"In 2012 we started this project called Venezia x Izu, to help creating a connection not only between Venice and Izu, but also between Izu and the rest of the World. In 2020 Japan will host the Olympic Games and Izu will host the cycling events at Shuzenji Velodrome. A big chance for less known local areas to become more open to foreign tourism and to build worldwide connections. Please feel free to contact us for whatever needs you should have while visiting Japan (including camping, water and electric supply)!"
From Izu to Tokyo (Tokaido)
Since three months ago it became difficult for me to find some time to travel through Izu with my daughter during the weekend as I used to do, as she started a rehab program at a clinic based in Ebisu (Tokyo) and so we have to go there every week's Friday.
It takes 1 hour and a half from Mishima/northern Izu, both by car and by Shinkansen train.
It is quite tiring to drive there back and forth every week and so during the weekend we prefer to stay in the Mishima/Nagaoka area, going to play at some parks nearby.
Mishima-Tokyo is part of the Tokaido (To=east, kai=sea, do=road) route, that goes from Kyoto to Tokyo.
The "eastern sea route," was the most important of the Five Routes of the Edo Period in Japan.
Along the Tokaido there were 53 post stations for travellers rest, the modern day service areas, but considering that in the past people used to travel it by foot we can consider ourselves lucky to be able to get from Mishima to Tokyo so quickly.
Today, the Tōkaidō corridor is the most heavily travelled transportation corridor in Japan, connecting Tokyo and Yokohama to Nagoya and then to Osaka via Kyoto. The Tokyo-Nagoya-Kyoto-Osaka route is followed by the JR Tokaido Line and the Tokaido Shinkansen, as well as the Tomei and Meishin expressways. A few portions of the original road can still be found, however, and in modern times at least one person has managed to follow and walk much of it. It should be a very fascinating and hard experience to do.
Anyway, being able to go to Tokyo every week gives me the chance to do things and go to places I used to when I was living in Tokyo a few years ago.
For example I went to the barber shop I used to go then and last week I went to visit an old friend of mine, who's now President of Fender Japan. Yes, the most famous guitar company in the world.
It is one of the stories that make you realize how small the world is and how interesting life is.
We met in Sapporo 15 years ago, when we were both studying Japanese at a Language School in Hokkaido.
We stayed at the same dormitory. He was 37 and I was 23 y.o.
Then we met again in Venice once he came as a tourist with his Italian fiancee and then we both continued our lifes in Japan.
He became President of Ralph Lauren Japan before and then now of Fender Japan, while I kept working in the construction industry in Izu.
We met a few times during the years and it has been always a pleasure to talk, exchange experiences and thoughts about anything.
He has two big passions. Music and motorbikes.
This is why his favourite place to drive thru in Japan is the Izu Peninsula! I hope you will follow his example and drive here too!
Beautiful Italy in winter
Last week I've been to my homecountry Italy with two clients and business partners.
We spent one week travelling around the beautiful peninsula (same as Izu!), eating delicious local food and visiting some very interesting companies, specialized in paints for interior/exterior walls and floors.
First we arrived at Milano Malpensa airport, on a not so cold Sunday evening.
First thing we did is eating a good pizza at a small pizzeria near our hotel.
As the next morning we had scheduled to visit Italy's top admixtures and adhesives maker Mapei's laboratories we stayed at a nearby hotel, a little bit far from the center of Milano.
People use to say that Milano's air is not clean, but in the early morning we were lucky enough to see the Alps clearly.
After a three hours meeting at Mapei, where our business partners have been introduced to Mapei's line dedicated to walls protection and decoration, we saw some applications. I've been visiting Mapei many times but it was the first time to listen and watch a presentation and some applications of these kind of products. Very interesting!
Then we moved to the small city of Lainate, just outside Milano.
There we had a quick lunch and then visited a company called Cromas, specialized in paints.
Very beautiful and with a strong "Italian" accent. I've started to understand why Italians are famous all around the world for these kind of products. To perform beautiful decorations you need to specialize in the field, spend time and resources in creating and promoting some very particular products.
The jet lag was still strong, we were quite tired, but found some strenght left to reach Milano Central Station and get to Brescia by train.
Had dinner with Federchemicals owner Federico at a (no need to say) delicious seafood restaurant (didn't know that also in Brescia you could eat very good fish!) and went to bed early, as the next morning we had a meeting at Federico's offices.
This is where I went back to the "world" I'm used to, concrete.
After a brief introduction about Federchemicals products we went to see an amazing application, at a local supermarket.
Being able to obtain such a stunning concrete terrazzo floor just by polishing a concrete floor and using some of his products on it, is something that I never thought was possible. Very impressive!
We then left Brescia after an amazing lunch at a typical local restaurant. Good food, interesting products and applications, very good memories to bring back to Japan!
We then moved by train (after changing train twice, in Verona and Bologna) to a city called Cattolica, in the center of Italy, on the Adriatic Coast.
This area is famous for its clubs, especially in summer.
As we went in January we felt the typical "good sadness" of off season small cities life.
Very few people around, nobody at the beach, so we could enjoy the calm and peace of a brief morning walk and a nice talk at a local restaurant in the evening.
Then we visited two other companies in the Cattolica/Rimini area.
Specialized in decorative paints for walls and floors, one with a Japanese dealer already, the other not yet.
So for this reason we spent more time in the last one, hoping to be able to build a cooperation and business opportunity in the near future, between Italy and Japan.
Finally, pretty tired but satisfied with the interesting products we saw, we got on a night train to Venice, where we arrived at about 11pm.
We spent the last day walking around my hometown.
It was the first time for one of them and the second time for the other. I'm always very proud and happy to show some of my foreign friends and business partners the beauties of the city I will always consider HOME.
Now I'm back in Japan, but a piece of my hearth will always remain there...
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 27)
While my hometown Venezia is suffering from another "acqua alta", as every Sunday I'm driving through the Izu Peninsula with my daughter.
We are at the end of autumn and the cold winter has already began, so we can see and admire some very beautiful colors during our drive.
I've always liked these colors of the trees, since I was a child and used to have some mountain trips with my grandparents.
Autumn and spring are my favourite seasons, as you can see the nature changing and renewing itself in all its beauty.
"She" is always the same and will never change, even if we humans are doing all we can to damage it and destroy is.
But as we can see in Japan with earthquakes and tsunami(s) or in Venice with the so called acqua alta floodings the nature is way stonger and powerful than us, small little human beings.
This is one of my favourite routes to drive through in Izu.
Going down to Mount Amagi and west to the village of Toi and then come back up driving on the western wild coast.
You can admire some very beautiful images of Mount Fuji and create your own postcard.
I hope that these brief stories and these images will give you another reason to come and visit this beautiful area of Japan.
We are getting closer to the 2020 Olympics and Izu will host the cycling sports events!
Hope to see you here!
Acqua Altaってご存知ですか？ Have you ever heard about Acqua Alta? 2019版
Izu Peninsula, lesser known destination you must see in Japan (part 26)
Last Saturday a very strong typhoon, named Hagibis, made landfall in the Izu Peninsula and moved up the east coast up to Tokyo, Ibaraki and Miyagi Prefecture, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
It triggered landslides and floods as it battered the country with wind speeds of 225km/h.
Rivers have breached their banks in at least 14 different places, inundating residential neighbourhoods, leaving at least nine people dead and other people injured or missing.
We, as many residents stocked up on provisions before the typhoon's arrival, leaving supermarkets empty shelves, especially for water.
Two rugby games were cancelled and so were trains and flights from both Narita and Haneda.
As I wrote above, the typhoon came straight into the Izu Peninsula from south, so we were all very scared about it.
Luckily for us the damages here locally have been less than expected and the major problems have been caused by the many rivers than run through the Peninsula.
In Nagaoka and Numazu the Kanogawa River flooded in many points, but in the next two days the situation became normal (or quite normal) already.
If you happen to be in Japan during these kind of events please stay away from rivers and mountains and find a safe place where to get rest and information that can be vital. Since I came to Japan I've understood to never underestimate the nature. Beautiful but also dangerous sometimes.
The day after, to forget about the scary evening of the day before, me and my family went to a new shopping mall based in Numazu and named Lalaport.
As it opened just two weeks ago it is still extremely crowded but it worth a visit, especially if you come with children!
Hopefully it will become more easily accessible in the next months.
It seems clear to everyone that if we don't respect the nature, it will get against us, with more and more of these kind of devastating events. We as citizens can't do as much as our politicians should do, but hopefully we will be able to change things for the better all together.