News, 11.04.2014

Dear Readers,

Aside from a few presentations and lectures on my trip „Walking through Japan“, and some preparation classes „Ready for Japan?“ I did together with Yoshi Huggler and Yoshiko Märki, I concentrated on my travel business for the last month.

In extensive consultations with our customers, we set up quite exciting routes for them, and organized their travel. It is not that everybody, who plans a visit to Japan, “just” wants to see Tokyo, Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone und Kyoto.

Actually, we do actively recommend some less known, but worth visiting places all over Japan. Of course, we follow the requirements of our customers, and show them how to use the best route to travel from A to B.

For example: It happens quite often that on our recommendation people, who visit Southern Japan, go to see places like Shimonoseki, Unzen, Yufuin, Aoshima and Yakushima.

Our new webpage, JR-PLUS, is getting more and more popular. JR means Japan Rail, PLUS stands for „additional information“. We show, for instance, that eating Fugu in Japan is not dangerous at all. More on that topic you will find at Fugu.

Another of our suggestions concerns Kojima (Okayama prefecture), which is famous for its high quality jeans production. More about that at Kojima-Jeans.

For me, it is Japanese jeans only, since I first fell over them!

Best wishes, have a good time, and see you around,

Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.03.2014

Dear readers,

On today’s memorial day, and of course also three years after it is a sad occasion, my thoughts are going out to Japan.

Being Swiss, and feeling a close bond towards all things connected with Japan, I feel I still have a lot of things I can learn from the people living in the land of the rising sun, and I will assure you one time after another that the Japanese after the three-fold desaster of 11th March 2011 did everything to master all difficulties they encountered with braveness, confidence and dedication.

Of course it is not possible to directly transport any local impressions by words, fotographies or letters to other people abroad. To swim in the ocean, and to look at pictures of the seaside is not the same thing. Even if the picture is nice enough, a lot of the context remains remote, all that is left to do is to imagine what it could be.

After disaster struck, during the months I walked through Japan, when I came face to face with the local people, I noticed the way they looked, the way they acted, facing the daily life problems after this terrible day.

It is very important for me to receive my notions directly, from the people living right on the spot in Japan, not from politicians, analysts or media. Directly for me means by direct communication, and not necessarily asking detailed questions. Especially for Japan it is true that silence there transports more meaning than a mass of words.

For me, the reminiscences of what I saw and noted then, when I walked through Japan, are still very much on my mind. I have been deeply moved by the spirit of helping each other, this esprit de corps I have met in such a way for the first time in my life, and for which it is difficult to find words.

Yoshi, Markus and me started a campaign from Eschenberg Tower in Winterthur to commemorate the anniversary, and we will be in our thoughts with the people in Japan.

Please have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV-4Aci27vE to see our video message for Japan

We wish Japan, and especially the Tohoku region, all the best, the strength necessary to rebuild and all confidence for a better future.

With our best wishes from Winterthur

Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.02.2014

Dear readers,

If you would ask me what is my favourite dish in Switzerland, I would answer you without thinking „Cheese Fonue“. With the cold in winter, already on Monday morning I start looking forward to a relaxed evening with friends and a fondue at the weekend.

Aside from a lot of work, many demanding inquiries from my customers, which forntunately resulted in some bookings as well, I recently also attended several interesting functions. One of the highlights was my participation in the SWISSDAYS in Tokyo, organized by the Swiss embassy in Japan’s capital. I had an appearance in a talk show in Japan, and with this, as well as my taking part in the PechaKucha Night, I contributed my share to this unique event. Aside from that, durinng my short stay in Tokyo I met lots of interesting people, and was able to join many an outstanding performance.

Everybody was amazed about the mass of snow. For the whole of the last 45 years it had not been snowing like it did now over the last couple of days. For me my first chance to see the megacity in a winter time Kimono! On the day of my planned departure, it was a Sunday, there were no trains or busses or taxes to the airport. I had to stay on over the weekend, which I enjoyed very much. Only the next day, on Monday, I managed to catch a flight back to Switzerland.

Now, back at home, I am looking forward to join the upcoming events in connection with the celebration of 150 years of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan. A long standing friendship and lots to hope for in the future!

Take care, hope to see you again for my next blog entry, and all the best to you from Switzerland,
Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.01.2014

Dear readers,

Happy new year to all of you, I hope everything started out well for you, and I do wish you all the best for 2014, and negative: nothing!

Some very good news arrived on 20th December I was very happy about: for the first time at all Japan received more than 10 million foreign visitors in 2013 – a goal set since a couple of years already, and finally achieved last year.

Over the holidays, I took a couple of days off, and enjoyed them relaxing at Saas Almagell, at the canton of Wallis. Letting the old year pass, I found that it was a good one, businesswise, and now the new year starts with a lot of interesting encounters as well.
This year, Switzerland and Japan will celebrate the 150th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Find out more about that subject at http://www.ch.emb-japan.go.jp/anniversary2014/index_e.html

As a citizen of Winterthur, I am very much looking forward to the Hanami Cherryblossom Festival in my hometown Winterthur. It will be a platform for a variety of institutions and organizations related to Japan, and with the intention of introducing visitors to Japanese culture. The Hanami Cherryblossom Festival will be held on 3rd May 2014 at the Eulachpark in Winterthur. Please check it out at http://standort-winterthur.ch/de/wirtschaft/projekte/fokus-japan-2014/hanami-kirschbluetenfest

Please also have a look on our new webpage at www.japan-kreis.ch. Japan-Kreis consists of Yoshiko Märki, Yoshi Huggler and myself, and we will organize classes and workshops about Japan. My first presentation, about „Hiking through Japan“ of course, will be at the AlternativKino. Should you be interested, please have a look at http://alternativkino.ch/programm/zu-fuss-durch-japan-dia-vortrag.

Another presentation „Ready for Japan?“ I will do on 1st March, for registration please see www.japan-kreis.ch/kursanmeldung_10-de.html.

Thank you very much for visiting my blog, all the best to you, dear readers, and hope you will stay with me!

With my best regards from Switzerland,

Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.12.2013

Dear readers,

Again I had a wonderful and inspiring trip to Japan. Now, I am back to Switzerland, having arrived back in time with winter and the Christmas season. Cold and snow, and winter illumination form the shortening days here at home – the year comes to an end.

Markus Fischer, who joined me three days walking two years ago, again proved to be a good travel companion, and we had a very good japan trip together. Here you can see Markus, together with me on my blog page at „Walking through Japan“ http://www.japanfenster.ch/japantrip/en/2011/11/27/27-11-2011-yamaguchi/.

While we celebrated lots of very cordial reunions in Itoigawa, Kanoya, Minamiosumi, Miyazaki and Tokyo, the capital of Japan also saw the first night of our documentary „Negative: Nothing“ at the Uplink movie theater. It is there running daily until the 31th December. Please find more information at http://www.uplink.co.jp/movie/2013/17440.

The 27th November was the day of the opening event for the printed and published book version of what I experienced at my walking trip through Japan at the Winterthur Municipal Library. It was a very good occasion, many people being interested in the book, and actually buying it. So in case you are interested, please have a look at http://alternativkino.ch/shop/buch-negativ-nichts.

Also, in the meantime we managed to get Switzerland’s Swiss Air interested in „Negative: Nothing“, and now they will show the documentary for half a year on board of all their international flights. Here is the link: http://www.swiss.com/web/EN/fly_swiss/on_board/Documents/IFE_2013/Dec/SWISS_IFE_Dec.pdf

It makes me very happy that in this way many people will learn more about Japan, this charming country, full of warm and welcoming people.

I wish you a very peaceful festive season, and and a happy new year!

Best wishes from Switzerland,
Thomas Köhler

Positive: I have seen Dr. Yello in Japan. Want to know what Dr. Yello is? Please see the first photo a tour photo gallery at
http://www.jr-plus.de/shinkansen/zugtypen/shinkansen-pruefzug-dr-yellow_184-de.html
Negatie: Nothing

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News, 11.11.2013

This year was a very busy, but sucessful one businesswise, and therefore I now really enjoy the colourful autumn in Japan. When me and Markus Fischer arrived at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, we got a very warm reception from Toko Kawamukai. Our first destination in Japan was Itoigawa, where we joined the end of the „We Love Japan Tour“. A very memorable occasion! Please have a look on our website to get an impression of our exciting and adventurous onward journey – one picture says more than thousand words!

Positive: Happy to be in Japan again
Negative: Nothing
Theme of the day: A trip within Japan is like a favourite book, you remember it forever!

Now please accept my best wishes, dear reader, and have a good time!

Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.10.2013

Dear readers,

My public speeches about „Hiking through Japan“, the start of the first „We Love Japan“- Tour” and the first anniversary of our documentary “Negative: Nothing” have been the highlights of my last month.

Aside from all the work at the travel agency japan-ferien.ch it is something I always will spare some time for, to talk before people about my long hike through Japan. It is still amazing for me to see the huge public interest in somebody who just took a long trip on foot through Japan, especially since it has been two years now.

It is actually something I do not tire to talk about, especially since I was never alone! The support of so many people made this trip something I will never forget, even though it was a time also deeply entrenched in mourning for many people. Still, I enjoyed lots of positive and moving moments with Japanese people on my trip.

Next year, Switzerland and Japan will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and friendship. During this anniversary year, lots of activities will accentuate the things in common between the two countries. A very special occasion will take place at my home town Winterthur. I am very much looking forward to join the cherry blossom festival Hanami at Winterthur on 3rd May, 2014. For more information please kindly look up http://standort-winterthur.ch/de/wirtschaft/projekte/fokus-japan-2014/

Have a good time until we meet again, and lots of fun reading my blog about the “We love Japan”-Tour.

Best wishes from Switzerland is sending to you

Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.09.2013

Hello everybody!

The last four weeks happily were dominated by good news. The International Olympic Comittee surprised the world with its decision, to choose Tokyo as the site for the Olympic Games in 2020! We all were beside ourselves with joy, as Japan really deserves this vote after all these difficult times.

Jan Knüsel, too, had some good news, which I was very happy about. The airline of Switzerland, SWISS, will show the documentary „Negative: Nothing“, http://negativenothing.com/en/ starting from 1st December 2013 for six months on international flights.

The first screening on 18th August at the „AlternativKino“ cinema in Zurich (which I attended together with Jan Knüsel, Yoshi Takano and Marco Rossi) was a big success! Denise Emmendörffer, who had been travelling here from as far as Dortmund, even bestowed on Jan and me one of her own beautiful paintings, which now adorns one of the walls of my home. Thank you very much, again, Denise!

Ronja Sakata`s Japan walk was a neat change in our daily routine, which I very warmly recommend to everybody interested in Japan, http://ronjasakata.com/japan-spaziergang/.

Yoshi Huggler and me got invited for dinner by Yoshiko Märki and her family, which was absolutely delicious.
For all of you, dear readers, who would like to learn Japanese, please have a look into the Japanese Language Studion, http://www.japanls.ch/
They are really good!

As you know, on 4th October starts the „We Love Japan Tour“, which I am very much looking forward to. For more information, please go to http://www.japan-guide.com/tour/e/.

Next to a lot of work, „Negative: Nothing“ and a beautiful autumn season, I am also looking forward to my next two public speeches on „Hiking through Japan“. One of them will be done at the Municipal Library of Winterthur http://bibliotheken.winterthur.ch/stadtbibliothek/veranstaltungen/.

Now there only remains for me & Suipon to wish you well, have a good time, and to send you all my best wishes from Switzerland,
Thomas Köhler

Find out more about Suipon at http://www.japan-ferien.ch/suipon/august-2011-2013_212-de.html

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News, 11.08.2013

Hello everybody, and good to see you!

My last weeks have been full of sunshine – finally I found some time to enjoy summer in Switzerland! In spite of the long working days I spent at the office, I met a lot of new people at the garden parties I got invited to.

This month also is the time to announce the details for our “We Love Japan Tour”, which starts at the 4th October. More information about that please find at
http://www.japan-guide.com/tour/e/

Well, and Suipon was born this month!
*************************************************
After the tragic events following the earth quake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011, Thomas Köhler walked 2.900 km through Japan, to express his sympathy and feeling of solidarity with the Japanese people. It is almost exactly two years now, that on 1st August 2011 he started for his five months hiking tour through Japan, from Northern tip, Cape Soya on Hokkaido, till the most Southern point, Cape Sata on Kyushu.

Me, SUIPON, I am very much familiar with Thomas’s story, because I read all the newspaper stories, I saw his interviews on TV, and listened to him at the radio. Of course I also watched the impressive documentary „negative nothing“ (more information about it at http://negativenothing.com/en/). Every day I read the entries on his blog along his project „Hiking through Japan“ and studied them carefully (these blog entries you find here http://www.japan-ferien.ch/blog/).

Being SUIPON, I am capable of jumping right into photos and images, and really experience what has happened then in the past! With my heart beating for both, for Japan as well as for Switzerland, I actually fell in love with this project „Hiking through Japan“, and I wanted to know more about it.

So finally I asked Thomas, whether it would be OK for me to jump into his images, and to relive this time from 1st August till 31st December together with him.

Thomas went „sure, you are so kind and cute that I would not be able to say no to you. I will be happy to respond to all your questions regarding “Hiking through Japan”.
So we just settled upon the very easy rule „one image a day goes with at least one question Suipon may ask Thomas“.

SUIPON’s daily pictures you also will find at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thomas.kohler.94
or at http://www.japan-ferien.ch/suipon/wer-ist-suipon_211-de.html

The Japanese translations for SUIPON will be done every day by Yoshi Huggler.

I wish you a very good time until we see each other hopefully again next month!

Best wishes from Switzerland
Thomas Köhler

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News, 11.07.2013

Well, for the month of June I would have difficulties to say “Negative:
Nothing”. Following recurring fierce stomach aches, I had to undergo
surgery. My appendix had to be removed urgently, but all went well, and now
I am recovering quickly.

As I had a lot of work waiting for me, I could not rest for long. But thanks
to the support of my family, and Yoshi Huggler’s help at the office, nothing
got out of hand. I am very grateful, they really did a lot for me.
Thank you very much!

Once more I realized how important it is to be in good health – actually, it
is the most important thing in life to have!
Now, I am looking forward to some first short walks, in order to regain my
old form.

Dear readers, I wish you well, good health, and a beautiful summer!

See you next month, take care, and all the best from Switzerland,

Thomas Köhler

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