The bicycle has been heralded throughout history as a tool of emancipation, and this time around it might be helping us escape a virus. during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Japan was no exception to the boom.
It’s a chilly December evening in Tokyo and chef Noriyuki Suzuki, of restaurant Sakanoura Rojitei Yasaito, is presenting curious onlookers with an array of unexpected ingredients, whipping up a nine-course tasting menu out of leftovers such potato peelings and forlorn-looking pineapple skins....
“Oh, tell me how the neighborhood has changed!” We’re chatting with a woman behind a café counter in Kiyosumi Shirakawa, an area to the east of Tokyo’s Sumida River. “We’re local people so we don’t know!” she exclaims, her eyes above her mask doing all the smiling and her tone indicating a genuine curiosity.
My update on the neighbourhood of Kiyosumi Shirakawa - how is it faring in January 2021, after the turbulent 2020?
Nothing says Christmas like ending up in a love hotel dressed as an elf.
As the holiday season approaches and the end of the apocalyptically ambitious 2020 finally draws to a close, many people around the world will be celebrating differently from normal, or perhaps not celebrating at all. For the first time in my life, I will not be in my home country, the UK, but in Japan.
The battle was about to begin. A red square and a blue square flashed up on screen. Each framed the face of a competitor, both eager to prove that their startup company has what it takes. Beneath them a live feed revealed a boxing ring, where ringmaster Nathan Bryan, stood, conducting the combatants from afar. At his command, a bell sounded, and one competitor launched into a one-minute introductory pitch, aware that first impressions should pack a punch...
During the coronavirus pandemic, Japan didn’t adopt a hard lockdown but instead asked people to avoid the “Three Cs”: closed spaces, crowds and close-contact situations. I found myself spending my spare time simply strolling my local area, where I fervently pursued a different kind of C: coffee.
As we approach the end of 2020, many of us are itching for a bit more freedom. With telework on the rise and winter on the way, there has never been a better time to spread our wings and migrate south to the subtropical haven of Okinawa. From picturesque beaches to that laid-back island vibe, it’s the perfect place to balance wellness and work. Take your time to unplug and relax, knowing that you are never far from the nearest plug — for when you have to take that unnecessarily long video con...
Script Adviser for this 15-min documentary.
This spring, many schools were forced to close due to COVID-19. Jiyu Gakuen in Tokyo is one of them. Since its foundation in 1921, there's been a tradition at this school for students to cook their own lunches. Growing vegetables, cooking together and enjoying a meal with friends, this tradition has become as a place to develop as people through their school life. How will they be able to resume their lives in school? And how will they revive the traditional lunches?
There’s a small, white street cart lined with candles and Baccarat crystal glasses that mysteriously appears at midnight on the streets of Tokyo.
It would not seem out of place in a Haruki Murakami novel — fleeting and, just like its warm candlelight, seeming to flicker in that borderline space between fantasy and reality.
On this particular evening, it is parked just off a major north-south road cutting through the city. Three individuals — an older lady and two younger men — are drinking an...
Tucked a tantalizingly short distance from Tokyo and nestled among mountains, the centrally located Gunma Prefecture hosts a wealth of surprises. While it’s perhaps most famous for the hot spring waters of Kusatsu Onsen, even this charmingly nostalgic town has far more to offer beyond relaxing baths. Here are some of the best cultural and culinary
Here are some of the best cultural and culinary experiences to give you a taste of the region… with an emphasis on taste. Gourmands, take note.
I Tried Ikebana Using Only My Powers of Imagination. Here’s What a 4th Generation Grand Master Had to Say.
I’m rarely spotted without at least one flower in my hair. I simply adore flowers. So, when Tokyo Challenge asked me to attempt ikebana — the Japanese art of flower arrangement — I can hardly say I was surprised. Their proposal, however, was a double-edged sword: it sounded both intensely fun and intensely frustrating...
“I’ve got something for you.”
One of the village’s wasp hunters beckoned me over to a small canopy at the edge of the field. He unwrapped a jagged, brown piece of a wasp’s nest, its beautiful tessellated interior teeming with larvae. I was being offered a rare, local delicacy; a single kilogram of this nest is only available once a year in November and sells for 9,000 yen (£64). I brought a still-wriggling grub to my lips and swiftly ate it alive.
Japanese bakeries can be divisive. There are times when soaking up some Showa Era (1926-89) nostalgia while tucking into a korokkē pan (fried potato croquette wedged in a hotdog roll coated in sweet-tangy sauce) or snacking on a soft-yet-seductive kurīmu pan (custard bread) fits the bill. Then there are times when you want to bite into a slice of actual bread and not a bread-shaped cake impostor.
Japanese loaves, known as shokupan (literally, “meal bread”) are slightly sweet, fluffy things th...