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Thursday, May 19, 2011

長崎 (ながさき) - Nagasaki

長崎 is unsurprisingly the capital of 長崎県 (ながさきけん - nagasakiken - Nagasaki Prefecture) and one of the largest cities in 九州 (きゅうしゅう - Kyushu), southwest of the main Japanese island of 本州 (ほんしゅう - Honshu). Throughout several hundred years of Japan's history, it served as a prominent port and trading post - one of the country's only windows to the world during its isolation. Unfortunately that's not the main claim to fame; as we all know, in 1945 長崎 became infamous as the second and last city to be struck by a nuclear warhead. Today, the bombing is just one dark chapter in the long and colourful history of 長崎 - let's open the book and start from the beginning.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Japaneats その9 – 神戸ビーフ (koube biifu) - Kobe Beef

I’d be surprised if you hadn’t heard of 神戸ビーフ – like 和牛 (わぎゅう - wagyu), it’s become a global name. As you can imagine, 神戸 (こうべ - Kobe) in particular is packed with steak houses and gourmet restaurants making the most of its popularity. At its heart it’s just very nice beef, but its reputation is getting larger than life and the prices aren’t too far behind; the question is whether the reality lives up to the hype. Let’s chew the fat a little and see if we can find out.