Sri Lanka 2017 Pt I: Kandy


The idea of visiting this island country was never really on my radar until early last year when my wife stated her intention to go there. That set me off and I bought the guidebook, started planning and soon became very interested in the place. However, for one reason or another we didn’t go as planned to Sri Lanka last June instead opting for the far closer and easier Taiwan. 12 months on though and we finally got there though albeit Continue reading

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A Day In Utsunomiya (Tochigi Prefecture)


Mention the city of Utsunomiya to any Japanese person and the likely first response will be a remark about gyoza. This part of Tochigi prefecture is famed for these delectable  dumplings and so Neil and I felt obliged to keep Continue reading

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Live Basketball Play Off Final In Tokyo

What I thought I knew about basketball before going to this live game could probably have been written on a very small piece of paper.

However, as the game tipped off, I soon discovered that I knew more than I realised as memories came flooding back of Continue reading

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Tokyo Filming Locations #16 – Your Name (2016)

This critically acclaimed animation from director Makoto Shinkai has been wowing audiences in Japan and around the world ever since it premiered last August. ‘Your Name‘ (original Japanese title: ‘Kimi No Na Wa‘) is a beautifully animated teen romance film with fantasy elements but most importantly many of the locales featured are actual real places in Gifu and Tokyo.

I actually began tracking down some of these locations back in November 2016 but then got distracted by other things so having re-watched the film recently I took many screen shots and set about visiting them all via bicycle one Sunday over the space of about four hours, including the journey from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre to Shinjuku ward and back. The order I did them in was done geographically but for simplicity they are listed here in the order which they appear in the 106 minute movie. The time codes given are approximate and may be slightly different to the DVD or blu-ray versions.

Warning: Contains spoilers! 

Labi Shinjuku Higashiguchi-kan (3-23-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku) is the first recognisable Tokyo landmark to appear as the capital scenes start 20 minutes into the film. This giant electronics store is just a couple of minutes walk from the east exit of Shinjuku station and it features a couple more times.


The view of the south exit of JR Shinjuku Station taken from Continue reading

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Science Fiction Bar In Tokyo


A short time ago in a galaxy not so far away I went to this science fiction themed bar in the east of Tokyo. Apologies for that opening line but (not for the first time!) I couldn’t think of a more imaginative opener. My friend Yoshinori a.k.a. “John” of Tokyo Character Map (*) fame has recently moved into YouTubing and among his toy hunting videos was one that really Continue reading

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Interesting Japanese Playground Structures #4

Many of the parks and children’s playgrounds in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, are quite poor compared to other countries in terms of space, surroundings and a lack of grass. However, a handful of them do tend to possess extremely creative structures and they will be explored in this series.

Nickname: Beetle Slide

Location: Continue reading

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Local Life In Itō

The Japanese Golden Week holiday at the end of April and start of May might have looked like it was relentlessly busy based on the many recent posts compiled from various day trips and places visited. However, there was quite a lot of time spent doing nothing too much and just pottering around fairly local places so here is the best of the rest….

The Komuroyama Tsutsuji flower Festival (below) was on in Kawana for the whole of the holiday period and, following two consecutive days at the football in Fujieda and Shimizu, I was keen to see it as soon as I could. I took Momiji for an early morning walk (well, I carried her all the way!) up the small mountain to see the beautiful pink flowers.


At the end of the week I returned to Continue reading

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