From Japan

Land of the Rising Sun

Matcha Heaven

Nanaya matcha

Enjoying matcha (抹茶) tea and other confectionery made from it is one of the great pleasures of living in Japan where access to the freshest supplies is plentiful. A few weeks ago a friend invited me on an early morning excursion to sample some of the richest matcha ice cream in the world, an opportunity I could not pass up! Read more

Kagurazaka Awa Odori Festival

Kagurazaka Festival

Back when I used to live in Waseda, one of my favourite places to hang out was the quaint neighbourhood of Kagurazaka (神楽坂) which provides a snapshot of old Tokyo with its many narrow alleyways and traditional restaurants. Over the summer I paid a return visit one evening to enjoy the annual Awa Odori (阿波踊り) festival which is held along the main Waseda Dori shopping street. Read more

Shizuoka Road Trip

Toraya workshop

After a particularly sticky summer in Tokyo, autumn has arrived and the temperatures are finally beginning to drop. Looking back, it’s been a pretty good season for adventures and while my memory is still fresh I wanted to share a few interesting spots we visited on a recent road trip to Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県), a few hours west of Tokyo. Read more

Mount Hotaka Hiking


Having fully recovered from my epic hike earlier in the year, over a recent public holiday I decided it was time to hit the mountains again, this time heading to the Hotaka Mountains which consists of five peaks; Okuhotaka, Karasawa, Kitahotaka, Maehotaka and Nishihotaka reaching a height of 3,190 m (10,466 ft) in Nagano prefecture. Read more

Hot Metal Typesetting

Hakko type casting machine

A few weeks ago I attended a letterpress workshop at Tsukiji Katsuji (築地活字) print shop in Yokohama. Founded in 1919, the shop specialises in letterpress printing, a mechanical process which went largely out-of-date in the 1980s due to the rise of computers, but has recently experienced a resurgence as an artisan handcraft. Read more

Outdoor Gear Review

Gear Knolling

Unlike outdoor adventures I’ve undertaken before, the Shikoku Pilgrimage is unique in that you’re rarely far from civilisation and that it takes upwards of 7 weeks to complete. This means you don’t need to worry about food or cooking equipment but any gear you carry needs to be extremely durable and light. Read more

Tokushima’s Cultural Landscapes

Kashihara no Tanada (樫原の棚田)

For my last full day in Shikoku, Masako was kind enough to drive me around Tokushima, starting at Kamodani (加茂谷) in Anan City (阿南市) between Kakurin-ji (鶴林寺 – 20) and Tairyūji (太竜寺 – 21). It was a damp morning and fog hung over the mountains, creating a surreal aura along the valley floor. Read more