Let’s eating!

Hiroshima OkonomiyakiI love eating many types of Japanese food and so it’s about time I learned how to cook these things myself. Since today is Pancake Day in the UK, I decided to try my hand at okonomiyaki.

I ate a few of these when I was in Osaka, where they were first invented. I also had one in Hiroshima, which is also famous for having a particular way of making them. The one I had contained noodles and oysters.

This photo above is the Hiroshima okonomiyaki I ate.

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Practice article-writing 2: Cat got your tongue?

Talking cats are more common than you might think: many a proud cat owner will claim their kitty can speak, but Duncan ‘RJ’ Robert from Melbourne, Australia claims his cat Mischief can swear.  Duncan, 34, and his wife Sandra, 32, have heard their 2-year-old cat say seven different words including no, mum, now, what, why, prick and f**k.

Mischief’s first word, at the tender age of six months was ‘mum’.

“He can’t say ‘dad’ yet, which is a bit of a prick. That’s how he got the word ‘prick’ I reckon, because I say it a lot,” a disappointed Duncan said.

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Practice article-writing: Honeymoons with a difference

Honeymoons are generally once-in-a-lifetime holidays on which couples celebrate their newly married status in style and share some fun, relaxation and excitement before settling back into the real world, and not experiencing those things again for a while. Most couples like to spend their honeymoon in luxurious hotels in warm climates, enjoying each other’s company (another thing they may not do in the future!). But for those who want something a little different, here are some unusual honeymoon ideas.

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Maya the geisha girl

I think in the West there is a general misconception that Japan’s geisha are rather sordid, like high-class hookers, or at least that was the case until the film version of Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of A Geisha was released in 2005 (in which, interestingly, all the main female characters were played by Chinese actresses).

Both the book and the film purported to show geisha as the artists they are and not as “prostitutes, their lower-class counterparts”. While they did go some way towards exploring what a geisha is and does, eventually Sayuri and the other women in the story definitely leave the reader or viewer believing that a geisha will still drop her knickers if the price is right.

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Lexiphiles

Fusty, derelict libraryI was told about a website where you can adopt a word. It sounded like a lovely idea.

I imagined a fusty, decrepit library with a host of lonely words, hangdog and underused, desperate to be voiced and brought back into common parlance.

It wasn’t exactly like that.

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An enlightening experience in Nimbin

While driving up the east coast of Australia from Sydney to Brisbane, my friends and I, like many other backpackers before us, decided to stop by a village called Nimbin, which is about 40 miles inland from Byron Bay.

It’s a tiny village (population 352!) but famous in certain circles for its relaxed attitude towards drugs. Apparently in the ’70s a bunch of hippies descended on the village to hold a festival and now, since the 90s, there is a Mardi Gras festival held there every year that protests against the illegality of cannabis.

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Mazeophobia

Tokyo rail and subway map, confusing huh?

Getting lost while travelling is arguably part of the fun. When you’ve got time on your hands, getting lost in an unknown city can be a form of impromptu sightseeing: you can find yourself ‘off the beaten track’, stumbling upon weird and wonderful things that you might otherwise never have discovered had you stuck to tourist maps and guides.

But when you have to be in a certain place at a certain time, when you’re on a schedule, basically when it really counts, being utterly, cluelessly lost in an unfamiliar place is quite frankly a ballache.

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Row-day-oh

I went to my first ever rodeo, in Australia. I had no idea that rodeos took place in Australia: I had always assumed it was just like England except hotter and with weirder creepycrawlies. But after arriving in Adelaide, I soon realised my assumptions about the country had been completely wrong.

Unlike England, in many parts of Australia Western style riding (like cowboys) is popular and rodeos are a common event. It just so happened that while I was visiting Clare (about 130 km away from Adelaide) the last ever rodeo in town was taking place.

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Things I shall miss about Japan

After practically complaining about Japan in my previous post listing Japanese oddities, I decided I should remind myself of the things that left a positive impression on me.

I encountered a lot of cool and interesting stuff during my stay in Japan and while there was a lot that I found weird and alien, there was also a lot that I will miss and would like to see at home in London.

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Ganbaru!

Mother and child on bicycleSo I’ve been in Tokyo now for a month. Today is my last Japanese class and then I’m free to be a bum and travel round the country. It’s going to be a very different experience from the last four weeks.

It’s been pretty tough and there have been many times when I really didn’t want to be here but now it’s over I can’t help but wonder what all the fuss was about when I first arrived.

In my first week here, I made a trip to the Tokyo Tower which was very impressive and I did all the touristy stuff, but at that point I was still finding it difficult to adjust to life in Tokyo.

But as I left the Tower and started walking down the steep hill at the Tower’s base, I saw a woman cycling uphill.

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