Ramen, At The Corner

I was really happy with our Kyoto hotel choice for last October’s stay. The previous year, we’d split our 5 nights in Kyoto between the gorgeous Shiraume ryokan in Gion and Hotel Granvia, located in the large and modern Kyoto Station building. That worked wonderfully for our first visit to Kyoto. This time, I wanted ... Read more »

Suizenji Joju-en Park and Sweet Potato Dumplings in Kumamoto

Suizenji Joju-en Park Suizenji Joju-en is a beautiful park in Kumamoto. When we visited at the end of October last year, it was still lush and green; the autumn colours still to descend. Daimyo (feudal lord) Hosokawa Tadatoshi originally built a temple, Suizenji, on the site in 1632 but just four years later he replaced ... Read more »

Sticks N Sushi: Japanese by way of Denmark

Sticks N Sushi is a stylish sushi and yakitori restaurant that recently made the leap from its native Denmark to London. The Wimbledon branch opened its doors in 2012, soon followed by the Covent Garden location in November last year. Founded 20 years ago, the chain took inspiration from the Rahbek brothers’ half-Japanese, half-Danish background ... Read more »

Burger King Japan’s Kuro Ninja

Japanese consumers love limited editions so there was a lot of advertising and press interest when Burger King announced their Kuro (Black) Ninja burger in October. And this special edition was given its own mascot in the form of a cute cartoon ninja complete with black outfit and… a tongue stuck cheekily out! (No, I ... Read more »

Tokyo Bento

One of the (many) pleasures of train travel in Japan is buying a delicious bento box to enjoy during the journey, especially if you are taking a longer trip on the shinkansen (bullet trains). Bento boxes sold for this purpose are so popular that they have their own name, ekiben – eki means station – and most ... Read more »

Enjoy Yakitori From Across Japan at Zenyaren, Tokyo

As with most addresses in Tokyo, Zenyaren is difficult to find. When your overnight but sleepless flight from London landed only a few hours ago, it’s doubly challenging. Luckily, Pete and I are with two Tokyo friends who manage, with the aid of smartphones, to track down my chosen venue. How did Tokyoites navigate their ... Read more »

Japanese-style Yakitori Chicken Hearts

Britain isn’t known as a nation of offal lovers, but we certainly eat it. It’s highly probable you’ve eaten offal before as it features in a several popular national dishes. Haggis is made by stuffing a sheep’s stomach with liver, heart, lungs and oats. Faggots are balls of minced pork and pig offal wrapped in ... Read more »

HyperJapan 2013: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Hyper. Adjective: Obsessively concerned; fanatical; rabid (about a given item, idea or activity). Prefix: a loanword from Greek, usually implying excess or exaggeration. Noun (American, informal): a person who promotes or publicizes events, especially one who uses flamboyant methods. Japan: An island nation in East Asia. An archipelago of 6,582 islands of which the four ... Read more »