If you’ve been following my travel posts, you probably know how fascinated I am with Japan as a destination and Japanese culture in general. This country is actually at the very top of my travel bucket list and visiting would be a dream come true. With such a long history and deeply-rooted traditions, I can only imagine what an eye-opening experience a trip to Japan would be.

That’s why when ANA asked me to work together in order to promote its video series “Ichigo Ichie” (literally translated as “one opportunity, one encounter”), I was game. Every video highlights Japanese culture and culinary traditions and they’re very interesting indeed. I was most impressed by the film below that features Shinri Tezuka, a very young Japanese artist who practices the dwindling art of Amezaiku, i.e. candy crafting. He basically carves, sculpts and paints delicate lollipops into intricate edible sculptures – all by hand. His skills left me in awe and kind of made me wish I had half his patience and handicraft, even more so considering he is one of the two artists left nowadays in Tokyo. Hopefully, his designs will inspire the next generation of candy crafters to keep the tradition alive. 

It’s exactly those kind of things that make me visit Japan so much; ideally next year during the cherry blossom season. I have actually started browsing around for accommodation and transportation options (any tips are most welcome!). Having been on long-haul flights in the past (remember my trips to Mexico and Cuba?) I know how important it is to get an authentic sense of a country’s hospitality and food on board before even arriving and while researching All Nippon Airways (ANA) for this collaboration I found out that apart from being awarded the Best Airline Staff in Asia at the SKYTRAX World Airline Awards, they also do a lot of interesting stuff with regard to food, like training their chefs in techniques of Japanese cuisine or inviting people to vote their favourite dishes on social media to implement them into the onboard menu. I still have a lot of research to do before pulling the trigger and buying the magic ticket but if you’ve tried their services, I’d love to hear about your experience so do leave me a comment! 

Sandy (@smarksthespots)