Top 15 Things to See in Tokyo and Kyoto Part ONE

I am always torn when people ask me for my advice on what is unmissable in both Tokyo and Kyoto. It is a really hard question to answer. There are so many amazing things to see in both places. However, as I am currently planning a trip with my mum and step-dad (their first time),…

Marie Kondo and the “Spark Joy” phenomenon

Alternate Name: Uniquely Japanese- Tokimeku Featured image credit New York Times ときめくor tokimeku is the Japanese word that is translated in English to “sparks joy”. If you are not living under a rock you will surely have seen the Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, that is if you missed her New York Times…

Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA

I am not sure how old I was the first time I watched Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence. Quite young, I think. I remember being traumatised by the scene where David Bowie is buried in sand up to his neck. My Dad loves David Bowie. He also loves movies. Good movies, old movies, art house movies….

Uniquely Japanese- Shinrinyoku 森林浴

Shinrinyoku literally means “forest bathing” in Japanese. I live in a magical part of the world, surrounded by lush forest. I live in amongst the National Park and I work on the edge of Sherbrooke Forest. Not a day goes by when I am not grateful for my amazing environment. I walk in the forest….

Japanese Jizo

Jizo are ubiquitous in Japan. They are lovely little statues, usually made of stone, and many have knitted bonnets and shawls of red wool. In Japan it is believed that when a baby is miscarried or dies early it has not had an opportunity to build the good karma required to enter the afterlife. In…

The Only Gaijin in the Village (Or, How the Onsen Changed my Life)

On my recent trip to Japan, my fourth, I finally tried an onsen. We stayed in a traditional, and very beautiful ryokan on Lake Chuzenji, just out of Nikko. We spent three nights eating, sleeping and bathing in the traditional way. All the traditional ways of living in Japan are surrounded with layers of etiquette…

Autumn beauty, Tokugawas, Jizo and The Abyss….. Nikko

Friday morning we woke early, again, and decided to take a walk before breakfast to the local falls. Kegon Falls was literally a 10 minutes walk from the ryokan, which was good. It was pretty chilly in the morning. The falls height is around 97 metres, but the ferocity of the water falling made it…

Edo Wonderland, at last.

Thursday morning we woke up really early. We lounged around a bit, waiting for our designated breakfast time. Breakfast was kaiseki set menu, and very traditional Japanese. Rice, miso, grilled mackerel, pickles, tomagoyaki (omelette) and hojicha tea. I like Japanese breakfast, and this was very yummy. The yuzu juice accompaniment was particularly delicious. We then…

All the Tradition…..

Wednesday morning we were up, a little worse for wear after our sake day, and a little hard to motivate (me), which is always the case when leaving Kyoto. As much as I feel I am coming home when I arrive, I feel I’m being dragged away from a friend when I leave. A reasonably…

Super Sake Saturation

Tuesday morning we woke up early….. no reference to pensioners allowed…. don’t want to upset my Dad. We had a hearty bacon, egg and sausage breakfast, with some really good, Maki coffee, and headed off early to Fushimi. Kyoto’s famous sake precinct. We thought we would pop into the National Museum on our way past,…

Historical Heaven

On Monday we woke up super early again, pensioner hour…. and got ready quite quickly. We were out the door and on our way into the city before 8am. This was a bizarre experience, as the last time we were in Kyoto we had four children to wrangle out the door, and it would never…

Kyoto…. Like Coming Home

Yesterday morning we woke up really early, one because Book and Bed was quite warm and I was feeling a little overheated. Two, the two hour time difference means we have suddenly become early risers, and we haven’t really clocked in, body clock wise….. we had possibly the best coffee I have ever had, then…