Two days in Osaka – The pumped up KIX

For our sixth wedding anniversary, my husband gave me the best present ever — he buggered off and took The Child with him to visit his family in Tokyo, giving me four precious days of complete freedom to go on a trip to Osaka and Kyoto with my long time travel buddy and old time…

Trip to Nanjo, Okinawa

Dear readers, you must be getting sick of post after post about Okinawa. Yeah yeah, another beach, another bowl of delicious looking noodles, another day in paradise. But I just can’t help it. Okinawa has become our second home. When we arrive in the airport and step out into the sunshine and take a deep…

Mums & Maids – A Few Thoughts

There is a great video going around online titled ‘Mums and Maids’, and it really struck and chord with me because although the video was filmed in Singapore, it is the same situation in Hong Kong. The issue of mums and maids and child rearing is something I’ve been avoiding writing about, because it is…

Yomitan, Okinawa

I think we have interrupted the first stage shooting of a porn. Or perhaps they’re working for one of those websites with flashing banners that say “Asian brides are waiting for you!” The young, lithe Japanese girl in a bikini with long, flowing black hair and a winning smile has been bouncing on an inflatable tube for the good part of 20 minutes.

Why didn’t I take my camera?

It was one of those spur of the moment things, and I ran out of the house with only two things in hand: keys, and child. But why oh why didn’t I take my camera? I missed out on the chance to capture one of those rare moments when you find yourself looking around and…

Low Season in Lamai, Koh Samui

It’s early June in the idyllic paradise of Koh Samui, and the mood is nothing short of subdued. We seem to be the only ones staying at this gorgeous, cheap hotel across the road from Lamai Beach. The Swedes and the Germans and the Russians are long gone, having returned to their homelands to enjoy…

Senagajima Onsen, Okinawa

When you travel of course you hope for good weather. But in typhoon season in Asia, there’s isn’t much you can do but accept that it is probably going to rain. The forecast for Okinawa wasn’t good, but thankfully we were staying in a hotel that could provide everything we needed for a nice little…

Date night in Hong Kong

Happy birthday to me! And what better way to celebrate turning 34 than drinking cold beer and gorging on dumplings? I had originally planned on going to a fancy restaurant with a view of the harbour, but changed my mind. We did in fact get the harbour view, but without paying a pound and a crown for it…

Date night in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city that has more Michelin stars than anywhere else on the planet, but when in Tokyo, the one place we must go to is a tiny, dodgy little hole in the wall called Daitoryo.

Chilling in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

Far removed from the raucous, sweaty, half naked beach bars and Carnival atmosphere of places like Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui in the south, much to my surprise Chiang Mai was the most ‘normal’ place that I’ve been to in Thailand.

Things to do in Ikei-Jima, Okinawa

As I mentioned in my previous post, Ikei Island (or Jima, as ‘island’ is called in Japanese) is quite remote, and once upon a time used to be even more remote, long before it was ever connected to the main island of Okinawa, and, more importantly, long before it was even part of Japan.

The Best Hotel in Okinawa

Finally, after many, many, MANY trips to Okinawa, and after staying in 11 hotels altogether (one of which I think used to be a whore house), finally we’ve figured out the absolute, for sure, BEST place to stay if you have a kid.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Kung Hei Fat Choi!┬áIt’s been a long weekend in this part of the planet as families gather for the biggest event of the year. Forget Christmas, forget New Years Eve… the big party is Chinese New Year. Even here in this small village there’s been night after night of festivities. People have done major house…

Things That Make Me Happy

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. I’m a very simple person. A boat ride on a sunny day with a cold beer will usually do the trick. But today I had a lot to be happy about.

Kwun Yam Temple, Hong Kong

Visitors to Hong Kong are often surprised at how modern and somewhat westernised the city seems, and how much it doesn’t really ‘look’ or ‘feel’ like China. Perhaps they are expecting it to be a bit more like the movie scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon…

Hiking the Olympic Trail

When the first week of January presents you with 22’C and a perfect blue sky, there’s no way you can spend your day indoors. So we grabbed our Bush Baby (that’s the name of the baby carrier, not our nickname for the kid), filled up some water bottles, strapped on running shoes, and headed out…

A Very Expat Christmas

Just because you’re a million miles from home with no family around, there’s no need to feel lonely on Christmas day. You simply assemble all the other eager expats and celebrate with your friends, of course!

Chinee Parang

“Chinee parang, Chinee parang, Chinee parang, Gimme Char Siu Kai Fan”….. Are you offended yet?

I guess I need to go buy a tree after all

It’s been about eight years since I’ve ‘done’ Christmas. But now that I have a kid, I might have to shed the Scrooge McDuck disguise and put on a Santa hat instead. Tis the season to be merry, right?

Once Upon a Time in Tokyo

Tokyo is not a particularly pretty place. It consists of miles and miles and miles of prefabricated houses, stretching as far as the eye can see, on a mostly flat area of land. But if you want to see what Tokyo looked like before it got burned to the ground during World War II, all you have to do is go to Kawagoe.

Three Things to do in Saitama, Japan

If Tokyo is the hot blooded, sexy, pulsating supermodel of Japan, Saitama is its buck-toothed, slightly chubby, less attractive sister. But that doesn’t mean there is anything to do. Here’s a list of fun things to do if you happen to have to spend some time in the kanji-less prefecture…

Spirited Away in Gunma

You get this spooky feeling sometimes in Japan once you get out of the big cities and into the countryside. The Japanese countryside, with its traditional style wooden farmhouses and picture perfect rice paddies, is incredibly beautiful and scenic, but it doesn’t take long to realise that something is missing from the picture — people.

Share a Coke with Chan Jao-Yiu

There’s been a lot of fuss recently about the Coca-Cola cans that have people’s names on them. The can craze has finally reached Hong Kong, but with a twist.

Mellowing out in the Maldives

It’s not something that one often gets to say, unless you are fabulously wealthy and have a private jet, so I’m going to take the opportunity to say the following sentence because I may never get to do so again… “I woke up this morning and decided to fly to the Maldives tomorrow”.

Be careful what you wish for

As I sat there at the remote Cape Bise in northern Okinawa, with the sun setting, the warm sun on my shoulders, and a cold Orion beer in my hand, I felt I could stay there forever. And ever. And ever.

Stranger Danger

A few days ago in the Chinese media there was a news article about a foreigner fainting on the subway in Shanghai, and instead of someone coming to help him, or at least going to get help, every single person in the train disappeared like a fart in the wind, leaving the man laying on the floor.

Mind the Moose – Alaska Adventures

It’s 8pm on a Friday night, and I’m sitting in the large dining hall of the Homer Senior Centre in Anchor Point, Alaska, surrounded by a large number of friendly white-haired folks who are all waiting patiently for their dinner.

Five days in Vancouver

It’s my first time in Vancouver, and already I’m in love with the place. Everything is just so clean, and beautiful. The people on the streets all seem to be young, well dressed, slim and healthy, and overall look extremely pleased with the general state of things.

Basket cases

The saying goes that necessity is the mother of all invention. If that is the case, then there are a lot of very inventive people living in Mui Wo, judging from the weird and wonderful bicycle baskets that I’ve been seeing around.

Hiking down Shurikinjocho

Naha — the capital city of Okinawa — is a relatively small place. I know this because I accidentally walked about half of it during my last trip there!

Addicted to hash(ing)

Something must be wrong with me! Addicted to alcohol… drugs… shoplifting… porn…. all of these are common addictions… but addicted to exploring the bush? Yup, I think I have a problem.

Rolling in the deep

Yesterday I did something that I swore I would never do — I swam in Hong Kong. But before you go accusing me of being a snob, I have good reason for wanting to avoid dipping in the salt in the South China Sea….

Ten Tips for Travelling with Babies

Tiny Winy is 16 months old and has a whopping 12 trips under her belt — proof that just because you have a baby, your travelling days are not over. Here are some tips on how to successfully plan for a good flight with your child.

Well this sucks

99% of the time, I love living in the lush green villages of Mui Wo. But when it’s been raining for ten days straight, and I mean without stopping, I want to stab myself in the face repeatedly with blunt chopsticks from the kitchen.

Happy Birthday to Me

It was my birthday recently, and my darling husband gave me the best gift that anyone can give to a woman with a one-year-old child: some time off from mothering. Which could only mean one thing — I was going downtown.

A rare look inside Japan’s Imperial Palace

On my recent trip to Tokyo, I happened to be there for what is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event — the opening of the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, where the Japanese Royal Family lives.

Tokyo Abloom

“The path and the road were covered with a layer of blossoms that were everywhere fluttering down, dying at the moment of their greatest beauty….”

Let’s go get lost

True trails can be hard to find while hiking in Hong Kong. More and more trails are being paved and manicured to make them ‘safer’ or ‘more accessible’ to hikers, which just goes to show how many government officials actually like hiking.