On the plane back to Manila from Hong Kong the other day, living a Travelife, I worked on an itinerary for an upcoming trip to Japan for a very well-traveled group of friends.
All of them have been to Japan countless times, but they’ve never done Japan the Travelife way.
There are several countries we know better than the backs of our hands, and France, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Japan are some of them. South Africa is going to be joining this list soon.
As for Japan, not many people know Japan the way Travelife does.
And this very select group of people asked me to plan a Japan trip for them, and I’m coming along as well for a bit of fun.
Of course I’ve put in lots of wonderful things and activities that money can buy, as this is a group of friends who are willing to spend for the best things in life.
But I’ve also included lots of experiences that even money cannot buy.
This is our specialty at Travelife Magazine, by the way. When I put a trip together for my friends, I don’t want to just plan a trip for a week on the basis of a credit card — although the credit card certainly helps, of course.
I like to make sure there’s great value offered by that Travelife factor — and lots of times, I go along as well to make sure it really is a seamless trip.
So for this Japan trip, I’ve included visits to beautiful private homes that will never open up to others, meetings with famous chefs and artists, and afternoons at exclusive art galleries that won’t let you in without an introduction from a valued patron.
I’ve also added evenings at private clubs with some of the world’s best under-the-radar chefs and sommeliers — the kind that are famous to only some people because they’re not accessible to the public.
One of the clubs I’m arranging an evening at is a historical and beautiful club favored by Japan’s aristocracy.
I’ve only brought a couple of people here so far because it’s very special.
And yes, this is a very discrete club with a tiny membership and no plans to expand because the club itself owns so much land and is cash-rich.
They have a blackball system for new members (it only takes one blackball to refuse an applicant) and basically, someone has to die and leave the membership roster before a new member can get in.
They have the best chefs and sommeliers, but it’s a very hush-hush thing because only about 150 people have access to this club.
So basically, planning this trip is a labor of love.