On July 14th, I went to the Hyper Japan Convention in Tobacco Dock, East London. Hyper Japan is billed as the biggest Japanese Culture event in Britain. As the name suggests, the Convention covers everything Japanese though there was one or two stalls that embraced both Japanese and Korean culture as well. Even the food was mainly Japanese but I restricted myself to sushi, specifically nigiri which is a solid lump of rice with a piece of smoked salmon on top, I do like the stuff though. The best part was trying mochi ice-cream, (mochi is sweet rice cake made from glutinous mochigome rice with an ice-cream filling). I have always had an interest in Japanese cuisine and culture and this really was the best place to be to find out more. Naturally, a lot of the stalls were selling merchandise relating to and including Anime and Manga and most of the visitors were dressed as anime or manga characters.

There were a lot of stalls and shops for such a packed area so it is impossible to pick a favourite place to go at the Convention and I ignored the Hyper Live Stage and Theatre in favour of exploration. There were a wide variety of shops overall, each focussing on a different aspect of Japanese culture including a shop that sold kimonos and one selling Japanese cookware and crockery where I acquired a nice new mug and a genuine Japanese one too! There was even a small restaurant selling hakumai (white rice) and genmai (brown rice) and sake but I didn’t go in. I did acquire a free brochure from Eat-Japan which provides the location of all known Japanese restaurants in the UK as well as a glossary pertaining to several well-known Japanese food products and where to get them in this country and even a couple of interesting recipes, including a Japanese take on Chilli Con Carne.

The event attracts people from all over the world as I spoke to a few foreign, notably American, visitors while I was there. There are also replicas of the 19th century American schooner Sea Lark and the 18th century trade ship Three Sisters moored outside the Main Entrance to Tobacco Dock and the nearest train stations are Tower Hill, Shadwell and Wapping. Not bad for a 19th Century dock that once endured an ill-fated stint as a shopping centre!




Mighty Mikey's Mega Blog

On Wednesday April 27th 2011, I went to Sambuca’s Restaurant in Whitley Bay with my friends Wayne and Katharine. The restaurant is clearly very popular as there were a lot of people there and it was not possible for us to get a table straight away. There were a lot of antiques and chandeliers (with the price tag still attached) in the restaurant and the dining area looked very grand indeed. The waiters were very well-mannered and efficient. For starters, we shared 8 pieces of garlic bread between the 3 of us. The garlic bread was good but could have done with a bit more garlic because I could not really taste it. For my main course, I had Spaghetti Bolognese which was really delicious but also quite hot, although I think that was mainly due to the fact that I had asked for some Parmesan and some Black Pepper to…

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Mighty Mikey's Mega Blog

On Wednesday May 25th 2011, I went to the Rosetta Cafe in Forest Hall, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with my friend Diane. The cafe is small, secluded and relatively new as it has only been open for nearly a month. Being very small, the cafe was also very quiet, we were the only customers in the cafe in all the time we were there. The owner is an Egyptian gentleman and there is a definite Middle Eastern influence in the cuisine, offering panninis, wraps and baguettes. As well as the usual sandwich fillers and salads, the gentleman also offers kofka on the menu.

Some months later on January 21st 2012, I paid another visit to the Rosetta Cafe once again accompanied by Diane but this time, we brought Edward with us. After a somewhat inconclusive 1st visit to the Rosetta as we could not really decide what we thought of it, we were able to make…

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