Love in the Time of Coronavirus… or The Quiet Ryokan

Twenty five days ago I wrote a blog about our impending trip to Japan. It feels like a year ago. Needless to say our plans have been completely disbanded and even if we wanted to leave the country, we could not. I am somewhat relieved we were not stuck in a difficult situation of being…

Kansai Style Sukiyaki Don Recipe

This sukiyaki don is another staple meal in our house. Don is short for donburi which simply indicates it is a meat, fish or vegetable dish served over rice, in one bowl. It is super easy, super, super quick and very delicious. It is a couple of minutes of preparation and then very quick to…

Uniquely Japanese- Kodawari こだわり

Google translate translates kodawari as meaning commitment, but this simple translation certainly lacks understanding of the nuance of the word. Kodawari is an uncompromising and relentless pursuit of perfection. In craftsmanship, in skill, in creativity, in the everyday. This is an attribute you can witness in every aspect of life in Japan. One that can…

Travel and the Coronavirus

As a young person, probably in my late teens, I became somewhat obsessed with epidemiology and read voraciously about viruses, the CDC and Ebola, in particular. The Hot Zone, Virus X and The Coming Plague still sit on the shelf in our study. I feel like I have been waiting for the Coronavirus, without knowing…

Geisha, Oiran and Tayu. Misunderstood Women of Japan.

The mere mention of Japan will probably conjure many pervasive Japanese images in your mind, and undoubtably, geisha will probably be among those images. However, for most foreign people the concept of geisha is difficult to understand and many people are misinformed as to their cultural significance, the role they played, and still play, and…

Yurei, Bakemono, Yokai and other Japanese Horror Stories

I am not a huge fan of horror movies, although I was an avid reader of horror when I was younger. The last horror story I read was Ring by Koji Suzuki (1998). It was terrifying, in a very subtle, psychological way. I have recently been watching The Terror: Infamy by AMC on Amazon Prime….

Onna-bugeisha…female Samurai

“Samurai” usually brings forth a vision of a guy in traditional Japanese feudal armour with several swords and a scary disposition. While many samurai were certainly great warriors and warlords, the term actually refers to a class of people in Japan, which, of course, includes women. The bushi class in feudal Japan were the highest…

Sake Qualified

Back in May I wrote a blog about Super Sake Boy and I taking the WSET Level 3 Award in Sake course and examination. You can read the blog here. At the time we knew we would have to wait eight to ten weeks to receive our results. It occurred to me when I re-read…

Tamura Sake Bar- A Haven in Fitzroy

Earlier this year, a wonderful little bar opened near the top end of Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. Dark and mysterious, but cleverly illuminated with a welcoming glow from inside, Tamura Sake Bar has all the wonderful things a sake bar in Japan has, namely great sake, great food and wonderfully generous hospitality, here in Melbourne….

Shohei Otomo…incredible ink ability

The week before last, Super Sake Boy and I went to the opening of Reiwa, Shohei Otomo’s exhibition on at SHDW Gallery at 112 Flinders Lane, in Melbourne. The opening was accompanied by the launch of a beer that Shohei-san had collaborated on with our friend Tomoya‘a restaurant, Chotto Motto, in Collingwood and Temple Brewing…

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Peace Park

Thursday morning we headed out for coffee and realised that Abby needed to go back to bed. She was achy and had a bad headache. Finn made the decision he was not up for atomic bomb history and museums. So Super Sake Boy dropped Abby home and Finn went off exploring downtown. Super Sake Boy,…

Gunkanjima, the Battleship Island

Tuesday morning we were up early for a traditional ryokan breakfast. Not nearly quite as terrifying as our previous ryokan experience, a much more homely Japanese breakfast of saba (mackerel), rice, miso, tofu, pickles and green tea, the meal was delicious and satisfying. Fujiwara-san, the owner of the ryokan, is so cute, and his family…