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Season 2, Episode 1 – ichigoichie (once in a lifetime) trip to asia

Show Notes

In Japanese, there’s a phrase ichigoichie, which means one time, one meeting, loosely translated, it could also mean once in a lifetime. 


You’re listening to the daidokoro video podcast. Hi, I’m Pat Tokuyama and you’re about to discover some of the tastiest ways to feed your mind, body and soul. A pharmacist by training you may know me as the founder of all day I eat like a shark, the food blog, YouTube channel or as author of several Japanese cookbooks. If you desire to live a healthy life and are looking for a different way forward with a hunger for growth then this video podcast is for you. Daidokoro is a Japanese term for kitchen. And I’m glad you’re here with each episode, we’re going to be bringing clarity to your cooking by blending Japanese tradition and life lessons into bite sized bits that even a shark would enjoy ready to make some magic happen.

 About 10 years ago now after I finished up my general practice residency at the VA Long Beach, I took what many people would have called a once in a lifetime trip to Asia, my girlfriend, Emi and I who is now my wife traveled for six months, roughly until we basically ran out of money. Where would we? so I knew that after I finished residency, I was pretty set on working in hospital. And I knew that this would probably be the best time to take a break while I was in between jobs. And the good thing was that Emi was also finishing up her second year of residency. So both of us had the opportunity to do some things such as travel without any real commitments, like a job or mortgage. 

 And the reason for this happening in the first place was because during college and also in a little bit in pharmacy school, I had the opportunity to travel pretty regularly at least once or twice a year outside of the US. And it really opened up my eyes, if you’ve traveled outside of the US or if you haven’t yet, maybe now could be a good opportunity. Regardless of if you’ve traveled outside of the US or not. I think it is one of the ways that you can actually gain different perspectives a little bit more understanding not only of yourself, but of people and those around the world that have different living circumstances and different cultures and may live life a little bit differently than you do. 

 So for me, and to this day, one of the reasons that I love traveling is of course, for the food also for the adventure and the experience of traveling all the different sights, smells, and other fun things that may or may not occur while you travel. And as you can imagine, over six months, a lot of different things probably could have happened and did happen. So as far as our itinerary, our plan was to fly into Japan use that as our first stopover and then flying into Thailand, specifically Bangkok to use as our hub to travel all around Asia. The way that we did this, of course, is using award tickets or using points or miles to pay for the flight. As you may know, flights can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re traveling overseas or very long distances. And that’s one of the reasons to this day that I still use points and miles or awards as much as possible when traveling. And if you’d like to learn how to do that, make sure to check out the link in the show notes. 

 So basically, our round trip ticket was a trip to Bangkok with a stopover in Japan. And what you’ll find out in a little bit was this actually worked out in our favor when our award tickets sort of expired. And I’ll tell you about that in a future episode. So our budget was $14,000 for six months per person. So if that does not sound like very much money, it actually is quite a lot of money overseas, depending on where you go. If you’ve ever traveled to Asia, what you may have noticed is that some of the countries have much lower living expenses, than we do here in the US. So there’s a lot of leverage if you’re traveling from the US over to those countries where the cost of living is lower than you have with your money. So your 10 or 20 or $30, a day is going to take you much further over there and then it would at home. And for most of our trip, we didn’t take that much cash with us, we use mostly our credit cards as well as debit cards. 

 And the reason being is that traveler’s checks as well as foreign exchange is pretty cumbersome, and not the best way to travel, especially if you’re gonna be traveling for a very long period of time, and even for a short trip. So if you don’t have a fee free debit card, which you use for travel, I’ll link those in the description as well for you to check out. The best thing about them is that you don’t have to pay ATM fees or exchange fees. And then as far as what we took on the trip, we really didn’t take that much. So we tried to pack light knowing that we would probably have the opportunity to go shopping to buy some clothes or other things that we needed along the way. So basically, we had a regular backpack and a duffel bag between the both of us so two of each and then also a camera, a laptop, an iPad, or iPhones, a lock and cable to keep our luggage secure for overnight trains as well as a bedsheet for us to sleep in on those sleeper trains, as well. 

 So as far as our experiences were concerned, there was a lot of variation. A lot of ups and downs as you can imagine in each different country. Traveling from the beginning of January through the end of June, a lot of different things happen as far as seasons events, and some pleasant and not so pleasant surprises. So in the next episode, I’ll tell you how everything started off with our first stop in Japan. Before we finish, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes, I believe this is from Henry Ford. If you think you can, or you think you cannot, you’re right. 

 Since we’re talking about travel and ichigoichie or once in a lifetime opportunity, perhaps this could be the year where you decide to make something like that happen if it’s been on your to do list or want to do list for a very long time, or even just after listening to this episode.

Thanks for joining us today from wherever you’re watching or listening from. And if you haven’t yet it means a lot to me if you could share your thoughts in a review on on iTunes. So let me know what you think of this new video podcast. And then I can take that feedback and make things better for next time and to celebrate the launch of this brand new video podcast where you are going to be doing a little giveaway all you got to do to enter is subscribe and send us a screenshot of your review make sure to check out the link in the description or show notes for all the details and I’d encourage you to share this with a friend or a loved one because if you’ve gotten value out of its chances are they will too. want to try cooking Japanese food at home from scratch. Head over to alldayieat.com/aisatsu to get started today. And if you’re new here make sure to check out alldayieat.com/daidokoro for all the show notes, bonus materials, resources and more.


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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese tea, matcha bowls and noren and more!

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