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  • 10 must-try ramen shops in Tokyo

    Posted 2019-09-16 05:30:47 by: bossgate

    Ramen is Japan’s national obsession – and there more than 10,000 shops to choose from in Tokyo alone. Three local experts choose their favourites‘Ramen doesn’t have rules the way many Japanese foods do, which means the possibilities are endless,” says Abram Plaut. “And in Tokyo people are always coming up with ideas that have never been done before.”Plaut’s fascination with the noodle soup started when he arrived in Japan to teach English a decade ago. Ramen was cheap, plentiful and, thanks to the automated ordering machines, easy. He was hooked. But his hobby became an obsession, and within a few years he was writing articles on the subject and appearing on TV as an expert. In 2016, he helped open Mensho Tokyo SF in San Francisco with master ramen chef Tomoharu Shono. Continue ...

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  • We’re going on a boar hunt: into the Forest of Dean

    Posted 2019-09-15 10:00:23 by: bossgate

    With its kingfishers and wild pigs, this Gloucestershire forest is perfect for a family nature safariIt’s a kingfisher!” Ed’s body swung round and leaned forward, his arm following in a wavelike motion the bird soaring above the water at Cannop Ponds in the Forest of Dean. We leaned with him, scanning the sky. “There it is, there it is.” Ed Drewitt, our guide, had spotted its landing perch in a pine around 400 metres away. “Wow, I’d love to be able to do that,” my daughter whispered. Ed got his binoculars out so we could glimpse the orange belly of the bird, the first kingfisher he’d seen this year, he told us excitedly. Ed, a passionate zoologist, was taking us on an “animal safari”, offered to guests staying at the Tudor Farmhouse in the heart of the Forest of Dean. The “safari” is perfect for animal lovers, including my daughter Sophie, 20, studying animal management, and my 16-year-old son, Toby.We’d arrived the afternoon before and, thanks to the hotel’s map of wild swimming spots, headed straight out to the River Usk, half an hour away, sinking into the water from a tiny island beach in the centre of a bend in the river. After a slow journey on clogged motorways, it was a refreshing and magical way to start our forest adventure. Back at the hotel, we enjoyed cocktails in the garden, before stepping across a wooden bridge over a tiny stream that led inside to dinner. I was impressed by the variety on the menu, particularly for someone like me who is gluten and dairy-free, and by the fact that much of it was locally sourced – and tucked into delicately flavoured beetroot and cured salmon, followed by pork belly with roast onion. Continue ...

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  • A new take on old Japan – that's Omori

    Posted 2019-09-15 06:00:19 by: bossgate

    In this village north of Hiroshima, traditional culture is evolving into a modern idyll, as a talented family revives the fortunes of a quiet backwater One summer’s day 14 years ago, my husband and I and our then two-year-old daughter, Addie, took a fast train, a slow train, a bus and a car to get from Kyoto to a 400-person village called Omori, near the Sea of Japan about 70 miles north of Hiroshima. In a narrow valley amid forested hills, Omori had one main street, few cars and even fewer shops. Most of the people seemed to be around 60 or older and lived in wooden houses, some originally owned by samurai, with tiled roofs and sliding wooden doors. Continue ...

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  • Japan Rugby World Cup: guide to the host cities

    Posted 2019-09-14 06:01:26 by: bossgate

    With the Rugby World Cup about to kick off, we ask locals from the nine cities hosting home nations matches for top places to eat and drink, and the must-see sights Continue ...

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  • The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields opens forever

    Posted 2019-09-12 23:22:35 by: bossgate

    Fans will no longer have to peer through the gates – the Salvation Army garden immortalised by John Lennon is opening for the first time, with an interactive exhibition“Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields” urged John Lennon in 1967. Now, for the first time, everyone will be able to walk in his footsteps, when the gardens immortalised in the classic Beatles song are opened to the public on 14 September, alongside a new visitors’ centre, cafe and shop. Housed in a sleek, modern, light-filled building, it is a stark contrast to the original Gothic mansion that stood there when Lennon was a young boy and would bunk over the wall to climb trees and play hide-and-seek in its garden. Built in 1878 for a shipping magnate in the wealthy Liverpool suburb of Woolton (the family of prime minister William Gladstone lived nearby, in another long-gone pile) it was bought by the Salvation Army in 1934 and turned into a children’s home. Continue ...

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  • Harvest festivals, feasts and fare this autumn in the UK

    Posted 2019-09-12 11:27:46 by: bossgate

    Harvest festivals have come a long way from a few tins of beans on the altar. Our pick of seasonal events includes feasts, fruit picking, cider swilling and moreThis weekend Bishop’s Palace in Wells, Somerset, is holding a two-day festival with stalls selling local produce, talks on growing your own, hands-on gardening sessions, morris dancers and brass bands. There is still a collection of tinned and dried goods for charity, though (from £8 adult, £3 child, 28-29 September, bishopspalace.org.uk). At Norwich Cathedral, Harfest brings the farm to the city. There are animals, farming displays and a farmers’ market, plus live bands and performing arts groups (free, 5 October, rnaa.org.uk). Winchester cathedral is hosting a harvest weekend with falconry displays, livestock, tractors and a market. The focus will be on the climate crisis, with talks from environmental groups, and Winchester School of Art is making a giant bee from recycled material (free, 5-6 October, winchester-cathedral.org.uk). Continue ...

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  • Cultural highlights of Japan: readers’ travel tips

    Posted 2019-09-12 05:30:42 by: bossgate

    Shrines, onsens and classical theatre vie with baseball and hip-hop as Japan’s kaleidoscopic array of culture delights our tipsters on their travelsThis summer I visited Hakodate, on the southernmost point of Hokkaido. On steep hills overlooking the harbour is the area where the outside world set up trading and diplomatic missions following the end of policy of isolation in the mid-19th century. You find colonial-style European architecture mixed with Japanese features such as sliding doors, painted scrolls and pine tree bonsai. There is even the sound of church bells from a Russian orthodox church. These buildings feel unique, not just within Japan but the world. You can go inside many of them to learn more: we visited the former British consulate for just over £2, to see historical exhibits, preserved rooms and a well-kept rose garden. Will Continue ...

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  • Australian and British bloggers arrested in Iran named as Jolie King and Mark Firkin

    Posted 2019-09-12 04:57:39 by: bossgate

    Couple left Perth in 2017 and had been documenting their travels as they drove to London before being detained in Tehran’s Evin prisonAustralia left with few diplomatic levers after three citizens detained in IranThe Australian couple being held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison have been named as Jolie King and Mark Firkin, who were reportedly arrested 10 weeks ago near the Iranian capital.Firkin and King, who also holds a British passport, have been blogging a globe-trotting adventure since 2017 as they endeavoured to drive from Australia to London. Despite diplomatic efforts to keep their cases from public attention, the pair was named overnight on social media. Continue ...

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  • Underpopulated Italian region offers visitors €25,000 to move in

    Posted 2019-09-11 10:45:38 by: bossgate

    Molise president finds novel way to breathe life into area as resident numbers dwindleAn underpopulated region in southern Italy is offering newcomers €700 per month for three years to live in one of its villages.There are a few catches, however: the village must have fewer than 2,000 residents, and the newcomer must pledge to open a business. Continue ...

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  • Alternative city guide: culture and cafes in Utrecht, the Netherlands

    Posted 2019-09-11 05:30:09 by: bossgate

    Utrecht’s picturesque city centre and traditional cafe culture rub up against its exciting music and art scene – and it’s best explored by bikeUtrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until it was overtaken by Amsterdam in the 17th century during the Dutch golden age of trade and advances in science, art and military power. Over the years since, it has played second fiddle to its big brother in the north – but it has an obvious and growing belief in its own charms, news of which is starting to spread. Continue ...

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