What gift should you bring to a Japanese party?White strawberries?

I love exploring more about Japan, its rugby, culture and food however in this video from “Only in Japan” I came across something I hadn’t expected…the Japanese love affair with not only the Strawberry, but how they prize a particular breed…the White Strawberry. As a lover of English strawberries, especially the ones grown in my…

My weakness and passion rolled up in one

Do you have a weakness? Shoes? Burgers? A nice watch? Well my vice is rugby balls…and I’m an addict. A massive, unforgiven addict who wishes his addiction will last a lifetime. When I visit a sports shop, the first thing I do is check out the rugby balls. From the design, the grip, the overall…

Match venues confirmed for the Japan Rugby World Cup 2019

I’ve been waiting a number of months to finally find out where my trip to Japan will take me …and the news has finally arrived. Today the organisers revealed the team venues and schedule, meaning I can finally start planning my homestay locations, which world cup matches to watch and start making contact with kidney…

Japan in 2019…but who will host 2023

It’s a three horse race…or is it. France, Ireland and South Africa have now made their final pitches to host Rugby World Cup 2023. On 15 November, a winning bid will be selected by the World Rugby Council, but next week an independent body will put forth a recommendation. It will be hard for the…

Go Fund Me page launched for my trip

Sitting at home tonight, sending out letters and emails to potential funders and sponsors I thought it would be useful to start a Go Fund Me page. Not only would that page outline my mission for the trip, but also my background, what’s inspiring me to do this trip and hopefully encourage individuals to help…

Everything is now geared towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Possibly my wife would agree with the title of this blog…as my current spare time is spent with constant planning, blogging and raising funds to make the 2019 Rugby World Cup trip. However a recent interview with England head coach Eddie Jones shows the Aussie is now gearing up the England team for 2019 and…

Parling signs up for World XV vs Japan match

A World XV team will to play Japan on October 28th, with a host of tops international stars being announced for this gala match. The team, to be coached by Robbie Deans, will include players from Argentina, Australia, England, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.  Australians Sam Wykes, Berrick Barnes and Digby Ioane, will…

The Chase – Part II

Friday the 13th…a date that fills dread into the heart and souls of many people, including me. However Friday the 13th will forever take on another face to me, namely the day I was on a TV quiz show with officially the “worst contestant ever” (according to the press). As discussed in my previous blog,…

Japanese Deviled Eggs

You can’t beat an egg. Simple. Delicious. Healthy. You can argue with that. Now, give it a Japanese twist and wow…a totally different taste sensation! Have a crack at this recipe I tried last week, you won’t regret it. Ingredients 4 eggs  2 tablespoons sesame seeds 1/2 a cup of mayo 2 teaspoons of Soy…

Eddie still in the driving seat… for now

With under 2 years to go to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the role of the next England manager is already under discussion. Eddie Jones took on the role under the clear instructions it would be only until the next world cup and Eddie, being a man of his word, will probably step…

The Chase

So, when you need to raise some cash for a massive trip and photography exhibition like the one I’m planning sometimes you need to think outside of the box. Yes, I’m still looking to sponsors to fund the trip, however I thought another way to raise the money would be to appear on a game…

Japan set to take on Tonga

The Japan Rugby Football Union confirmed Wednesday that the Brave Blossoms will play Tonga on November 18th at Stade Ernest Wallon in Toulouse, France. The union also confirmed the game the following week against France will now be played at the U Arena in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris. What a cracking pair of matches…

The ticket saga begins…

I remember it well. I took a day off work, charged my laptop and waited for the golden hour to appear. The launch of the 2015 tickets was nearly upon me and I was only minutes away. My target was 2 tickets for England vs Australia and 4 tickets for Ireland vs Italy…a weekend of…

Focus on Saitama Prefecture, Kumagaya City

Adjoining Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture (along with Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures) is part of the Greater Tokyo Area, which represents the home of over a quarter of Japan’s entire population. As such, easy access allows many of the area’s residents to work, study and play in Tokyo on a daily basis…classic commuter belt. And because of…

The power of rugby brings people together

I’m a great believer that rugby can help break down barriers and bring people together. From cultural, class, gender or disability, rugby accepts the player or club volunteer and brings them into the “rugby family”. When my mother died, my rugby family held me close. Feeding me at the weekend, supporting me off the pitch,…

Focus on Kamishi

Revisiting our “Focus on…” series of host cities, I decided to explore Kamaishi, which is an industrial city located on the Sanriku Coast of Iwate Prefecture, blessed with stunning natural surrounds and a fishing port. After the events of March 11, 2011, however, many associate Kamaishi with the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. Although devastated…

London to Japan by road…just 8400 miles

If plans go ahead, the Trans-Siberian railway could stretch over to Japan under a proposal from the Russian government. The two countries are reportedly having serious discussions to build a 28-mile bridge that would connect them for train travel. If the bridge is built, you’d be able to journey from Tokyo to London by train across 8,400 miles. Ideal for me…but sadly it won’t be ready for the…

Ketchup and Japanese food…a place made in heaven for me

Surfing for new ideas to cook I came across Omurice or omelete rice, which is ketchup fried rice wrapped with a crepe-like thinly fried egg….my first thought was “Where have you been all my life!” Now as my wife will swear on the holy bible to, our first date involved rice and me sneaking some…

A home unknown

  Serene country landscapes and exotic remote villages, dotted by colourful scenes of local life, form the setting of an inspiring new film about a journey through Russia..which is perfect inspiration for me looking to plan my trip to Japan via the Trans Siberian Express.  Produced by Berlin-based neulandherzer, as part of German airline Lufthansa’s “#inspiredby HEIMWEH” campaign…

Christian Lealiifano…an inspiration to all of us

Christian Lealiifano has just penned a five-month contract with Ulster after recovering from his battle with leukemia. Sir…I salute you. Coming back from such a hard hitting illness and recovering your fitness is something to not only admire but celebrate. Jonah Lomu made a similar heroic effort after his transplant and inspired a generation of…

Tahiti in the hunt for Rugby World Cup repechage place

Tahiti remain in the hunt for a place in the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage tournament after upsetting the Cook Islands 13-9 to win the Oceania Rugby Cup 2017 in Rarotonga. They will face the Asia Rugby Championship 2018 champion in a home and away play-off with the winner progressing to the four-team global repechage…

Seared Salmon With Wasabi Soy Dressing

So my culinary journey carries on…however it’s a tough ask. I would would call me myself as a “safe menu” eater, but I’m trying to move out of my comfort zone. The prospect of eating raw fish is a little off-putting, but I had a go at this seared salmon with wasabi soy dressing recipe,…

Japan is Kit Kat Krazy!

Part of my planning for my trip to Japan is working out what presents I intend to bring back for my family. As you can imagine being away from home for so long will entail several bribes! My wife has yet to decide what gift she’d like, my youngest son  wants a Japan rugby shirt,…

Japan put in brave performance against Ireland

Rugby is often described as a sport for all sizes, but I’d expand that and say all religions, all cultures, all backgrounds, all genders….. therefore I’m delighted to see the Women’s Rugby World Cup, currently being held in Ireland, inspiring a new generation of female players across the globe. As my wife is Irish and…

Podcast interview with JRugby just released

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Lee Watkins from JRugby Podcasts, who heard about my trip to Japan via the Trans Siberian Express. From talking about the aims of the trip, what’s involved, how my health has affected my travel choices and what I intend to do in Japan…it’s all here. So,…