In the heat of midsummer, throughout Japan, a mysterious, otherworldly group descends upon these isles in hordes. Nope, it isn’t tourists flocking to climb Mt. Fuji – it’s the spirits of the dead. Obon may be Japan’s festival of the dead, but it’s far from being all doom and gloom. Here are the top 5 things you need to know to get your head around Obon…


There would be no Japan Centre or Shoryu without intrepid entrepreneur Tak Tokumine. Heralding from Fukuoka in southern Japan, he came to the UK in the 1970s for love, but his ambition and passion led him to establishing London’s premier Japanese food hall and more recently, the Michelin recommended and unstoppable Shoryu Ramen. We sat down with Tak over a cup of freshly ground matcha tea to find out more about the man behind Japan Centre.

Confounding, delicious. If you've got a bottle of Japanese mayo staring at you from the back of a cupboard or shelf, here's how to use it.

Do you throw salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck? Eat chicken soup to cure a cold? Or perhaps you even crush up eggshells to make sure witches can’t use them as boats to sail the seas! Wethat delicious food is serious business and as such no matter where in the world you hail from there’s bound to be a wealth of local foodie folklore and superstitions. Japan too has its fair share! So join us as we uncover the truth about how your cuppa could bring you good luck or what to avoid if you don’t want to turn into a cow!