London Filming Locations: The Da Vinci Code (2006)

It’s ten years since this Ron Howard-directed film adaptation of Dan Brown’s controversial 2003 novel was released to fairly negative reviews from the critics. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this American mystery thriller having reviewed it after watching it on it’s release in May 2006. I went into it cold and without expectation as I hadn’t read the book.

Filming took place in France, Malta and Scotland as well as in a handful of English counties including Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and London too. First up is the French police station on 50 minutes; the interior of which was filmed on the first floor of the Farmiloe Building (below) on St John Street in Smithfield. This place has been used in a fair few films such as the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy where it was Gotham City Police Station, and the director also used the place in ‘Inception‘ (2010) as the pharmacy.

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The circular designed Temple Church (below) on Inner Temple Lane is Continue reading

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Away Day Travel To Ibaraki Prefecture

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“Look at these scenes, just look at these scenes” exclaimed the BBC commentator John Motson in excitement as the Republic of Ireland equalised in injury time against Germany at World Cup 2002. (Watch the clip here.) The climax of that group match was one of the most memorable moments of the tournament for me and it took place in Kashima where I went last Sunday.

One day I’d like to have visited all the Japanese stadia used in 2002. Admittedly, the Sapporo Dome was the main one for me with Saitama Stadium 2002 and the Nissan Stadium in Yokohama not too far behind. The Kashima Soccer Stadium falls into the next category as one that is still just about possible to get to on a day trip.

Two weeks on from our trip to the Todoroki Athletics Stadium, Scottish Neil and I decided to go on a real away trip a few hours away to Continue reading

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Leicester City References In English Lessons

As someone who teaches English as a foreign language in Japan I have to get my kicks how I can when it comes to amusing myself. In the past I’ve incorporated booksmusic, songs, toys, Star Wars, Kung-fu Panda and learning to read via penalty shoot outs into my lessons. Leicester City can also be added to that list albeit in slightly more subtle ways!

Up until a couple of years ago, practically none of my students had ever heard of Leicester or Resuta (レスター) as they call it. However, following the Richard III car-park discovery story, Princess Mako (a member of the Japanese Imperial family) studied museology at the University of Leicester in 2014 which resulted in some students actually being aware of my birthplace. In June 2015 Japanese striker Shinji Okazaki joined Leicester City and then amazingly, against all the odds, they have gone on to take the Premier League by storm this season which has brought the name to the attention of a few more than usual.

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Generally speaking though, very few students have ever heard of either the team or the city. The nearest we get to acknowledgement is when Continue reading

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A Little Known Shinjuku Eye-Con

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Shinjuku was revealed to be the the world’s busiest train station a few years back in a top 50 list that was pretty much monopolised by Japan. It’s not until the number 24 position that a non-Japanese station appears by way of Paris’ Gare du Nord! Of course it’s a little uncertain how the data was calculated and how accurate it is as India’s stations are not represented in the chart despite reportedly handling millions of passengers every day.

This place really is more than just a station and it is often included in lists of top attractions in Tokyo with so much to see and do beyond the train side of things. Though the “attraction” featured in this piece only takes a minute to see (not really sufficient enough to merit it’s inclusion under the usual Tokyo Daytripper banner!) it is worth Continue reading

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Back To J-League Action In Kawasaki

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The J-League kicked off back at the end of February and I’ve been raring to get stuck into some more live match action following my renewed interest in the local game over the last couple of years. My plan (time and wife permitting!!) is to Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: Sayama Koen Park & Lake Tama

The cherry blossom season often seems to come and go before I’ve barely even noticed it but this year it seemed to be a particularly long one. I certainly didn’t expect it and so I’m quite surprised myself to be posting a third consecutive sakura post! One week on from our trip to Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens, my wife and I embraced the pink flowers again but this time we went further afield albeit still within the boundaries of Tokyo.

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This place first came to my attention a year or two ago as I searched for ideas regarding cycling adventures in Tokyo. One day I will cycle there from the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre and go around both Lake Tama and the smaller Lake Sayama but it’s Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

When it comes to sakura (cherry blossoms) viewing, I really believe that the best places are the ones lining some of the rivers and roads around Tokyo. The sakura is far more prominent in these area’s yet many, many people descend on the various parks and gardens of the capital to get their fix of the pink flowers. Not sure why. I guess it’s not just about the cherry trees but also the atmosphere and ambience that comes with being in an official and proper place rather than just being on a random street. Who knows?!!

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I’ve already posted about our trip to Shinjuku Gyoen gardens but a couple of days prior to that I went to Koishikawa Korakuen gardens to see both cherry blossoms and the Continue reading

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