I’ve had the wonderful privilege of being the editor of Chubby Hubby since its relaunch. Being the editor of this fantastic space has allowed me the happy thrill of previewing everyone’s articles and getting to know some fabulous folks, including Aun and S. Additionally, I have also been meaning to get off my procrastinating ass to write something of my own, and finally did after a recent trip to Beijing.
Matsushima, a small city near Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture (in Tohoku, Japan), is worth visiting any time of the year. The Japanese consider the views of Matsushima Bay, teeming with more than 260 small islands, to be one of the most beautiful views in the country. As you may or may not know, the Japanese love making lists. Especially lists that rank things. They are also a people obsessed with natural beauty, man-made beauty and festivals. So, for centuries, they have designated and celebrated things like the country’s top three gardens, Kyoto’s top five Zen temples, Japan’s top three festivals featuring floats, Kamakura’s top ten wells, etc. Most famous among the many designations might be Japan’s three most scenic places. Selected several hundred years ago, they are Matsushima, Miyajima and Amanohashidate.
As a sushi fetishist, I’ve been rather jaded by the recent flux of new sushiya – it’s all too easy nowadays to offer the ‘freshest’ toro and ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ uni, in an ‘authentic’ edomae setting. But the imminent opening of one Sushi Mitsuya, and the arrival of one of the most inspiring shokunin I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, has my fullest attention. Over the course of two lunches during the restaurant’s soft opening in February, I experienced a maturity and obstinate passion absent from other more glamorous sushi bars here. Quite simply, I fell in love.
I’ve tried a host of vanilla ice cream recipes, but love this one—based on Johnny Iuzzini’s in Dessert Fourplay—best for making the vanilla ice cream that I have in our freezer at all times. It’s the first ice cream my son, T ever tasted. His little eyes lit up and he grinned in excitement when he registered its flavour, texture and temperature all at once for the very first time. That moment was truly priceless.
Drink-lovers (like me) have good reason to plan a Tohoku holiday. This scenic region northeast of Kanto (the region in which Tokyo sits) is home to some of the best sake breweries in Japan. While Niigata, which borders Tohoku, and which technically sits in Japan’s central Chubu region, may be the one prefecture most famous among foreigners for top-end sake, the producers in Tohoku’s prefectures churn out equally exceptional hooch.
“Otsukaresama desu”, belted out our taxi driver as he pulled to a gentle stop in front of an old double-storey Japanese house. Save for the fluttering Tempura Matsu banner, you would be hard pressed to spot the family-owned restaurant in Kyoto’s Arashimaya area.
Over the past year or so, there has been a sudden surge in the number of coffee roasters and indie cafes in Singapore. Almost every weekend, we hear of a new chic coffee joints sprouting up, with even better coffee, often tucked away in an obscure part of the city. Being coffee lovers, the hubby and I are thrilled by the recent boom, and we have made checking out these coffee spots part of our weekly date routine, albeit with the kids in tow.
There are few things as relaxing and pleasurable than taking a bath–Japanese style–in natural hot spring water. For those of you who have yet to experience the joys of the onsen (the Japanese term for hot springs and baths using their waters), you have no idea what you are missing. I, myself, didn’t until a few years ago. For most of my life, I’ve been a shower person. I truly didn’t see the point of and never appreciated baths. But then, for a consultancy gig I had undertaken for a hotel collections company, I spent two and half weeks visiting some of Japan’s most beautiful and unique boutique hotels and inns, several of which boasted onsens among their main selling points.