Do You Know the Meaning of the Ensō Circle?


In Zen Buddhism, painting an ensō circle by hand is a discipline and Japanese aesthetic that is practised in the attempt to free the mind of all emotions and thoughts in order to produce a true and pure creation. Some people use meditation to try and achieve this state of mind but this Zen discipline of painting a circle to achieve enlightenment or self-realization could be just as satisfying and maybe even more powerful. The ensō circle can either be closed or incomplete. The closed circle represents perfection and the incomplete circle represents the existance of an imperfection, a common theme in the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi. The finished circle can symbolize many things to different people. Popular interpretations say the ensō circle resembles universality, strength, elegance, simplicity, beauty, nothingness, or everything.

This ensō circle appears on the cover of my latest book Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future. When I was thinking about the book cover design, I wanted to use a subject which would represent Japan and the story itself. I also wanted to offer something more substantial and deeper for my readers to think about as they turn each page. Therefore, the incomplete ensō circle on the book cover represents a future society which may seem perfect to us in 2015 but may not be so perfect in 2060.


My novelette, set in 2060, is a story filled with futuristic technology and incredible innovations and these may all seem very exciting and appealing to us now. You might even see and experience all these inventions and advancements in forty-five years and when you read about them you might think this is exactly how you would like to live if you were in Tokyo in 2060. However, as you read this story, I hope you’ll connect with the characters, consider the ethical and moral implications, and think about how a synthetic, computerized, and technologically advanced world could impact our lives as emotional human beings who enjoy connecting with other human beings.

As companies in Japan compete with each other to get self-driving taxis on the road and robots in department stores and attractions in time for the Olympic Games in 2020, it’s worthwhile taking a moment to think about the true impact of new technologies, such as androids and robots, and the many ways they will inevitably affect our lives in the future.

Welcome to My Cherry Blossom Stories Blog

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Welcome to my Cherry Blossom Stories Blog!

Thanks for dropping by! In this blog post, I’d like to share a little bit about me and my books.

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Tokyo Hearts cover (2)

Tokyo Hearts is a poignant love story that will catapult you directly onto the fashionable streets of Japan’s capital and into the hearts of Takashi and Haruka.

Takashi is a young and popular university student who has fallen in love with his stylish and sophisticated friend Haruka. She is sweet and kind and adores shopping for high-end Japanese and Western brands.

Every week, they meet up in the heart of Tokyo, enjoying each other’s company, and for Takashi, life is perfect. But the path to true love is never easy. When Takashi discovers that Haruka is seeing her wealthy ex-boyfriend from Kyoto, his life begins to turn upside down.

This coming of age story traces the lives of Takashi and Haruka and their friends as they deal with young love and the ups and downs of growing up in Tokyo – truly one of the most stylish, energetic and exhilarating cities in the world.

Tokyo Hearts is available in paperback, ebook & audiobook from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Audible, and from more that sixty other retailers worldwide.





Tokyo Tales cover (2)

Tokyo Tales is an enchanting, life-affirming and inspiring world of Japanese short stories. You’ll love the way the boundaries of each story are stretched to embrace the charm and allure of the Japanese people and you’ll enjoy these tales even if you have a limited knowledge of Japan.

These fifteen magical stories include a hellish homestay, ghosts, school bullying, a marriage arrangement and the kawaii culture. These stories will deepen your appreciation of the Japanese culture and provide you with a glimpse into the Japanese mind-set which will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.

Prepare to be enthralled by the illuminating images throughout Tokyo Tales by the renowned Japanese illustrator Yoshimi Ohtani. These charming illustrations will harness your imagination and leave you spellbound.

Tokyo Tales is available in paperback & eBook from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and from more that sixty other retailers worldwide.





In the year 2060, Poppy and her husband Oliver Montgomery travel to Japan for a six-month stint in Tokyo. Oliver, a recent Cambridge University graduate, can’t wait to start working as an executive managing director for a prestigious company specializing in the production of androids. His devoted wife Poppy is looking forward to shopping in the space-age department stores and finding out more about the Japanese culture.

When this British couple begin their new life in Tokyo, they are fascinated by all the cutting-edge technology in Japan and thrilled with the ultra-modern features and appliances in their luxurious new home. Poppy is even more delighted when her husband’s new company lends her a personal android for three days. Little do Poppy and Oliver know, this state-of-the-art android hides a sinister secret that is about to turn their dreams of a wonderful life in Tokyo into a disaster.

Tokyo 2060 is a riveting sci-fi novelette. This story will fascinate anyone interested in Japan or futuristic technology.




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I’m currently working on the sequel to TOKYO HEARTS. It’s called TOKYO DREAMS and as everyone would expect, it begins in the middle of the cherry blossom season in Japan.

Takashi and his charming wife Haruka are living together in their new luxurious home in Shirogane but they are finding it difficult to adjust to their newfound wealth. Yuriko is blissfully in love with Kenji but her happiness is thwarted by her violent brother. Masaya asks his girlfriend Momo-chan to marry him but he doesn’t get the reaction he anticipated and Akira has returned from the United States with a beautiful blonde who stirs up trouble for the whole group.

I’m really enjoying the writing process for this book and I can’t wait to share TOKYO DREAMS with you.





I’m an Australian-born British novelist and writer and I’ve always loved learning about different cultures. I spent six years studying French and Italian and I’ve spent over twenty years studying the Japanese language and the Japanese culture.

After completing a bachelor’s degree at Monash University in Australia, I worked as an English teacher in Japan and Australia for over ten years. I have continued to work with the Japanese for many years as an interpreter, a tour guide, and a business consultant. Over the past twenty years, I have enjoyed visiting Japan six times for work or as a tourist. Several years ago, I can proudly say I also completed an Advanced Diploma of Business Marketing at RMIT University in Australia and at the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. These days, I continue to love reading and writing about Japan but I also like to write about many other subjects. I now live in Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom with my husband and our adorable Siberian husky called Benson.

Below is a photo of Benson when he was eight weeks old and next to it is a more recent photo of him at nine years old. I will completely understand if you feel the urge to leave comments about Benson instead of my books! He’s such a gorgeous furry friend!!




I hope you’re enjoying my new website designed by IF Consultancy! Please take a look at my new HOMEPAGE and my GUIDE TO TOKYO. I highly recommend IF Consultancy if you’re thinking about updating your website, building a new website, or if you’d like to switch your website from HTML to WordPress. Mention my name and get a 10% discount!


My book covers are designed by Cathy at Avalon Graphics. Please contact Cathy if you’re looking for an experienced and very creative graphic designer for your next book cover.


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Please enter your email address at the bottom of the page if you would like to subscribe to my Cherry Blossom Stories Blog.

Finally, please like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.



Welcome to My New Website Designed by IF Consultancy

I’m so delighted with my amazing new website designed by IF Consultancy and I hope you’re enjoying it as well!

I highly recommend these web designers if you’re thinking about updating your website. Stuart and Thomas at IF Consultancy are incredibly creative, their rates are reasonable, and they get top marks for professional, timely, and friendly service.

Take a look at my beautiful new homepage and my free and exclusive insider’s Guide to Tokyo. If you love reading you’ll enjoy my books Tokyo Hearts: A Japanese Love Story and Tokyo Tales: A Collection of Japanese Short Stories with illustrations by the well-known Japanese illustrator Yoshimi Ohtani.

Thank you so much Stuart and Thomas for designing such a user-friendly, easy to navigate website, with great plugins. I really appreciate all your help to create such a stunning website.




Q&A with Tokyo Luxe

Last week on Twitter I connected with a wonderful company called Tokyo Luxe, a luxury concierge Tokyo Luxeservice in Tokyo. Tokyo Luxe caters for high-end individuals, celebrities and VIPs. They also look after business professionals, tourists, and families who are looking for an unforgettable experience in Tokyo that will exceed their expectations.

I was really impressed with their services so I asked Tokyo Luxe if they wouldn’t mind answering a few questions. I received a reply straight away. They were more than happy to share information about their company and what they do to make sure all their clients enjoy a variety of deluxe experiences in Tokyo. You can read the Q&A below. I’m sure you’ll think their answers are very interesting.

Visit the Tokyo Luxe website if you’re looking for a luxury stay in Tokyo or if you think your client or company could benefit from their services.


1. You’re a Tokyo Concierge service. What does this mean?

We offer a luxurious lifestyle for busy individuals as well as family members by providing them with a once in a lifetime experience. Our main services (but not limited to) are food tours, transportation around the city, concert tickets and exclusive backstage access passes.

2. What are the most popular services you offer?

Tokyo has consistently been awarded the city with more stars than Paris in the Michelin Guide from 2013 and Tokyo offers one of the most diverse dining experiences in the world. Our itineraries for our clients have proven this to be the case. Our fine dining tours are one of the most popular services that we offer here. We have looked after professional chefs from Vancouver and the U.S in the past. These chefs had a strong urge to come to Japan to experience the Japanese traditional ambiance and the exquisite taste of Japanese cuisines. Now these chefs are known world-wide and they are on the news everywhere in Canada.


3. How many people are on your team and where do they come from?

We are a very small team of three. Sometimes when we receive a lot of inquiries, we have other members who can assist us per project. We were all born and raised in Tokyo but we studied in Canada and the U.S. during our university years a long time ago.

4. What languages do your staff members speak?

We are all bi-lingual speakers: Japanese and English.

5. Do you also look after celebrities and do these celebrities require a different kind of service?

Our motto for our company is to customize every itinerary based on our clientele’s needs and wants. Whether they are a celebrity or not, we create an itinerary based on their interests and dreams to create a unique experience while they stay here. (Yes, we are dreamers too!). Although we are not a tour guide company, we meet and greet with every visitor upon their arrival to accommodate them with their special needs.

6. Are your services expensive?

The fee would depend on what their chosen interests and services are. Usually a meal/per person would be around $300 +. However, we do make sure we cover families as well and we ensure our services are reasonable and affordable for everyone. It can range from $20 + (ticket purchase) and it depends thereafter on what services they may add, therefore the prices could vary.

7. What criteria do your services have to meet?

We do not have criteria per se. Our goal is to provide for and accommodate our clients of all ages so they can take back to their home country their exclusive and exceptional memories of their beautiful experiences in Japan.

8. What are your favorite parts of Tokyo?

My favorite part of Tokyo would be the services here. I’ve traveled around the world as a child, but I’ve never encountered the same experience in other countries like I receive here on a daily basis. People are punctual with time, very professional for work, and respectful to each other and I believe this is why the concept of “omotenashi” was spotlighted in the candidature speech for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. We’d like to take this concept to another level and really provide an impact by showing our clients the beauty of Japan. It’s important to us to treat our clients with care and show great hospitality.

9. Which shopping areas do you recommend for your personal shopping tours?

It would depend on what you are looking for but for all the ladies out there, I would recommend Ginza or Omotesando. They are a couple of the trendiest high-end places to shop in Tokyo with unique buildings that add another layer of luxury to the shopping experience.

10. What tours do you recommend to people who have never been to Tokyo before?

Unfortunately, we are not a tour guide so we do not tour with our clients, but one of our most popular services would be the Hummer ride around Tokyo for two hours. Our clientele have such a great time doing this because they can experience an overview of city life within a short period of time. Another popular service would be our food tours. People are naturally curious about dining at exclusive spots in Japan. They watch movies and read documentaries about Japan and they are excited to see if these sources ring true. Our role here is to exceed their expectations by guiding them to hidden spots that only locals would know. I think this differentiates our services to other companies and we also like to keep it personal and exclusive.

11. What tours do you offer people who have been to Japan many times?

I would recommend our favorite spots. We are foodies ourselves so definitely our favorite restaurants would be something that we would love to share.

12. Have you ever had any strange or unusual requests?

It’s funny that you’ve asked us this question because lots of people do wonder the same thing. The terminology “VIP” does create a certain image but we are so fortunate that we’ve only had requests from kind and straightforward clients from all over the world. We received a lot of referrals from our previous clients who we have assisted in the past. They were equally just as great as our new clients. I think it’s important to be humble about these things but I cannot express how lucky and grateful we are to be able to assist professional and creative individuals all around the world.

Thank you Tokyo Luxe for answering all these questions. I really appreciate it.