Murakami’s Tokyo: Part 1 — Beginnings

Murakami's Tokyo Part 1

Even at a time like this, the street is bright enough and filled with people coming and going—people with places to go and people with no place to go; people with a purpose and people with no purpose; people trying to hold time back and people trying to urge it forward.

After Dark

Haruki Murakami is often described as one of the world’s greatest living novelists and has been compared with the likes of J.D. Salinger (he even translated The Catcher in the Rye into Japanese). His depictions of the loneliness and isolation of modern Japanese life ingratiated him with the country’s youth who often struggle to assert their individuality in the face of societal notions of conformity. Read more

Fast Track Permanent Residency in Japan

It’s a long-known fact that Japan is facing acute population decline which could devastate the country’s economy. A report commissioned by the government in 2012 stated that, without policy change, by 2110 the number of Japanese could fall to 42m, i.e. just a third of its current population. Read more

Nara Day Trip

Nara Stone Lantern

Although only 45 mins away from Kyoto by train, Nara (奈良市) is often overlooked by time-pressed travellers but, as Japan’s first permanent capital with over 1300 years of history, it’s worth the short diversion. After a chilly trip to Kyoto back in March I spent half a day exploring it on foot. Read more

Inbetween The Lines

JR-Metro Maps Overlayed

Since beginning a full-time job in Tokyo I’ve been taking the train to work, and everyday it leaves me with the weirdest feeling of having just passed through the bowels of some otherworldly monster. Read more

Sagano Bamboo Forest

Sagano bamboo forest

When writing about places of natural beauty it’s always tempting to overuse every adjective in the book, so I’ll try and hold back the gushing prose when describing Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama (嵐山), on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Read more

Kōtō-in Temple

Kōtō-in Temple

Of all the temples and shrines I’ve visited in Kyoto, my favourite has to be the little-known Kōtō-in (高桐院), a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji (大徳寺). I discovered it purely by chance four years ago on my first trip to Kyoto and decided to pay a return visit. Read more

Haruki Murakami and the Japanese Mind

1Q84

Walking home the other evening, a man passed me on a bicycle with a cat riding in the front basket. While this wasn’t terribly unusual, what took me aback was that both he and his cat were wearing matching stripy jumpers and top hats (think Dr. Seuss). Even stranger was the fact that nobody else bat an eyelid. Read more