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”

Lunch at Koto

 Taro reviews the “little corner of Japan in North Parade”

A few weeks ago, I had a really lovely meal at Koto with the fairly lovely Naomi. It was so lovely in fact that I wanted to share it with you all.

Koto 3

Naomi kindly treated me to the meal which made it taste all the better, particularly because the cost of the dishes averaged above £9. And that was not including white rice for those dishes which are usually accompanied by it. It is (sadly), however, a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a desire for Japanese cuisine of reasonable quality in the UK, must be prepared to pay out into the double figures. Koto’s quite high prices then, while they should not be a source of pride for the restaurant, should not be a source of prejudice for us either. (Two points to you if you got the reference.)

The particular dish we had was the Koto’s lunch time speciality – ramen!!!! (Regrettably, every mention of ‘ramen’!!!! must be followed by four exclamation marks. It’s annoying I know, but I don’t make the rules.)

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Taro’s Nostalgic Walk – The Walk to the Station

In truth my relationship with Japan, above all else, is defined by nostalgia. However stimulated I may be by ponderings on the psychological and philosophical connotations of our British-Japanese biculturalism – as Naomi and I like to explore on Thinking Japlish – my emotional interaction with Japan is nostalgic; it is why I love it, it is why it’s the only place I ever really want to go.

Nostalgia, though it is perhaps the most enigmatic emotion of all, is also one of the most distinctive and compelling. Whilst it can never be consciously summoned and only an external trigger can bring it out from your subconscious, no one could mistake that cocktail of joy, yearning and regret it evokes. It is a particularly apt emotion to explore in the context of Japan when so much of Japanese art is pre-occupied with it – just think of any Hayao Miyazaki film; and consider how much more common a word ‘natsukashii’ is than ‘nostalgic’.

Continue reading “Taro’s Nostalgic Walk – The Walk to the Station”

Halfie Hour: Alexandra Luo

Konnichiwa, Thinking Japlish readers. Today I have an exciting gem of a blog post: an interview with another fellow Eurasian and dear friend of mine who is half Chinese, half British. I hope that you enjoy the interview below, when we asked our guest all about her experiences of biculturalism.

Alexandra Luo Continue reading “Halfie Hour: Alexandra Luo”

AmaZheng

Britain’s best Chinese-Malaysian food

OXFORD: Naomi rates Zheng at 5/5 stars.

I’m pretty lucky to live on the doorstep of the best restaurant in Oxford. According to Giles Coren, it serves the best authentic Chinese-Malaysian food in the whole country.

Zheng

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What to See at Skytree

Hello! As you may have read last week, I had a great time at the Star Wars exhibition at the top of Tokyo Skytree. You can read more about that on last week’s post, but today I must tell you about Skytree itself because there is plenty more to say! I would thoroughly recommend it as a day out or place to meet friends because there is plenty to see and do. The complex is huge – it has a large food court, hundreds of food stalls (like in department stores such as Matsuzakaya), an ice-skating rink, many yummy restaurants, aaaaand shops after shops after shops. I was with lots of family members of three generations and there is certainly something for everyone. Continue reading “What to See at Skytree”

Star Wars: Tokyo Sky Walk

Calling all Star Wars fans! Tokyo Sky Walk is an exhibition in the top galleria of Tokyo Skytree, and it is well worth a visit. In fact, this is my top pick for a day out in Tokyo at the moment! It’s there till 11th February, 2016.

Skytree pulls out all the stops here: surrounded by the spectacular view of Tokyo, 450m in the air, you can see interesting Star Wars collectables, including a set of “Japan Originals”. You can also pose with Stormtroopers or queue up for professional photos of you with a lightsaber!

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Tadaima, Tokyo

Narita airport greeted me exactly how a best friend would after a long-haul flight: with cameras poking in my face, keen to capture the red-eye and frazzled expressions. As soon as I came out of security, there was a Japanese TV crew waiting to capture the faces of backpackers who had come to Japan to find some adventure. Not so keen to have my dazed, exhausted, and pallid face on TV, I tried my best to melt away into the background.

Another fellow passenger (who had also come from the UK) did not share this wish of avoiding them. Dressed in the style of a Harajuku girl, with three or four grey roses in her hair, blonde locks, white tights and a cream dress, she soon attracted the attention of the film crew. I watched with amusement whilst sipping my CC lemon from a vending machine in the waiting area as one of the members of crew spotted her and rallied his colleagues. The whole crew sprinted over to her in what I can only describe as a very Japanese-like fashion. In the UK people try so hard to make it onto the silver-screen of daytime TV; in Japan it really is no hard task. I made a mental note to dress in a more eye-catching costume the next time I touched down.

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How to Win Against Jet Lag

Since many of my friends will be flying to University at about this time (and because I have endless amounts of cool photos of clouds to use), I thought that it would be appropriate to scribble down some tips which I’ve discovered over the years on how to conquer that mighty monster, the fear of seasoned jet-setters and newbie first-flighters alike: jet lag. When I was younger and flew more frequently I used to be totally fine and barely suffered from this at all, popping off to school the next morning at 7.30am after my arrival. However, now that I’m older, I find it a bit harder – perhaps there is a link to age? Or it might be that I am more self-conscious about falling asleep; I find it difficult to catch some shut-eye on a plane with hundreds of other people all squished together. In any case, here are some ideas on how to make long-haul travelling easier.

Continue reading “How to Win Against Jet Lag”