In Conversation with Maki Ueta, owner of a Kyoto Guesthouse

Maki and I met in April 2015 when my kids and I stayed in her exceptional guesthouse in Higashiyama in Kyoto. I had a feeling while I was booking Guesthouse Soi and reading reviews that something very special was going to eventuate. I was right. We stayed four nights in Kyoto and I made a … Continue reading In Conversation with Maki Ueta, owner of a Kyoto Guesthouse

In Conversation with Cindy Bissig, a Digital Nomad

All of the photos contained in this article are Cindy's own photos. Cindy Bissig is a multi-faceted content creator. She writes and makes videos about travel, food, art and sake. She is a brilliant photographer and artist in her own right. I met Cindy through the Taste with the Toji online sake group. We became … Continue reading In Conversation with Cindy Bissig, a Digital Nomad

Eating in Japan- Omurice

Window display of wax models of omurice dishes in a restaurant in Aeon Mall in Hinode in Tokyo. The omurice, omelette stuffed with tomato rice served with various sauces.

My first time in Japan I was really surprised restaurants were so specialised. Rather than having a selection of assorted dishes on their menu, most places specialise in one type of food. Often, they offer many different iterations, or variations on a theme (or flavour). One of my favourite types of places to eat is … Continue reading Eating in Japan- Omurice

In Conversation with Van Milton, a Kyoto Tour Guide

Last week I had an enlightening conversation with Van Milton. A tour guide in Kyoto, without customers to guide at the present time. In addition to tour guiding, Van is a botanist, a teacher, a keen hiker and cyclist and a fellow sake lover. We met through the Taste with the Toji online sake group. … Continue reading In Conversation with Van Milton, a Kyoto Tour Guide

Eating in Japan- Yokochō

Yokochō means "alleyway" in Japanese, and the busy alleyways of Tokyo, Osaka, and other large cities in Japan, are an opportunity to connect with the past. Bustling and crowded alleyways are packed with small izakaya, bars, ramen joints and other cheap and delicious eateries. Many of these establishments seat only 4-10 people. They are very … Continue reading Eating in Japan- Yokochō

Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Yoshoku is Japanese western style cooking. In my experience, every dish that the Japanese adopt and alter ends up being more delicious than the dish they started with. Yoshoku translates literally as "Western style cuisine", as opposed to Washoku 和食 which translates to Japanese style cuisine. During the Meiji period (1868-1912) after more than 200 … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Yoshoku 洋食

Travel and the Coronavirus

Map of Coronavirus Spread

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 … Continue reading Travel and the Coronavirus

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. … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Shinrinyoku 森林浴

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 … Continue reading The Only Gaijin in the Village (Or, How the Onsen Changed my Life)