Posted by: Simon & Becci | May 5, 2015

What’s in your seaweed sandwich?

I have a new favourite sandwich. The only problem is that when I buy it I have no idea what is inside. Meet the delicious Onigiri….

IMG_0735Onigiri are basically Japanese triangular rice sandwiches with various fillings (tuna, chicken, vegetables, fish) surrounded by a thin layer of “Nori” (seaweed). We were introduced to them by our friends Tom and Julie Eaton during our week long trip to Japan last week.

We were supposed to visit the Eatons, and GraceCity Church, in Nagoya, last September, but I sadly succumbed to a bout of Dengue Fever on the eve of our trip. Life in Cambodia is always adventurous!

With Tom, Julie and their son Judah

With Tom, Julie and their son Judah

Tom and Julie started GraceCity and have been in Nagoya for just over ten years. They have done an outstanding job with the church, which is full of life and energy. Much like our church in Phnom Penh, they do everything in two languages so it was fascinating to take notes and learn from them.


Tom and Junichi share at GraceCity

Their three lovely daughters (Jess, Beth and Zanna) all attended a Japanese School from an early age, and are therefore fluent in the local language and culture. They took great pleasure in introducing us to many Japanese cuisines, including the wonderfully named “Nikujaga” which I thought sounded very similar to a certain Rolling Stones’ singer, prompting much amusement everytime it was mentioned. Maybe I still have some lessons to learn about working cross-culturally….

With Sopheary (left) and Tsuyoshi, Chie and their daughter Kiko

With Sopheary (left) and Tsuyoshi, Chie and their daughter Kiko

It was wonderful to also catch up with our friend Steve Morris from Coventry, who moved to Nagoya nearly five years ago and has recently married Kaori, who we were able to get to know one afternoon as we explored Nagoya Castle together.


After a few days in Nagoya, we made the 530km journey south to the city of Hiroshima, to visit our Cambodian friend Sopheary who is spending a couple of years doing a Masters there. This journey lasted just over two hours thanks to the wonderfully smooth and efficient bullet train (Shinkansen), the latest incarnation of which has recently broken 600km an hour in a speed test near Tokyo.

Is it a spaceship? No, its the shinkansen

Is it a spaceship? No, its the shinkansen

Our trip to Hiroshima also gave us the opportunity to remember one of the saddest chapters in recent Japanese history when 140,000 people died as a result of the Atomic bomb that exploded over the city centre at the end of the second world war.



The red ball shows where the A-bomb detonated. The buildings below were all that were left standing in a 2km radius

As people in the UK mark the seventieth anniversary of “Victory in Europe Day” this coming Friday, our trip to the beautiful and moving Peace Memorial Garden and Museum acted as a poignant reminder of the terrible devastation and human cost of war on all sides.


The “A-dome” acts as a lasting memorial of the day the bomb fell

On a lighter note, our trip to Hiroshima also included a day trip to the beautiful island of Miyajima with its iconic O-Torii gate.


This also gave us the chance to try out Onigiri once more. Sadly without the language skills of Tom and Julie were had to resort to pure guesswork in the shop when selecting the filling. Fortunately our “let’s just try 3 or 4 different colours” strategy turned out surprisingly well!



  1. And no doubt there was a lot of halving and sharing going on with your seaweed! You are the king and queen of “if you order that and I order this, then you can have some of mine and I can have some of yours” 🙂 xxx

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