JAPAN Forward asked Charles Jack, general manager of The Westin Tokyo, what he thinks about Japan and what he likes about Japanese cuisine.
Jack’s career in the hotel business spans more than a quarter of a century. He has been in charge of The Westin Tokyo for four and a half years, and his previous stints included working at hotels in Australia, Fiji, Brunei, and Thailand.
Here is the veteran hotelier, in his own words.
Country of Distinct Seasons
Of course, every country has attractive things of its own. But I think the contrasts of its four distinct seasons and the many wonderful events and activities associated with each season are what makes Japan stand out.
For example, in the springtime there is the Doll (Girls’) Festival and the cherry blossoms in bloom. In summer, you have fireworks and Bon dancing. In the fall, you can go out moon viewing and enjoying the multicolored foliage. And winter is perfect for skiing. And then there is of course Japanese New Year.
All in all, you can have a splendid time no matter what season you visit Japan. Furthermore, as far as great eating is concerned, each season offers its own unique taste treats.
Location and Convenience
The location of The Westin Tokyo in the Ebisu district makes it convenient to the railway hubs of Shibuya and Shinagawa. At the same time, it is within walking distance of tranquil residential neighborhoods, areas like Daikanyama and Meguro.
Tucked hidden away in these back streets you can find many stylish restaurants. If you pluck up your courage and enter one of these establishments, you are sure to be given a hearty welcome. You will undoubtedly be made to feel at home, and enjoy an experience you will treasure for a long time to come.
Experiencing the Close Connection Between Rice and Culture
Great experiences in Tokyo’s backstreets make sense because, after all, the city is a great metropolis. But it is in local areas where nature still remains that you find truly spectacular scenery.
Our company has an in-house program for directly experiencing rice cultivation in Tokamachi, in Niigata Prefecture. Rice seedling planting in spring and the autumn harvesting involve a lot of work, but it feels great to participate in these activities.
During this period, we get to directly experience the close connection between rice and Japanese culture. It’s great fun to go to the countryside and eat things that were actually grown there.
Helping Guests Enjoy Japan Through Food
I’ve come to really love Japanese food and get to eat all kinds of delicious things every day. Our culinary staff at The Westin Tokyo is really dedicated and highly skillful, and they are eagerly waiting to help our guests enjoy Japan through its food.
Welcome to Japan and bon appetit.
In our next interview, we will hear from Toshio Numajiri, The Westin Tokyo’s executive chef and supervisor of the hotel’s French restaurant “Victor’s,” on how his kitchen has adapted the use of wagyu Japanese beef. In later segments, we plan to interview chefs responsible for Chinese and Japanese cuisine at the hotel. Together these four interviews should give our readers a good introduction to the joys of dining in Japan.
Author: Yukihiro Watanabe, JAPAN Forward