also very delicious. They also sell Yasai-Karinto. These were so amazing because I have never eaten Karinto like this before! I can confidently recommend these.

Continuing up the hill, there is a sweets shop with a western style exterior on the left named MALEBRANCHE. The best-selling sweet is a western style sweet called Langue de chat. It is western style, but it tastes like Macha. The inside is very creamy, and the outside is crispy.

The only sweet that I could not buy on Kiyomizu street is a cake named Saganomichi. This cake is wrapped in bamboo leaf, the cream inside is sweet, and the sponge is soft. It is so delicious. This cake used to be served to the teachers every time they had a meeting. There is a cake shop in Kyoto station where it is sold so please check it out on your way home.

After shopping and sightseeing the next thing to do is lunch. Luckily, there are many restaurants in Kyoto. I will recommend a restaurant that is hidden near the Kiyomizu temple. The name is Shokudo Endou. This is mainly a tuna restaurant and it is located in residential area. Many people wait in the line outside of the restaurant during lunch time. They have a variety of good food, the quality is awesome, and it is not so expensive. When I went there, we were not allowed to take a pictures. If you want to get more information please feel free to ask me!

Thank you for taking your time to read my blog. Next time, I am going to talk about Osaka, Kobe, Nara. Pease check again soon!











【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai ~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(1)はコチラ

【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 後半(1)はコチラ






【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(1)

Hello, everyone! How have you been? My boss, Mrs.Sakai, came back from maternity leave so I can’t see you as much as before, and I miss you, but I’m also looking forward to talking to you when we meet at the cafe!

In this blog, I will talk to you about Kansai and Kyoto, which I have mentioned previously. Kansai is actually the most popular place to travel for school and company trips. When I was a tour guide, I spent half a month in Kansai during the busy season, I have many sweet and bitter memories about the place. This time the main topic is sightseeing.

Firstly, Kyoto! Kyoto is the most famous place for sightseeing in Japan and is always crowded. Which season is the best to go? I think spring or fall are the best, but summer and winter are also good. Kyoto is in a basin, which means summer is very hot and winter is freezing cold.

When it comes to transport, there are a some different ways to get around the city. The main ways are the local bus, train, taxi and on foot or bicycle. The most common way with is the local bus, but I don’t recommend it because it’s always crowded in the bus, and the routes are complicated, so it’s very inconvenient. The way I recommend is taxi or train. If you have many friends you can choose a one-day chartered taxi. The reason I recommend this is because it’s easier to catch taxies and not so expensive. The train runs many times everyday, so you might want to buy the one day train/bus ticket combination.

Speaking of sightseeing the best place to go sightseeing in Kyoto is Kiyomizu temple, because there are many different structures and landscapes to see. Ryoma Sakamoto’s grave is also located near Kiyomizu temple and I will talk later about more reasons to visit.

The second most famous place in Kyoto is Fushimi-inari shrine, this place is also very popular as Kiyomizu temple. There are many torii gates which lead into hills. The path which leads to the temples has a gentle incline at first, but it gets steeper after a while, by the end It feels like we climbed a small mountain. There are many Oinari stands around there that are also popular.


In Kyoto the Maikos are very famous. They usually appear around Gion and Ponto-cho, but it’s difficult to find them because they are busy training and working. If you find them, you are very lucky. I actually got the chance to talk to them before and I heard a lot of interesting stories. Do you know why they paint their faces white? During those times there was no electricity, so they used candles for light. The candle light made their makeup look even more beautiful.

How do they become Maiko? Actually, they need to be very determined and begin at a young age. They generally have to start training just after graduating junior high school.

Firstly, they go to Okiya (kind of agency company) with their parents to get an interview. When they pass it, they can start to become Maiko. Their training is very strict! They have to learn traditional Japanese dancing, Kyoto dialects, proper manners and playing instruments, like a Koto. They are not allowed to have their own cellphones, when they need it for work, cellphones are handed out to them. They also basically can’t go to fast food shops and they are not allowed to meet with anyone outside for work. Many girls around 15 years old can’t handle it, so many girls give up on becoming Maiko.

How about Payment? Basically, they don’t get payment, they get some money as their allowance. Their living cost, Kimonos and lessons are paid for instead of getting a salary. Hair accessories and kimonos are especially expensive.


When you become a Geisha, they can get salaries but they usually have to get out of their Okiya and be independent. When I met and talked to them, they were so mature and sophisticated, I couldn’t believe they were teenagers, and I respected that they are known as a symbol of Japanese beauty.


Continuing on from sightseeing, Arashiyama is also very famous. The Katura river flows through Arasiyama where the Togetukyou bridge crosses over the river. I believe you can feel a real Japanese atmosphere there. Every season the trees on the mountain change colour so it is especially beautiful. I have to recommend the Trocco train and Suzumushi-temple. This train runs the same speed as a bicycle, because this train is for enjoying views.


Suzumushi (bell cricket) Temple is a very famous and spritual temple, not only because there are many bell crickets inside the temple, but also in order to buy a charm at Suzumushi Temple you must first listen to a sermon, which is very different compared to the other temples found around the world.


I really want to talk about more but I’m going to finish this first one volume. I am going to talk about Kyoto’s souvenirs next time!

See you next time!

















【元添乗員ふきこのブログ】Let’s go to Kansai ~関西へおいでやす~ 前半(2)はコチラ


【オーナー酒井の日常ブログ】Family trip to Karatsu – 唐津家族旅行






Hi everyone, It’s been so hot! How are you coping with the heat?

 It’s been three months since my boys started going to the nursery and we have finally got used to our new lifestyle.

 Recently we went to Karatsu for the weekend. We wanted to go around this time partly because my husband will soon be transferred to Tokyo…

It only takes an hour and a half to get to Karatsu by train. Taking the train is nice because you get to see the beautiful ocean view.

 Toshi, my older son, likes playing in the water, especially the sea, so the main purpose of this trip was so he could play at the beach and take it easy, and we could all spend some time together.

 As soon as we checked in at Karatsu, we headed to the beach. The water was a little murky and the sea was rough. It was very different from what we saw on the train. We were a little disappointed, but Toshi ran and ran along the water’s edge and seemed very happy. It was only the second time for Toshi to see the sea so he didn’t have any expectations. Even though I was knackered from carrying Aoi, my younger son, and our baggage that still made me smile.

 After we left the beach we strolled through the arcade in the downtown area and then went back to the inn.

At the inn, we took a bath and enjoyed a nice meal in our room. Toshi loved the big bath because I’m sure it felt like a pool for him.

In a Japanese-style inn, the staff comes to the room and sets up the futon for us after dinner.

An elderly lady came to our room. She was very nice and let Toshi help her set up the futon and the sheets. He got so excited and loved doing that.

 The next day after taking another bath in the big family tub, we went back to the arcade to let Toshi have a soft-serve ice cream. When we went there the day before, Toshi licked a giant size soft-served ice cream replica. For some reason there are many of them in the arcade, Toshi got very crazy and wouldn’t stop licking them… So we decided to come back to let him have a real one.

 After that, we visited a different beach from the day before and had lunch at a hotel with an ocean view.

We took it easy and headed back home after that.

 After we came back, I asked Toshi what he enjoyed the most, and his answer was that he enjoyed swimming in the big bath and setting up the futon with the old lady.

Hmm, did we really need to go all the way to Karatsu?  

It was very cute though.

















【オーナー酒井の日常ブログ】Beppu onsen trip! – 別府家族旅行