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Japanese matcha powdered green tea

Matcha is a type of green tea made from the leaves of the tea bush just the same as other types of tea.  But matcha is quite different in a number of ways.

White miso paste in a ceramic dish

Miso is a staple of Japanese cooking used to flavour soup, meat, fish, tofu and vegetables alike.  The salty ‘umami’ taste is a favourite and definitely a distinctive flavour of Japanese cuisine.

But how much do you know about miso?


Display of Japanese cakes and desserts

If you have ever eaten cake in Japan you will know how extraordinarily delicious they are, so much so that it’s difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it!

Whether you are dining at a fashionable Ginza café or grabbed a slice of roll cake from Lawson, the presentation, texture and taste will be gorgeous.


EU Heart

For most of my adult life time, sending and receiving goods to and from the EU has been as easy as using our domestic postal system, and not that much more expensive.  No customs forms and no duty.  However that came to an abrupt end.


Cute desserts

Japanese kawaii culture is, in most Western people’s minds, reserved for kids and teenage girls.  It’s literally the culture of ‘cute’ – anything that is sweet, adorable and charming can be described as ‘kawaii’.

So as a, shall we say, more mature person, how can I get away with a cute look, either for myself or my home?


Kagami Mochi decoration at New Year in Japan

To people in the West, Christmas is usually a time for family festivities but in Japan New Year is the time that families get together to celebrate. 


Japanese table layout

As you would expect there are many different shapes and styles of Japanese bowls and plates and it can seem like you need to make a big deal about which dish you use, when and for what kind of food.

However, unless you are serving a very formal ‘kaiseki’ meal to your Japanese boss then really it’s more about making a pleasing table setting that beautifully displays the food you sweated over and makes eating it an enjoyable experience.


Teishoku meal by TokyoPony

As TokyoPony, Justine Sherratt writes about Japan and Japanese culture, all the while creating delicious and authentic vegan Japanese recipes. 

The dishes she makes are presented as gorgeous teishoku, a meal on a tray with many small accompaniments and often a dessert too, which she photographs and shares with her followers on Instagram (@tokyopony).


What with all the disruption happening in the world right now because of the pandemic, of course foreign travel for leisure is out of the question.

As I’m sure you must be aware, I love going to Japan on holiday.  My time there is always treasured; absorbing the atmosphere, experiencing the culture, enjoying delicious Japanese food, catching up with friends and (naturally) shopping.


Traditional Japanese Daruma Doll

A traditional Japanese Daruma doll is a stylized figurine made out of papier mâché whose shape and design holds much meaning and symbolism.  But the modern idea of using Daruma to help reach your targets is a technique which is still relevant and useful today.


Colourful Japanese temari balls

As I sit looking out at a wet dreary afternoon, what I need is a burst of colour!  So this seems like a good time to research and write an article about ‘temari’ the traditional Japanese toy ball, some times made by mothers for their daughters and often handed down as treasured heirlooms. 


Zakka style exterior

The term ‘zakka’ in Japanese literally means ‘miscellaneous goods’ and, post-war, it came to refer to everyday utensils and home accessories.  But more recently zakka has come to mean a design style, particularly for interiors, and a way of thinking about the ordinary things we use every day.


Unicorn Gundam robot at DiverCity, Odaiba, Tokyo

Odaiba, or just Daiba for short, is an area to the south of central Tokyo built on several artificial islands and reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay.  With its open spaces, wide walkways and modern infrastructure, it’s a great place for shopping, entertainments and relaxation.  Welcome to part one of my Odaiba blog!


Mix up Japanese teacups and plates in traditional and modern styles

Are you the sort of person that likes to be told what to do?  Me neither!

At this time of year there are a lot of articles around, in interior design magazines and blogs, telling you everything from what colours are ‘in’, which decade you’re supposed to be reviving and that those expensive tiles you got for your kitchen last year are no longer in style.


Glass of Japanese craft beer

Sake is the national drink of Japan which, in spite of its clear appearance and strong alcoholic taste, is made by a brewing process not distilled as a spirit.  So it seems that brewing beer was a natural step for the Japanese.


Japanese furoshiki wrapping cloths

This useful square of fabric is becoming more talked about outside of Japan as an alternative to disposable wrapping paper.  But can we really use it here in the West?


Food stall at Ikeburuo Living Loop Festival

In my previous blog about Ikebukuro, I mainly concentrated on shops, restaurants and the sprawling station area.  However, there is still more to discover in Ikebukuro including festivals, music, arts and a big Manga and Anime culture.


Autumn leaves in Japan

Autumn in Japan brings the colourful foliage of the Japanese maple and ginkgo trees which are common in the mountains, parks and lining the city streets. 


List of roles that a small business owner takes on

One of the hardest roles for me is to be a salesman.  I am not particularly extroverted or like blowing my own trumpet so I have found selling to be quite a difficult task when I’ve been asked to do it in the past. 


Minami Ikebukuro Park

Ikebukuro is a busy commercial area to the north of central Tokyo.  It has great shops and restaurants and a large, convenient train station where you can connect to many of the main JR and Metro subway lines including the JR Yamanote line and the Maranouchi and Yurakucho Metro lines.


List of roles that a small business owner takes on

The role of the Buyer in a retail business is to decide what items are stocked and, of course, since it is my shop and I am the only member of the team, that is my role!


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