Otsukaresama deshita!!!!

It is with great relief that I write the final page of my blog.

There was the dragging weight which was the winter blues, the distraction of Kyoto’s spring, and now finally… settling back into life in Cambridge, England. I’ve been back in England for almost a month now. Within two weeks of boarding my flight I accepted a new job and moved in with my new/old housemates.

I learned some Japanese, experienced a billion new things, ate a lot of new food, left lots of loved people behind. Why leave?

– Though teaching was fun, rewarding, and a great experience; I didn’t want to do it forever. Staying in Japan with my level of Japanese I felt would have given me a stunted choice of future careers.

– Sometimes expats can grow disillusioned with their life abroad and take the chance, with friends, to complain about it. Though completely valid, I wanted to leave before growing tired of things which I had once found romantic and magical.

– Rheumatoid Arthritis is a condition whereby your body turns against itself, destroying cartilage and damaging bones. Since I was 17 I’ve had many different kinds of medication, and while in Japan I managed to control it with no meds at all (I stopped taking the one thing I was on because it is banned in Japan), but in the latter months of my stay it was clear that my RA wasn’t dormant anymore, my toes, my knees, the warning signs told me.. time to stop kidding myself and go back on the drugs. These drugs that I wouldn’t be able to obtain in Japan. I’m not sad about it, I was over the moon that I had managed to live half way across the world away from the NHS and survive drug free for almost two years. I do know that my jogging helps, I do know that my attempt at a sensible diet helps, but ultimately I know that hydroxychloroquine helps too.

– My sister and her husband are giving me a a nephew in August, it didn’t feel good to face the prospect of being out of the country while my sister faces one of the most dangerous times in a woman’s life. Plus, I didn’t want to miss out on new nephew hugs (and niece hugs!).

And with that I decided – over a Christmas spent in the comforting company of my family – to move back to the UK, for a while at least.

Cambridge has been my homing beacon ever since I went to University here in 2007, so, here are a couple of photos I’ve taken since moving back. This will be my final blog, of course the more you know about something the more you realise you don’t know, pretty demotivational. Thank you so much for reading and for supporting me on my escape to the ‘Mountains Beyond Mountains’ of Kyoto.

Lots of love, Rach xoxox

Gwydir Street

Gwydir Street

Parkers Piece and Ducks

Parkers Piece and Ducks

Canned On The Run. 27.11.2014

Widely publicized as one of Japans most practical quirks; vending machines lurk around most corners. Everywhere. In my first few days here they were an absolute wonder  – not needing to speak to a person to purchase a drink, not needing to feel awkward struggling with my new foreign coins. They still are actually. Not too long ago I climbed up Mt Atago with friends – its the tallest mountain in Kyoto, and there at the top we were welcomed by a beautiful shrine and some vending machines.

Now we could be talking about how one can purchase alcohol/cigarettes/used undies (not really, that one is very illegal actually!) from vending machines as well as fresh vegetables – but – today let’s address Japans least controversial energy source – Coffee.



There’s no shame behind my admitting that I’m a lover of brands, mainly food/drink brands. I cherish my Branston and Heinz, I long for Galaxy and Dairy Milk. Coffee is no exception – for me it has to be BOSS. I mean, they have a fantastic image. Tommy Lee Cooper is the face of Boss Coffee, TOMMY LEE COOPER. And their tagline? “SUNTORY BOSS is the boss of them all since 1992”. Suntory has been selling drinks in Japan since the 1800s, they are one of the well established huuuuuge beasts of Japanese companies which you will probably have heard of – such as Yamaha, Suzuki, and Asahi. Besides all of that, their Cafe au Lait just happens to be my preferred choice because they add all those extras which make it irresistibly terrible for your health and more like a dessert.



See here above, two vending machines right next to a convenience store. You might think “Well that makes sense, Rachel, because when the shop closes you can just pop over to the vending machine at all hours”, but you’d be completely wrong. Most convenience stores are open 24 hours, I say most but I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that actually closes, ever. There are probably tonnes of reasons to pop vending machines right next to a store which sells the same products, we could even make it a discussion if you like. Anyway, I want you to see some of the other coffee varieties which are available here, please see below.





So here you can see not just canned coffee but coffee in bottles and those plastic cups on the left – they have a foil top covered by a plastic lid and an opening for your straw, so they are quite nice to drink from if you don’t fancy a can. There are coffees of every nature including soy milk, unsweetened, black, white, espresso, latte etc. The coffee doesn’t have to be cold even, as you can buy hot coffee in a can/bottle from vending machines or the convenience stores too.

Cold coffee is extremely popular in Japan, it is consumed all year round – just as ice cream is eaten even in winter! Every cafe serves iced coffee, and there are sachets and concentrates available at any store so one can have cold coffee at home.


So it was to my absolute surprise that a London based cold brew coffee company – Sandows – was breaking through the hundreds of coffee brands to make it into a fancy Japanese magazine. An old school friend, Luke Suddards, and his business parter Hugh Duffie appeared – it seems just a little while ago – on my facebook feed telling everyone about their new business, and now Sandows has turned global.

Did they know how big coffee is in Japan?? Did Luke know what they might be up against?

“There’s a big coffee scene […] in fact cold brew pretty much originates from Japan!”

I asked Luke about the company, I wanted to know how their coffee was different, how they’d managed to reinvent something which I’d felt saturated the Japanese market. He explained…

“Cold brew is in fact quite different to iced coffee as it’s brewed without any hot water; this means it takes much longer but you end up with a much less acidic, sweeter cup. In  contrast an iced coffee is an espresso which is brewed hot and then cooled down and added to the milk; cooling down coffee once its been heated provokes much more bitterness so you will find that most iced coffees are loaded with milk and sugar etc to cover that up. Our process allows you to drink it without any additives”

Well then, after gushing on about the Boss Cafe au Lait milk and sugar filled goodness I’m really interested in trying this newfangled brew. If I can enjoy a good cold coffee minus the terrible stuff then I’d be much better off. Sandows isn’t in the vending machines or the combini yet, though,  I really rather hope to see it in some of my favorite cafes here, because good coffee is worth sitting down for.

I’m now looking forward to traveling home to England for Christmas.

See some of you very soon!

Love Rach xoxox

PS here’s Sandows’ website
And tumbler for more pictures

Kamogawa 鴨川 – Duck River. 21.10.2014

Having lived here for over a year now, and faced with the arduous labor of deleting thousands of unwanted pictures from my ipad, I’ve noticed some common themes. Kyoto is beautiful – this is the undisputed truth – and today I’m sharing some of my fave snaps of Kyoto’s main artery – the Kamogawa, or, 鴨 wild duck 川 river.

The Kamogawa is a place to practice instruments, hold blossom viewing parties, bbqs, fireworks (but thats illegal so don’t..), jog, walk your dog, get into town without nearly being run over. There are always people there.


This photo was taken at the very beginning of my time here. Foolishly I was taken in by the beauty of the river and decided to eat my breakfast sitting on some steps leading down to the water, I was bitten to shreds by mosquitos. The mosquitos seem to be less bitey this year, I think the weather has been a lot cooler this time round. This section of the river is by Demachiyanagi which is the main train station connecting the Keihan line (to Osaka through downtown Kyoto) and the Eiden line (which takes me home to North East Kyoto, and then on up to Kurama).


Further up north by Takano you can see why people say Kyoto has five seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Typhoon season. I took the top photo in Spring, or, Cherry Blossom season. The picture underneath that one was taken during a typhoon. During typhoons the river swells, sometimes up and over the paths and has been known to flood even downtown Kyoto around Sanjo! I’ve tried to pop that into perspective below.


The picture on the left is at normal levels, the two on the right show that you can’t see the turtles as they’ve been drowned by the water coming down from north Kyoto. At these times it is usually prohibited to walk by the river.


Here’s a snap I took from the train on the way up to Kurama in the snowy winter, I love how you can always see the mountains around Kyoto and the stark changes they endure through the year. I don’t think the river froze, its too fast moving to freeze. My winter blog was quite a miserable one, I’ll be more prepared this year and will hopefully appreciate winters uh..unique…blessings… uch I hate cold.


You can see here in this moody number taken in Autumn last year that the branch of the Kamogawa that comes from the west seems to be a lot wider, you can’t see it but the Botanical gardens are on the right.

My cousin explained that the guidebooks recommend not walking by the Kamogawa at night, so perhaps I too should advise this? But if you’re visiting in the summer do stop by Sanjo and come down to the river for a chu hi! And there is surely no danger during the day so be sure to spend some time watching the wild duck river go by.

Thanks for reading!

Love Rach xoxox


Japanese Vintage Pornographer’s House

I love all these weird and wonderful finds. Everything from abandoned sex museums to long forgotten schools and love hotels. Abandoned Kansai!

Abandoned Kansai

Old family pictures, dry plate negatives, books with titles like “Avoidances From Sexual Temptation”, a wooden wall telephone that looked like straight out of “Boardwalk Empire”… and somewhere there had to be 90 year old porn photos – my head was spinning!

3 years prior to that slightly overwhelming spring day, I went on a *second trip to Kyushu*. It was my first long-distance solo exploration trip and included amazing locations like the now demolished *Kawaminami Shipyard*, the also demolished amusement park *Navelland* and the wonderful *Ikeshima*.
3 months prior to that slightly overwhelming spring day, my urbex buddy Rory and his wife had helped me locating an amazing abandoned hotel I deemed worthy dumping 25.000 Yen travel costs on, so I spontaneously booked a flight from Kobe to Ibaraki Airport… I had 28 hours in the Kanto countryside and I was eager to make the best…

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Cats: The Darlings Of The Internet. 15.08.14

The internet blooming loves cats. Cats are so in vogue right now, everywhere. Selfies and food photos are shameful but one could post photos of cats till they were blue in the fingers but nobody would complain.

Actually I’ve never been a cat person myself, my dad is extremely allergic to cats and he would sing a ditty called ‘The cat came back’ all about trying to get rid of/murder a cat in various ways. It’s catchy. We’ve always had dogs, I love dogs. Japan loves dogs too, I’ve seen many dog outfits including the one below, oooh and there’s a gang of labrador retrievers who meet at a park near me wearing basketball shirts (with their owners..). There is also a trend of older ladies taking their dogs out in push chairs, it is as curious a phenomenon to the Japanese as the rest of the world.

photo 5

Japan, like everyone else, loves cats. There is even a cat island , and lets not forget that this country is the birthplace of the enduring old favourite ‘Hello Kitty‘. On Wednesday I took a trip to a type of cafe which has crept its way into British culture too – a Cat Cafe. Apparently the world’s first Cat Cafe was in Taiwan but due to tiny apartments forbidding any pets: Osaka found itself hosting Japan’s first Cat Cafe in 2004.

photo 3

Here one pays an hourly fee, usually including a drink, to pet and play with a number of cats. I’m pretty sure that my dad wouldn’t be able to come within a mile radius of this place without suffocating. There were about 8 people, some chairs, lots of bowls etc and 6/7 cats, all in a room which might have been about 8×6 metres. I enjoyed feeding the cats at the beginning, they were very sociable and not violent at all. My late Nan’s cat wouldn’t have put up with any of that nonsense.

photo 4


photo 2

The best cat had a comedy haircut as shown above, grumpy lion cat. Once we had run out of chicken pieces the cats generally found a bowl to fall asleep in, there were many bowls/baskets/saucepans for the kitties and none of them fell out over space issues etc. They seemed content and had a good bond with the girls running the place.

photo 1

There are other kinds of animal cafes in Japan such as Owl cafes. I’ve generally got mixed feelings about these cafes as in general I’m sure owls and cats prefer the freedom of being outdoors and not petted every day by new people. Perhaps that’s more stressful for owls than cats. But then I am intrigued so.. watch this space for the ultimate in wishy washy animal welfare opinions.

In a while crocodile,

Love Rach xoxox

So Much to Write! So little TIME! – Visa extension application.

I went to immigration this morning. After obsessively scrolling through nightmarish tales of waiting in line for hours only to be turned away for not having a piece of the right paperwork: I was in and out in the space of 10 minutes.

The staff are friendly — they spoke to me in Japanese and then in English to be sure I’d understood everything (I’ve got a face which cannot hide my confusion).

So I’ve heard that actually extending your visa is a piece of mochi, there are even rumors that one can overstay their visa by a short time and still extend it. Not wanting to risk deportation I’ve opted for the usual 2/3 week leeway before my Visa expires. I will never ever recommend outstaying your visa anywhere.

What you need to extend your work-sponsored visa: supporting documentation from your employer including the contract and forms from immigration, your forms, proof of tax payment from the ward office, passport, residence card, and a will to stay in Japan for another year.

I wonder how the same process goes down in the UK.

Lots of love,

Rachel the immigrant xoxox

Haunted Streets and Abandoned Peaks 26.06.14

Today’s featured photo was taken at Enryakuji which is a Temple up Mt.Hiei bordering my end of north east Kyoto with Shiga on the other side. The monks are seen burning amulets/charms from last year, the smoke takes them up to the gods. Mt Hiei is one of the barriers which keeps evil from seeping into Kyoto city, which is sort of bowl shaped – a lip of mountains absolutely surrounds us. Thousands of warriors have lost their lives on these mountains, but it’s not just human and amulet remains which lurk here. image

Here lies an abandoned ski slope. This is the closest I’ve ever been to a ski lodge, and this one has apparently been closed for about 12 years. The story goes that one year they closed just for the summer period but simply never reopened. Skis hang mouldy under a caved in roof – you can still make out designs and colours through dusty windows. The old ski lift chairs are laid out waiting and crumbling.


This is was my first taste of ‘urbex’. Japan has many abandoned buildings due to it’s affluence of the bubble era and the subsequent burst of the last twenty or so years. It’s not just buildings which are left but their contents which remain largely untouched, they show us the history of people who lived and worked and played there. It’s such an interesting and haunting experience. On this occasion we (Kansai Photo walks) were lead by writer and explorer Florian who posts his regular expeditions online. His adventures include my favourite, Nara Dreamland – an abandoned theme park which reminds me of Ghibli’s Spirited Away and Satoshi Kon’s Paprika. Have a look around the website and discover abandoned Sex Museums, Hotels, and Schools. It is advised that it is dangerous and sometimes illegal to enter abandoned buildings – so please do some research before jumping in.

One reason I came to Japan was because I’m enamoured with Japanese culture and traditions. I love the history, the shrines and temples and kimonos and ceremonies.. Among a hundred other things. But it can feel so hard to tap into Japan past a thick crust of language and cultural barriers. It has always been through reading other blogs, and pestering friends, that I’ve managed to find events/places I’d otherwise miss out on.

Deep Kyoto is one such place I go to to find out what’s going on and why. It is written by Michael Lambe who I actually met through a friend I worked with at Cambridge University Press! Small world etc etc etc. Together with Ted Taylor; Michael has edited a collection of 18 tales written by 16 authors (including our very own lonely planet writer John Ashburn) who all give their own accounts of walking about Kyoto – Deep Kyoto Walks. Deep Kyoto Walks has been my guide for the last three weeks.

My first walk was my favourite for a couple of reasons. Firstly it involved finding ghost scrolls, I bloody love ghost themed stuff. I might not believe in them but I enjoy freaking myself out. Secondly it was an exploration of the area of Kyoto I actually live in. Bridget Scott takes us up into the mountains by Ichijoji and Shugukuin, in particular we visit Manshuin Temple. This is where, in a dark corridor by the ornate peacock room, one is faced with two barely lit scrolls with a woman painted on each. Emaciated she disappears into the ground, clutching thick and torn hair. There is no mistaking that she’s a ghost and I’m sure I spent an awkwardly long time gaping at these depictions of horror. Another highlight was time spent reflecting over rice fields along the way. image

Jen Teeter wrote a passage about Gojo. Another haunted area filled with a history of debauchery and organised crime spanning back hundreds of years. I could fill a complete blog just called ‘things that Jen does’ brimming over with Ainu organisations, teaching, song writing, and Eco charities. But in this case we will concentrate on her writing. Jen tells us of a sweet shop visited by the ghost who takes candy and leaves a leaf, a wood block print museum (pictured belowe), and a hill made with the ears and noses of fallen enemies. Luckily Jen is a friend of mine so I got her to take me to some of the places featured in Deep Kyoto Walks.


In the last week I’ve climbed Daimonji 4 times. This is party due to Miki Matsumoto’s chapter about taking her young daughter to scale the half an hour climb. If a two year old can do it..I thought…then I should jolly well walk up. And I did, and I met a wonderful group who meet at 6:30 am every day to do radio calisthenics (a Japanese daily stretch which has aired since 1928).


So far Deep Kyoto Walks has been a great tool for discovering the city I moved across the world to see. Actually the anthology itself is a storybook of other people’s experiences, but, also makes places more accessible to those who’d like to make their own mark and see these things for themselves. There are chapters based on a Kyoto which doesn’t exist anymore, some of the history there is more of an expat’s bubble playground. But definitely the highlight for me has been in walking around today’s Kyoto.  Deep Kyoto Walks is available as an ebook on amazon.

Thank you to Florian and Michael for showing me around.

Ta ta for now, Love rach Xoxox

“Zombies have to get to the pub somehow.” 21.03.2014

People often note that there are three or four types of foreigner who reside in Japan. Firstly – Language teachers like myself, maybe in conversation schools or at universities or perhaps through the JET scheme, there aren’t as many of us here as there used to be but we are still a common ish breed. Then there are students, students everywhere! Students from everywhere. Next I’d say would be the programmers, the developers, the computer….people. I’d say the third group are a mix of artists, musicians, freelance writers, and bar workers – in my experience they often teach or develop games at the same time. Actually, most people I’ve met do a number of these things at once in some kind of magical life juggling trickery. Lucky for me, because, I get to experience all of the crazy imaginative fun things these folk seem to summon up, for example…

The biggest event in my calendar recently was Bitsummit. Kyoto’s Indie game festival which features both Japanese and global developers. It only cost a couple of quid to get in, and once inside there were almost too many games to try out, on all kinds of medium from ipad to Xbox to PC.

I’ll admit that one of my main objectives of the day was to finally have a go on the Oculus Rift. I can confirm that it would be my sisters worst nightmare and she’d have vomited pretty early on in the game. The Oculus Rift is pretty immersive and so perhaps not the best thing for those prone to motion sickness in games. The guys in the Vitei back room have conjured up a hilarious and addictive game which involves taxiing zombies around town guided by a GPS system almost as irritating as a real life. I have actually passed my driving test but thankfully that had little value as I reversed into bridges and smashed through lamp posts (which gives you more points, woohoo!). At some point I remembered that if I physically turned round I could actually drive backwards and still see where I was going. Fab.


You can see more of the game and read all about it here. This game won the Vermillion Gate award and we couldn’t be prouder of Chris, Peter, and the rest of the team at Vitei. Vitei itself was founded by this guy called Giles who was practically kidnapped from the uk when he was still in his teens to work on games such as Starfox, Mario 64, and 1080. I shan’t go on and on about Vitei but there’s an awful lot of visually and technically exciting stuff happening that I only wish I had the know-how to write about.. So if you want to know more in terms of the programming side look no further.

Incidentally I started to learn how to code around Christmas, now and then I keep it up, but it’s more of a personal gripe about keeping up with the kids than something I want to use so it’s pretty low on my priorities right now.

Shockingly, Vitei weren’t the only indie game development company at Bitsummit. There were many, but one of the most engaging and bright teams (I mean, yellow t-shirts kind of bright) there was Funktronic labs. I played this….… Nova 111, which starts off turn-based but evolves into real time as you encounter new foes. At the beginning I hadn’t quite cottoned onto the fact that turn based meant I didn’t have to go in and attack everything immediately, but after some very patient help from the team I worked out the patterns and it started to really click.


Actually by the end of the event, and certainly by the end of the night, most of Kyoto seemed to be wearing Funktronic labs t-shirts – including Chris, Peter, and Giles. Nova 111 was nominated for the game design award at Bitsummit and you can see some of their other games here. These guys seem to really live by their ideology…’Technology, Love, and Magic.’. Make sure you check out Lotus which uses Leap Motion to make music.

So that was Bitsummit. Tonight I’m trying out a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in town in a bid to discover a new healthy lifestyle. I figure that future Rachel will appreciate me taking care of myself. I’m glad to tell you it’s possible to be even a vegan in Japan! More about that coming up soon…

Smell you later.

Love Rach xoxox

Spring-a-ding-ding! 03.03.2014

Today is Hina-Matsuri (雛祭り) which is the Girls’ festival, or Dolls’ festival. Girls across Japan will be displaying up to around seven layers of dolls – though modern sets often only have the very top layer due to practicality. The dolls represent the imperial family and their servants. The featured set in the image above is my friend and teacher’s daughter’s, Mi-chan’s, set, it’s a very modern one. The set below is one that was displayed at the To-Ji market last Friday.


The sets are hugely expensive and very precious. As you can see this one has two layers and costs ¥25,000 which is just under £300 I believe. Today families will visit shrines to offer prayers for their daughters.

Shrines and Temples; although very sacred centres are often bustling fun places filled with festivity and entertainment. One of my favourite things in Japan so far has been going to markets which are held in these Temples and
Shrines. When I lived in Essex as a kid my dad used to say we could have all the latest gadgets/trends as soon as they were a “fiver down Romford Market” (£5…). The promise of sifting through stalls of tat to find a gem of a bargain is a thrilling shopping experience unmatched yet by any other market, including Basildon. But Kyoto markets offer tonnes of mystery and intrigue. I’ve not bought anything other than food yet in fear of not having space to move in my apartment, but, one could spend days gawping at beautiful second hand kimonos, baseball cards, dolls, calligraphy, and maps drawn hundreds of years ago.


Here’s a fella’s armour for example. I’d love to have it, but I don’t get many chances to dress up these days. What folly!

Those of you who are my long suffering Facebook friends will have noticed my sheer relief that spring is here. The second market I went to in the same number of weeks was at Kitano Tenman-gu. It was important that I visit this particular market on this particular day because this place is famous for viewing うめ (plum) blossoms which are blooming (lovely) at the moment.


Chisato brought Mi-chan with her on her bike and we all ate ‘Jaga Butter’ which is a potato with butter on, that’s right, we ate jacket potatoes. It. Was. Amazing. All of us – Japanese, Scottish, American, and English, enjoyed a jacket potato together. You’ll be pleased to know I tried some new Japanese food too like these sweet roasted rice balls called mitarashi dango, as below..


Yesterday was my six month Jappaniversary. I spent the day in Osaka shopping with friends, we went on Osaka’s equivalent to the London eye. It’s very very high up as it’s also on top of a shopping mall. There some fantastic views. Yasmin was very brave, we had to practically wrestle her back into her seat.


Osaka is really very different to Kyoto and reminds me that there’s a different Japan out there that I’ve not experienced just yet. I’m hoping to travel about a bit maybe in April or May to see the bright lights and bunny infested islands.

Thank you all for reading my blog for the past six months. I hope I keep engaging you enough to keep reading!

Lots of love, Rach xoxox

Obligation Chocolate & 0 Calorie Jelly.

Today is Valentines day, Happy Valentines day!!! Today many ladies/girls across the country will be handing out chocolates to their colleagues, friends, and family. Traditionally only females hand out chocolate for Valentines, however, a newer festivity has been added to the calendar – white day. This is when men can give back to the ladies, though I’m told his is more for boyfriends sort of. There are a few different sorts of gift, giri (obligation chocolate), tomo (friends chocolate)’, and honmei (true) which is what you give the guy you really like. I was going to make some chocolate but, it was too much bother and I’m trying not to eat sugar. Then I was going to make sugar free banana cake – but I’ve not got an oven. So, this year I’ve completely failed.

However, it doesn’t matter because today isn’t REALLY Valentines day, it’s Keira’s birthday wooo, Happy Birthday sweetpea!


Some of you may have noticed some unusual photos appearing on my Facebook page. Well, these are from photo booths called ‘purikura’ or kawaii booths. It automatically makes your skin glow and your eyes bigger – as per what is considered cute here. The affects can be a bit scary, but it’s a lot of fun and it makes me want to get dressed up and take a million photos. It was pretty cheap too considering it costs about a fiver to get passport photos done in the uk, our three sets of photos were about £3 altogether. The booths are situated in arcades an shopping malls, usually there will be lots in one big room and you can choose different types. I’ve only tried one so I’m afraid I’m not sure what the others are like.


It has been very snowy here recently and pretty cold, not as cold as Tokyo thankfully, the temperatures are between -2 and 7 roughly most days. A couple of weekends ago when we were celebrating Setsubun it was surprisingly warm, I thought winter was over, I hoped spring was early..For Setsubun we visited Yoshida shrine, ate long pieces of sushi, and threw beans at ogres out of the window. If I’m here next year I might try and volunteer to dress up as an ogre, it seems like good fun and the kids have a great time running around screaming.


This coming Sunday Yasmin will be running the Kyoto marathon. I think she is insane and incredible. I’m looking forward to watching her run. I’m hoping that the snow will be gone by then. But for now here’s a photo a took from my roof about an hour ago, there are usually mountains in the background but there’s a bit of snow in the way..


Oh yes, and, I’ve found something horrifying and curious – 0 calorie jelly. I bought it, I had to buy it, you’d have bought it too. How can it be… This sweet jelly with chunks of who knows what inside, no calories, no real substance. What’s it made of?? I don’t know, maybe I don’t want to know but I feel wrong eating it, almost naughty, like I’m cheating the calorie gods. I’ve looked it up on the net and people have discussed it but nobody mentions what it’s made of. I could ask someone but then I’ll know the horrors of what I’ve eaten. Mmm. What do you think?


Those of you stuck in high winds and floods – take care. I’ve seen lots of scary footage on the beeb, doesn’t look good.

Lots of love,

Rach xoxox