I was born in 1962 and brought up in Tokyo, Japan. I am a native Tokyoite, received education in Tokyo. Since graduation of a school of economics of Tokyo university, I had worked for Mitsui & Co., Ltd., a reputable Japanese trading firm, for more than 30 years, and then jumped into this world. During my long business career, I was engaged in various industries and visited more than 30 countries and 60 cities (including living in New York, Hong Kong and Beijing) all over the world to gradually learn what international communication is. This experience made me realize the importance of the understanding my own cultural background.
After a few years' preparation to get a national guide license and qualification as a General Travel Service Supervisor by studying various kinds of Japanese culture, Japanese history, lots of sightseeing spots in Japan, and necessary guiding skills, I started my new career in tourism. In a recent internet & communication technology age, my goal is to establish a direct channel between a service provider and a guest. For this purpose, I set up a private, independent business body (Name: Pivot) by myself that handles both B2B and B2C businesses. In order to widen my views in the industry, I am now partly working for a small travel agency (company name: i-Travel Square), in addition to working as a professional guide.
Name/Gender/Age : Ken Oka, Male, 56
Language : English, Chinese, Japanese
Address : Shinjuku Kagurazaka, Tokyo Japan
Phone : +81-80-7792 1950
My Passion and likes :
Japanese culture (Religion and Faith, Japanese cuisine, Tea ceremony, Japanese gardens, Traditional performing arts, History, Ukiyoe printings, Modern architecture, hot springs etc.)
Areas Covered :
Tokyo and its suburbs including Yokohama, Nikko, Kamakura, Mt. Fuji/Hakone, Izu peninsula, Kawagoe, Yamanashi etc.
My Belief :
Respecting diversity and cultural identity leads to world peace.
National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter (English) Certificate No.EN04793
General Travel Service Supervisor Passed 2017 No.29-232
Travel Itinerary Control Manager(Domestic) Passed 2019 Sept
A member of Japan Federation of Certified Guides (JFG)
A member of Tokyo City Guide Club (TCGC)
Senior first aid certificate given by Tokyo fire department
Urasenke tea ceremony certificate elementary level
My Guiding Policy
Accurate knowledge and experience about Tokyo and its history, culture, and diversity are the base for my guiding. But these facts are just the beginning, and I value telling the memorable stories between those facts. My driving force to make the stories is the love and proud to my hometown Tokyo. I am diligent in daily absorbing new information about Tokyo with curiosity and conveying it to my guests. For that reason, I would like to focus on Tokyo guiding.
My tour is not a ready-made but a customized one for guest by guest. I believe it has overwhelming advantage over a large group tour with fixed itinerary. For example, we can flexibly revise the itinerary depending on the weather, which is almost impossible in a large group tour. Don’t you think it nonsense to climb up the Tokyo Skytree tower in a heavy rain or walk a long distance under strong sunshine in summer? Secondly, some guests may be worried if they can keep pace with other people because of age or poor physical conditions, while you can walk or rest at your own pace with ease in private tours. Besides above, you feel like having a coffee break in the middle of the tour, or you have a lot of questions to the guide etc. … You do not have to hesitate to do anything in private tours!
In my guiding, I would like to start communication with a guest as early as possible and share the guest’s thoughts, concerns, wishes and desires. Main part of my guiding is a wide and deep comprehension about Japanese culture (e.g. Zen Buddhism, tea ceremony, Japanese cuisine, house styles etc.), but I adjust my plan based on a guest’s wishes and experience. As a result, my tour plan meets a guest’s demand, and its route and schedule become efficient. As time is precious in travel, I think it is very important to make a tailor-made plan for each guest.
Furthermore, I never forget that guiding is “Ichigo Ichie” service. “Ichigo Ichie” is a spirit of Japanese tea ceremony, and it literally means “A once-in-a-lifetime gathering.” It signifies that “No matter how many times the host and guests may meet for tea ceremony, that day’s meeting will never happen again, so it is indeed a once in a lifetime meeting. Thus, the host takes great care in entertaining the guests and does his best to make the gathering perfect.” I believe this spirit best suits the guide’s service, so I made it my motto.
Lastly, tour guiding is a human entertaining business and I always like to do everything to make you enjoy Tokyo holidays with my smile, humor, and the grace. I believe good guiding should not be a talk out of guide manuals, to say nothing of a guide to souvenir shops, but should be a story-telling based on facts and a determined mind about Japanese society, lifestyle, culture, politics, economics etc. and an exchange of opinions on various subjects on human to human basis. I believe such communication nurtures mutual understanding and produce power to overcome the difference between cultures, which finally contributes to the world peace.