A week in Kansai: Fanning the flames of my love for Japan

I'm a little bit obsessed with the Kansai region of Japan. #sorrynotsorry Last year I got to spend a week in Kansai on a blogger trip and although it was probably the busiest week of my entire life, every second of it was an absolute joy. Thirteen years after I left Osaka (I lived in Osaka and … [Read more...]

5 unique reasons to visit Kobe, Japan

Kobe has long been one of my favourite Japanese cities. When I lived in nearby Osaka, it was a place I regularly took overseas visitors for a day trip, because it was such a good contrast to Osaka and Nara. Back then, it was only six years after the 1995 earthquake, but this had the effect of … [Read more...]

The secret of Sakai City: off the beaten path in Kansai, Japan

One day soon it'll be a normal thing to suggest visiting Sakai City when you're passing through Osaka, but I'm getting in early to tell you: go to Sakai! Back when I lived in Osaka, I knew Sakai was south of the city and that's about all; I occasionally met people who worked there. Beyond that, I … [Read more...]

7 things I desperately love about Osaka

My love affair with Osaka, Japan's "other" city, stretches back fifteen years already. As a 25-year-old I headed to Japan to teach English with my then boyfriend. The company which hired us only offered two destination choices to teachers hired in couples: Tokyo or Osaka. Always one to make the less … [Read more...]

Reasons to Love Japan – Episode 36 of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast

I've been writing about my love for Japan ever since I began this blog 11 and a half years ago, but the fact is, I had lost sight of just HOW MUCH I love it! Thirteen years after I left Osaka, I finally got to return, and I was reminded of all the reasons I love Japan, and everything was even better … [Read more...]

15 years of Universal Studios Japan (and 15 years since I moved to Osaka)

Fifteen years ago this year, I moved to Japan. Also fifteen years ago this year, just a couple of months before my arrival in Osaka, Universal Studios Japan opened. What a brilliant coincidence, I think, that USJ would bring me back to Japan in this special year! Magic at Universal Studios … [Read more...]

5 reasons I’m crazy-excited about returning to Japan

Have you ever spent time in a country, and then daydreamed for years and years about returning? That's me and Japan. Japan is easily one of my most favourite places in the world. I lived in Osaka and Nara for two years, teaching English in a tiny language school next to the train station in … [Read more...]

What I miss most about Japan

I moved house this week, which caused me to look through a whole lot of boxes of journals, souvenirs and photo albums. (I'm a little bit of a hoarder.) Being homesick for Japan A huge proportion of these things were from the two years I spent living in Japan. Japanese things are just so … [Read more...]

Four different homes abroad and what I’ve learnt from them

I'm not a massive fan of moving house. (I mean, really, who is? It's a lot of work!) However, I have moved plenty of times in my life and in particular, I have had four different homes abroad - two different flats in Japan, one in Slovakia and one in Germany. When I read a recent Kiki and Tea post … [Read more...]

Travel for the anxious and anxiety prone: How travel changed my life

I regularly get emails from people who are worried about travelling, but many of these people are just nervous because of their lack of experience. But travel for the anxious - the more clinically anxious, I mean - can be a battle of nerves in a whole different way. And I've got a story to tell … [Read more...]