Looking for the Master

As a follower of Japanese culture, if you have never seen Midnight Diner on Netflix, you need to stop reading this blog for a moment and queue it up. It is one of Nihonshu Girl’s and my favourite television shows – ever. It is set in a diner in the backstreets of Shinjuku which opens…

“How long do I need in Kyoto?”

This is a question people ask me on an almost weekly basis. “I have four nights booked in Kyoto. Is this long enough?” I find this question really difficult to answer. For a number of reasons. Firstly, I have spent around a month, all together, in Kyoto. I am about to return for just 3…

Uniquely Japanese-Sakoku

Featured image credit The final shogun family in Japan was the Tokugawa Shogunate, also called the Bakafu. Under the rule of the Tokugawa, Japan entered into a period of isolation, called the Sakoku Jidai, translating to time of national isolation or exclusion of foreigners. The policy was enacted between 1633-39 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, and relations…

Uniquely Japanese- Kintsugi 金継ぎ or Kintsukuroi 金繕い

One of my favourite uniquely Japanese words is Kintsugi. The first kanji (syllable) means gold, and the direct translation is “gold splicing”… when a piece of pottery gets broken, the Japanese fix it, not trying to make the repair invisible, but by making the repair gold, and very noticeable. The reasoning is that they believe…

Thatched Rooves and Earthen Floors

Our last day in Takayama, we decided to visit the Hida Folk Village. We had toyed with the idea of visiting Shirakawa-go, a very picturesque and historical mountain village in the Northern Alps. However, there is no way to access the village without booking a formal tour, and it is a reasonable distance to travel….

The Old Town

Many of the buildings in Takayama’s Old Town have been preserved from the Edo Period (1600-1868). It is like walking through a historical drama movie set. Only it is beautifully maintained and many of the buildings are working sake breweries, so it was a little like Disneyland for Super Sake Boy and I. When we…

Messages from Lady Murasaki

Super Sake Boy proved his driving prowess yesterday, by driving us around Kyoto in Maki-san’s car. Now driving in another country is usually not too intimidating, even on the other side of the road… however, in Kyoto and surrounds, the roads were created as a complete afterthought. Most of the buildings were built hundreds of…

Sengoku Samurai Heaven… Osaka

The first time I came to Japan, I stayed in Osaka for three or four days. I was not a huge fan. I found the trains much more difficult to navigate than those in Tokyo and just the general, overall vibe of the place a little less charming than many other places I have been…

Deer, oh deer

A not too early traditional Japanese breakfast (yum…. rice, miso, pickles, nori and fish) and we were off exploring again. After a quick Starbucks stop, and the biggest coffee I have ever had, we jumped on the rapid train to Nara. Nara was the original capital of Japan from 710-794, before it was moved to…

Searching for Sengoku Samurai

Japanese history is amazing, long and not really taught at all in Australian schools. The more I read, the more I am pulled into the fascinating world of feudal Japan. Samurai and ninja, castles, battles and shoguns. It’s such a rich tale of violence and beauty. I studied history all the way through school and…

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…