Category Archives: Britain


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I met Yumiko Kojima-Tivers, the translator of this blog yesterday. It’s always a pleasure to see her and I’m always amazed at her knowledge of the Cotswolds.


One thing we often talk about is how to create opportunities for visitors to truly experience English life and culture – which is part of the reason for this blog – and how it seems now that so many visitors from Japan want to have a different, deeper kind of experience of the Cotswolds and England, to meet local people and learn how life is for them.

彼女との会話の中でしばしば挙がることは旅行者にいかにしてイギリスの暮らしや文化を経験していただく場を作るかということ ー それがこのブログを始めた理由の一つでもあるのだが ー そして、最近の日本からの旅行者がいかにコッツウォルズ、イギリス国内で今までとは違ったさまざまな体験をすることを希望しているか、また彼らは地元の人との交流を通して,そのライフスタイルから何かを見出したいと思っていることだ。

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It’s how I feel when I visit Japan. Amongst other experiences, I have loved hanami; the chance to try chankonabe at a sumo-beys; an onsen visit; a night at a Buddhist temple on Mount Koya; making soba noodles and having an ikebana lesson. For a westerner these are really memorable experiences, but sometimes it takes a little courage or support from local people to discover or try new things.


This is not a commercial blog, but I would like everyone to know that Yumiko has
created a new service (Culture Tourism UK) because her idea is so close to how I think that travel should be. Yumiko’s idea draws on her experience as a guide in England, talking to clients from Japan and developing an understanding of Japanese people’s interest in the UK. The key phrase is ‘in depth’ and so Culture Tourism UK has two sections. One is staying and learning at Denman (The Women Institute’s lovely residential college in a village not far from London. The Women’s Institute is an organisation for women which has branches all over the country and has Queen Elizabeth as its patron. ) and the other is a bespoke tour of UK for individuals and small groups, mainly in the Cotswolds.

このブログは商業目的ではない。しかし今回由美子が立ち上げたカルチャーツーリズムUKに関しては皆さんに知っていただきたいと思っている。何故なら彼女の旅に関する考えは私が感じていることにとても近いからだ。彼女のアイディアはイギリス観光ガイドとしての長年の経験から生まれたものだ。日本からの旅行者との会話を通して、彼らがイギリスに何を求めているかを考えた結果である。大切なことは「内容の深さ」だ。そこで彼女はカルチャーツーリズムUKを二つの分野に分けた。そのひとつはデンマンカレッジでのカルチャーレッスン(デンマンカレッジはThe Women’s Institute’s直営の宿泊施設を伴うカレッジでロンドンからさほど離れていない小さな村にある。Women’s Instituteとは全国に支部を持ち、エリザベス女王が後援者である大規模なイギリスの婦人協会)、そしてもう一つは主にコッツウォルズを巡る個人や小グループのための完全オーダーメードの旅のコーディネートだ。

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The first clients arrive at the end of May! They will be spending time in London, visiting the V&A Museum. Later they will spend time at Denman, spending a day baking for afternoon tea, staying overnight and enjoying a talk on afternoon tea culture. The tour then continues with a Cotswold visit to see some of the most beautiful English countryside and making a visit to Woburn Abbey, (which is where the afternoon tea culture started . After some more time in London, the tour ends. Yumiko accompanies throughout to ensure that clients have the opportunity to enjoy, discuss and understand their experiences.

Information at:


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New Cats


A few weeks ago, it seemed the right time to get some new cats, as sadly we lost our aged cat a few months ago.


Pets are very popular in Britain – it’s estimated that 46% of households in Britain have a pet.  Dog owners (24%) slightly outnumber cat owners  (18%).

イギリスでは多くのひとがペットを飼っている。- 推定では46%の家庭でペットが飼われていて、そのうち犬を飼っているのは24%と、猫の18%を少し上回っている。

It seems wrong to buy pets when so many cats are abandoned, so we went to a local charity where there are always rescued cats in need of a good home. We made a contribution of £120 to the charity and got two kittens – microchipped and checked over by a vet.  We named them Belle and Sebastian. Belle is a British medium haired female and Seb is a short hair.

They’ve settled in well and are very affectionate towards each other. Seb is obsessed by running water and enjoys sitting in the sink.


2 匹とも新しい環境に良く慣れてとても仲がいい。セブ(セバスチャン)は流れている水に夢中で、流しに座るのが大好きだ。


Belle walks around looking cute.



They’ve just started to go outside – the back garden here is enclosed and pretty good for cats, although we did see a large fox last night, so they won’t be going out for a while.

Recently a photographer friend from Japan stayed with and took the pictures below (you’ll notice the dramatic increase in picture quality). It looks like the cats enjoyed posing for him… so, with thanks to Kiyoshi Sakasai, here are their portraits:



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A Word About British Food. And a Visit to a Fish and Chip Shop. イギリスの食べ物に関してひとこと。そしてフィッシュ.アンド.チップスのお店について。


It seems that Britain’s food image isn’t very good worldwide. Whereas people travel to France or Italy because of the food, research tells us that many people view British food with suspicion.  Certainly our style is different, often with an emphasis on quantity, large pieces of meat etc which must be unpleasant to visitors from Japan who are more used to quality of presentation.


Things aren’t all bad though. Raw materials – ingredients – in Britain can be very high quality, with good standards or organic production and organic integrity.  My own theory is that much of the best English food is served at home.  For that reason I don’t often eat takeaway food.  There are maybe four main kinds of takeaway food here – which are based on Britain’s history as a country with an empire. Almost every town, or even large village will have an Indian and Chinese takeaway and many have a Thai Restaurant (So you see, we quite like rice!).

しかし、事態はそれほど悪いものではない。原材料 ― 原料 ― に関してはイギリスはスタンダード、オーガニック生産や完全オーガニック性とともに質がとても高い。私自身の意見は、最高のイングリッシュフードは家庭で食べるに限るということだ。こういう理由から私はめったにテイクアウトは利用しない。


The fourth style is thought to be our national dish – fish and chips. In fact I had fish and chips today, although this is quite unusual for me – heavy food!  Britain has an estimated 10,500 fish and chip shops and on any Friday, one in five takeaways are from the chip shop. An estimated 229 million portions of fried fish are sold in the UK every year.

4番目は我々独自の国家的食べもの ー フィッシュ&チップスである。実は私は今日、フィッシュ&チップスを食べたのであるが、これは珍しいことだ。 ― 私にはヘビーすぎる食べ物なのだ。イギリスには想定10,500のフィッシュ&チップスの店があり、金曜のテイクアウトの5件に一件はフィッシュ&チップスだそうだ。また毎年想定2億2900万の魚のフライがイギリスで売られている。

The UK’s favourite fish choice is cod, which accounts for six out of 10 portions sold. Haddock comes in second, at 25 per cent. The remaining 13.5 per cent includes hake, halibut, plaice, pollock and sole.


Sadly, not many fish and chip restaurants are very high quality – if you visit the UK, please be careful and ask advice to find a good one. I think that the restaurant that I went to today is a good one. It’s called Simpsons in Cheltenham and so here is my guide to a good Fish and Chip shop and what to look out for if you want good English Fish and Chips. 


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The place has to be spotlessly clean of course. And it’s nice to see an award in the window and a queue of people waiting to get in. This Fish and Chip shop takes sustainability very seriously – stocks of Cod (the traditional ‘fish and chips’ fish) are threatened and so they also offer alternatives, only use wild fish from sustainable grounds and sends its waste fat to be made into bio-fuel. All very good to see.

もちろん店内は完璧に清潔であること。窓にはアワードを受けた証拠であるスティッカーが貼ってあり、外には席の空くのを待つお客の列ができている。このフィッシュ&チップスの店は‘持続性’をとても真剣に考えている ー コッド(伝統的なフィッシュ&チップスに使われる魚)は将来的存在が危険な状態にあるために、その他の魚を使うことや、持続性のある場所で取れる野生のコッドを使い、廃物となる脂肪はバイオ燃料になる。大変いいことだ。

I think it’s also good when the Fish and Chip Shop (we call them ‘Chippies’ affectionately) have well designed menus. To me, that means they are taking care of all the details.


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So I ordered a takeaway which was delivered in a smart cardboard box (keeps everything warm).  All very nice too – the traditional accompaniment is bread and butter and a cup of tea. Not especially healthy – mind you I only do it once a month!


全て良かった - 伝統ではバターを塗ったパンと紅茶と一緒に食べる。特別健康的とは言えないが - まあ、一か月に一度だから良しとしよう。