Our family

Entries in Japan (10)


Tokyo sunset

The sun lights up Mt Fuji before setting behind Yokohama


Japanese signs

Whatever they are selling, Lydia approves.

"Give me your lunch money, or the hat goes"

A hairdresser that will "Just Cut" your hair? In 10 minutes?

Now Japan has officially thought of everything, I'm in.

Japanese women give out a good wifi signal when pregnant

I would send Hayden to this school

Ah... watch out for the yeti who lives on the mountains and throws rocks at you. Also, the yeti is possibly an elderly Norweign who likes nordic walking.


Tokushima central park



Meiji Jingu Shrine


Tokyo International Forum


The temples of Kamakura

The 800 year old Great Buddha of KĊtoku-in. The statue was cast in bronze in 1252, weighs 93 tonnes (even though it is hollow) and is 13.4 metres tall.

While a majority atheist country, the old traditions of small ceremonies and making wishes at shrines and temples is still quite common. 


A family divided by Japan?

I sense problems ahead. On the one hand, I'm pretty sure Lydia supports Japan's pro-cat policy. But can Hayden really tolerate their anti-elephant sentiment?


Shinjuku by night

Western Shinjuku, from the observation deck of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices. 

Kabukicho, East Shinjuku


Tokyo, Japan: cats, cats and more cats

All aboard the cute plane to Tokyo!

I'm in Tokyo at the moment, for the Japanese Society of Immunology conference next week. I spent my evening wandering around Shinjuku, an area with towering sky-scrapers in the west and chaotic night-life in the east. A fun area, but a little seedy - several times I had elderly ladies try to boss me into a massage parlour, pointing to their girl standing demurely by the door, wearing satin pyjamas and (for some reason) cat ears. 

"Look. You look at our lovely girl. Look, look."

"No, that is not quite what I am looking for". Perhaps something more like...

The rules for the Cat Cafe were quite strict. No children under 12, no picking up cats, no waking up a sleeping cat and don't touch Kinako's belly or she'll bite your finger. I changed into slippers and disinfected my hands so I could move into the cafe, which was filled with cats, cat toys and Japanese women cooing.

Some of the visitors clearly had a regular routine, and spent the whole time sitting with "their" cat while reading a book or having a cup of tea:

"But", you tell me, "I'm a busy guy, I don't have time to spend an hour in a Cat Cafe before heading home!". Don't worry, for your express cat needs these guys set up a cat stand at the train station, so you could spend five minutes patting a cat while waiting for your train:

I'm pretty sure this is how all the cats get transported around Tokyo in response to the urgent cat needs of a city of 35 million:

Would you like a few extra cat photos? Okay.


Hayden would do just fine in Japan

As alluded to earlier, Hayden is not the best feeder. He likes his milk, and is not happy about anyone trying to put solid foods into his mouth. On the other hand, Hayden loves to try and cram maps, newspapers and tissues into his mouth.

Lydia came up with the bright idea of using this to trick Hayden into eating some solids. The first attempt was a cooked lasagne sheet. I pretended it was a map, but Hayden was too smart for that, and refused to bite. Lydia's second idea was pure genius - sheets of nori. Hayden tore into the sheets of seaweed with a passion, and ate his first self-directed meal.