As part of our MYrago profiles, we sit down with some of our locals to find out the most unique things about their country, what they think every traveler should be aware of and what is that one thing that makes them call their city home! This is our way of giving our readers and fellow travelers an insight into the daily lives of locals and also prepare them as they get ready to explore the unknown!
We sat down with Alejandro who is born and raised in California, has roots from Mexico and Peru but is now currently based in Japan aka Our International Local! He hosts three very offbeat and local experiences: Izakaya Hopping, Underground Koenji Music scene exploration and Otakus, Manga and Toy Collectors Unite!
MYrago: Why don't we begin by you giving us a brief background about yourself?
Alejandro: I am a born and raised Californian, but have roots from Mexico and Peru. I was exposed to the world at an early age. My father would always take us on trips every weekend. We would go to Los Angeles, San francisco, San diego, and many parts of Mexico and South Amercia. I was taught at a young age how important it is to travel, and since then I have been hooked. Japan was the first country on my list that I wanted to see, with its language, Culture, people.Once I arrived to the university, my site was set to study abroad in Japan, and in my third year of University, I studied abroad in Nagoya for a 1 year exchange in 2012. It was a dream come true and I learned all there is about japan. I decided that after I graduate and made enough money to save, I would come back to Japan and live here. And I did just that. But now I want to share the world about Japan and what its like to live here, which is why i offer my services to show people japan and help with any translation needed. Japan is a wonderful country and I want to share the world with my understanding of Japan and how to live like a local! I want to create authentic experiences and anything that offers travelers a way to look into Japan differently.
M: How would you describe yourself?
A: I am a curious person and always looking for ways to entertain people. I do my best to keep the energy flowing and get everyone involved as much as I can! Overall a funny caring guy and ready to show you the world and my world!
M: What is the most unique thing about your city that no one (including most locals) don’t know about?
A: Kichijoji has a lot to offer so if I want to stay out late drink with the locals, I always try to do that. Even inokashira park is nearby which is another great aspect of living in the area. Can't say there isn't anything I don't like other then I have a lot of friends who tend to live in the shinjuku/ shibuya area which makes it difficult to meet as they prefer to drink all night in those areas. but i love Kichijoji for its own unique vibe and Japanese bars that you have to look deep into Harmonica Alley
M: What is the most-touristy thing you have ever done in your city? Don’t be embarrassed, some of the touristy things are actually fun!
A: Going to the Shibuya crossing and crossing it multiple times to get the best shot
M: What makes you call your current city home?
A: Kichijoji is an amazing area to live in. You really don't need to go anywhere else if you live in kichijoji as it has everything you need from shopping, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife. It's even considered the number one place to live in japan! This is why I consider it my own home
M: What inspired you to come up with the idea for your experience?
A: I just love teaching about Japan. and Showing people what its like to live like a local. I think its hard to find what to do in Japan and avoiding the tourist area can be a little difficult. So my experiences help travelers escape the tourist traps and explore the real local culture with me! I got my first taste of showing people around Japan when my sister co-workers came to Japan and needed a tour guide for Japan. So I volunteered myself to meet them and show them around! After that, the rest is history :)
M: What is that one thing that people should be aware of before visiting your city?
A: They should be aware of transportation and how confusing the big stations can be. I would just say to not worry too much on it, I think the fun part is getting lost during your travels, so long as you're not on a time limit. As well as stay aware of last train. The trains stop running at midnight so if you aren't on your train by midnight, be ready to be out all night and find something to do! But it shouldn't be a problem, meet some locals at locals bars and have some fun!