Exploring Jianghan Road, Wuhan

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When I booked a flight from Tokyo to Madrid, I didn’t imagine I’d be dragging my suitcase round a night market in central China. But that’s exactly how things played out.

A layover of 8 hours in Wuhan forced my hand; there was absolutely no way I was going to sit in an airport that long when a 24-hour transit visa exists. An adventure beckoned.

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Review: Tsuta – Michelin star ramen

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You’ve probably heard a lot about ramen – to be honest, it’s almost old news. Whereas sushi was the first morsel to whet the appetite for the fetishisation of Japanese food, ramen was surely the next.

As if to demonstrate they’re down with the cool kids that like to serve triple-cooked chips with a side of truffle oil to highlight that finer ingredients can indeed be used to exoticise the more mundane comfort foods we crave, the Michelin Star judges awarded Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, a tiny ramen joint in Tokyo, a Michelin star in December 2015.

As a matter of fact, Tsuta’s ramen actually does come with truffle sauce. And so it probably wins the Michelin Star Epitome Award. Continue reading

Review: Daidarabou, Takasaki / 大大坊、高崎市

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Daidarabou / 大大坊

I love adventures but sometimes I feel that I am a stranger in my flat, because I am home so infrequently. This weekend, I would’ve maybe tried to take it easy (I can hear my friends’ laughter echo as I write this….) but I had to catch a train to somewhere. Yes, had to. Let me explain… Continue reading

Review: Kaccharu Baccharu, Shin-Otsuka – the best Indian in Tokyo?

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I have had a lot of rubbish Indian food. Let’s not remember Moti in Roppongi.

There are a lot of places highly rated that I have found utterly underwhelming: Rasoi in Meguro and Dhaba in Kyobashi to name but two. SITAARA Aoyama was so bland and boring it was absolute joke, although they served possibly the nicest mango lassi I’ve ever had. Be thankful for small mercies.

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However, a friend insisted I tried Kaccharu Baccharu (カッチャルバッチャル).

“I also look at the rankings on Tabelog,” she told me. “Forget about a score of over 3.5, I always try the restaurants ranked number 1.” Continue reading

Bakery: Boulangerie Les Lis, Matsubara / ブランジェリー・レ・リース、松原

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I stumbled across this tiny little place whilst heading to a trial karate class. There is nothing more satisfying than tucking into something very tasty after exercise. And since there aren’t any seats, we had a picnic in the fresh air – all good for the health, no? Continue reading

Worst Date Ever (London on the Inside competition)

London on the Inside are running a competition in association with Costa Bingo to win tickets to The View from The Shard. All they want is a bad date story. Well, that’s easy enough…

I don’t do dating. I’ve had three strikes at it – enough to know that it’ll end badly. Like that time I slammed a door in a guy’s face when he tried to kiss me. (I was too shy to say: “Actually, I’m really sorry, but I just don’t fancy you.”) I now firmly believe in what I term the “friendship-evolution” method.

The worst date I’ve ever been on was with a guy I barely knew.  He called me up and was evidently nervous.

“Hi Phoebe, h- h- how-er….” he stuttered.

“I’m fine, thank you. How are you?” I replied quickly, wanting to smooth over his embarrassment. I was a little taken aback, but shyness can be endearing, right?

He said he had free tickets to see a movie and would I like to go? Well, I didn’t know him and I didn’t fancy him, but there was always a chance that something might develop. He might have a dazzling personality and provide thrilling flirtatious conversation.

My hopes were cut short, however, because he was too nervous to organise meeting me for a drink beforehand. We met 2 minutes before the film and hurried into the cinema. We spoke for 5 minutes during the adverts, watched the film and then began the 10 minute walk back. There was zero rapport and zero time to strike up any rapport. It was hopeless and I was annoyed. If attraction were rated on a scale from one to ten, I was hovering around two.

We reached the street where our routes home separated. He paused and there was a very awkward silence. It was so awkward that I was trying very hard not to squirm.

Bravely, I thought it was time to acknowledge things.

“Well, this is awkward,” I ventured. I felt sorry for him – always a bad sign – and this made me generous. I intended to steer him down the path of  “Maybe we should meet for coffee so we can get to know each other better.”

He, however, had other ideas. He looked directly at me.

“Shall we just kiss now and get it out the way?”

My face must have said it all. I couldn’t contain my horror at the proposal. I tried to recover my facial muscles but it was too late.

He steeled himself. “Perhaps not then,” he muttered.

That was the last time I dated.

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