Category Archives: Japan
When we first moved to Maida Vale some years ago, Monsieur and I missed having a sushi bar within easy reach of chez nous. To eat Japanese at the weekend, we’d have to travel. Not as far as Tokyo, of course, but across a postcode or two. Sometimes, that’s not what you need at the end of a long week, when the footstool beckons and the only exercise you feel like doing is punching numbers into the phone and asking someone else to do the cooking, so you can just about imagine our delight when a small Japanese eatery called Maguro opened within easy walking distance of home. It didn’t take us long to get down there to test their foreign fare.
The first couple of times we visited Maguro, it was to dine in the restaurant. The wood-panelled interior is so small that it must have been modelled on Japanese spaces – with only room enough for 20 or so covers. Having said that, over time we’ve noticed that during hours of service, Maguro rarely has room for more than a couple of walk-ins, if that. The staff battle for room to serve and clear and even enter the kitchen, which is miniature, and the conveniences hide away in authentic fashion behind a long Japanese curtain at the back of the long dining room. In spite of such restrictions on the possibility of some active cat-swinging, Maguro successfully produces faultless cuisine without interruption. This is proof that size really does not matter.
Unfortunately for lazybones us, Maguro doesn’t deliver (yet) so we dutifully call our order through in advance before setting off to collect our food. Monsieur and I toss a coin for the pleasure of stretching our legs, but invariably we are more motivated than usual to move ourselves, inspired by the pleasure potential of the meal ahead.
Here’s a sample of what we had for our eat-in Friday night ‘date’ last week:
Agedashi tofu. If I tell you that I could visit Maguro for their agedashi tofu alone, you might begin to understand just how good the Maguro version is. The tofu is always piping hot in a delicious gelatinous tempura sauce. I usually don’t do gelatinous unless it’s in a pudding, so take it from me: it’s gotta be good if I like it here.
From left to right: pork gyoza (they also come in prawn, chicken or vegetable. My favourite is the prawn but they’re all very good). Shumai - steamed dumplings filled with a blend of snow crab, salad onions and something called ‘tobiko’ – flying fish roe. Served warm, each shumai provides a perfect mouthful of the subtlest seafood sensation. Last, but not least, tori niku BBQ: barbecue chicken with onion and capsicum - ideal with plain rice. They don’t skimp on the sauce here - there’s always plenty to coat the tender bite-size strips of chicken. The after-burn is just hot enough to be interesting without necessitating a long squirt from the nearest fire extinguisher.
Maguro Tataki: a seared salmon sashimi with ponzu sauce. Each piece of sashimi rests on a bed of finely-grated white radish. A truly refreshing combination of taste and texture.
Maguro yukke – sashimi grade tuna, chopped and tossed in a sesame soy sauce with finely chopped salad onions and pine nuts. Stab at the raw quail’s egg to release the yolk and mix through before eating. A cool, fresh, tangy taste of Asia.
Kani kara age – soft shell crab. Maguro dips the crab pieces in tempura batter and lightly fries them – served with the sort of light horseradish sauce that should be bottled and sold in its own right.
Last, but not least, Maguro’s black cod. This version easily matches Nobu’s signature version. It flakes into morsels with the barest suggestion of a chopstick’s touch, not to mention that the miso paste marinade is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Over time, Monsieur and I have tried a fair number of items on Maguro’s menu, including teriyaki salmon, the sashimi platter, salmon tartare which has a proper heat to it – most unusual, and the tuna tartare. Even the house salad is worthy of praise. It’s a great destination for anyone watching their weight and offers plenty of choice for vegetarian friends. The myriad menu options cater for all depths of pocket, from shallow to bottomless. The lunchtime Bento boxes are great value, and the set dinners are competitive, but if you want to push the boat out and order the likes of Kobe beef sashimi or foie gras and hotate (seared scallop) it’s definitely possible to rack up quite a bill here.
Drinks are as you’d expect – Japanese beer (Asahi), a selection of warm and cold sakes, plum wine and green tea, along with a small but carefully-chosen wine list and all the regular soft drinks (orange juice, diet soda, mineral water etc).
Sadly, Monsieur and I will be leaving W9 later on this year. We’re ready for a change of scene but we’d feel even better about our future postcode if we knew that Maguro was moving with us. As that’s unlikely, we’ll just have to trek back to the old ‘hood once in a while to ensure that standards aren’t slipping, but for now we’re determined to make the most of our current proximity to this gem of a restaurant, with the project of working our way through as much of the extensive menu before we move. In fact, on writing this, I’ve decided where we’ll have our last supper before the removal van arrives and this is one decision I won’t have to check with Monsieur. As long as the black cod’s still on Maguro’s menu, you can count him in.
Maguro - 5 Lanark Place, London W9 1BT, tel 020 7289 4353
I have a dear, small, Scandinavian friend who, like me, loves food. This friend has survived a life-altering, direction-changing year, culminating in a decision to leave London in favour of her Tokyo-based love, going via Denmark to enjoy some quality family time. Needless to say, she couldn’t possibly leave the country without first dining with me, not least because such a large part of our friendship exists thanks to passionate discussions about FOOD.
The Tokyo Boy had recommended for us a little tavern-style Japanese place on Goodge Street. I googled it and the first review I read scared me. A Japanese person had written it, slating the staff and taking no prisoners about their surly attitude to white patrons. No no no, we couldn’t risk it, could we? Not on our last dinner together for some time. Scandi-La was resolute, however. Tokyo Boy liked it and so would we. In the wake of her culinary courage, I followed her lead and we went to Yoisho.
On entering this modest little restaurant, it’s obvious that this place is run by Japanese, for Japanese, with Japanese businessmen dotted around the place sipping on sake with loosened ties. We sat at the counter overlooking the grill chef’s work and immediately ordered bottles of Asahi dry and some warm sake. We had two waitresses, both of whom were perfectly professional towards us (no gaijin phobia there) and one of whom bore a fantastic short haircut of some style and geometric precision. Behind the counter the grill chef worked tirelessly, smiling at us and nodding shyly from time to time. Scandi-La and I felt not one hint of hostility towards us, although our enthusiasm for Japanese food and a few words of Japanese definitely did not go astray.
On the counter stood a lucky cat with waving paw and a figurine of a beer-hugging fisherman replete with fish and rod. The decor was hardly inspired, but felt refreshingly authentic in its tattiness, as if we’d walked off an Osaka street instead of a street in a wet and crowded pre-Christmas London. As usual, we struggled to decide on our food but eventually settled on gyoza (dumplings), a mixed sashimi platter, another of tempura followed by eggplant with miso – one of my all-time favourite Japanese recipes. Added to this was a selection of chicken skewers – some kebab-style; others mulched into grillable balls.
The gyoza were exactly as they should be: light, soft and tasty with that hint of Japanese chive, but it was the sashimi that stole the first part of the Yoi-show. In a more favourable review of this eatery, someone had written that the sashimi was so fresh that there must be an ocean in the basement. This praise was not an exaggeration of the quality of the fish we were served. Scandi-La and I hummed with a united appreciation of the yellow-fin tuna, salmon and some sort of delicate white fish – all absolutely fresh and almost creamy as each morsel dissolved altogether too quickly against my palate, with barely the need to chew, but the star of the sashimi platter had to be the prawns. Previously to dining at Yoisho, I’d never eaten sashimi prawns. These were served vaguely blue, ready to pop out of the pink prawn shell, and my word, how they tasted as they slipped around my mouth! Suddenly I wished myself a pelican so I could eat such things all day.
The mixed tempura, a heap of gilded king prawns and vegetable pieces, was almost fluffy, so perfect was the golden batter. And when we moved onto the eggplant with miso, I was ascending to eggplant heaven. The eggplant flesh was steaming and soft and slushy beneath the generous layer of miso – which both sweetens and salts the hot fruit beneath. We dug our chopsticks into the flesh, careful to load them with both eggplant and sauce, humming with yet more gastronomic delight.
At some point in proceedings I ventured down the modest staircase to the ladies’ room, tucked away down a corridor in the basement. En route I discovered another dining room, filled with more Japanese people enjoying some post-work down-time. The ladies’ facilities were scruffy, as I’d expected, and there, in the corridor, was the sashimi ocean we’d been discussing earlier. Well, not really an ocean, just more of a large puddle. There was no sign of pipework or a leak in the immediate vicinity, so I wondered how it got there. Could it be a magic, sashimi-producing ocean? Could it be that a sake-swilling patron had leaked on the way to the loo? Perhaps someone had left their brolly there and it the water was its legacy. Whatever it was, it made me smile. Perhaps there really are secret basement oceans capable of producing dream sashimi.
The verdict? Scandi-La and I were more than satisfied that our last London dinner together had been such a success. As we paid up, the grill chef looked sad to see us go. I think he must have enjoyed all our happy hmmm-ing and humming, yet I have to be honest and say that neither diner particularly enjoyed the chicken, leaving most of the skewers intact. In short, if you’re hungry for sashimi in London, give Yoisho a go. Here’s how Yoisho scored against the Epicurometer:
Gyoza – 8/10 (extremely good but not remarkable)
Sashimi – 10/10 (absolutely magical from that ocean in the basement)
Tempura – 8/10 (extremely good but nothing unusual)
Eggplant with miso – 7/10 (very tasty and I hate to admit it but I once had better in Sydney)
Mixed chicken skewers – 4/10 (had the texture of cheap chicken meat. It’s not like Scandi-La or me to leave food on our plates in a Japanese establishment so this was poor going.)
Asahi dry – 10/10 (great to have the choice of dry and comes in large bottles so it keeps you going for a while)
Sake – tut tut, wicked girls! We chose a sake for serving cold and asked the waitress if it was possible to serve it warm. Yes it was and there was no fuss about it or trying to upgrade us to a superior sake for serving warm. I don’t know enough about sake to score it but safe to say that it was perfectly drinkable with that lovely warm rush that’s so precious when you’ve just been drenched by a London downpour, as I had.
Decor – don’t go here if you’re passionate about interiors, unless you want to see a well-seasoned Japanese tavern-style eatery. Upstairs is definitely better than down, and that’s saying something.
Eating at the counter – 10/10 for entertainment value, relative comfort and the fisherman figurine. I think he’d be happy to come home with me and live with Blue Monkey.
Staff – The waitresses get a score of 7/10 and the grill chef earns himself a 9/10 for being so friendly.
Likeliness to return to Yoisho? 10/10 as in extremely likely. If I weren’t watching my pennies before Christmas, I’d teleport myself there right now. Those sashimi prawns are what dreams are made of.
Yoisho – 33 Goodge Street London, W1T 2PS - 020 7323 0477
When I was a wide-eyed early twenty-something, I moved from my hometown of Auckland to Sydney to work at a hotel in King’s Cross and no, it wasn’t offering ‘private client services’. At work, I made many wonderful friends, most of whom were gay because (a) the hotel industry is known for being a pink profession and (b) this particular hotel was located within a stone’s throw of the gay mecca that is Sydney’s Oxford Street.
My education there was manifold. The (male) switchboard manager knew more about face creams than I did and during Mardi Gras another manager offered me a ‘bonus’ of those little tablets that would make you see the good side of Ted Bundy, serial killer. I declined. Perhaps Obama is right when he says we need to regulate bonus structures.
One of my best friends from that time was a Japanese girl called Kay. If there was a gay man in the room with her, she was prone to fall in love with him. If the man was straight, she wasn’t interested. Kay was one of those girls who thought that her special breed of love could make a gay man straight so, as she lived in the gay capital of Downunder and worked in a predominantly gay environment, she was in a near-constant state of heartbreak.
One day, Kay went shopping at a big weekend market down by Chinatown. There, she spied a rabbit in a cage and stopped to stroke it, thinking it was a pet. The Chinese stallholder was keen to make a sale, chatting away about rabbit preparation techniques. Realising that the caged fluffball was ‘fresh meat’ destined for someone’s dinner plate, Kay was horrified, quickly pressing a crush of dollars into the stallholder’s hand in a bid to save the rabbit’s life. And so, a bunny named Minnie went to live with Kay in an apartment overlooking Rushcutter’s Bay.
At work, Kay kept us all intrigued by her tales of house-training the rescue bunny and from her brightened eyes we could tell that this was one love for Kay that wouldn’t be returned to sender. Then, one day Kay (and Minnie) invited me over for lunch.
I already knew that Kay’s landlord had a no-pets policy, so we’d have to be discreet about Minnie’s existence, but hey, how much noise can a rabbit make? I wondered. As Kay prepared a delicious Japanese lunch in her tiny steam-filled kitchenette, I watched Minnie. At first, she lay full-length along the top of the sofa, looking at me hard with her stony little eyes. I wondered what she was thinking because she was definitely thinking something. It was as if she was trying to work me out in the same way as I was trying to get her measure. You have to realise that this was no ordinary bunny. To this day, I’m sure she didn’t like me.
A little later, Minnie moved, jumping down to the ground and across the pristine living room carpet to the bathroom. Then she jumped up onto the toilet seat.
“Kay, I think we have a problem,”
I called through to the kitchen,
“Minnie’s on the toilet seat. Should I get her down?”
“Oh, no, don’t worry about that. She probably just needs to go.”
“Yes, you know. To go pee pee or something. Didn’t I tell you she was house-trained?”
“But I thought you meant house-trained like cats with kitty litter and stuff.”
Kay laughed at my lack of sophistication.
“No, no. Kitty litter stinks. This way is better because I can flush. More hygienic.”
Meanwhile, I’d watched open-mouthed as little black rabbit poo pellets fell straight from Minnie’s bottom into the bowl of the toilet. When she was done, she jumped back to the floor and headed for a patch of sun to bask as bunnies of leisure tend to do. Apparently.
Kay and I sat at her tiny table, chatting over our meal, the rabbit dozing nearby. As we polished off the home-made red bean dumplings with some green tea, Kay suggested we go for a walk. With Minnie. Images of rabbits disappearing down holes, never to be seen again, flooded my head.
“Are you crazy?”
“She’ll get lost!”
“No, no, don’t worry about that,”
Kay reassured me,
“I’ll just put her on the lead.”
An already surreal afternoon was about to intensify as we smuggled Minnie out of the no-pets building and let her bounce along at our feet as we walked to Rushcutter’s Bay.
Minnie’s collar was regular enough. Kay had managed to find a little pink one with a bell – something you’d usually see on a cat. But she hadn’t yet located a store with little pink leads, so Minnie was currently tethered to her adoptive mother by a length of pink curling ribbon.
“Minnie’s a girl so she has to have pink.”
Kay explained. That’s when I thought I’d seen it all.
A couple of years later, I was living in London and there I received a letter from Kay. On opening the envelope, out dropped one of those photos with a printed greeting down the side. The photo was of Kay’s wonder bunny and the greeting said:
Dear Friend, I am sad to say that my daughter, Minnie has now passed away. Thank you for being a friend to her during her short life.
Oh, my sainted trousers, I’d just received a death notice for a rabbit! Now, that sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. Poor Kay was devastated. There would be no more bunny plops to flush in her loo and the little pink collar with the curling ribbon need was no longer required. On the other side of the world, I smiled as I remembered the day when I first met a toilet-trained rabbit and took it for a walk in the park.
LiKo (Little Korea Restaurant) 2-3 Lisle Street, London WC2H 7BG, Tel 020 7434 1601
In the darkest days of January, when we were still in the throes of post-Christmas empty pocket-dom, a pair of my colleagues and I conjured a carrot to dangle before our noses and lead us out of the gloom: we decided to put a date in the diary for a trip to LiKo, or Little Korea Restaurant, one of London Soho’s culinary gems with crunch-friendly prices.
The time eventually passed and the excitement among us was tangible. At long last we’d be eating the Korean-stroke-Japanese food I’d heard so much about. En route to the restaurant, it snowed, it sleeted and then it started to rain, so entering this initially uninspiring restaurant with dusty plastic sushi in its window and rows of oriental celebrity autographs in scribbled Korean or Japanese (who could tell which?) on one of its walls, was to be rescued from the forces of nature, at least for a couple of hours.
Following Little Miss Denmark, our designated leader for the evening as she knows LiKo well, Mr Positivity and I bypassed the ground floor in favour of the basement, a windowless room filled with non-descript furniture, an unmanned sushi bar at one end with stacks of bento boxes and aluminium take-away trays ready to be filled. Denmark and I were the only European faces in the room; everyone else was Korean or Japanese or Chinese. They obviously approved of this place and I was about to find out why.
We sipped on warm sake and icy Asahi beers as we chose our meal for the evening. Denmark grew up in Japan, so she knows her stuff in a place like this, as does Mr P, whose Chinese background and passion for oriental foods combined to make this an evening worth waiting for.
We started with a shared platter of sushi and several half-moon dumplings (or gyoza) filled with velvety pork and chives. They were delicious. I could probably have consumed three plates’ worth all by myself. Meanwhile, the sushi arrived on a rustic slab of wood with a small mound of ginger on one corner. The maki and California rolls were fresh and good and nothing spectacularly different from sushi elsewhere, but it was certainly an ideal selection for sharing. The conversation turned to ginger – do we like it? Don’t we? With sushi? In tea? To ease nausea? Until now, I never knew that ginger could incite so much passion in a trio of amateur foodies. Now we know.
Soon my attention was tempted away by the arrival of soft shell crab. Anyone who has read about my Malaysian adventures on this blog will already know about my obsession with soft shell crab. On a wet and freezing night in mid-winter London, to eat something so reminiscent of warm, seafood-friendly environments brought the sunniest of smiles to my face. “You can have the last bit,” offered Denmark. “Yes, absolutely,” seconded Mr P as he flashed his signature smile, so for once I didn’t argue and chomped on those last few crispy crab legs with one hundred per cent guilt-free relish.
Little Miss Denmark and Mr Positivity were now discussing the merits of deep-fried tofu. I’m not usually a tofu fan, but wherever I go I’m tempted to revisit such things just in case I got it wrong, or rather, just in case the chef got it wrong on my previous attempt. Boy, was this ever one of those times where that little rule worked beautifully. Denmark had ordered the deep-fried tofu that she’d been craving all week and when the little golden rectangles arrived, they were nice enough but not particularly thrilling. “Oh, no, that’s not what I meant,” she complained, “I thought we’d be getting the smoked tofu cubes in the plate of dipping sauce.” She was so disappointed that Mr P and I could only do the decent thing and insist that we ask for the exact tofu of her desire. This was an exercise in how two tofu dishes can be like chalk and cheese. The new arrival looked as golden-icious as the first, the cubes sitting in a light soy sauce with finely chopped salad onions floating about in it. On biting into them, they were just the right sort of hot, that is, not endangering the upper palate, and there was a delicate smokiness to each creamy bite. Oh yes, I am now a tofu fan; it just has to be this sort of tofu.
Whilst our tofu comparison exercise was gathering momentum, a waitress quietly moved a portable gas stove onto the end of the table. She placed a wok on top of it, already filled to the brim with seafood and vegetables and a lethal-looking red paste. Everything was arranged beautifully in layers and rows, with mussels in their shells fanned around the top. The gas was lit and after a while the sauce beneath began to bubble up around the contents. Mr P started to fill our bowls with ladles of broth and seafood, then adding soba noodles to the mix, just long enough to heat them through before dividing them amongst us. This was the Korean hot pot. More commonly eaten with beef, we’d chosen the equally enjoyable seafood version, although at this point I was finding that my ability to eat much more was fast diminishing. I slowed down, savouring each prawn and mussel and slice of sweet potato and mouthful of squid. In spite of the red paste that had earlier looked so likely to make you flap your hands and pant like a dog, once stirred into the broth it had merely provided a nicely warming zing, as opposed to searing the tongue.
Now contentedly full, I had to decline all else but a tiny spoonful of Mr P’s green tea ice cream. As it was, when we left amidst cheery farewells from the staff, we were satisfied but not stuffed to the point of immovable. Nor had our slowly recovering bank balances been badly dented by the feast. As promised by Denmark, this was affordable, fresh and tasty fare and three happy little foodies were we. At long last we had visited Little Korea and it was transporting, right down to the foreignness of the loos with their dank basement smell and strange-smelling fuchsia pump soap. The people, the food, the unpretentious decor and those dusty plastic pieces of sushi in the window – all made this culinary exercise feel more like a weekend away than an evening spent in London. My only regret? We forgot to try the kimchi so I guess we’ll have to go back and this time, smoked tofu will be top of my list.
Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions that has the potential to fail miserably. If you’re single, it can make you feel very alone. If you’re part of a couple, apart from being the romantic zenith of the calendar ,it can be very expensive, tacky, and can have the opposite of its intended effect by making you realise that no, you’re not the only person in the entire universe that loves someone. Then again, there’s also that breed of folk who deliberately ignore Valentine’s in the hope that it’ll go away, only to incur the wrath of their poor, high-maintenance (I mean neglected) partner. But mostly it’s just another excuse to spend way too much on cards and flowers in the name of commerce.
Many years ago, before my rose-tinted glasses cracked somewhat irreparably, I was invited to a Valentine’s dinner by a young man on whom I had a humongous crush. In preparation, I blow-dried my hair straight and left it long for full flirting flickability. We spent the evening at a Very Cool Jazz Bar where everything was dimly lit and the music so loud that I spent a lot of time leaning across the table, trying to hear what my date was saying. Then, a strange odour wafted up my nose.
“It smells like something’s burning,” I said, trying to locate the source of the stench in the club’s gloom.
“It’s your hair,” replied my date.
As I’d leaned across the table, my hair had dangled straight into the Valentine’s red candle and now a whole, thick strand had burned, had water thrown at it, sizzled, and disintegrated in a mere few seconds. The smell of burnt hair did not leave me for weeks, no matter how often I washed it. As for the budding romance, I think it’s fair to say that this one fizzled out.
Last year, Monsieur and I decided we should make a bit of an effort, rather than hiding ourselves away from the red rose salesmen, heart-shaped chocolate boxesand shop windows full of all things pink or red. Monsieur was decided. He wanted to go to a restaurant; I, on the other hand, wanted very much NOT to go to a restaurant. In the end, being the selfless love goddess that I am, I relented, on the proviso that I choose the venue. In fact, I cheated a bit because I already had an idea of where to book and it certainly wasn’t a place where we’d be an island in a sea of couples, all crooning sweet nothings to each other as they tried to dodge the little men with the buckets full of roses, swaying along to Frank Sinatra singing about flying to the moon. Those are the couples who don’t actually mind that their food is not much quality for a rather expensive quantity, or that champagne costs double the usual or that they’ve had to book weeks in advance to experience nothing short of mediocre. Well, Monsieur and I certainly do not fall into that category of couple-dom. We went to Benihana.
The reasoning behind this was that I hadn’t been to a teppanyaki place for ages and I quite enjoy them. Granted, it’s not the best Japanese that you’re ever going to taste, but flicking knives and flying devilled prawns should ensure that no rose salesmen would get anywhere near us. In case you haven’t yet experienced a Benihana (and admittedly there are quite a few people who don’t like them very much), patrons are seated on high stools surrounding the hot plate, in groups or blended with total strangers. This would surely be the perfect environment for practicing our Valentine’s Avoidance Techniques.
I managed to reserve a special Valentine’s dinner, which just happened to be the only dinner available and which was really just the usual fare teamed with a couple of glasses of fizz. The restaurant was packed and (cringe) there were quite a few couples there, but to dilute the atmosphere of lurve there were also groups of besuited businessmen and several families whose kids were thoroughly enjoying all the samurai knife action. Was it an Anti- Valentine’s success? I’d have to say, yes.
Now it’s that time of year again, when hearts and flowers and greetings cards are everywhere you look. So what do we have in mind for our special day? Well, for once it’s a weekend so domesticity reigns. The aerial guy is coming to fix our TV connection, and we’re (hopefully) going to have a peaceful day at home with some Epic cooking and a DVD or two. No hefty bills and no red rose salesmen in sight. Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if I’ll get any mail tomorrow, and we’re not talking the sort of mail that comes in a brown, window envelope.
*You might want to look up Benihana on You Tube. There are lots of films of Benihana samurai chefs flicking their implements around the place.
Image above borrowed from here: DiscoverNikkei
Some while back, My Friend, The Planet (otherwise known as Planet Ross) sent me his blue monkey. He’s a funny little figurine with a pointy hat that probably has some sort of spiritual significance, but the only spiritual influence he’s had so far in London has been scaring one of my colleagues so much just by looking at her that I had to take him to live at home. Prior to that I thought he’d have fun living at work, but that was probably a mistake on my part. Only sad people like living at work. In any case, when Blue Monkey lived with The Planet in Japan, his life was fun. He played with puzzles and predicted the future all day long. Now his days are spent presiding over my shrine, scaring visitors and drinking from my rapidly diminishing bottle of sake when he thinks I’m not looking.
I knew I should send something back to The Planet, but wasn’t sure what to get. Then, one day when Blue Monkey and I were out shopping, we saw the ideal book for this man who loves word play so off it went to Japan for The Planet’s birthday. Here’s the post written by The Planet about his late birthday snail-mail from Blue Monkey and me.
PS Planet Ross thinks he’s old this year, but as Blue Monkey told him “you’re actuarry very young for a pranet”. (Blue Monkey’s still having problems with the English L sound but we’re working on it. ).