Bento Wars

I love to make bento box lunches for, and with, my daughter when I have the time. It is fun and strangely satisfying, to put together a cute and edible creation which tastes yummy and looks super appealing. When I am able, it is for fun, and she likes to show her school friends what…

Calligraphy

Have you ever wondered at why every Japanese person has exquisite handwriting, when writing in English? I believe it is because they have finely honed fine motor skills, due to the fact that they practice calligraphy throughout their schooling life. Last time we were in Kyoto we were fortunate enough to experience a calligraphy homework…

Mighty Matcha

So, there is a lot of hype about matcha, lately. Personally, I totally get it. I love matcha. My kids love matcha. We make matcha cheesecake, matcha protein balls and matcha icecream. Yum. But matcha is not for everyone. The flavour is a unique blend of bitter and umami. Not for the faint of heart….

Me, Japan and Suicide

Suicide is a hard subject to talk about. Especially when your Western culture has very little idea on how to talk about it, or anything else related to death. The English stiff upper lip has lead to many subjects being deemed as taboo. However, when you find yourself in a situation where you have to…

Well, well, well…. Japanese wells, actually

What is the significance of the humble well in Japanese imagery? I had not even realised that there was a significance until I was reading Peter Carey’s Wrong About Japan. Toward the end of the book, which follows Peter Carey and his son on their trip to Japan, the father and son watch a DVD…

Adam Liaw, ambassador of Japanese Cuisine

Last Friday night, the 31st of March, I went to Melbourne University to see Adam Liaw speak. Adam was the second winner of Masterchef Australia, in 2010. He was born in Malaysia, his mum is Singaporean-English and his dad is Hainese Chinese. Formerly a lawyer for Disney in Tokyo, Adam started learning Japanese in order…

New Year’s Day in Japan

New Year’s Day in Japan is, like New Year’s Eve, a spiritual and significant time. Many people visit their local Shinto shrine on the 1st, 2nd or 3rd of January. Known as 初詣(hatsumode-or first temple visit) this is very important. Last year we arrived at Harajuku station on the 2nd of January, to find an…

New Year’s Eve in Japan

I spent last NYE in Kyoto, and to say that this year is a bit of a let down is an understatement. I have always found New Year’s to be a fairly meaningless celebration, which is generally a disappointment. I love the potential of a new year… brand new diary, new beginnings, new adventures. It…

Christmas in Japan

I spent last Christmas in Japan. It was pretty amazing, but not in a traditional Christmas-y way. As Japan is Shinto and Buddhist, the “Christian” side of Christmas is pretty much irrelevant. This means, the Japanese take many of the fun and beautiful parts of Christmas and make it into メリークリスマス (Meri-Kurisumasu). Christmas Eve is…

Eating out in Japan

When you go to a Japanese restaurant in Australia, or Brazil or Dubai, you are offered a veritable cornucopia of feasting options, including many different types of food. I had no idea that when we got to Japan that all of these delicious foods would be segregated from each other, in restaurants which specialize in…