Travel: Himeji Castle, Japan

Himeji Castle was the first place in Japan to become a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993, after this there were dozens of others named. It’s actually the largest and arguably most impressive castle in in Japan and has 83 buildings. It takes hours to walk around inside of it, like a medieval Disneyland,  it's…

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Travel: Tenryu-ji temple and gardens Arashiyama Kyoto

Tenryū-ji is a temple and gardens founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. It's purpose at the time was to venerate Gautama Buddha. It's considered as one of Kyoto's so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tenryuji dates from the Muromachi period in Japan's 14th-16th century. Among its many…

Travel: Bustling Ueno markets, Tokyo

Travel: Bustling Ueno markets, Tokyo

Ueno markets are tucked into a unique pocket of Tokyo filled with interesting characters selling unusual goods. It's a world within a world. The funky music you are hearing is by 70's British funk band Cymande, the track is called Dove. It gives the video a lovely vintage feel. I don't own copyright to the…

Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

*Contains no spoilers This is a slim book. In little more than 200 pages you are able to sink into a well-rounded and thoroughly immersive story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this would be impossible. For Murakami though, 200 pages is more than enough to captivate and absorb. Big in scope, the story…

Travel: A curious history of Nara's holy deer

Travel: A curious history of Nara’s holy deer

Nara has had sacred significance long into the ancient mists of time in Japan. Long before Tokyo and Kyoto became the capital of Japan, Nara reigned as the most important city in Japan, its capital from 710-784 AD, before this mantle was passed on to Kyoto. By decree of the emperor of Japan in 724AD,…

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…

Featured

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…