On Never Walking Alone

Just over two months ago, a few days before I moved to Ireland, I was sitting in the living room of my parents’ home watching Manchester City play Chelsea. There were no fans in the stadium, hadn’t been since the Premier League had restarted after a long, coronavirus-induced break. Stakes were fairly high for each team. A win for Chelsea would boost their Champions League qualification hopes, while a win for City would keep them in the title race for one more week. Chelsea’s young American Christian Pulisic opened the scoring, then City’s Kevin De Bruyne equalised. In the second half, a handball saw Fernandinho sent off and Willian step up to the penalty spot to bury a second goal for Chelsea. Twenty minutes later, the game was over… and suddenly Liverpool were champions.

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The best for last: Kyoto (Japan recommendations part IV)

Finally last post with recommendations for Japan! Thanks for sticking with me. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, I hope I’ve offered something useful. If you’re a Japan expert, I hope you’ll give me recommendations for my next trip that will definitely happen someday! Click here for my recommendations for Tokyo, Hakone, Nara, and Kobe, and Osaka, or read on about my favourite city of all:

Kyoto: 

I wasn’t sure what to make of Kyoto at first. As it was our last stop, I went in thinking I had seen all the temples I could handle, walked into all the little shops I could possibly walk into, eaten all the delicious things I could possibly eat. And then Kyoto proved me so very wrong. It became my favourite city we went to in Japan, and the number one I would recommend for anyone planning a trip. It has everything from the modern to the traditional, from the serious to the playful, and some of the best of every possible type of cultural aspect of the country.

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Foodie heaven and fun streets: Osaka (Japan recommendations part III)

Osaka: 

Osaka is such an interesting city. Significantly smaller than Tokyo (2.7m people compared to the bulging population of Tokyo’s 9.3m) but double the size of cities like Kobe and Kyoto, it doesn’t feature the high-tech, futuristic style of Tokyo or the classic look of Kyoto, with their modern and traditional areas separated carefully, but instead mashes up new and old into one. Although it got just edged out by Kyoto as my favourite city we went to in Japan, it was probably the one I was most excited to visit (and if you have any wonder why, just read my “What we ate” section below).

If you missed my posts on Tokyo and Hakone/Nara/Kobe, check them out! Otherwise continue on for my recommendations on Osaka:

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Little lovely places: Hakone, Nara, & Kobe (Japan recommendations part II)

Here’s part two of my recommendations for Japan! I’m going to include three sections in this one: Hakone, Kobe, and Nara, as we only spent a short time in each. To read about what we did/what I’d recommend in Tokyo, click here. And check back on Monday for recommendations on Osaka and Kyoto!

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Tokyo, temples, & treats: Japan recommendations part I

Let me start by saying that this is not a definitive guide to Japan, or of the cities I visited there. It is not a guide to secret, off-the-beaten-path, locals only spots, or anything you probably can’t find in another blog post or pinterest page. Obviously this is true of pretty much every travel post I write, but for some reason people seem *really* obsessed with finding the “hidden” Japan in so many travel articles I read, the restaurants that would never deign to have an English menu or the shops whose doors have never been darkened by tourists, so I’m just going to make it clear that this is not that. This is just the places Steve and I went that we really enjoyed, because I have a bunch of friends planning trips to Japan who asked me for recommendations. So here they are. I’ve split the posts up because they’re super long, so today’s post focuses on Tokyo. Check back for my recommendations for Hakone, Osaka, Nara, Kobe, and Kyoto! I’ve bolded my best recommendations for easy reading. And I’m already daydreaming about another trip someday, so please do tell me your favourite things that I missed!

Omoide Yokocho, aka Piss Alley, full of tiny bars and yaktori restaurants

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My Favourite Rabbit Holes

We all have them. Those internet rabbit holes you just can’t resist going down. Maybe it’s a topic that fascinates you, or one that infuriates you, or maybe it’s just one you know has enough content online that you can kill a bit of time when things are slow at work. Maybe you have a favourite topic that you check back on frequently in hopes of updates, even if the matter has been dormant for years. Maybe you and your friends share your findings back and forth, like my BFF and I do with bizarre advice column questions from sites like Ask a Manager and Dear Prudie.

Some rabbit holes are quite common: topics like unresolved true crime (who killed JonBenet Ramsey, who was Jack the Ripper) or cryptids (mythological—or potentially not mythological—beings like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster) have always piqued our interest and our imagination. The internet has facilitated others: it’s easy to get lost scrolling through satellite images on Google Earth or idly planning a dream vacation or dinner on Instagram. Wikipedia is the biggest conduit, with its infinite hyper links making it easy to move through a series of innocuous topics until suddenly it’s three hours later and you’re deep into a world of conspiracy theories and oddities. “What is the best internet rabbit hole to get lost down?” is a common question on AskReddit, and Slate has an entire series based around the idea.

As someone who is Extremely Online, I probably go down the rabbit hole more often than most. Let me bring you down a few of my favourites:

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