Going back to Japan – what it’s like to return to your ex-pat home

It was so exciting earlier this year to be returning to my ex-pat home, Osaka, to show my son where I used to live. I’ve talked to him about various aspects of my life in Osaka and Nara over the years - I lived and worked there for two years between 2001 and 2003 - but there’s nothing like being … [Read more...]

The life-changing magic of taking my son to Japan

Since 2010 I've been working on a really important project: I've been educating (or really, brainwashing) my son, since his birth in 2010, to fall in love with Japan. Japan is a country that's really important to me, after living and working there for a couple of years in my twenties, and … [Read more...]

How to prepare your kids for a trip to Japan

If you're planning a Japan family holiday, you probably want to prepare your kids for Japan ahead of time. It's an utterly wonderful country to visit but probably pretty different in quite a few ways from home. Learning about Japan and Japanese culture before you get there will make the trip both … [Read more...]

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 city in Hyogo prefecture 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 Kobe sightseeing day trip, because it was such a good contrast to Osaka and Nara. Back then, it was only six years after the 1995 … [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: Osaka attractions for you too

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...]