Eye popping shopping in Kappabashi-dori – Tokyo’s kitchen town. We keep getting drawn back to Asakusa time and time again. Not only is it the home of fascinating Senso-ji, there’s a warren of narrow streets, indoor shopping arcades, and great street food. It’s busy, noisy, and sometimes frustrating, but there’s always something to see – traditional weddings, rickshaws, kimonos – and kitchenware. Kappabashi-dori is a … Continue reading I Can’t Believe It’s Not Real.
The young couple outside the metro station paced back and forth. He looked bewildered. She looked impatient. After a couple of minutes she bounded up – ‘you wouldn’t happen to know where Azumazeki Beya is, would you’? Like us, they were hoping to watch morning sumo practice. It wasn’t far. Just a short walk, but during the course of conversation I learned that they’d already … Continue reading Watching Morning Sumo Practice.
We’ve been here for five weeks. And all that time Sakura fever has been with us. At the beginning of March there was a flurry of sakura packaging, flavours and food. Beer suddenly got pretty in pink. Starbucks sold cherry blossom cream latte and frappuccino. Traditional rice cakes were wrapped in cherry blossom leaves and garnished with slivers of dried cherry blossom. Blossom was everywhere … Continue reading Tokyo – Pretty In Pink.
We wanted to go somewhere typically Tokyo. We choose Senso-ji, the city’s oldest temple, thinking it would be calm; hoping it would give us a glimpse into the life of Tokyoites and a gentle intro. to the mega metropolis. Approaching the great Kaminarimom or Thunder Gate we were taken aback by the number of people. Rickshaw drivers touted for custom. Japanese students asked if they … Continue reading Surprising Senso-Ji.
I’ve never researched a place so intensively as Tokyo. I spent hours pouring over the Lonely Planet, and many, many more on the internet. Usually in this planning stage, things stand out for me, hit me in the gut. I know where I want to go, and what feels right for me. Once I have a springboard, I leave the rest to fate. With Tokyo … Continue reading Monkey Mind, Zen Head in Tokyo.
Two pairs of grey slippers on a round green mat. Lined up and waiting for us to step into them and our new life in Kaminoge, Tokyo. We’d been travelling for three days, delayed by fog in Istanbul. The slippers made an impression. ‘Leave the outside behind you’, they seemed to say. ‘Your’e home now. Turn your attention inwards’. We did and collapsed into bed. … Continue reading We’re in Tokyo!
February. We’d arranged to look after Sophie and Bobby in the New Forest. Two labradors. One golden. One chocolate. Both gorgeous. Sophie is nine. A dog with selective hearing. Always hanging back, rolling in something unsavoury, eating something disgusting. She’ll come back when she’s ready, tongue lolling, looking up at me as if she’s laughing; sticking her nose into my pocket hoping for a treat. … Continue reading Out of Season. Out of Time.
‘I’m naughty Kate’, she said, extending her hand, and looking at me over the top of her glasses. Her eyes sparkled, but it was clear she was a force to be reckoned with. She continued making her jewellery, painstakingly threading beads onto cotton, as she told me her story. ‘I have two children,’ she said, a boy and a girl, but there’s sixteen years between … Continue reading Kate’s Story.
Travelling so much has it’s downsides. Lack of regularity, lack of habit, lack of roots. To compensate we establish our own traditions when we stay a while. In Cape Town, visits to the Oranjezicht City Farm market every Saturday morning became a looked forward to treat. It was (nearly) all about food. And mostly about eating it. Some even took their own plate! The raw stuff looked … Continue reading A Market Within Sight of the Ocean.