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I finished perusing Kate T. Williamson’s A Year in Japan, in which she chronicles her experience visually and via interesting vignetted information. It’s such a great idea for a book that it inspires me to do the same- spend a year in a foreign country sketching whatever catches my eye. Kate writes about everything from Japanese marvels such as electric carpets to queer practices of modesty. Her cleanly delineated forms, vivid watercolours and neat cursive script combine to form a lovely record of her time in Japan.

I’m still discovering new aspects of Japanese culture, food for example. I was surprised to find many unfamiliar names on the list of 40 essential Tokyo foods, which convinces me that the city deserves another trip. This blog has awakened me to novel Japanese ingredients and food products such as chikuwa (sort of like fish cake), manju (steamed small bun with sweet filling), myoga (a kind of herbaceous vegetable), ganmodoki (fried tofu fritter with vegetables, egg white and sesame seeds) etc. Seaweed alone boasts many varieties such as wakame, konbu and hijiki. And you thought that Japanese cuisine was all about sushi.