Travelling in Japan - Part 2 (Gunma & Osaka)

The second week of our trip in Japan took us to the north of Tokyo to the Takaragawa ryokan onsen in Minakami-Machi, Gunma. We travelled by train to the north where we greeted by gorgeous white snow. We traveled to the onsen by bus and started our retreat to the Japanese mountains.

After signing in, we went to our room which was a traditional Japanese ryokan room with sliding doors and a large table in the centre of the room which you would sit at, cross legged. We put on our yukatas and headed out to the hot baths. The snow was falling into the hot spring river that ran through the onsen creating a winter wonderland. We relaxed in one of the larger baths for a while, enjoying the warm water and the beautiful scenery. We felt relaxed and very lucky.

That evening, we had a delicious 4 course Japanese meal which was beautifully presented. This included shabu-shabu where we cooked our own meat and vegetables. The food just kept on coming. After dinner we went out for another bath in the…

Travelling in Japan Part 1 (Tokyo)

Friday 28th December: Travelling to Helsinki
Our journey to Japan began on Friday 28th December 2018 in Manchester airport. We boarded the 5.50pm flight to Helsinki excited to be spending a night in Finland before heading to Tokyo. We landed at Vantaa airport in the freezing cold, surrounded by thick snow. I've always loved the snow in Finland. It makes everything look picturesque.

We headed to Espoo and met the family and had a sauna before bed. We got up early the following morning and took Gapu and Reku for a walk to the nearby forest. We came across another dog, a chocolate lab, who's owner told us he was from the same guide dog school as Gapu and Reku. We then went to Sello to buy a few bits and pieces before our flight in the afternoon. It was nice to see the Christmas lights and decorations were still up.

We had lunch, packed our bags and headed for the airport. We took the train and got through security very quickly. Our 9.5 hour flight was delayed so we found some lou…

My Name Is Prince Exhibition

Last December I went to see the My Name Is Prince exhibition at the O2 in London. The last time I'd been to the O2 was back in August 2007 to see Prince during his '21 Nights in London' residency. That night I got to see a 90 minute show in the main arena followed by a 90 minute after show party at the small Indigo club. It was definitely a night to remember.

I was now back to have a close look at some of his personal items from his career including instruments, clothes and artefacts. The experience was bitter sweet: the only time I got to see Prince's clothes and instruments was when I saw him in concert. This time, he wasn't there.

We took the VIP experience so we waited in the small downstairs march shop and waited until we were called up. We were led through the main entrance to a small side room where we could leave our coats and were given a tote bag with a laminate and programme inside. We were informed what the VIP experience included and were led into the…