Welcome to My New Website Designed by IF Consultancy

I’m so delighted with my amazing new website designed by IF Consultancy and I hope you’re enjoying it as well!

I highly recommend these web designers if you’re thinking about updating your website. Stuart and Thomas at IF Consultancy are incredibly creative, their rates are reasonable, and they get top marks for professional, timely, and friendly service.

Take a look at my beautiful new homepage and my free and exclusive insider’s Guide to Tokyo. If you love reading you’ll enjoy my books Tokyo Hearts: A Japanese Love Story and Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories with illustrations by the well-known Japanese illustrator Yoshimi Ohtani.

Thank you so much Stuart and Thomas for designing such a user-friendly, easy to navigate website, with great plugins. I really appreciate all your help to create such a stunning website.



Q&A with Tokyo Luxe

Last week on Twitter I connected with a wonderful company called Tokyo Luxe, a luxury concierge Tokyo Luxeservice in Tokyo. Tokyo Luxe caters for high-end individuals, celebrities and VIPs. They also look after business professionals, tourists, and families who are looking for an unforgettable experience in Tokyo that will exceed their expectations.

I was really impressed with their services so I asked Tokyo Luxe if they wouldn’t mind answering a few questions. I received a reply straight away. They were more than happy to share information about their company and what they do to make sure all their clients enjoy a variety of deluxe experiences in Tokyo. You can read the Q&A below. I’m sure you’ll think their answers are very interesting.

Visit the Tokyo Luxe website if you’re looking for a luxury stay in Tokyo or if you think your client or company could benefit from their services.


1. You’re a Tokyo Concierge service. What does this mean?

We offer a luxurious lifestyle for busy individuals as well as family members by providing them with a once in a lifetime experience. Our main services (but not limited to) are food tours, transportation around the city, concert tickets and exclusive backstage access passes.

2. What are the most popular services you offer?

Tokyo has consistently been awarded the city with more stars than Paris in the Michelin Guide from 2013 and Tokyo offers one of the most diverse dining experiences in the world. Our itineraries for our clients have proven this to be the case. Our fine dining tours are one of the most popular services that we offer here. We have looked after professional chefs from Vancouver and the U.S in the past. These chefs had a strong urge to come to Japan to experience the Japanese traditional ambiance and the exquisite taste of Japanese cuisines. Now these chefs are known world-wide and they are on the news everywhere in Canada.

3. How many people are on your team and where do they come from?

We are a very small team of three. Sometimes when we receive a lot of inquiries, we have other members who can assist us per project. We were all born and raised in Tokyo but we studied in Canada and the U.S. during our university years a long time ago. 😀

4. What languages do your staff members speak?

We are all bi-lingual speakers: Japanese and English.

5. Do you also look after celebrities and do these celebrities require a different kind of service?

Our motto for our company is to customize every itinerary based on our clientele’s needs and wants. Whether they are a celebrity or not, we create an itinerary based on their interests and dreams to create a unique experience while they stay here. (Yes, we are dreamers too!). Although we are not a tour guide company, we meet and greet with every visitor upon their arrival to accommodate them with their special needs.

6. Are your services expensive?

The fee would depend on what their chosen interests and services are. Usually a meal/per person would be around $300 +. However, we do make sure we cover families as well and we ensure our services are reasonable and affordable for everyone. It can range from $20 + (ticket purchase) and it depends thereafter on what services they may add, therefore the prices could vary.

7. What criteria do your services have to meet?

We do not have criteria per se. Our goal is to provide for and accommodate our clients of all ages so they can take back to their home country their exclusive and exceptional memories of their beautiful experiences in Japan.

8. What are your favorite parts of Tokyo?

My favorite part of Tokyo would be the services here. I’ve traveled around the world as a child, but I’ve never encountered the same experience in other countries like I receive here on a daily basis. People are punctual with time, very professional for work, and respectful to each other and I believe this is why the concept of “omotenashi” was spotlighted in the candidature speech for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. We’d like to take this concept to another level and really provide an impact by showing our clients the beauty of Japan. It’s important to us to treat our clients with care and show great hospitality.

9. Which shopping areas do you recommend for your personal shopping tours?

It would depend on what you are looking for but for all the ladies out there, I would recommend Ginza or Omotesando. They are a couple of the trendiest high-end places to shop in Tokyo with unique buildings that add another layer of luxury to the shopping experience.

10. What tours do you recommend to people who have never been to Tokyo before?

Unfortunately, we are not a tour guide so we do not tour with our clients, but one of our most popular services would be the Hummer ride around Tokyo for two hours. Our clientele have such a great time doing this because they can experience an overview of city life within a short period of time. Another popular service would be our food tours. People are naturally curious about dining at exclusive spots in Japan. They watch movies and read documentaries about Japan and they are excited to see if these sources ring true. Our role here is to exceed their expectations by guiding them to hidden spots that only locals would know. I think this differentiates our services to other companies and we also like to keep it personal and exclusive.


11. What tours do you offer people who have been to Japan many times?

I would recommend our favorite spots. We are foodies ourselves so definitely our favorite restaurants would be something that we would love to share.

12. Have you ever had any strange or unusual requests?

It’s funny that you’ve asked us this question because lots of people do wonder the same thing. The terminology “VIP” does create a certain image but we are so fortunate that we’ve only had requests from kind and straightforward clients from all over the world. We received a lot of referrals from our previous clients who we have assisted in the past. They were equally just as great as our new clients. I think it’s important to be humble about these things but I cannot express how lucky and grateful we are to be able to assist professional and creative individuals all around the world.

Thank you Tokyo Luxe for answering all these questions. I really appreciate it.

Artwork by Tokyo Luxe

Artwork by Tokyo Luxe

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Live in Tokyo

I love Tokyo but Japan’s exhilarating capital city may not suit you, your lifestyle and your expectations . . .

1. If you’re only going to Tokyo to make money. You can definitely make a lot of money working in Japan but you’ll find it very difficult to enjoy your stay in Tokyo if all you’re thinking about is your pay packet. This city is all-encompassing and you can’t help but feel saturated by the Japanese culture and the Japanese way of life when you live in Tokyo. Japanese people like foreigners who embrace their culture. You will feel rewarded and you’ll make friends easily if you try to mix with the locals and if you show an interest and appreciation of the Japanese way of conducting business and socializing.

Japanese money

2. If you have no plans to learn the Japanese language. You may have read a lot of books and blogs about living in Tokyo but don’t make the mistake of thinking there are a lot of foreigners in Japan so you don’t need to learn any Japanese before you go. You’re going to get lost and very confused if you don’t learn at least a few basic phrases. Even if you can find your way to your accommodation when you first arrive, you’re going to have to familiarize yourself with the train system, find your way to the office for interviews and order food in restaurants. If you’re planning on teaching English you could be sent to schools all over Tokyo and you may need to ask local Japanese people for directions to some of the schools as they are often tucked away behind buildings. If you don’t speak any Japanese then you’re going to be late and this is a real faux pas in Japan. Even though many Japanese people can speak a little bit of English you’ll find yourself going around in circles literally and figuratively if you don’t make the effort to learn some basic expressions.

Tokyo Train Tsuyu

3. If you don’t like humid weather. Every year from early June to mid-July the tsuyu rainy season descends upon Tokyo and it can get very muggy. The summer that follows the rainy season can also get very humid so if you don’t like this kind of weather you might start to feel extremely tired and uncomfortable.

4. If you don’t like concrete cities. Tokyo does have some wonderful parks like the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden but when you’re living and moving around central Tokyo you’ll be amazed by how much you’ll miss nature and lush green landscapes. Tokyo is a concrete jungle and although all these buildings, neon signs and skyscrapers look very modern, exciting and impressive, after a while you’ll be yearning for some kind of escape, if only for a couple of days. The good news is that areas of natural beauty such as Kamakura and Izu are not far away from Tokyo. Make sure you plan a short break out of the big city now and again for some rest and relaxation.

5. If you’re an introvert and you like isolation. If you move to Japan by yourself you can end up spending a lot of time alone if you’re working long hours and you’re too tired to socialize. It’s easy to become isolated even though you’re surrounded by millions of people, but it’s not healthy. Thanks to the internet and growing internationalization in Tokyo it’s easier than ever before to socialize with others and take a break from the daily grind. If you do a little bit of research on the web you can connect with other foreigners and Japanese people who are looking to make friends and discover different ways to have fun in Tokyo. You can start by checking out this wonderful website called Social Networking Meetups in Tokyo.

5-Star Reviews for TOKYO TALES

I’m so pleased my latest book Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories with illustrations by Yoshimi OHTANI has received lots of 5-star reviews. I worked so hard to write stories that would appeal to everyone and I’m thrilled so many people love the book. To buy a copy of the paperback or eBook go directly to Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Paul Donnelley is a writer for the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times in the United Kingdom. Read his review of Tokyo Tales below:

“Until recently I had never been to Japan. I have now courtesy of Renae Lucas-Hall’s Tokyo Tales. The book of fifteen short stories is written with such love, such joie de vivre, such wit and warmth that you feel that you are walking the streets of the Japanese capital and visiting the bar in Nihonbashi or attending English language classes with Sachiko.

I also know Japanese societal customs thanks to the book. Renae writes with an easy flowing style, which is both beneficial and detrimental – beneficial because the stories are easy to read, detrimental because the stories, being easy to read, slip by quickly and you find yourself a little saddened because you have come to the end.

Still, there are fifteen of them and with Renae Lucas-Hall’s obvious talent, more will no doubt be on the way and I, for one, cannot wait. Arigatoo gozaimasu, Renae.”

Tokyo Tales image for blog

Julie Summers from Midwest Book Review has also given Tokyo Tales a 5-star review. Midwest Book Review selects about 600 books to review out of an average of 2000 titles submitted for review each month so I’m very pleased I passed their strict elimination process. You can read Julie Summer’s review below.

“Impressively written and presented, “Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories” is a superbly entertaining anthology and documents author Renae Lucas-Hall as an extraordinarily gifted author who has successfully drawn upon her years of experience living in Tokyo teaching English to Japanese students. Very highly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories” is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).”

Thank you so much Paul and Julie for your wonderful reviews. I really appreciate your support.