Category Archives: Cultural

October 06

Power and Might in the Skies – Komatsu Air Show

The fire power of the Japan Self-Defense Forces was on show at the annual Komatsu Air Base Festival last month in Ishikawa Prefecture.     Advertisements

September 17

Summer in the city – Osaka

Some of the views around town that I enjoyed this past summer in Osaka as the sun went down.        

September 07

Australian Flashback – RM Williams Muster Longreach, the Queensland Outback

This time last year I was sitting ringside as the best stockmen and stockwomen in Australia competed in the annual RM Williams Muster in Longreach, the central hub of the Outback in Queensland.  Wish I was there again!  

July 24

Japan’s best Whisky – Nikka Whisky Distillery, Hokkaido.

If you’re fond of a Scotch tipple, venture to Yoichi near Sapporo in Hokkaido to visit the Nikka Whisky Distillery, winner of the 2015 World Whiskies Award for best blended malt whisky. Wondering how authentic Scotch-style Whisky came to be in Japan? Look no further than the founder Masataka Taketsuru’s wife, the good Scottish lass […]

June 30

Making soba noodles

Fresh soba noodles – one of Japan’s finest culinary delights.  

April 21

New bullet train opening – The Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kanazawa.

How a train loving nation launches a new train line.

March 25

Flower Power – Tsubaki Shrine and Suzuka Forest Park, Mie.

Near the mountains in Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, lie two sites of quite different flower power.  The Tsubaki Shrine (椿大神社), whose name means camellia shrine, is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, while the Suzuka Forest Park (鈴鹿森園) is a explosion of glorious pink blossoms every March as 200 weeping plum trees herald spring’s […]

March 10

Silvered by snow – Kenrokuen, Kanazawa.

There’s just something magically timeless about a traditional Japanese garden blanketed in heavy snow. With the new shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo commencing services this weekend, this garden will be just 2.5hrs from Toyko!

February 24

Full of Beans! – Setsubun in Kanazawa

“Demons out! Luck in!” That’s what people across Japan were chanting on February 3 as they hurled roasted soybeans all over the place to celebrate Setsubun (節分).  Setsubun is the first day of spring according to the old lunar calendar in Japan and on it’s the day to make a fresh start and banish any […]

February 17

Sake and Shrines – Fushimi, Kyoto

In the southern Kyoto suburb of Fushimi, sake breweries stand alongside the world famous Fushimi Inari Taisha, the head Inari Shinto Shrine in Japan. This shrine was made famous globally after featuring as a location in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha.

February 12

Takayama – A glimpse into Edo Japan high in the Alps.

Seven years after my first visit, Takayama is just as cold as I remember.  The heart of this mountain town is the preserved merchant houses of the old town dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1868).  Today, these streets are filled wit sake breweries, local artisan shops and food stalls.

December 09

Japan’s best garden by night – Kenrokuen, Kanazawa.

Photo Gallery:    

November 11

Shirakawago – Japan’s ‘hidden’ mountain villages

Cut off from the world for centuries by formidable mountain ranges and harsh winters, the tiny villages of Shirakawago and Gokayama have managed to hang on to their traditional way of life into the 21st century. Today, these villages are the only places in all of Japan where the traditional ‘gassho style’ farm houses still […]

September 02

Abandoned?

A seemingly abandoned temple in rurual Ishikawa Prefecture.  Though there is a caretaker attached to the Shinto shrine next door, it is quite some time since this vast complex was a functioning temple.  Everything, including the purpose-built hotel on the grounds, stands empty and oddly silent.  

June 30

Saturday afternoon by the bay – Stanley Bay in Hong Kong

Watching the world chill out on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon at the ever gorgeous Stanley Bay in Hong Kong.