make shoes

There's a fantastic hand crafted shoe designer/ maker called Coco's shoes located in Hommachi.  To celebrate our "leather" year of marriage, we wanted to do something together so we headed to Coco's and we were lead through a day workshop and headed home with matching leather house shoes. Here's the location.
address: 大阪市西区靭本町1-14-9

                                          photo credit: Coco shoes

Ghana Design and Build


Recent project_ Irish travel guide eBook cover design

Ireland's Hidden Gems

Kohechi Kumano Kodo, Nara &Wakayama Pref., Japan

Miura Pass

3 days in a small tent, myself, Andrew and Ryan... plenty of 
room, most important thing is to pack light! Cosy to say the least, at least it was warm. Seeing signs warning of bear's wasn't the least bit comforting however coaxed by a sip or two of whiskey, a luke warm meal and shear exhaustion we were thankfully oblivious to the bear sniffing at our tent at night!

The Kohechi trail, or at least what our maps shows, begins in Koyasan. Along which we continued to Totsukawa Onsen, which is about half way to the trail end at Shingu. Much to our surprise, and the lack of contours on our maps, this would not be a walk in a park, in fact an epic battle up long steep climbs and knee destroying extra long downhills. One of which was a 8km downhill straight out of our sleeping bags one morning. Despite the hard work, the views from the passes, notably Miura Pass, where mind-blowing.

In spite of the near torturous moments this walk is a memorable experience, leaving you in awe of the stunning landscape and humbling history.

Niall and RyanJizo Sama


We're going how far?


Damned downhill.


Day 1:
Osaka to Koyasan Train Route (Train Info Link) - 2hrs
Koyasan to Obako-toge pass - 12hrs+
This is a long day, but the promise of a hut which is on the top of the pass is hard to pass up, the hut is very basic but ideal if not carrying a tent. Note that there is a hut just above Omata, located just above what is marked on map as a hairpin steep slope, this would shorten day by 2hrs+.
Day 2:
Obako-toge pass to Miura-toge pass - 10hrs+
Yet another long day with some massive uphill and downhill. However the most impressive section with unbelievably views and walks through mystical silent forests with supposedly bears about!We camped this night in the forest just below Miura-toge pass, nice and warm compared to the top of the pass.
Day 3:
Miura-toge pass to Tatsukawa Onsen - 4hrs+
A short day of steep downhill, shortened if you take the bus from Nishinaka (in village beside shop) to the Onsen town of Totsukawa, an absolutely dream of a place to finish, soaking in a hot onsen overlooking the wide river. From here you can return to Osaka by bus (Bus Info Link)via Gojo station (take train from here). Changing at Gojo station to train saves alot of travel time.

Here are all the maps in English = Kohechi Maps

Camping in Japan... a mystery no more!

fancy iphone5 panorama from David White

Who would have known, Japan is an amazing place to camp! A country renowned for its shockingly high accommodation rates, coming here can be scary for most pockets, after over a year of digging through guide books and the net for cheap alternatives, i'm slowly coming to grasps with an alternative, cheaper, way of seeing Japan!

The best times to camp over here are; 
Mid-April to Mid-June - a little cold early in the season, warming considerably towards the end.

September to October - nice warm weather in the beginning turn cold toward the end.

Outside the above times - Summer is sweaty and wet and the winter is fridge like! However Japan is a very long country with radically different climates from north to south。If you want a place to camp almost year round (except summer) comfortably Okinawa is amazing!

Here are just a few of the resources for camping in Japan:

Map of campsites (キャンプ場 - kyan-pu-ba) in Japan, click here

For the winter there is the 'luxury' of Onsen Camping, click here

Free Campsites List, click here

Japan has fairly relaxed laws in relation to camping, allowing people to camp almost anywhere (see this article), once peoples property is respected, you are responsible and cleanup after yourself.
remember to Leave only footprints

Takamatsu, Shodoshima, Naoshima, Megijima, Ogijima & a rave in Sanuki, Seto Inland Sea,Shikoku, Japan

Spring adventures in Shikoku, taking in some art at the Setouchi Art Triennale and a rave in Sanuki! Spring, and it amazing weather has begun with golden week basking in golden sunshine! The Setouchi Art Triennale, a year long art and culture event across the Seto Inland Sea, incorporating international and community based arts projects. The locations for which are stunning, boating from island to island on small, sometimes unusual ferries (one with a giraffe as its chimney), you never lose sight of the glistening translucent blue water. This area consisting of numerous small islands, is often referred to as Japan's Mediterranean, in which they do grow olives, and also happens to produces the finest Soy Sauce in the land! In true Japanese style I have become a food tourist, returning to Osaka with Shodoshima Olives, Soy Sauce and Sanuki Udon!!

Some info for Art events on Naoshima


Live street theater at Sakate Port on Shodoshima with Yukio Shiba from
Mamagoto/ ままごと


Takamatsu, 3hrs by bus from Osaka, has become our new escape from city life, a city with a relaxed vibe and cool bars is a jumping point for the inland sea. Tent and ground sheet rolled up tight, many an unplanned adventures lie ahead along miles of untamed beaches, unfrequented eateries and inspiring art installations... watch this space!

Hanoi, Kep, Phnom Pehn, Vietnam & Cambodia, South East Asia

A winter trip to Vietnam & Cambodia, a great way to start 2013!