A Fat Purple Fig

Month: December, 2018

The Great Coffee Tour: Fuglen


It’s appropriate that Fuglen comes last, since it was the only cafe we visited twice, and the second visit was on our final day in Tokyo. I almost thought that meant it deserved winner status, but when I suggested as such, Mary and I ummed and ahhed for too long to just declare it outright.

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The Sushi Summit


On our last full day in Tokyo, we were booked into our last long-planned activity, lunch at Kyubey in Ginza. And it had taken some investigation to land on Kyubey. I knew I wanted to eat at a good sushi restaurant, but there were a whole heap of factors in play when it came to selecting one.

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Cycling for Dummies


Japan loves its bikes. It was one of the first things I noticed in Osaka – the numbers of bikes not only being ridden, but gathered at the doors of supermarkets and apartment blocks, and parked en masse in parking bays. So, when I woke up on the day of our Tokyo Great Cycling Tour, I was excited to participate in an activity that is apparently held dear.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Bar Zingaro


When Airbnb cancelled our accommodation (for the second time) in Shinjuku, a week before we were due to arrive in Tokyo, we took a place in Nakano at the eleventh hour. And I’m not sure if we ended up loving the suburb because it became familiar, or because it was great anyway and we got lucky, but I like to think it was the latter.

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Happy Chapi of Nagayama


It’s not often you get to have lunch with someone famous, but Mary and I were lucky enough to do just that, when we visited the Tsugawa Family for lunch in Nagayama. We connected with Yuko and her husband, Kazunori, through Nagomi Visit, a not-for-profit organisation that seeks to match visitors to Japan with local families over a shared lunch.

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The Great Coffee Tour: About Life


Our first coffee in Japan was consumed at a little hole-in-the-wall in Shibuya, called About Life Coffee Brewers, a recommendation from Mary’s friends from work, Yuki.

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In the K-pop onslaught at home, I have always enjoyed a band called TVXQ (which stands for Tong Vfang Xien Qi, and roughly translates to¬†‘rising gods of the east’), primarily because they are older than many of the others, there are only two of them, and because they do this really catchy number that has a kind of big band-jazz feel, and sees them dancing around a giant faux set of horizontal bass strings. I really like it.

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Tokyo is something else altogether.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Kyoto


Confession: Mary and I drink quite a lot of coffee. Sometimes, it can be difficult to differentiate between the ‘Coffee Tour’ cafes, and the also-rans.

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A Lesson in Service


Ryokan Motonago has been something special.

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