A Fat Purple Fig

A Lesson in Service


Ryokan Motonago has been something special.

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Enchanted Time


I needed a morning, so, after taking Mary to Fushimi-Inari for her Airbnb sketching experience, I negotiated 3 extra hours at Book & Bed, and settled in there, with a mystery pastry, an in-house coffee with whitener, and some peace and quiet. Did I say how much I liked Book and Bed? Everyone leaves in the morning, leaving you with the whole place to yourself.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Unir


Unir was an unexpected surprise.

We found it on the bottom level of a department store, which reminded me a bit of David Jones’ Foodhall. You see, I think Mary have moved beyond liking coffee, to needing it (shhhh!), so when she hasn’t had her daily dose, her eyes start wandering, on the lookout for her next double espresso.

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Comfort-Free Zone


We caught the shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto and, to be honest, I was a little bummed that it only took 15 minutes, not only because it is impressively fast and smooth, but because you can’t really do anything but sit still, in the same spot, when you’re on a train. We haven’t been doing a lot of that.

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The Great Coffee Tour: XXX Cafe & Bar


When Sayo said she knew just the cafe to take us to, I was unable to form any opinion whatsoever about what it might look like, so was up for anything.

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Journey to the New World


Japan did not get off to an auspicious start.

Our first task, upon exiting the terminal, was to buy ourselves SIM cards. I had pre-ordered them in Seoul, meaning it was just a matter of finding the pick-up location, because I knew it would be the single most important thing to do, if we were going to find our way around. We had a friend in Osaka, so it seemed less urgent, and I guess there may have been some overconfidence at play as well.

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The Great Coffee Tour: Monsant


Following the great G-Dragon tour of Jeju Island, we visited the cafe he opened before Untitled 2017, the fortuitously-positioned Monsant.

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What’s Your Number?


We threw Andrew’s natural-wonder plan out the window for the morning of Day 2 at Jeju, heading instead for coffee and bowling at G-Dragon’s joint (see The Great Coffee Tour: Untitled 2017). Upon our return, however, we tried to make up for it with a walk down to the beach on one of the trails that leads from the back of the pension.

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Where Human & Nature Become One


Mary and I met a contender for ‘best holiday interaction’ award, in the taxi driver who drove us to Busan’s Gimhae Airport for our flight to Jeju Island. We were predisposed to like him when he stopped dead in the middle of the street to pick us up, completely ignoring the traffic behind him, but it was his self-taught English that really sealed the deal.

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Things I Have Noticed: Seoul

(As David Attenborough) “80% of the world’s black, puffer jackets are found here, on the urban streets of Seoul”. Yep, I reckon it had to be 8 in every 10, and another 1 in 10 was in a stark white puffer. This guy was part of the outrageous 1 in 10. I was terribly drawn to each and every one of them, which I think says as much about me as it does about them. The sad part is, I kind of wanted a black, puffer jacket.


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