This week we caught up with Giuliano who has been living in Japan for the past 34 years and works as a local guide for City Unscripted! We talked about his favourite spots in Tokyo and asked for some budget travel advice.
Hi, thanks for talking to us today. Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Giuliano, I am originally from Italy. From early age I loved watching documentaries about foreign destinations. I knew I wanted to travel but I wanted to experience the places not just on the surface but deeper. I have lived and worked in the UK, in the US, and since 1987 here in Japan.
How did you end up working and living in Japan and what was it like?
After two trips (in 1983 and 1985) I decided I did not want to be a tourist, so I packed my bags, quit my steady job and came to Japan…the rest is history, 34 years have gone by so fast.
Could you explain what City Unscripted is and what you do in your role?
City Unscripted connects visitors with local people in various locations throughout the world who know how to help them really experience the country and give them the confidence to travel on their own.
Which places in Tokyo would you recommend to people looking to explore off the beaten path areas?
Tokyo’s 'Shitamachi' traditional downtown areas such as Asakusa, Ueno, Yanesen (Yanaka, Nezu, Sendagi), Kichijoji, Nishiogi, Ogikubo, Koenji, Harajuku, Omotesando, Ginza…
Let your curiosity guide you into various side streets and don’t be afraid to lose your way…Tokyo is the safest city in the world!
What is your favourite time of the year to travel around Japan and why?
Definitely the summer for me because there are lots of traditional summer festivals, but each season offers various interesting activities.
What’s your favourite destination in Japan you always want to come back to?
Can you give us any travel tips for people who are visiting Japan on a budget?
Youth hostels are ideal: they are relatively affordable and you could meet with other travellers, either Japanese or foreign.
Our word of the month is 'enryo no katamari' (遠慮の塊) which is a phrase used to refer to that one last lonely bit of food that no one wants to touch out of politeness. What Japanese food you wouldn’t be able to stop eating till the last bit?
Sushi, onigiri rice balls, inarizushi…yakitori skewers