Magic trip to Japan --- Ana Manghi/Argentina

    I met my husband 12 years ago in a sushi bar in Buenos Aires. I became sushi addict and after three years of taking classes I learned how to make it. But not only the food attracted me to Japan. For me, it is the land of manga, anime, Godzilla, the cutest robots, the Pachinko, the most varied urban tribes, Tadao Ando, Butoh dance and of the home appliances that talk and announce everything they made.

    Once there, I discovered that it is also the country of the most beautiful Shrines, temples and onsens (hots springs). I learned about the beautiful Sumi-e painting, the Kabuki, Bunraku and Noh teather, the tea ceremony, the maikos, the taiko drums and much more. 

   Japan is so unique, so exquisite, so aware to the slightest detail. I planned the trip to know more about everything that fascinated me so much of that country and for that reason it was very important for me to have direct contact with the people.

    I studied the list of hosts and I focused on the Kanto and Kansai regions. A long time before our departure I started to organize everything and I got confirmation form each of our hosts one month before leaving Buenos Aires. 

    We stayed in Japan for forty days with eighteen different hosts. Places like Mt. Fuji, Miyashima , Kyoto, Kamakura and Nara that were unforgettable. Every day we learned new things that our hosts explained to us, each day we had something to discover. 

    We found out that the japanese people have a kindness with no comparison: they are so polite that they would give us their own rooms if that meant that we could be more comfortable. 

    Courtesy and respect are so important in Japan that they also impose a certain distance. Sometimes you get through it immediately and sometimes it takes more time. Nevertheless in every place that we stayed our host made us feel at home. 

    We shared very unusual breakfasts (for us, argentinians), from rice with nori seaweed and tempura to sausages with eggs and green tea, and also we had the most entertaining and delicious dinners. We ate many things for the first time, and discovered many unknown flavors.

    It´s rare to experiment that many things if you don´t have a guidance. That and an unlimited kindness was what we found in our Servas hosts. They always induced us to try new things. They were the ones that ultimately put together our trip. It was a trip to the deepness of a different country where we met different people and in this process we got know more about ourselves.

    Oh, and we took our folding bikes with us! We used them a lot and we got lost a lot because of them as well, because for foreigners it's very difficult to get oriented in a place like Tokyo where the streets are like a maze and don´t even have names! I recommend to purchase the Japan Rail pass before getting there because traveling in Japan is very expensive.


    We made a stop in Los Angeles in our way to Japan and in our way back we spent some days in Seoul. Korea deserves much more time but in this short visit, we were dazzled by the strength of this incredible country and the politeness of its people.

This was a magic trip, thanks to all our hosts, they know that if they come to Buenos Aires they have a home at our place! Here we don´t have a Japanese style bath but what we do have is a newest pressure rice cooker (that I bought during the trip) and I´m learning how to use it for making here the dishes that we enjoyed in their country.

Thanks to all! Kimiko Tomimoto - Hiromichi Tachi and wife- Yoshiko Ishiwata - Tomoko Hirai and family - Tomishi and Katsuko Matsuo - Minako Mizoguchi and family- Fumiko Horie - Hiro Saika - Akira and Chisato Kawasaki - Michiko Sato - Misato Fukushima and family - Kazuo Ida - Hagiwara Yoshie and family - Eun-gyeong Ji and Angie - Jim Fenton - Phil and Vivian Danufsky