6 STEP GUIDE TO: Having an Anime Style Adventure in Japan like the CEO of Japan Nakama

People think that we exaggerate when we compare Japan Nakama CEO to One Piece anime character Luffy, so here’s a 6 Step guide from his own story in Japan, Kyoto – a story that you’d never hear, even from a Japanese local…

Nakama Giveaway read How Japanese Gods Secretly Saved the Fate of Japan at the bottom of this blog post!

STEP 1 – GET A BIKE! – Or miss covering ground and seeing a lots of sights!

After bartering for the best bike in the bicycle shop, CEO Zia, made his way towards the highest temple in Nara, Todai Ji.

Riding his cute Mamachari (aka Mum’s Bike – basket and all) up to the peak, he took in the sights and took in some photos.

But began to wonder, ‘What’s beyond the temple?’

Amply leaving the bike behind, he began to climb the mountainous terrain beyond the temple, where there were no tourists whatsoever!

After 10 minutes of walking through the thick forest, he saw a Fox Shrine. Zia being a person experience in meditation and Chi/Ki could feel a weird aura in the area… could it be “Saki?” – the famous “Killing intent” which anime often talk of?

He quickly turned about face, out of the forest and full speed down the mountain, past all of the tourists who were still struggling their way back down.

The next day, he left Nara and headed to Kyoto! More sites to see to visit, a temple with ‘cool orange gates’ was calling… Fushimi Inari Taisha! (About the shrine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fushimi_Inari-taisha)

As he arrived at Inari Taisha, a big realisation occurred… this was dedicated to that threatening Fox Shrine that he saw yesterday in Nara!

Maybe that scary aura was due to walking into fox spirit’s territory, uninvited. He was in the dog house now… or the fox house.

2015-09-19 11 -3

STEP 2 – APPOLOGISE WITH A CANDLE! – Or be plagued by angry Japanese Spirits!

The next logical thing for our CEO to do is, of course, say he’s sorry!
Japanese spirits are pleased by making offerings, in Japan, you light candles at their shrines to pay hommage!

So, in the adventurous way that he always is, decided to light them ALL! … yes, all the shrines on a mountain.

He bought a big bag of candles, a lighter, and set off on his mini pilgrimage on the Inari Taisha.

Kitsune – Fox Shrine. Image credits to muza-chan.net

Every level of the mountain, are riddled with Shrines, along deep winding mountain roads. Scattered with brightly painted MON gates, it looked like a scene out of a samurai movie.

Zia ran from shrine to shrine, in his sandals, lighting candles at record speed, as elderly Japanese people and others who had travelled from other parts of Japan, watched him run past.

“Ehhh yaru jyanai…?” – “He’s pretty good…” they commented, unbeknownst to our CEO, that actually this was a challenge that some athletic people took up in Japan, running up the mountain to beat the record time… but he was seeking forgiveness not a time!

STEP 3 – EXPECTATION – “I’m exploring this forest!”
REALITY – “I’m lost in this forest…”


Finally, reaching the last shrine. He felt content. But then curious…
“What’s beyond this I wonder 😀 ”, as the tourists turned back, he kept walking up the mountain, through a fading road soon becoming lush with  greenery and a lesser inclined angle.

He  reached the top and found another gate, but much bigger, with two Foxes on either side, standing like sentry guards – this gate was as big as the one in London’s China Town…

His heart flattered, ‘A gate to another dimension!?’ As he looked through and over the other side of the gate, which slopped down the mountain again, he saw steps leading downwards… he though “Meh … what the hell, let’s just go down” and proceeded.

A quarter of the way down, he saw the steps were gradually breaking and being overgrown by grass and other plants. So he had to jump quite a distance between steps, like a scene out of Final Fantasy.

After 10 minutes of a downward decline… in flip flops, there was a small, countryside style Japanese house, sitting at the bottom.

He thought it abandoned and vacant.

He realised that he couldn’t remember his way back and reaches for his pocket, which contained his mobile phone. But wasn’t it wasn’t there.

Before leaving for Inari Taisha that morning, he just wanted to be in the moment, rather than popping his mobile out every 5 minutes to snap touristy photos.

Slightly regretting his morning motive, he suddenly heard the voice of an old woman “Nani yatten no?… doko kara kitta no?”

“What’re you doing there, where’d you come from?” Zia startled turned to reply to an old lady standing outside the supposedly abandoned house.

He replied “Un, ue kara kita!” 😀 translated “I came from above!” 😀 Or… this could be understood as “I came from heaven” :D.

Her facial expression changed – ‘This young man might be a fox spirit?’
As not many foreigners speak Japanese and certainly don’t diverge from the mountain pathway, in flip flops with no mobile phone.

At the same moment, Zia thought to himself, ‘Why would there be an old lady, in the middle of nowhere, at the bottom of a mountain, in an old abandoned looking house – She’s a Fox spirit for sure!’

*If you never knew, Kitsune fox spirits are notorious for shape shifting into the forms of human beings – hence where the word “Moshi Moshi” came from, as they can’t pronounce it.* More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitsune

Credits to Pintrest - Original on http://jordymeow.com
Credits to Pintrest - Original on http://jordymeow.com

STEP 4 – FIND SECRET SHRINES – Places only Locals… or Spirits know!

Zia was now irritated! Who was this old lady who appeared from nowhere who bombarded him with questions!?

He held up his candle stash and tried to explain that we lighting candles for the shrines. Her attitude changed!

“Ah so kai? Nara, mo hitsutotsu aru no yo” – “Oh is that so? Well then, there’s one more left”, she revealed to our weary CEO.

She led him around to the foot of the mountain, where there was a door… yes, a door in the mountain. She opened it, beyond, was a cave with a waterfall.

He walked inside with wide eyes, inside there were 3 remaining Fox Shrines, which he would have never found. He lit all 3, bowed, gave respects. But Zia then noticed that there were ‘Baby-like’ statues beside the Foxes… so he lit those too!

Apparently they weren’t babies.. they’re known as Jizo Statues

Now, time to get out of here! He asked the old lady where the station was from there.

“Ara ma… achi no masugu, masugu, masugu no yo” translated “Oh dear, it’s all the way straight straight straight that way” pointing to a direction in the forest.

So he began walking in that direction “Arigato obachan!” he thanked graciously as he set off through the forest again.

It was now 10pm, the sun had set already, it was pitch black.
Yet, it was so calm, peaceful, serene. Perhaps because he had lit candles at all of the fox shrines and had gained the Fox spirits favour. They now stood beside him in protection!

Half way down the mountain, he stopped to look around as best he could. But, realised that there was another route going off into the distance, lined with the ‘baby’ statues from earlier… so, he followed that route.

cave temple

STEP 5 – WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK ANOTHER STRANGER!  You’d never guess the information you’re missing out on – Every person met is for a reason!

A ROAD! Zia emerged from the forest to a mountain road. And sudden luck, a approached car! He rose his arm and thumbed for a hitch hike, but the car sped up and drove past him!

Well… a foreigner, emerging from a forest, at 11pm, on pitch black on the roadside, in flip flops who’s to blame them.

He continued walking down the road side, until he encountered a small farm. They were playing music, Enka music (Japanese Classic Songs).
This is our CEO’s favourite genre of Japanese music, it’s unpopular with younger generations of Japanese, but loved by the elders!

He went to investigate and found an old man farming, playing Enka style music from his old radio.
“Domo! Ore mo enka daisuki desu! :D”, “Hi! I love Enka too!” Zia spoke to him excitedly,

The old man froze. Wouldn’t move, wouldn’t speak.

‘Hmm, strange old man’ Zia thought to himself as he walked off…

But in hindsight, the old man must of freaked out! A foreigner, speaking Japanese, at 11pm-ish, in flip flops, randomly walking on the road… and LOVES ENKA?! ‘He’s a Fox Spirit!’.

He continued down the mountain road, which wound down for a long while and bumped into another 2 Japanese people who were also lost.

But fortunately they had a GPS, so Zia asked how they had they had gotten there.

They had taken the wrong route and had gotten lost! Curious about our CEO’s journey, they inquired to his arrival at their point.
He tried to explain that he had climbed down the mountain, but they didn’t understand, either a language barrier, or a logic barrier – because no body just climbs down a mountain!

They advised him a route to get back and Zia began to follow it.
But before long, the easing sound of a waterfall was coming from the forest, and called to our adventurous CEO once again… so he went back in – lol.

STEP 6 – IF THE SITUATION GETS TEDIOUS, JUST RUN! – Because walking takes too long…

Walking into the forest, declining steps appeared before him. He quickly stepped down them towards the mystical sound of the water crashing against rocks. At the end, was a cave with a shrine inside of it.

As he approached he felt ‘SAKI’, the previous scary aura that he felt before, very unfriendly! So he carefully, calmly returned back up the stairs, as if moving away from a snarling dog about to attack – careful not to make any sudden movements!

Back on path, walking down the mountain road, things took a turn for the worst. A snap of leather, a flip flop broke! – ‘Great!’

His feet already hurt at that point, but figured walking bare footed would be more effective. At that point, he knew he was quite lost!

On the positive side, there were more cars appearing. He tried to wave them for help, but not a single vehicle stopped.

So, the last option was to run. Run like Forrest Gump on a Kyoto mountain road. He briskly jogged through the winding mountain road, and caught up to the last two Japanese people with the GPS.

Zia ran up behind them and called out, “Domo!” They s**t themselves!

A foreigner, running up behind them, bare footed, on a mountain road, 11.30pm.

Eventually, he was able to make it back to a town, where he caught a train to his hotel.
It was around 12.40am.

The day’s episode had come to a season finally. Until next chapter.


How Japanese Gods Secretly Saved the Fate of Japan
that History Won’t Tell You

Get Your Giveaway Here!

Wayne Daniels

CMO & Partner at Japan Nakama. Entrepreneur, Designer, Japanese Linguistic.

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