Tuesday 6 April 2010


One can have too much raw fish! Indeed I was getting to the point where if I saw yet another beautiful lacquer plate of delicately prepared sushi and artfully placed piece of blossom I'd scream. I'd begun dreaming steak and even walked past a MacDonalds thinking I might go in (fortunately I resisted the temptation).

So it's time for a return to cups of tea, Coronation Street and bangers and mash!

But Easter was a joy. I was staying on a small island (Tomoshima) in the Inland Sea of Japan in a glorious hotel, the Villa Kazenooto.

It's my top tip for one of the world's most gorgeous hotels. And as there are only four villas you better book quick! Click here for their website.

It is run by Junko Onishi and Kensuke Onishi. Kensuke is a JACEVO member and is an aid development worker. ACEVO members will recall him from his appearance at our annual dinner in his full traditional costume! He has recently returned from Afghanistan. As well as running the hotel he has established a community development association to help preserve the old fishing port of Tomonoura, the putting off point for his island. The Japanese do not have quite the same attachment to preservation of old buildings but this tiny fishing town has survived largely unaltered because it did not have much strategic or economic value; many of the houses are 200-300 years old.

The villa has its own hot tub overlooking the sea. The sunset on Easter Day, as seen from my hot tub is here! Now are you envious?

Then it was on to Dogo, the oldest hot springs in Japan. I enjoyed a soak in the oldest of the baths, though I can't say it was a long soak as it was somewhat hot! The town is also the home of their most famous Haiku poet. How civilised to find they have various Haiku post boxes around town where you can post your own efforts and, if good enough, be rewarded with some small souvenir.

So entering the spirit of the place here is mine:

Raw fish and blossom
Keen memories of Japan
But now the bell tolls.

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