I bought this lovely book in Tokyo a month ago and they wrapped it up as though it were made of gold, in its lovely wrapping paper.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands. The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remote…

Travel: Oeshiki Festival of Light, Ikegami Tokyo

Travel: Oeshiki Festival of Light, Ikegami Tokyo

Oeskiki is an annual buddhist festival held on the 13th of October that commemorates the death of Nichiren in 1282. He was a revered buddhist teacher who lived during the Kamakura period, about 700 years ago. Although celebrated throughout Japan, the main Oeshiki festival is held at Ikegami Honmonji Temple located in the Ota ward…

Travel: Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto

Travel: Magnificent Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto

Ryōan-ji (meaning the Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in Kyoto, Japan. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered one of the finest surviving examples of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles arranged in immaculate linear patterns, designed to facilitate…

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Netsuke & Gashapon toys Ancient Japanese treasures and modern collectibles

Netsuke are uniquely Japanese and sublime in their beauty. They are tiny objects carved of ivory, ceramic, wood, tortoise-shell, gold or many other materials. They tell the story of the culture of Japan during the old Edo period and before. Netsuke featured fishermen and farmers, who rubbed shoulders with scholars, samurai warriors, royalty and even…

Harajuku girls inverted Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Every picture tells a story: Harajuku girls go all freaky

I came across this lovely graffiti on a wall outside of a shop in Harajuku. Although you should also see this exquisite collection of quilts that was captured by Jonelle Patrick. The Japanese have an aesthetic sense that is far superior to most other places, I think. Lovely graffiti in Harajuku © Content Catnip 2018…

Every picture tells a story: A pristine Japanese afro to make your day

Every picture tells a story: A pristine Japanese afro

Japanese afro in Shibuya, Tokyo Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com This guy had the coolest hair in Tokyo. Him and his mate were so chill, just smoking and shooting the shit, talking about life in a back alley near Shibuya. People in Tokyo tend to do wild things to their appearance to differentiate themselves…

Asakusa, Tokyo by Night. Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Every picture tells a story: Rainbow neon street scene in Asakusa

Asakusa, Tokyo by Night. Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com Here's another photo I took strolling around at night in Asakusa in Tokyo. In these little alleys, there is an air of intimate and cosy homeliness, I guess this is thanks to the locals. On a micro scale, these alleys had a really neighbourly and…

Every picture tells a story: Cutsey pancake van in Shinjuku

Every picture tells a story: Cutsey pancake van in Shinjuku

Cutesy pancake shop makes me want pancakes in Shinjuku Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com Like most things in Tokyo, I had only a vague notion of what the hell was going on here. It looks like a pancake van on cute steroids. Apparently to sell anything the best way to do it is to…

Signs in Shibuya, Tokyo Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Every picture tells a story: In every neon alley, a world

Signs in Shibuya, Tokyo Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com In every dark alleyway there's a new world to discover in Tokyo filled with tiny izakayas, strangely named bars and vending machines. It's possible to never go down the same street twice or ever become bored of new and interesting things to see and do.…

Kyoto river boat ride adventure by Content Catnip TV

Kyoto river boat ride adventure by Content Catnip TV

Arashiyama is a charming little town just on the outskirts of Kyoto that features a lot of highly regarded UNESCO Heritage sites such as the Kinkaku-Ji temple. Although we found that surprisingly the most enjoyable activity was simply floating along the river in an old wooden boat and being guided by two funny guys, along…

Ahikabara Tokyo during the day Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Every picture tells a story: Mayhem and maid cafes in Akihabara

Very little can prepare you for how full on Akihabara or Electric Town is in Tokyo. This is the mecca for nerds and gamers, it has more square metres of computer shops here than anywhere else in the world. You can buy anything electronic here. Including ancient computers, gigantic robotic dinosaurs, sex robots, a gazillion…

Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

Ancient word of the day: Thalassophile

A thalassophile is a lover of the sea or someone who is powerfully drawn to and by the ocean. This ancient word comes from the Ancient Greek θάλασσα (thálassa, “sea”), and φίλος (phílos, “dear, beloved”). I took this photo on Enoshima Island in Kanagawa prefecture, Japan back in early October last year. As the sun…

A fancy restaurant in the backstreets of Kyoto Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Every picture tells a story: Fancy restaurant in Kyoto

A fancy restaurant in the backstreets of Kyoto Copyright © Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com In every alleyway and side-street in Kyoto and Tokyo there are thousands of stories. This alley was no exception. I can't exactly recall what this place was, but I just loved how it looked. Some shop fronts are adorned in such…

Nice Japandi design in Fuglen, Asakusa, Tokyo

Nordic and Japanese Design Fusion: Fuglen in Asakusa, Tokyo

Norwegian waffles with brown cheese, jam and yoghurt. I died and went to breakfast heaven. The homely mid-century furniture in Fuglen, Asakusa On a recent trip to Japan I noticed that the Japanese love to pay homage to different cultures, their foods and aesthetics. This is really great and impressive because they have such a…

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

On a recent trip to Japan I took mountains of footage.  Advertising is totally out of this world and so I created this homage to Japanese ads, on trains, JR stations, the streets and so on. I created these gifs with colour distortion to properly convey the feelings you have in situ. Initially,  after a…

A view along the Kamo River, Kyoto

Travel: Cycling adventures along the Kamo river, Kyoto

Cycling alongside calming bodies of water is one thing in life that I adore. In the past I've cycled along the Odra in Wroclaw, Poland, Tamaki Drive in Auckland and along the Water of Leith in Edinburgh, along with many other places. However the Kamo River in Kyoto tops them all. The Kamo river has a flat…

Koi fish vying for food in Kyoto by Content Catnip

Four weird unexpected things to love about Japan

Last week I came back from a three week holiday in Japan. And so here are four weird and off-the-wall unexpected surprises about Japan that you most likely don't know about yet. 1. Requiem for a washlet Washlets are one of the unexpected delights of going to Japan. The Japanese washlet is a technological marvel…