From Shoreditch to Shanghai: Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe

During the week of International Women’s Day, I took a trip to Shoreditch to visit Penguin’s ‘Like a Woman’ pop-up bookshop, which was stocked with women authors to celebrate #IWD2018.

Like a Woman

Whilst perusing the beautifully curated bookshelves, I came across a true gem, Loop of Jade (2015) by Sarah Howe. I’ve been reading a lot of novels recently, and I was in need of a poetry-fix, so this wonderful collection really caught my eye. As a winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2015, I knew that I was in for a treat. Added to that, all of my favourite things were mentioned on the blurb: ‘an enthralling exploration of self and place, migration and inheritance’. It did not disappoint, and I’ll take you through some of my favourite moments in the collection here.

Continue reading “From Shoreditch to Shanghai: Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe”

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London’s Answer to Okonomiyaki: Abeno? AbeYES

Warning: This post is not for the empty-stomached.

For long-time followers, you’ll know that I adore okonomiyaki. That’s right, the Japanese omelette, savoury pancake, and grilled parcel of joy, covered in mayo and Bulldog sauce (like BBQ/HB sauce but better). MmmMMmmm.

This low-key obsession began three years ago, when I experienced the best meal that I’ve ever had in my whole life. In Osaka, my friends and I stepped off our shinkansen journey in the greatest city of food for just one meal. And boy, was it the lunch of dreams. Continue reading “London’s Answer to Okonomiyaki: Abeno? AbeYES”

Because We Are Taught Not to Complain

In response to actual YouTube “make-up tutorial” videos: Being hafu is NOT a make-up look which you can wipe off at the end of the day. It is your skin.

It’s hard to be a woman. Everyone has their own story. I’ve been socialised not to complain, but actually, I’d like to take some time and space to acknowledge that sometimes it can be hard to be hafu (half-Japanese, half-“other”). In a global context, we’re a relatively small ethnic category with fairly specific cultural issues and barriers. But so many people have identity crises and doubts about “belonging”, so perhaps others will be able to relate in some way as well. I feel that it’s important for other hafu or biracial women out there to know that it’s ok to feel that it can be hard sometimes. It’s ok to feel. I’m in no way pretending that my life is one of terrible struggles or that my life is awful, but I do have a story. It’s called:

Just Because I’m Biracial, Why Do I Have to Balance Two Patriarchal Ideals of Beauty?

Continue reading “Because We Are Taught Not to Complain”

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! Women and people of all genders in the world, let’s keep fighting the good fight for feminism, anti-racism, LGTBQ+ rights, and all things intersectional and good. I’ll keep it brief and refer you onto a short #girlpower list which I’ve written, featuring a few of my favourite artist-slash-activists to follow on Instagram (in no particular order!). Let me know whom else I should follow!

1. Naomi Shimada (model/storyteller)

Firstly, we share the same name – which obviously means that I love her. Secondly, Naomi often speaks about really important social issues like body image/sizeism in both the UK and Japan. As a self-identified storyteller, she clearly has a zest for life and expresses this by tossing all of the Insta rules out of the window (expect nine posts per day when she’s travelling and up to fun adventures). Her fashion style and Insta feed are brighter than Blue Ivy Carter’s future and she certainly brings sunshine to my day, which is why I love following her.

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New Digs: Snow Place Like London

Hey there, it’s been a while! 久しぶりです!

Apologies for my long absence, I was busy doing Finals exams, graduating, and then settling into a new course and University (King’s College London – I’m studying for a Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory MA). I’m loving it but it’s been a huge whirlwind so far! I have finally settled down and have time to spend writing for my blog again. I’ve missed you!

We had Artic weather in London last week – lots of snow and temperatures so low that my phone battery was constantly non-existent. If you’re reading this from continental Europe then you probably experienced the ‘Beast from the East’ too. Of course, Canadians, Finns, and anyone from anywhere else further North in the world found the British chaos rather hilarious, which I can understand given that it was only -4˚, but nevertheless it was a memorable week in 2018’s tapestry of this city. London certainly looked beautiful, despite the drama of it all, and I felt very lucky to be studying here.

Coming up next: Food adventures, books exploring biculturalism, travel journaling, hints & tips for London life, food, food, and more food.

Stay tuned! またね!

Naomi | 直美

Photo: Westminster in the snow

Blue skies and blossom

Spring is here and Oxford is in full bloom. We’ve had ridiculously blue skies for the past few days. I thought I’d post some shots which I took around the city, and in particular, of Magdalen College when I went there last weekend.

St Michaels 1

It’s the Easter holidays and revision for Finals is underway. Studying is definitely easier when every street is beautifully washed with golden sunshine and blossom in bloom. The pastel colours and sandstone of the buildings are glowing in the sun. This photo was captured along St Michael’s Street. Continue reading “Blue skies and blossom”

Winter Warmth at Wasabi, Oxford

It feels like they were refurbishing this spot for years in preparation for Oxford’s newest Japanese restaurant, but last term, Wasabi finally opened. The prospect of there being a Pret-equivalent where I could dash in for a bowl of yakisoba kept me in high spirits through the Autumn. Therefore, (I admit unashamedly) I was there, of course, on the day of its opening to see if it lived up to my expectations. Wasabi is a chain of restaurants with places all over England, and I was familiar with Wasabi in London. I was looking forward to tasting Oxford’s flavours and seeing if it would take over Itsu as my favourite take-out spot in town. Continue reading “Winter Warmth at Wasabi, Oxford”

An Autumnal Casserole

chicken-casserole

Before Autumn is officially over, I thought that I had better post this! A couple of weeks ago, I made a casserole for me and my friends which turned out to be delicious. It really warmed us up on a chilly evening. It was very simple and included potatoes, carrots, onion, and chicken breasts. I wanted the natural juices of the veggies and chicken to flavour the casserole really, so I only added vegetable stock and ‘mixed herbs’. I sweated the onions slightly so that they were a little caramelised, which added a subtle, sweet flavour to the dish. I could have thickened the soupy sauce with some cornflower, but instead I decided that a richer, thinner juice was more appropriate for an autumn evening.

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Not the Katsu I Know! Giraffe, Oxford

If there’s one dish which I crave when in the UK, it’s katsu. It’s beginning to feel very much like the winter now in Oxford, and there’s nothing more delicious than a nice, warming dish like katsu. So when I was visiting Giraffe (George St., Oxford), my heart skipped a beat when I spotted that it was on the menu. Under the heading of ‘Bowls for the Soul’ was ‘Katsu Chicken’:

Breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy, tenderstem broccoli and wok-fried vegetables

Katsu chicken and noodles? A peanut & coconut sauce? A stir-fry? This pan-Asian mixture intrigued me: at first I laughed out loud because it sounded so funny. But I accepted that it was British-Japanese food with an intriguing twist, and after I ordered the dish I was thrown back to memories of a delicious meal of tonkatsu which I had in Ikebukuro last summer. Continue reading “Not the Katsu I Know! Giraffe, Oxford”

From Osaka to Oxford: Okonomiyaki

Last summer Taro and I were travelling with another friend around Japan with a JR Rail Pass. We were staying in Hiroshima and were heading East to Tokyo, moving North up Honshu. On the way, however, we decided that we needed to visit Osaka. Unfortunately this was two hours in the opposite direction to the one which we were heading. With limited time on our hands (but an unlimited travel pass which we wanted to make the most of), we caught a ride on the shinkansen down to Osaka for lunch. Specifically, for okonomiyaki. Absurd? Yes. Worth it? Oh boy, yes and yes again.

Osaka 2

Continue reading “From Osaka to Oxford: Okonomiyaki”