Todd: Keiko, my family is coming to Japan to see me and it’s the first time they’ve been to Japan. What do you recommend? Like what should we see? They are going to be in Tokyo for one week.
Keiko: OK. Do they want to go outside of Tokyo or do they want to stay in Tokyo?
Todd: I think they would like to do one day, a one-day trip outside and then maybe spend the rest of the time in Tokyo.
Keiko: OK, I think, a lot of people say that Tokyo is not really Japan, you have to go outside of Tokyo to really see Japan because Tokyo is like New York in the states, but I don’t think it’s true because if you go to downtown in Tokyo you can see a lot of traditional old things for example if you go to places like Asakusa, but in the back streets you can see these old people who grew up in that area, you know doing their own thing in their own little ways and I think Tokyo’s quite interesting because you can see, like example, places like Asakusa, you can see on the one side of the street, you can see cosmopolitan, you know, kind of buildings, new buildings and on the other side of the street you can see the old little traditional buildings or the cultures. You can kind of compare at the same time, so I recommend the places like the downtown in Tokyo, Asakusa.
Todd: How about, what city would you recommend besides Tokyo?
Keiko: Besides Tokyo, my favorite — is it just a one-day trip?
Todd: Let’s say two days.
Keiko: Two days. Well, if you really had a chance to go really far away, I recommend Shikoku because it’s, it has a really nice nature.
Todd: Now is Shikoku, is that an actual city or an island or?
Keiko: It’s a prefectural Shikoku area. It has four prefectures. That’s why it’s called Shikoku, four countries. It used to be four different countries and you can actually take a bus tour around the four prefectures and then you can see those little small reserved villages between the prefectures.
Todd: So Shikoku, huh?
Keiko: Shikoku is really nice but you have to fly there so if you only have two days, I recommend you go to maybe Kamakura. You can see the shrines
Todd: So Kamakura. And how far is Kamakura from Tokyo?
Keiko: About 2 hours from on the train.
Todd: That’s not too long.
Keiko: It’s not too long and then you can down even further south to Hakone and you can go to a lot of different hot springs.
Todd: Actually, I’m thinking of taking family to Hakone to hot springs but I worry about the prices. How much would a ryokan, a Japanese hotel cost?
Keiko: About maybe 10,000 yen to 20,000 yen per person.
Todd: Oh really?
Todd: So that’s about between a hundred and two hundred U.S. dollars. That’s not too much.
Keiko: No, but I mean it can go higher than 20,000 yen. It can always go higher.
Todd: Right. I got to be careful.
Keiko: Yeah, but you could also find a place between 10,000 yen and 20,000 yen range.
Todd: OK, and what — if they could try three Japanese foods, what Japanese foods would you recommend?
Keiko: I recommend sashimi, the raw fish, and I recommend kani-miso, which is the brain of the crab. That’s a very kind of, very special kind of a treatment for the guests.
Keiko: Kani-miso. Because it’s so tiny. The brain of the crab is so tiny, and you can’t get so much out of one crab so it’s quite expensive and you put that on the cracker, so you put that on the rice.
Todd: Wow! Crab brains.
Keiko: Yeah, crab brains, and if you go to Hakone, it’s by the sea so, it’s close to the sea so you can get a lot of seafood and I also recommend natto just to see their reaction.
Todd: Right, ok, thanks a lot, Keiko.