Monday, September 16, 2013

Eatlove Inspiration

It's Monday.
 No doubt you are already looking forward to the weekend. 
If you're seeking a little menu inspiration for a casual, satisfying and lovely dinner with friends check out my picks on EATLOVE

You'll find plenty of other great recipes from the pages of top cookbooks by some of the world's best loved chefs (including me of course... ;) ) and some helpful tips and foodie/travel info. 

Don't forget to follow me for updates!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

SBS FEAST MAGAZINE gives my tours a shout out!

Thank you so very much to SBS Feast Magazine for giving my tours a shout out .

The January tours are now fully booked I'm afraid but I plan to release some more dates soon.

Join my mailing list
 (by emailing me at
  to ensure you are the first to hear about upcoming tours!

Cheers, Jane 

The Serious Eeriness of Midorigaike

There's a pond in northern Kyoto town reported to be haunted. It might be.
While Midorigaike is also regarded as a bird sanctuary there was little wildlife, little life at all, to be witnessed on this cold January day.  
The water was more slimey and swamp like in parts than you might wish a pond to be and sooo still  - almost like something was waiting beneath - patiently and purposely.  It was indeed eerie.  To say the least.

The tales we'd heard about it before our visit probably didn't help. Locals say it has long been the most common place in Kyoto to suicide. Like the forest of Mt Fuji is for Tokyo residents.  I don't mean to sound flippant  by including something so serious in a blogpost however Japan has a long history with this issue embedded deep within its ancient culture  - so much so that it tends to be spoken of as an "inconvenience" at times. It sadly can be to the millions of people who use the intricate train system daily - it only defaults from its time-your-watch-by-it runnings when "human incident" occurs. Which sadly plays out with regularity after under-parr university exam results are revealed and subsequent non acceptance into a large corporations are announced.  They say to take your own life at that particular point of the year is preferential as it causes less shame to one's family. It is very sad of course but somewhat accepted. Or so I am told.

Perhaps evidence of the loss of life at Midorigaike is in the fresh flowers that are placed on the pond at various junctions.
A friend who sometimes jogs around the huge watermass had one morning come across some discarded clothing on the track. While in some countries this might be the sign of frivolity it would certainly be frowned apon in Japan.  She instantly feared the worst. As the Japanese usually remove their shoes before taking their lives she proceeded cautiously, concerned she would find  some neatly lined up slipons,  but instead she was heart-broken to discover a floating body.

The strangest part of all is that, once the police had finished their work and she'd returned home, she found a pair of shoes by her front door, filled with water.

 Kyoto-ites speak of the paranormal and haunted spaces as matter o' factly as they might respond with the time. And I don't know one local who doesn't have a fascinating story to share - even when they say they don't believe in all that "nonsense" they will inevitably report that they have seen something that they can only describe as a ghost.... "only it couldn't have been"

The reason we'd visited Midorigaike is that I'd planned a surprise spirit hunt for my ghostbuster boyfriend's birthday (as one does...)  and this was on our hitlist. We managed to scare ourselves silly of course.
At one point on the walking track we both stopped suddenly as the hair on the back of our arms crackled. The air felt heavy. Both us sensed we were being prevented from walking any further. A big energetic stop sign had been dropped onto our path. We turned back and scooted out of there as fast as we could. Paranoid perhaps... but we weren't ready to encounter any newly departed souls that morning. 
Time to go home?
Dear spirits of Midorigaike, thank you for allowing us to indulge our curiosity for things we don't know much about...