Stuff this week #9

    Trio the cat Sleepy on the Sofa

    I’ve had a little break from blogging as It’s been a busy time of the year at work and at home, then I got a cold 🤒 and have generally been feeling a bit crappy and not like wriiting.

    I’m now making an effort to put a bit more pep in my step! 💪

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    Stuff This Week #8

    A steady week all in all as the weather finally cools and the nights draw in 🎃

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    Japan Diaries - Day 6 Arashiyama Bamboo Grove & Higashiyama

    Our plan today was to visit the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove using the Randen Tram line in the morning. In the afternoon we were going to explore the old town area Higashiyama some more.

    We wanted today to be more relaxed. We’d had a later one last night exploring and had been running around pretty much non-stop. Today was all about slowing it down.

    Breakfast at Smart Coffee

    We spotted Smart Coffee when we were wandering the Shotengai around our hotel and had seen people queuing to get in. We’d made a mental note to try it out, and what’s more relaxing than a luxurious breakfast?

    After a short queue we were shown to our seats and this place was fancy 🧐.

    Myself and my boys had Iced coffee’s with my wife going for tea. We ordered Hot Cakes1 and French toast both served with a generous cup of maple syrup.

    My son in front of a plate of large thick french toast

    A plate of “hot cake” pancakes with  tiny jug of maple syrup on the side

    The service and presentation at this place was high class. The only thing I could really compare it to in the UK would be Betty’s Tea Rooms

    I was looking at what other tables had ordered, and their egg sandwiches and purin2 also looked world class.

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    Stuff this week #7

    A black and white photo of a hotel room

    A week off work this week, so some travelling, some relaxing and unfortunately... way too much procrastination.

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    Japan Diaries : Day 5 All Over Kyoto

    Today was our “Get around and see stuff” day, with our priority being the Imperial Palace. We’d seen a little bakery around the corner we decided to hit up for Breakfast first.


    We went to Sizyua which was just around the corner from our hotel. A local bakery which has been going since 1948 and is named after the founders wife.

    A breakfast plate with thick white toast and a hard boiled egg

    We had the curious breakfast combo of toast and a hard boiled egg. I had white bread where my family had the fruit bread.

    Whilst to us being foreigners, the combo was slightly odd but still delicious. Thick well toasted and beautifully buttered bread, and a nice hard boiled egg! What’s not to like!?

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    Stuff This Week #5-6

    I didn’t get this out last week as life just got in the way, so this is a sorta doubled up bumper pack of last week and this weeks stuff.

    Trio the cat sat on my wife’s legs

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    Stuff This Week #4

    It’s all about tech mostly this week. With a little bit of food thrown in. And of course the weather, because what sort of Brit would I be if I didn’t mention it…

    A photo of weymouth Harbour taken from the bridge One of the first shots I took with my new phone

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    Japan Diaries : Day 4 Shinkansen to Kyoto & Nishiki Market

    Shinkansen to Kyoto Our first Shinkansen ride! How exciting! We’d heard all about the Bullet Trains and with tickets booked we made our way to Tokyo Station. You’ll see more on the exterior of Tokyo Station in subsequent blogs, but for today’s purposes, know that is is big and it is bustling. Not only is it a train station, but a shopping mall, a place to buy gifts and so much more.

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    Stuff This Week #3

    • 📱New iPhone is ordered. 512GB Pro Max Blue Titanium. The Finewoven case arrived ahead of time so I’ve done a little look at that.

    • 🎮 I’m really excited to play with the new camera features and see the Ray Tracing/AAA Games in action.

    • ⛈️ As you can see from the picture at the top of this, the weather has most certainly changed and we’re not complaining about the heat anymore. Last night was a huge thunderstorm that lit up the night sky and shouted in thunderous booms. That storm actually killed power between around 5am to 7am, but is thankfully all ok again now.

    • 😓 A challenging and stressful work at week this week, but I’m proud of how I handled it and didn’t let it consume me. Being mindful, recognising behaviours and refusing to overstretch myself means I wasn’t as bothered about this sort of pressure as I have been in the past.

    • 🏃‍♂️ I did workout! Only once vs my planned two sessions, but I’m on-track to continue next week. I really need to keep front of mind how better I feel when I’ve done something physical.

    • 🇯🇵 I have done nothing to move forwards my Japan Diary posts this week sadly. Photos still need editing and stories still need writing. This is higher up the todo list for next week now though 💪

    • 🔪🩸 We watched the new Branagh Poirot adaption. Really enjoyed it!

    • ✍️ I feel like I’ve gotten into a swing with now. I’m loving writing more as a hobby, as well as interacting with the community. Had some great chats about the new Apple products, photography and more! I have a routine for discovery, following (and just as crucial, un-following) to expand my horizons on the platform as well.

    iPhone 15 Pro Max Finewoven Cases 1st look

    Apple announced at their Wanderlust conference that they were ditching leather accessories due to the environmental impact of the materials at the scales the must produce them. Instead, the official premium cases will be made from a material they refer to as “Finewoven”. Mine arrived the other day, so lets take a look.

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    📱 Apple Press Conference Thoughts

    Here’s my random meandering thoughts from the Apple press conference 🍏

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    Stuff This Week #2

    A hot and busy week for the whole family this week, with the kids starting up at school/college again, hoping we get more into the general rhythm of normalcy next week.

    A seagull sat on the edge of a ship in Weymouth harbor

    • 🍻 My cutting down my alcohol intake continues this week and I have to say I feel better overall for it. Starting tomorrow I hope to expand into some fitness activities as well! 🏃‍♂️

    • 🔨 Speaking of workouts, building new Ikea furniture for the kids yesterday was a multi-hour sweaty affair 😅

    • 🍝 Had a great dinner over at a friends house last night. I’m an introvert/wallflower typically and have to be poked by my family into a lot of larger social interactions, but as I grow older I do find myself putting more importance in my friendships and relationships and find myself enjoying them.

    • 🏙️ My Bluesky invite finally came through. Installed it. Linked it to my domain. Scrolled the timeline for 5 minutes. Haven’t gone back. I think I’m over Twitter/Threads and that whole sort of social media interaction. I’m engaging with more and more as I move away from the social behemoths.

    • 🧘‍♂️ We had a little visit to Weymouth beach Friday evening, had a quick splash then ate fish and chips on the harbour. It was so relaxing and uplifting it was almost like a meditation. Much required after the rush of the week.

    • 🇯🇵 We find ourselves missing Japan as we are post “big holiday”. I need to keep the Japan Diaries going as I write up each day and edit the photos I took over there. I really enjoy writing them as a reminder of our time there and find it makes the memories more concrete somehow… Only one thing for it, start planning for the next one?! 🤔🇮🇹❓

    • 🌎 Finally got all my domains under the same provider, moving the final ones away from a horribly outdated and unsupportive company. I’ve been meaning to do it for years and was dreading the complexity of the transfer process. In reality it was flawless and only took 10 minutes! There’s a lesson to be learned about fearing changes there methinks…

    Here’s to cooler weather next week 🤞. Have a good one everybody!

    Stuff This Week #1

    📱 Getting excited about new phone time. Specifically Rumoured periscope lens for better optical zoom Finally getting rid of the gross poor quality leather cases and having these “FineWoven” cases sounds like a much needed change for Vegans and because the leather case quality has gotten so poor lately. 👨‍💻Finally posted Day 3 of my Japan Diaries. I feel like I’m finally getting an easier way to upload these long form posts in a way I like thanks to getting some 3rd party tool involvement.

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    Japan Diaries : Day 3 Shibuya,Shinjuku & Kabukichō

    Today’s plan was to hit a lot of the more famous central locations within Tokyo.

    Shibuya, Shinjuku and a quick roam around the natourious Kabukicho.


    A Timelapse of Shibuya crossing as the blur of people cross the street

    Of course, where else do you start apart from at the famous Shibuya Crossing! I once heard Chris Broad say it’s just a crossing and he doesn’t understand the hype, and I can absolutely see what he means 🤣

    The back of a street sign covered in colourful stickers

    It’s a lot smaller in person than I expected. It was cool to see and walk across, and see some of the other local legendary spots like 109, but Yeh… I wonder if tourists to the UK feel the same way about Piccadilly Circus

    The entrance to basketball street in Shibuya. Colourful ribbon streamers welcome you to to the neighbourhood

    I remember Times Square truly taking my breath away the first time I joined onto it… Maybe I’m just mor of an old grumpy jaded bastard now. 🤪

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    Japan Diaries : Day 2 - Senso-ji Temple & Akihabara

    Asakusa & Senso-Ji Temple

    Walking towards Senso-Ji temple on a hot summer day

    We set off to Asakusa around 10:30 and it was already extremely busy. The heat was intense but bearable. Navigating the Tokyo metro was amazingly easy and we soon found ourselves walking down Nakamise shopping street towards the temple entrance.

    A crowded temple gate My two children posing for a photo at the entrance

    We posed for some photo’s at the entrance and took in the sight. A sweet older Japanese gentleman came up to my eldest son and asked if he could practice his English. They had a short conversation about where we were from and how long we were staying in Japan.

    People bathing in the incense smoke from a large bowl

    We saw the Jokoro, a large incense burner. People gather around this and wave the smoke over themselves as it’s believed to have a healing effect.

    We drew Omikuji. Fortunes you gather by turning a box filled with sticks then looking at the writing to match up with a particular drawer containing your fortune.

    A time lapse of the temple entrance. People blur into the distance

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    Japan Diaries - Day 1 - Flight out and arriving in Akasaka

    I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. For your typical reasons of being into games, anime, extremely salty food 😜. Being British we also share the Japanese passion for queues and excessively saying sorry…

    Visiting Japan with my best friend Chris was something we always talked about in my 20’s. I wish we could have made it happen before he sadly passed away. I did finally make it on my 43rd birthday with my wife and my two boys (13 & 16).

    My family wasn’t as hot on visiting Japan as I’d always been. It just wasn’t really a place that was massively on their radar outside of Wagamama and Sushi. During the great COVID lockdown whilst stuck in our house and working from home we decided to watch a huge pile of travel content YouTube. From webcams across the world to more curated content old and new.

    Of course, a portion of these were people based in Japan. From Abroad in Japan, Only in Japan, Sharmeleon, Rion Ishida, Tabieats, Tokyo Creative,Junk Food Japan, Tokidoki Traveller and Seerasan my family started to get as interested as I was in what Japan had to offer.

    With my eldest son reaching 16 and finishing his GCSE’s my wife Jen proposed we have a big blast family holiday and she said she’d like us to go to Japan! The planning then began and we’ve just got back from two week trip! I’m going to post about our experienceson the journey as well as some of my favourite pictures on the trip. So here we go!

    Travelling out

    We flew out with British Airways on my birthday. The flight was scheduled to be twelve and a half hours but ended up being closer to fourteen and a half as there was a faulty chair stuck in recline which kept us on the tarmac as engineers hacked away at it.

    I’m aware unless you are willing to pay in the mid thousands of pounds the golden days of air travel are over, but boy I was shocked at just how dated and worn out the interior was. Torn/dirty trim visible and my in flight entertainment headphone socket would only work if I kept my hand on it to position it correctly. I can’t believe other carriers are this poor. Last time I flew was to Florida in 2017 with Virgin and that felt more modern than this flight. My family was a little more forgiving than me, but I would actively avoid flying BA in future given the choice…

    They did however have their own BA/Brewdog collab beer on the flight! Delicious! 🍻

    Finally we did touchdown in the afternoon Japan time, got our JR Pass,the essential Suica Cards and made our way on the Monorail to our first hotel!

    Hotel 1 - Mimaru / Area - Akasaka Tokyo

    Our first hotel Mimaru was a great experience! We’d booked their more traditional Japanese style room vs their more western offering, which comes complete with a small kitchenette and (as seems to be standard in Japan) a refrigerator.

    Comfortable, clean and surprisingly spacious, with friendly staff and an incredible roof terrace to relax on. We got some food from the konbini over the street, spent some time on the roof terrace taking in the incredible views, sneaking our first peek at Tokyo Tower!

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    Xbox 2023 Showcase Thoughts

    E3 doesn’t exist anymore, but game still don’t stop, so lets get stuck in! 🎮 The Intro The swelling music and cut after the first few trailers was…very odd. This conference is off to a weird vibe. Fable Like the potty mouth slightly edgier tone to this. Title card cut before and after really made me laugh. I feel these games have had a better atmosphere than they’ve actually played, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one goes.

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    On Leaving Reddit...

    Tried one of the reddit export tools, seems to have a bug where it doesn’t export all your comments. Doesn’t export posts/images etc, so I’m going to wait until Reddit processes my GDPR request for data before removing my content and account. I want my data wrapped up by them and delivered with a bow. I’m interested to see exactly what info they have and what you get in the archive… 15 Years I’ve been on that site…

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    So this is the New Year...

    🎶 And I don’t feel any different… Well, a new year is here and it’s time to get contemplative about the year that’s passed as well as divine a strategy for the year ahead. A blog without an end of year post is no sort of blog at all right??? The year that’s past It’s been an odd year as we’ve continued to battle through the pandemic, energy prices, witnessed the breakouts of war and climate change, making for a turmultuous world that’s out of our control on top of the more personal stresses we all deal with as well.

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    Building the Lego Bonsai Tree (Green leaves)

    Had a fun afternoon doing this build the family got me as a Christmas present. Will pop it on my desk. Finally, a plant even I can’t kill! 😆 Might do a follow up at some point where I do the alternate cherry blossom leaves. Box 1 Box 2/3 Combined these two as bag 3 is just a bunch of single pieces you (enjoyably) shake and pour in to replicate pebbles.

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