Kunoichi… female ninja

When I think of female ninja, a picture pops into my head of a badass women, all in black, wearing tabi boots and carrying shuriken stars and swords. Sadly, this is not the reality of these women. They were definitely badass, but usually a little more understated and certainly less recognisable than their male counterparts,…

Super Sake Boy and Nihonshu Girl get serious about Sake…

Super Sake Boy and I started drinking sake together almost precisely two years ago. We had very limited experience before coming together and our journey from sake novices to sake enthusiasts has been a fun and educational one. Our two trips to Japan since becoming sake literate have definitely been enhanced by our burgeoning love…

Women, criminals and other subversions in Japanese sub-culture….

Last night I watched a documentary made by a woman, a well-educated and intelligent woman, who was raped by a well respected Japanese journalist. Her story was very sad and her outcome was not satisfactory. The case was dismissed, at the last minute, as there was insufficient evidence. The man was the biographer of Shinzo…

What does UMAMI mean?

Umami is a very misunderstood term in the West… although it has been understood for many years at a taste level by chefs and foodies alike. The usual translation is “pleasant savoury taste” or just savoury. It adds another taste to what was believed to be the four basics tastes of sweet, salty, bitter and…

Super Easy Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken is a staple in our house. It is quick and super easy and very delicious. It is loved by everyone and is my no-brainer “go to” meal. I make my sauce from scratch and have tweaked several different recipes, as I often find Japanese sauces to be ever so slightly too sweet, sometimes….

Heisei to Reiwa: A Golden Week to Remember

On Tuesday the 30th April history was made as the first Japanese Emperor in over 200 years abdicated from the throne. Emperor Akihito, who was enthroned in 1989, chose to step down and pass the responsibility to his son, who on 1st May was enthroned as Emperor Naruhito. The occasion was celebrated around Japan, as…

Shishito Yakitori

Last weekend we stopped past a local veggie market on our way home from stocking up our sake supplies. We don’t go very often, as it is usually so busy, but they have excellent and difficult to find ingredients and I wanted to buy some new shiso micro-greens to grow on my kitchen window ledge….

Top 15 Things to see in Tokyo and Kyoto Part TWO

A little later than I had hoped, but better late than never. Part two of the very difficult to narrow down list of my favourite places to visit in Tokyo and Kyoto. Gion and Ponto-cho Gion is the most famous of the 花街 hanamachi, the geisha districts of Kyoto. (Although in Kyoto they are called geiko…

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),…

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….

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…