Japanese restaurant owner invests £42/$65 a slice on tuna sushi


Whopping tuna catch in Tokyo

A Japanese restaurant owner ignored the global recession and shelled out a staggering 56.49 million yen (£476,082/$736,500) on a  269-kilogramme (592-pound) tuna fish in the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

At those prices, a single slice of the highly regarded blue-fin tuna could cost 5000 yen (£42/$65) but the sushi restaurant owner said it will be priced at a more reasonable 418 yen (£3.50/$5.40), despite western countries calling for a ban on fishing of the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Ye Olde, er, Japanese tearooms … in the middle of the English countryside!?


Looking for a quirky twist in the middle of the English countryside? Well, East meets West right here in the middle of Cotswolds Life with the Japanese family-run English tea rooms, The Olde Bakery Tea Shoppe, named Les Routiers Café of the Year 2005, Wales & The Marches.

Owned and run by the Miyawaki family, and housed in a Grade II listed building, award winning cream tea, afternoon tea, cakes and pastries are served up in a traditional English setting in the beautiful town of Winchcombe.

80:80 World Refugee Day 20 June 2011


Deadly Discrimination – not just a case of sexist tea-making policies 

Did you know: 80% of the world’s refugees are women and children fleeing violence, persecution, starvation, slavery and sexual exploitation. What’s more, the poorest nations are hosting 80% of the world’s forcibly displaced population, while richer countries close their borders. So, on World Refugee Day 2011 I thought it apt to resurrect an article I wrote back in 2003, regarding the plight of women around the world (the tea-making refers to my own battle at the time, where the female teachers in the Japanese staff rooms were always expected to jump up and make tea).

Natsukashii Nagasaki


Omoshiroi ne! A little you tube intro to Nagaskai, my home for two glorious years.

Murakami classic finally makes it onto the big screen


Anybody interested in Japanese culture has read at least one Haruki Murakami novel, and it is likely that one novel would be the emotional and nostalgic Norwegian Wood (1987) – the tale of sex, loss and mental illness that brought Murakami world-wide success.

Haven’t mastered ‘nihongo’ yet? Get news from Japan in English


To read a Japanese newspaper they say you need to know at least 2000 kanji charaters – and more like 4000 if you really want to ‘get it’. I lived in Japan for two years and learnt by heart two of the three alphabets: hiragana – used for basic Japanese words, and  katakana – to capture foreign words or ideas. I also committed to memory about 200 kanji – nowhere near enough to read a magazine but I could read roadsigns, bus timetables, and more importantly, menus and cocktail lists.

Think you know what the most expensive country to visit on holiday is?


Well, it’s definitely not what you’d expect!

Skyscanner, a flight comparison website, gathered info on the cost of things such as a coffee, a beer, a meal, a hotel room, and surprisingly enough France came out as the costliest country to go on vacation, excluding flights.

Well, that puts paid to the idea of a cheap and chearful getting-away-from-it-all break in the south of France then!

Sugoi ne! Japanese treats for all tastes in the heart of London’s West End


Loos so advanced you need instructions!

What could be better after a long day shopping in the West End or sight-seeing around central London than treating yourself to a ‘kaiten’ sushi buffet and a cold glass of Kirin at the award winning Yo! Sushi.

Their newest restaurant has just opened on Market Place, two minutes from Oxford Circus, and comes complete with genuine Japanese toilets to try out: push the buttons and you’ll leave Yo! Sushi feeling fed, watered, clean and refreshed.

Nomozaki – Kyushu, Japan


Around Nagasaki 


NomozakiNomozaki, 25km south of Nagasaki, may not be on most visitors’ itineraries when coming to Japan but, with warm sunny weather from March to November, two beaches, plenty of shrines, an onsen with a sea view, a karoke box, family-run restaurants as well as year-round traditional festivals, the four machi, or villages, that make up Nomozaki town have a lot to offer the more adventurous traveller wishing to get off the beaten track and see something of the ‘everyday’ Japan.