Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

Ōsōji 大掃除 is “New Year’s Cleaning”. More literally it means big cleaning. It is a custom observed by most people in Japan, sometime in December. Often in the last few days of the year. Usually around three days cleaning, not dissimilar to a "spring clean". This allows the space to be purified in order to … Continue reading Uniquely Japanese- Ōsōji お掃除

Why do they eat KFC for Christmas in Japan?

Exterior of KFC store at Christmas in Japan

Have you ever wondered why KFC is the traditional Christmas meal in Japan? I spent Christmas of 2015 in Japan. I am not sure why, but I was surprised by the fact that Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan. Of course, Japan is not a Christian country. In fact only around 1% of the … Continue reading Why do they eat KFC for Christmas in Japan?

The Master…of Meshi

Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories

Midnight Diner Meshi 飯 means food in Japanese. More literally, rice. However the words rice and food are almost interchangeable in meaning in Japan. Meshiya 飯屋 means food shop, or diner. Midnight Diner, is a Japanese tv show available on Netflix in Australia. The title in Japanese is Shinya Shokudo 深夜食堂. The show is about … Continue reading The Master…of Meshi

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

Amabie, the cute way Japan is fighting COVID

Yokai are "monsters" of Japanese Folklore. Though previously considered scary, many are now regarded as cute and friendly, and often benevolent. They take many forms and are seen as a way of processing difficult feelings and unpleasant situations. Superstition is not uncommon in Japan and many believe there is a thin veil between this world … Continue reading Amabie, the cute way Japan is fighting COVID

Japanese Names

Name Conventions When I started reading a lot of Japanese history, I initially found the names a little confusing. Although having some understanding, there are a number of practices that I still find really intriguing. I wanted to write about myōseki, the passing down of a family name to someone who is not necessarily related. … Continue reading Japanese Names

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