Having lived in Japan for a year to date, I am now getting used to being amazed and filled with awe by the various aspects of the local customs and the intricate cultural details that the Japanese hold dear to their hearts and spirits. But I have to admit that it had been a little while since the last time I was struck by this sense of wonderment. And although in my life I’ve experience a good share of joyful carnivals and festivals, – Easter processions and the Barranquilla Carnival in Colombia, Holy Week in Lorca, Spain, the “Murgas” in Buenos Aires, Awa Odori in Suginami, Japan – I never experience something with the rarity and intensity as the day 3 of the Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa, right in the traditional heart of Tokyo…cont.
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Thinking about cooling down from the blistering heat and escaping Tokyo’s concrete jungle? Think no more and head over to Moriya Beach.
This little chunk of Japan’s Pacific Coast is located in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture, approximately 110 km from Tokyo and accessible either by car or by train (final destination is JR Katusaokitsu Station). It is a great spot for sunbathing, hanging out with friends, and cooling down with a swim around the reefs.
If snorkelling is your thing, Moriya’s waters do not disappoint and you can catch a wide array of marine life, including some speedy squid and beautiful jelly fish (careful with those stingers).
So wait no more and don’t let the hot weather get to you. Moriya awaits!
If you are in Japan and haven’t made it to the beach yet…no worries! With temperature hovering around the 36 degrees (celcius) the summer is still on and the conditions are perfect for a visit to the Pacific coast of Chiba. Here’s a little taste of Moriya Beach at sunset!
A café as old-fashioned as they come in Tokyo.
Detailed graphics to help you understand the brewing process.
The magic at Café Coral.
Let’s brew some coffee
A Mocha you really wanna dive into.
As a coffee lover, I spend a significant time of my life either drinking it or searching for the best places to enjoy a good cup of it. Recently, I was very fortunate to stumble upon Koral Café, this tiny and curious café in the neighbourhood of Koenji in Tokyo.
Located in what seems like a rundown wooden shack just a couple of metres off from the Shotengai in Koenji, stepping into Koral Café feels like stepping into the fantasy world of Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki.
As you walk through the narrow entrance, Kumiko-san, the owner and charismatic barista will greet you with the biggest smile I have ever received at a café. Kumiko-san is not very fluent in English nor other languages but she’ll make a serious effort to talk a few words or will quickly hand over the multilingual menu. And she won’t be alone…at Koral Café you will run into very random and very interesting locals and regulars, all of whom seem to be taken straight out of one of Hayao Miyazaki’s classic animate movies. The woman hiding her smile while pretending to read the newspaper but discretely gazing over the “Amerikanjin”; Kumiko-san’s best buddy who can speak several languages and serves as the unofficial translator for foreigners; or the student who just sits and smiles at every comment from older regulars…
And let’s not forget about the coffee of course…If your are picky about the cremma in your americano or are looking for the latest in latte art, this might not be the place for you. At Koral’s you will only find good old drip coffee, maybe from Colombia, or Costa Rica, or Brazil, the regions vary…but what doesn’t vary is the highly old-fashion but very technical procedure (see photos) Kumiko-san employs to brew your very own cup of coffee. You might think she just forgot your order while chatting up with her friends…just be patient, the process takes a bit longer than usual, but is worth the wait. In the meantime enjoy all the vintage items and the entertaining environment typical of the old Japanese establishments.
And if you feel like satisfying your sweet tooth, ask for the home-made pancake with vanilla ice cream. This option (ice cream) is not on the menu but with a big smile Kumiko-san will give in and prep you one.
Come to Koenji and visit Koral Café…a coffee experience you will never forget!