Shu Matsubara Knives – the perfect Kyushu Souvenir

Shu Matsubara Knives – the perfect Kyushu Souvenir

My first Nagasaki souvenir, a Shu Matsubara knife, remains sharp a year after purchase, evoking fond memories of Kyushu each time I use it. Shu Matsubara, located in Omura, offers traditional and modern Japanese knives forged by the dynamic Katsuto Tanaka, who trains the next generation of smiths. My initial purchase led to subsequent visits, enriching my collection with a personalized knife. Shu Matsubara Knives, not just a store but a workshop, provides an enriching experience for those looking to own quality Japanese knives.

Two Wheels and a dram: Our Islay whisky trip – with a bit of cycling

Two Wheels and a dram: Our Islay whisky trip – with a bit of cycling

While  unable to travel, there’s an opportunity to recap something older that may otherwise never see the light of day.   It may delight,  in this case, lovers of whisky. I never wrote about my Islay whisky trip. It’s been a while, but as I occasionally 

Treasure Hunting in Arita

Treasure Hunting in Arita

Treasure Hunting in Arita  was dream come true. I love Japanese ceramics and porcelain.  Many years ago, trips to the now defunct Oriental City were a wonderful respite from  toiling away in a laboratory. Years later, my already decent Japanese tableware collection was supplemented by 

My Traditional Japanese Ceramics Dream Trip

My Traditional Japanese Ceramics Dream Trip

(written November 2017, updated December 2019 and Kyushu part December 2023)  I love Japan, and I love beautiful things. So it comes as a surprise that I have never been deeply into the art of Japanese ceramics. Until now! Japanese Ceramics are worth seeking out 

Fabric Shopping in Uzbekistan:  Gorgeous ikat and vibrant colours

Fabric Shopping in Uzbekistan: Gorgeous ikat and vibrant colours

Fabric Shopping in Uzbekistan is brilliant. I mean, definitely if you are into traditional ikat pattern or very glitzy colourful material. I am not going to say visit Uzbekistan for fabrics alone, but if you plan to visit and if you are into sewing or 

The best Eastern German Christmas Goodies

The best Eastern German Christmas Goodies

Some amazing things come from Eastern Germany but are below many people’s radar.  Eastern German Christmas goodies are one such thing, and it is a real shame they are not celebrated worldwide. And as a proud Eastern German, I see it as my job to 

Fabric Shopping in Bursa: From gorgeous silk to beautiful cheap cotton

Fabric Shopping in Bursa: From gorgeous silk to beautiful cheap cotton

As far as I can see, there is no blog post on fabric shopping in Bursa yet – but if you are a sewist and find yourself in Istanbul or the Marmara region, I highly recommend a trip out to Bursa. Bursa is well worth 

Rishton Ceramics: Beauty and Tradition in the Fergana Valley

Rishton Ceramics: Beauty and Tradition in the Fergana Valley

What’s in Rishton? Firstly, it is the centre of ceramics in Uzbekistan. Rishton Ceramics are famous all over Uzbekistan. Moreover, of the ceramics you can buy in many of the tourist places all over Uzbekistan, many are produced in Rishton. The reason for this is 

The Tasty Tea of Sonogi on Kyushu Island

The Tasty Tea of Sonogi on Kyushu Island

Now that I had successfully made it to the University of Nagasaki, I spent my first two weeks there studying, venturing out on trips inside the city only. Then my husband came to visit, so we hired a car and went to explore the countryside. 

Kumtepe Bazaar Marghilon –  heaven for fabric shopping

Kumtepe Bazaar Marghilon – heaven for fabric shopping

After a jolly Sunday at Urgut Market, I was really excited about visiting the other famous Uzbek Bazaar the Kumtepe Bazaar of Marghilon. I hadn’t found much about it online, especially not whether it would be good for purchasing some quality locally made silk and 

Urgut Market – the best place for Suzani shopping in Uzbekistan?

Urgut Market – the best place for Suzani shopping in Uzbekistan?

Oh, the fabled Urgut Market. For years, I read internet forums and  guide books, wishing to visit this bazaar south of Samarkand. This time, I was going to visit Urgut Market, and please, if you are interested in textiles, let me share my Sunday shopping 

Shopping in Venice: More than Glass and Masks:

Shopping in Venice: More than Glass and Masks:

Italy is a great place to shop for quality food and fabulous style.  And shopping in Venice is no exception. But this time in Venice, on my first trip for nearly a year, I wanted to see sights, visit restaurants, and shop things that cannot 

Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 or: give the gift of travel!

Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022 or: give the gift of travel!

Here it comes, the season to… shop and shop, and the publication of endless gift guides on the internets. And, with just a tiny bit of delay, but ready for the (s)hopping madness here in Europe comes Holiday Golightly’s Gift Guide 2022. In 2019, I 

How to buy superb Turkish bath accessories in Turkey

How to buy superb Turkish bath accessories in Turkey

If you would ask what are some top Turkish souvenirs, textiles and especially the famous Turkish towels and Turkish bath accessories  come top of my list. Of course, the bazaars and souvenir shops have tons and tons of souvenirs, from sweets, jewellery, lamps, ceramics and 

What to buy in St Petersburg, Russia

What to buy in St Petersburg, Russia

Update 26. February 2022 +++ Do not travel On 24 February, Russian troops invaded Ukraine and started an unprovoked war. I therefore advise you not to visit Russia while this war is going on. With further sanctions against Russia looming, you may be unable to