Musings from Kyoto Japan, mostly on Mushrooms, Food, Travel and the like


I Have Seen the Face of God

Well, not quite. But something almost as awe-inspiring. The V-12 Jaguar engine at the business end of an E-type. Ye Gods Have Mercy.




Anti-Nuclear Demonstration in Yokohama, January 14th, 2012 脱原発世界会議

Coinciding with the Global Conference for A Nuclear Power Free World, held at Yokohama Pacifico, January 14th and 15th, 2012.

Please contact me if you would like to use any of the pictures. I am sure something can be arranged.

How to Make Coriander Oil – Easy, Convenient and Tastes Wonderful

These wee fellers are springing up in my garden in a frenzy of wholly unanticipated early autumnal action (My history of coriander sativa cultivation has been patchy to say the least).

So I decided to make up some coriander oil, an all-purpose beauty that serves well as a dressing or for cooking with. Coriander seems to have as many detractors as fans (that’s cilantro for my transatlantic buddies) but I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Here’s a swift how-to: Prepare a pan of boiling water, and a bowl of ice water. Plunge the coriander into the boiling water for all of eight seconds, then put it immediately into the ice water, then strain off the water. This ensures that the coriander retains its bright green colour.

You can just pat off the excess water now, but I prefer to sun-dry it when the weather permits (as it did this morning).

Then combine equal amounts of extra-virgin olive oil and a lighter vegetable oil of your choice. As I happened to have some lying around, I used safflower oil. Quantities depend on how much coriander you have; around 50ml of each did me fine. The less oil you use, the stronger the resultant taste. There is the option to strain it through a sieve, but I can never be bothered.

Then blend the whole lot together with a clove of garlic, and a liberal sprinkling of ground black pepper, and sea salt. I like to add just a dash of sansho Szechuan pepper too. Et voila!

Store in a cold place and it should be ready for use after about a week. A little goes quite a long way. Nice with eggs, poultry, fish, and in onion raita and other Indian dishes. Mix it with coconut for a very South Indian taste. In the hot summer months consider upping the ratio of lighter oil, and including mint. It serves as the basis of a great vinaigrette.

Happy Birthday Private Eye – 50 Years Young

Some favourite covers over the years:

Send me your faves.







“Quintessential Kyoto”: A Story I Wrote on Kyoto’s Michelin-starred Restaurants and the Like for Destinasian Magazine

I was very happy with this one which appears in the current (October/November) print issue, as I took all the photos (bar the Kyoto graphic) as well as doing the text.

Click here to see the full story in PDF format: Kyoto (1) including pics.

The story introduces celebrity chefs Kunio Tokuoka of Kitcho and Yoshihiro Murata of Kikunoi and I also recommend some favourite restaurants chosen by the ‘restaurant reviewer of the Louis Vuitton Kyoto Nara City Guide’. That’s me, btw. If you can’t be bothered with all those troublesome photos (my art!) here is a link to the Destinasian web version. Hope you like it.

渋い、そしてスティーブあんちゃん On Shibui, Steve, and Such Things.

Years ago it was that my dear brother Steve attempted to explain to me, a Japan neophyte, the concept of ‘shibui’. Imagine, he said, reaching for his antiquated dictionary of such Japanese things, ‘the just-so curve of a pagoda’. I said I thought I could imagine that. We both nodded sagely. But secretly I think neither of us were convinced. I suspect ‘shibui’ is something you can only understand with time. I was in Kurodani Temple today, photographing Buddhas. You can’t move for them there. It is near my house, but, by chance, I drove up in my car. And so, finally, I came to understand ‘shibui’. In just-so curves, a bit of chance, and a surfeit of Buddhas.

Komyoin Diptych

One of Tofukuji’s sub-temples.

Honenin (after Hockney)

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that. Hockney was a Bradford lad too, don’t you know. This was intended as part of a series of temple images where I play with perspective in an attempt to get that Zazen meditation feel. The series currently stands at… two.

Sasha Takes the Jaguar XJS For A Test Drive (plus 1 pic)

Above, in the Takaragaike Tunnel, clearly auditioning for the next David Lynch movie.

Below, back at JH motors. Looks like she was born in this vehicle…

2011 or 1975?