Japan Fan in New York

Last week I was lucky enough to spend four days in New York on the way home from visiting relatives in Canada. What a crazy city. I am used to busy, I travel to Tokyo a bit, but this was different. Manhattan is so condensed and the buildings are so tall, it was a little…

Mining in to Hashima’s History

Wednesday morning saw us enjoying another delightful Japanese style breakfast, cooked by Fujiwara-san’s wife. The breakfast room was very pretty with shoji screens, tatami and shiny black furniture. The day out the window looked positively miserable. We have been quite lucky with the weather, with only short periods of rain. It’s the wet season here,…

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…

Headed for Kyushu

Monday morning we were booked to take three shinkansen from Kyoto to Nagasaki. I woke up feeling very less than average and had been coughing and spluttering all night. I always feel sad about leaving Kyoto, but this time I was feeling so unwell, it was overpowering my impending dread. I got up early and…

An Unexpected Cultural Adventure

On Sunday, Super Sake Boy and I had arranged to meet up with the very lovely Fujimoris, the couple we met at Shu Kura sake bar in Ponto-cho. Our conversation on the evening was very broken English/Japanese and somewhat sake fuelled, but fun and interesting, none-the-less. Super Sake Boy had painstakingly written his emails in…

Matcha, Sushi, Fairy Floss and Echoes of Murasaki

Saturday morning we decided to have a bit of a lazy and slow start to the day, as we had arranged to go to Uji with Maki and Senki and Sen-chan had track and field club in the morning. It was a good reason to have some down time. We did a bunch of washing…

A Day of Excellent Temples and Even More Excellent Sake

On Friday morning we headed out early after a reasonably early night. We had decided on a temple on the other side of town. Daitoku-Ji is a large temple complex, a branch of the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen Buddhism. There are around six buildings of the main temple and then around 22 sub-temples. Established…

Fujioka Shuzo, The Secret is Out

Do you ever have one of those moments when you are travelling, when you stumble upon something truly special. Something that is not in the guide books. A place that captures the town or city that you are exploring. You get almost giddy with excitement. It’s like you’ve captured a Pulitzer Prize winning photo, or…

Tokyo Parental Drop…

On Thursday morning we had decided to go back into Tokyo with Mum and Ted and make sure they got to the right place at the right time. They were flying out early Friday morning and had decided staying at a hotel near the airport would be easier than staying in Tokyo overnight. We also…

A Kyoto Local Day

Wednesday we decided to have a quiet and local day. Mum and Ted were leaving the next day and wanted to see a few things around Kyoto Station and just hang out. So we all, except Finn, jumped on a bus to go explore the station. Finn would join us later for lunch. I have…

A Short Taxi Tale

Japanese taxi drivers are polite, sweet and very patient (except in traffic). On our way home from Fushimi, I think we had the most patient and sweet taxi driver in all of Kyoto. Lubricated by quite an amount of sake, I jumped in the front seat, to give directions, while Stu, Mum and Ted were…

Revisiting a Couple of Old Favourites in Fushimi

Tuesday night we decided to take Mum and Ted to our favourite little brewery and also our favourite yakitori place in Fushimi, a district in Kyoto famous for it’s sake. We jumped in a cab and set off for Fujioka, or Bar En. This brewery is so aesthetically amazing, I would visit even if the…