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John Ashburne

For John Ashburne's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Eat yourself broke at Grand Front Osaka

| Aug 8, 2013

Eat yourself broke at Grand Front Osaka

You’ve gotta love a city whose primary motivation is to accumulate wealth then promptly squander it through the time-honored pursuit of kuidaore (eating oneself to bankruptcy). Now, with the opening of the massive Grand Front Osaka commercial, residential and entertainment complex on the north ...

Dine with a backdrop of cherry blossom

Mar 29, 2013

Dine with a backdrop of cherry blossom

With an ephemeral canopy of pink sweeping Japan, the JT’s food writers know the perfect spots to dine with an eyeful of sakura (cherry blossom) — or just the right sake to sip as you picnic under the petals. Innsyoutei, Tokyo When it comes ...

Introducing a Kansai feel for the eel

Jul 13, 2012

Introducing a Kansai feel for the eel

Every summer, as the mercury rises the gourmands of Kansai head for their local eel-cuisine specialist. The custom of eating unagi to alleviate the effects of the summer heat is known as doyō-no-ushi no hi, (day of the ox of the seasonal change period) ...

Kansai eateries offer new flavors for 2012

Jan 13, 2012

Kansai eateries offer new flavors for 2012

Businesses in cities around Japan seem to open and close at an alarming rate — and a new year inevitably means new restaurants. Here’s a guide to some dragonly new and recent arrivals in the Kansai strongholds of Kyoto and Osaka. Nijo Tsubaki, Kyoto ...

Dishing up a delicious Kansai Christmas

Dec 16, 2011

Dishing up a delicious Kansai Christmas

Thought you might be stuck with a KFC bucket this Christmas? Luckily it’s not too late to make holiday dinner reservations in Kansai — plenty of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe hotels and restaurants still have tables open, so there’s no need to scrap for ...

Nara chefs pick up stars in new Michelin guide

Oct 21, 2011

Nara chefs pick up stars in new Michelin guide

The glitterati of the Kansai culinary world gathered at the Nara Prefecture New Public Hall in Kasugano, Nara, on Tuesday to celebrate the launch of the “Michelin Guide Kyoto Osaka Kobe Nara 2012.” In particular they were there to welcome the historical host city’s ...

In search of the Holy Grail of mushrooms

| Oct 16, 2011

In search of the Holy Grail of mushrooms

The ancients were none too complimentary about their fungi. “Few of them are good, and most produce a choking sensation,” wrote Marcus Athenaeus of Naucratis 1,800 years ago in “Deipnosophistae” (“Philosophers at Dinner”). The proto-vegetarian and Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger had been equally ...

Going crazy for vintage wines

Sep 9, 2011

Going crazy for vintage wines

“Wine, the most agreeable of beverages, whether we owe it to Noah who planted the first vine or Bacchus who pressed the first grapes, dates from the beginning of the world … All men, even the ones we have agreed to call savages, have ...