Right now I’m sitting in Starbucks listening to some god-awful freestyle jazz over the cafe speakers. If I was CEO of this place I’d just have Music for Airports by Brian Eno playing on repeat – my go-to music when I wanna bash out a load of writing. Sundays for me in Tokyo probably resemble that of many people around the world: laundry, cleaning, getting ready for the week ahead, yadda yadda yadda. But of course as well as a kindergarten teacher, […]
Well, whad’ya know: Spain isn’t all just Brits on Tour & Butlins on steroids. When it comes to Spain I’ll admit I’ve always been a bit of travel snob. Visions of redfaced Brits eating egg and chips, hen parties with huge inflatable penises and drunken bastards singing the macarena. Growing up, I never had any real desire to go there, maintaining that you had to go further afield to get a ‘real’ travel experience, whatever that is. Of course, it was […]
Supper in Tokyo. Breakfast in Kuala Lumpur. Lunch in Jakarta. Dinner in Bali. When I was still a wee lad in short trousers I remember my grandparents telling me that in ‘their day’ a ‘holiday’ meant taking the suicide-inducing local train from Belfast to Bangor for the afternoon. That’s a 30-minute journey. 14 miles. To eat a poke (that’s an ice cream to you and me), dunk their feet in the paddling pool and then go home again. I don’t […]
Be a nice guy and you’ll be rewarded with cash and ice cream… So the other day I found a wallet on the train with ¥50,000 in it. That’s £320 or $500. Along with the cash, there were about ten different bank cards, a million loyalty cards and the guy’s full medical history. There was also one of his own business cards – so being the nice guy that I am, I called him up to arrange to give the […]
Dogs wearing clothes & revellers carrying portable shrines… One of the three great Shinto festivals of Tokyo returns after a four-year absence. Traditionally held on odd-numbered years, the 2011 Kanda Matsuri was cancelled due to the Tohoku quake and tsunami – meaning this year’s event was the first since 2009. Quintessentially Japanese, Matsuris like this are what makes living in this country so special.