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15 January 2015

What an amazing place! One of the highlights of my weeks in Tokyo was a visit to an Alice in Wonderland restaurant. There are several in Tokyo, each with its own "take" on the story. This one is called "Alice in Fantasy Book." It is in the Shinjuku area of the city. You go down a floor, and enter the restaurant through what appears to be a large book cover. The decor is, of course, Alice themed - here are countless little figures tumbling down the walls.


My good friend Yoshi took us. Yoshi was an amazing host while we were in Tokyo, and every place we went with him and our other friends was an eye opener to us! A large group of Japanese Carrollian friends came too and we all had a really good time.


The tables are divided from each other by giant books, and the menu itself is in the form of a pop-up book; here's a shower of cards.


These little crackers were fascinating; you can see they are really cards. The accompanying dips were in bowls shaped like hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades.


A Dormouse almost drowned in a cup of chocolate

And here is Alice, with icecream, in a heart shaped bowl

The waitress (who was dressed as Alice) sang us a little song as she mixed the salad, and I have to say the restaurant was packed, so there was a terrific atmosphere. My only slight regret is that I missed the Tweedledum and Tweedledee twin cocktails - I didn't spot them on the menu!

I've really never been anywhere like this place before. I like looking at the photos and remembering what a happy evening it was.
This was all arranged by Yoshi, so thank you very much, Yoshi, and everyone else who came along and made this an occasion to remember!


If you happen to speak and write Japanese (or have a Japanese friend) you can book online when you're in Tokyo.

12 January 2015

The other night I had a lot of fun giving the monthly talk to SELFS, which is a group of people who are fascinated by unusual and extraordinary stuff. They meet each month in the upstairs room of an old pub called "The Old Kings Head" in an alleyway near London Bridge tube station.

Old Kings Head

The pub probably hasn't changed in fifty years, and I've always enjoyed going and listening to the talks, so I was really pleased when Nigel, who runs the group, offered me the chance to talk to them myself.

I spoke on "Lewis Carroll and the Supernatural." It's a surprisingly wide subject, because Carroll was very interested in many aspects of the "otherworldly" experience and he read extensively about all kinds of magical, supernatural and religious topics. During the talk I suggested that the audience go online to see one of the most interesting books he owned - at least, in my opinion it's the most interesting. It can be viewed as an electronic facsimile, and once you get the quaint writing style and all the "s"s looking like "f"s, it contains some wonderful material, such as an eyewitness account of the celebrated Cunning Man of Kent, Dr. Boreman.

Its title is "A Compleat System of Magick; or, The History of the Black-art" (1729) and it is by Daniel Defoe, of Robinson Crusoe fame. So I thought in case any of the audience are reading this, I'd put a link to the facsimile Do think about taking a look, if you haven't already.

I think more research could be done into this subject, and I'd like to do it. Carroll was certainly interested in all kinds of strange things.