Besides being a Tokyo CityPal, I have many different jobs and tour guiding is one of them. I mainly teach English in a hair salon and have odd jobs here and there. I spend the rest of my time with friends. I also love dancing and go out quite often to underground, smaller clubs, but I’ll sometimes go to the big clubs too, if a great DJ is playing. Photographing people and traveling are what I love most. In Japan, I have traveled around to various parts of the country a fair bit, including Hokkaido, Tottori, Ishinomaki, Okinawa, Gunma, Nagano and Tokunoshima. And as for the rest of the world, I’ve been to many countries in Europe, Central and South America, Asia, the Middle East and Australia. Still on my bucket list are Africa, Scandinavia and North America.
LGBT Birthday Tour – Well, this tour was so exciting, as it came together at the last minute. I got a message from Valorie that she wanted to explore the LGBT scene with her partner on their last day in Tokyo. It was their anniversary that night and also my birthday party. So naturally, I invited them to join me for dinner – we all went out with about six of my friends to Ni-Chome. We cruised to two of our favourite bars, one with seating outside where you can watch everyone go by, and a few people wanted to take photos with Valorie as they said she looked like Sarah Jessica Parker! The other bar was more like a club. We had a few drinks, some very interesting conversation and even came up with our own startup invention. The night was filled with lots of laughs. I love it when I meet new people who I can connect with, but it’s even better when they can connect with my friends too. It was a fabulous, fun night!
Rugby Fan Tour – This was a new experience for me! I was not familiar with the game and had no idea where to start, so it was a new challenge for me. I organized for traveler Rodger an itinerary for his entire trip here in Japan including the two rugby games he wanted to see, as well as visiting Nikko, Kyoto and Osaka. I helped Rodger register for the tournament, bought the tickets and also joined him to watch the games. We experienced a lot of Japanese culture by doing something off the beaten path like going to the games and seeing how people act when they are excited and when there are super large crowds.
The CityPals Team in Los Angeles asked me to give away my secret spots in Tokyo on this blog post. I can’t tell you the names of the secret spots, as they won’t be secret anymore 😉 If you want to know more about these spots, you will have to message me through the CityPals site or app (iOS or Android).
What is a Secret Spot? It’s my local hangout. It’s an area with jazz bars, wine bars, live houses, bars with DJs and lots of tiny drinking places. Locals hang out here. In Japan, because of the noise and the small size of the average homes, people meet outside, rather than going to each other’s homes. These days you can see a few more tourists at my secret spot, but generally, it is still quite local. In this area, I like leading a night tour of drinking, eating and dancing (karaoke is also possible). There are also “girls bars” also known as “pubs” in Japan where there are hostesses who drink and talk with you.
I also enjoy doing a day or night Gyoza Tour here, as there are a few shops that serve my favourite Gyozas!
This tour is special because you can hang out with local people, the streets look very cool and you can take some nice photos. There are so many different places to go to … It is close to another secret spot that I love and it can turn into an awesome five-hour tour.
Generally speaking, the locations I frequent are not a tourist destinations. While they are still pretty close to the popular centres, if you want to hang out with Japanese people I suggest these areas.
International travel is great, however, it is easy for travelers to get stuck at a resort, going to shopping malls and other areas which are pretty much similar to what they have at home. I think CityPals allows the travelers who want to explore local culture to be able to do it in a more intimate way. Group tours can be restrictive, but with CityPals, you can choose the right guide just for you and get the insight of a local, in the context of a personalized tour. All of my experiences have been like either meeting up with an old friend or, meeting someone new and hanging out. Overall, I think when you don’t have much time to spend in a place it’s hard to get a feel of the place. But with your own local guide you can get to know the place quickly and get the information YOU want. And on the way, you make friendships.
Travelers interested in booking Sara for a local tour/experience in Tokyo, can do so here.
Interested in having your CityPals story published on our blog? Please send it to us to firstname.lastname@example.org