Favourite Places in Japan: Ichigaya

One of the questions I often get asked about Japan is where my favourite place (although the question often infers a city rather than something more specific than that) is. I don’t have a single favourite place – it would be too hard after visiting 47 prefectures and having been to Japan so many times,…

Walking the Meguro River in Tokyo

In January 2020, I walked most of the length of the Meguro River (目黒川) in Tokyo. I had already been along it virtually, using Google Earth and Street View, but I needed to do it for real. The reason for having investigated it was that I had included it within my latest novel Tokyo 20/20…

US-Japan Summit Memorial and Hinode Sansō

Further to my post on Reflections on writing Tokyo 20/20 Vision which touched upon visiting the US-Japan Summit Memorial and Hinode Sansō, I am writing about them in a bit more detail. Although I could deal with them in separate posts, as I visited them on the same day and they relate to a particular…

Walking the Yamanote Line

On this day (22 April) back in 2016, I ticked another thing off my ‘Japan bucket list’ (things that I want to do in Japan one day)… I walked the Yamanote Line (山手線). As four years have now passed, I thought it was a good opportunity to reflect upon the walk. For those unfamiliar with…

Blurring the boundaries between research and fiction: Aokigahara

For many years I had been aware of the English-language media’s seeming obsession with Aokigahara – often referred to as Japan’s ‘suicide forest’. I’d not seen the same level of interest in the Japanese media. After having spent many years researching the JAL flight JL123 plane crash and particularly the memorialisation of those who died…