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,…

Focus on Kobe

As part of my revue of the cities involved in hosting teams at the Rugby World Cup in 2019, I decided to look at Kobe, Japan’s sixth largest city.  The Port of Kobe opened in 1868 and adjacent to the port, a foreign settlement was established for the influx of people and cultures from around…

Japan’s women team prepare for Ireland RWC 2017

Came across this superb interview with Japan’s women skills coach, Keiko Asami, providing a unique insight into the development of women’s rugby in Japan, how rugby is growing into a national sport and their intentions for the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, set to be held in Ireland in just a few weeks. Click on…

Focus on Sapporo City

Over the next few months, I’ll be writing about the various host cities for the Rugby World Cup 2019, exploring what they have to offer and what to see. This week I’m looking at Sapporo, which is the largest city in the northernmost main island of Hokkaido, with a population of 1.9 million. The city…

China aims to be global rugby superpower

It’s being reported that China is to host the richest ever rugby sevens tournament, with the top eight finishers from the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series to fight it out in the “Champion of Champions” in Shanghai in October.  The tournament, which is a similar concept to the eight-player ATP Finals in tennis, is part…

Sunwolves win against the Blues stuns bookies

The Blues’ 48-21 humiliation at the hands of the Sunwolves is officially the biggest Super Rugby upset this century.  I thought it was, and now the bookies have confirmed it! Data collected  in New Zealand has uncovered odds on every Super Rugby game since 2000, and the Blues’ humbling in Japan ranks as the most…

Duck breast with umeboshi sauce and steamed bok choi

So this week, I’ve tried to make Duck breast with umeboshi sauce and steamed bok choi, thanks to a recipe I found with James Martin, featured in James Martin Home Comfort.  Looking at the recipe and ingredients I thought I could manage this, however due to my diabetes I might have to swap out a few…

The dangerous art of making Mochi

Ever tried Mochi…not me, but after  seeing this video today it’s certainly on the list. This video follows Mitsuo Nakatani, who have been making Mochi for 23 years in what can only be described as the fastest man in Japan! Mochi is a rice based treat that has to be pounded and folded by two…

Lions, Tonga and a house move…its been a busy few weeks

So, the British and Irish Lions have finally returned home with a draw..which I feel is certainly a win in many ways. Taking on the consecutive world champions New Zealand, the Lions came away in the 3rd test with a strong performance that ended with a lucky win…how Warburton convinced the ref to reverse the…

Japan culture, art and society captured by BBC4 Japan season

If you have had the chance to watch BBC4 and their Japan season you’d have enjoyed a rich variety of documentaries profiling the soul of Japan, its culture, arts and society. From watching detailed work involved in making a traditional Kimono, the impact of the Shinto religion on this mystical country, Samurai swords, great artwork…

Japan taste defeat at the hands of Ireland

To prepare for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 Japan have to take the long and difficult road against tough opposition and this month Ireland came knocking to take on the Brave Blossoms. With a weakened squad, Ireland would still be tough competition for Japan, who hoped to ensure the result would cause a stir…

24 hours in Moscow

My trip to Japan in 2019 will involve a number of capital cities, including travelling from rural Norfolk to London, onto Brussels, then up to Moscow, where I intend to catch the Trans Siberian Express. Moscow conjures up the Kremlin, the USSR, Vodka bars and New Years Eve in -20 degrees. So I’ve being doing my research…

What does it mean to be a Lion?

  When an International player retires, you often see the press comment about the players achievements, their domestic record,  how many international caps they received, the world cups they played in..but for a few, a very lucky few, the words “British and Irish Lion” is mentioned and that title simply sums up that player. To…

Lions need to answer the call from Crusaders

The countdown has begun for the Lions to show true grit and step up against Crusaders. After two indifferent matches, British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is set to pick a lineup below test strength for Saturday’s match with the Crusaders at Christchurch. Gatland has been quoted in saying he would give all 41…

Time to try Tonkatsu

I intend to spend 4 weeks in Japan for my trip in 2019, which means I have to explore Japanese food more, otherwise I’m going to be very hungry when I arrive in Japan. I’m a fussy eater, so I’ve therefore challenged myself to make one Japanese dish each week, will not only expand my…