Today we’re more than happy to introduce you to our guide of the month, Gabi, from our Osaka and Kyoto teams.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am Gabi, an Arigato Japan Food Tours guide in Osaka and Kyoto. I was born and raised in Brazil, but my grandfather was Japanese. He left Japan with his family around 1920 and completely adapted to life in Brazil. When I was born he was already older and I didn’t have much change to hear about Japan from him. That made me very curious about my heritage, the culture and food in Japan; so much so that I decided to move here in 2017.
In Brazil I went to university and graduated from dental school, worked as a dentist and realized I could combine my desire to come to Japan with my continuing professional development, so I applied for a PhD course at Osaka University. I spend most of my day studying and learning about the wonders that science can accomplish, but sometimes it gets quite lonely at the lab bench.
So, joining Arigato Japan Food Tours was the perfect opportunity to talk to people, make new friends, learn and share knowledge about Japanese culture and cuisine. In the future, considering all the scientific and culinary knowledge I’ve been accumulating in Japan, I can see myself moving into a volcano, becoming a cartoon villain, trying to take over the world and… Having a fascination for Japanese food!
2. What is your favorite Japanese food and why?
I can’t pick one! But basically any Osaka food is my favorite. I love kushikatsu, which are cutlets on a skewers (extra deliciousness when creative combinations of ingredients are put together in one glorious bite size skewer!); Also, I can’t live without takoyaki, the most perfectly cooked octopus surrounded by a dough that is bursting in umami flavor! And of course, all kinds of hot-pots such as sukiyaki, shabushabu, nabe… They are the most “soulful” food you can get in winter.
3. What is your favorite Arigato Japan tour and why?
My favorite tours are the Osaka Nightlife Tour and the Kyoto Luxury Whisky Sake Cocktail Tour. The Osaka Nightlife Tour is so much fun! We get to try the most delicious foods of Osaka while taking in beautiful urban scenery. Osaka city has many peculiarities and it’s very interesting to see how different Osaka is from other Japanese cities. And the Kyoto Luxury Whisky Sake Cocktail Tour is super cozy and informative! To taste the flavors of Kyoto in unique drinks that are beautiful in presentation makes this a tour filled with perfect photo opportunities.
4. What’s your best memory with a guest you had on a tour?
My best memory is with a family that coincidentally had the same structure as my own family back in Brazil. It simply happened that we really had a special connection and it made me feel like I was spending a Sunday evening with my own family. Talking, sharing thoughts and experiences, light banter and delicious food… Definitely filled my heart with warmth, I felt very lucky to have met them and lucky to have their sincere friendship.
4. What would you recommend to people traveling to Osaka or Kyoto this Summer? Any tips to beat the heat? Any places to go?
Summer in Japan is filled with outdoors activities and religious festivals. I recommend putting on a Yukata (summer version of a kimono) and joining locals to admire the parade of Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, or the Yodogawa fireworks in Osaka. Stay cool by tasting local craft beers that are delicious and inventive.