Stay in a Japanese wilderness

Looking for a city getaway? We know a few places in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Okinawa is a prefecture of Japan comprised of a group of islands in the East China Sea. It isn’t as heralded as a tourist destination as some of Japan’s other star attractions, despite the stunning beaches and dense jungles that comprise it.

Getting close to nature and feeling its connection lure you closer to Earth is what a holiday in this part of the world is all about. With this in mind, a Shinminka Villa is the perfect place to base yourself, be that for a short time or an extended stay.

Shinminka Villas are four almost identical timber villas spread out across Okinawa’s islands that follow traditional Okinawan minka folk house design. With entirely transparent outer walls, this simple but aesthetically pleasing accommodation allows you to blend in as part of the natural environment during your stay. Within the confines of the humble timber design, there’s no shortage of places to relax: there’s a large bathtub, as well as a hammock, and there’s one villa with a pool as well.

Kicking back, surrounded by your own garden or jungle or beach, isolated in your own little world, is arguably as good as island life gets. One is also an extension of the island’s oldest ryokan, making it easy to reconnect with your body as well as the island. Okinawa and it’s surrounding islands are characterised by a variety of terrain and geography; a patchwork of waterfalls and rivers, jungles and mangroves.

Hiking and swimming are aplenty in these parts if you wish, but so is relaxing, in your own little intimate slice of Japanese wilderness.

Nakijin Castle is a 14th century castle ruins nearby to Shinminka.

Japan’s best kept underwater secret

Japan is home to some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling – if you know where to find it.

On land, everyone knows about this country’s delicious street food, powder snow, cultures that date back thousands of years and extraordinary outdoor experiences, but there is also plenty to be found underwater as well.

The Kerama Islands are one big national park, comprising of 36 islands, populated by just under a couple of thousand people. We don’t know what the true population of colourful fish swimming in schools and dancing in and out of reefs, dodging seaweed and hiding behind colourful coral, but go underwater for even just a few minutes and your perception of Japan will change forever. There are about 250 species of fish in the islands, humpback whales, manta rays as well as one other major drawcard: sea turtles.

From May through to September/October is the best time to see sea turtles in the Kerama Islands.

These big, friendly beasts live to up to 70-80 years in this part of the world. As you’re swimming in Kerama’s exceptionally blue waters, it’s mind blowing to think that the gentle green beasts in front of you were probably around in 1972, when the Okinawa prefecture was returned to the Japanese from the U.S., who had ruled the area for almost three decades. Or when Japan emerged as an economic superpower in the 1960s, or when they hosted the Olympic games in 1964 and 2021, or throughout any of this country’s major historic events over the last half-century and a bit.

And as they swim serenely in thrillingly clear turquoise waters in front of you – oblivious to any of those happenings – you’ll think that they’ve probably had the right idea all along.

get lost’s top four Kerama Islands diving spots:

  1. Zamami Island

    An array of beginner to advanced diving spots, drift diving and cave diving, with schools of migratory fish, gorgeous coral and more. Epic.

  2. Ijyakajya

    If you want to see sea turtles, this spot on Aka Island is where to come, between the months of May and October. Also plenty of manta rays, who gather to be cleaned by the other sea life there.

  3. Tokashiki Island

    The caves located beneath Aharen Lighthouse create an epic light display.

  4. Onna Village

Onna Village has the nickname ‘Coral Village’ for a reason. Check it out below:

Holi Festival: How to Make Prawn Curry

Anjum Anand is a British/Indian chef, writer, entrepreneur and TV presenter who knows her way around a curry.

The Hindu festival Holi (March 17 & 18 in 2022) marks the beginning of the spring season. It is also known as the festival of colours and is famous for people rubbing coloured powder into one another. 

Anand, who has been dubbed the ‘Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine’, says food is right at the centre of Holi, as well as colour.

Anjum Anand is a celebrity cook who has been on SBS, BBC and more.

“Street food is very much at the forefront of Holi celebrations as people roam the streets of India celebrating the day,” she says. 

“Some of my favourites are pakoras, samoas, dahi bhallas (which are a lentil dumpling smothered in seasoned yoghurt and served with a chutney)…depending on which region you are in, the food will vary slightly.”

Ananad has  for a few absolutely DELISH looking prawn curry you might see if you’re going to a Holi celebration so that you can have a go yourself, and do not quite as well as the pros:

Anjum Annad’s Prawn Curry

Prawn Curry

SERVE SIZE: Serves 2-3

PREP TIME: 10 minutes  

COOK TIME: 10 minutes 

ANJUM SAYS

“Prawn curry in Goa is one of the regions favourite dishes, a spicy, flavourful curry with the base of coconut and soured with tamarind to elevate the succulent local prawns – but you don’t have to be in Goa to enjoy the flavours!”

INGREDIENTS:

1 pack The Spice Tailor Keralan Coconut Curry

360g king prawns, shelled and cleaned

1 rounded tbsp tomato purée

¾-1 tsp tamarind paste

1-2 tbsp veg oil

Goan Spice Mix

1-2 dried red chillies, soaked – Including the one from the pack

3/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

2 cloves

METHOD:

Grind all the spices into a smooth powder. Then, add the chillies and a little water to help.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry this paste for 1-2 minutes, and add the tomato purée and stir for another minute.

Pour in the Keralan Coconut Curry from the pouch, stir and add a splash of water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the tamarind paste and king prawns.

Cook for 2 minutes until the prawns are just cooked.

 

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The best Irish pub not in Ireland?

I told an Irish flute player I met at the bar of the Drunken Poet that it had been named among the best Irish pubs outside of Ireland.

“No mate,” he corrected me. “This place is better than most of the pubs at home.”

If you’re in Melbourne on St. Patrick’s Day it’d be rude not to pop in here…or any day, to be fair, given the craic on offer at this absolute stalwart.

It has all the hallmarks of what makes a great Irish pub: a warm space of small nooks and crannies, tiny circles of chairs crammed with talented musicians named Caihome or Aoife, plus the best pint of Guinness in Australia.

The pub gets its name from the portraits of ‘drunken’ poets that line the walls. There’s live music from talented fiddlers and flutists, or live poetry and spoken word six nights a week. This is the key – there’s always something happening, which is what makes it so special. Sláinte.

Is this the best sandwich in Sydney?

Warning: Don’t read on if you’re counting carbs.

Smalls Deli, a small, chic-looking Potts Point-based deli, are arguably making Sydney’s best sandwiches right now.

Smalls opened at the inopportune time of January 2020, a few weeks before the pandemic began. Not ideal, but it is then a testament to the deliciousness of their sangas that they have bounced back so impressively.

Nearby Iggy’s make the bread, but it’s what’s on the inside counts. You want to order the Croque Monsuier: double-smoked ham, liquid gruyère and comte cheeses, bechamel sauce and tangy dijon mustard all jammed inside a couple of the legendary baker’s sourdough. On top is sprinkled a light amount of another sort of cheese, in case there wasn’t enough on the inside.

Small’s is a place for all occasions: whether you’re catching up with some mates,  desperately need a hangover cure or you’re going on a date – you can’t go wrong.

Just bring a calculator…for those delicious carbs.

WIN: The ultimate job with GoPro and Adrenaline

Looking for work? How does getting paid to travel, skydive, climb and capture content for the world’s premier adventure content specialists sound?

Even if you’re not in the market for a new job, we think this one is probably cooler than the one you’ve got.

Adrenaline and GoPro are on the hunt for an adventure-seeking content creator to become an official Adrenaline creator in 2022. This means swapping the office for cliffs, the ocean, the dunes and the sky. Sounds cool, right?

The role sees one grand prize winner receive a $100,000 contract to participate in and shoot 12 adventures across four campaigns for the adventure marketplace over a year-long period.

This means travelling around the world and filming epic adventures and experiences. It’s being billed as ‘The Best Job in the World’ but it actually is, the best job in the world.

Photography and adventure enthusiasts can enter from today by uploading a photo or video of their adventurous activity to the GoPro awards website.

The competition is live until March 31st, 2022 – head to the Adrenaline website to enter, or the GoPro website to enter your content.

Turn the lights off in an Icelandic volcano

Some countries have a couple of beautiful natural attractions and then you have Iceland, which seems to have one around every corner. The best thing is that the extraordinary Nordic country last week threw open its doors to travellers, meaning we can all take in these unbelievable experiences once again.

Iceland experiences frequent volcanic activity, due to its location both on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. One of these is Thrihnukagigur, which last erupted around 4,000 years ago. Phewph! Wipe the sweat from your brow – that was a close one.

The underground volcano was only discovered in 1974, and has only more recently been open for travellers to walk/scale down its depths.

Harnessed in though you are, travelling  120 metres down a colourful magma chamber is as much epic as it is disconcerting. It is not the height or the crazily coloured rock formations that are lit up from a man-made lighting system that is most striking, but the sheer depth of the cavern that exists on the inside – big enough easily fit the Statue of Liberty inside. If you’ve ever felt slightly insignificant when looking at the size of the Indian Ocean, Thrihnukagigur will give you the same feeling.

Perhaps most unnerving is when guides turn the lights – all of them – off, to leave you a hundred or so metres deep inside a volcano without any shred of light.

*Editor’s note: Although get lost have been to this site, we are still none the wiser on how to pronounce Thrihnukagigur. Best to consult an Icelander here. 

Summer Skiing in Norway

Skiing in the middle of summer? No problem, if you’re in Norway.

And while most think of snow and northern lights when it comes to Norway, its a great place to be at anytime of the year, not least the warmer months. The Nordic country recently announced it was re-opening its borders to the rest of the world too, just in time for the European summer.

Stryn is a municipality in central-west Norway, blessed with majestic mountains and typically dramatic Norwegian fjords. Take the unbelievably epic Loen Skylift up to the top of Mt. Hoven, a five minute trip which is surely the best way to spend five minutes outside of a bed or a disco.

From there, fly down the slopes to your hearts content – with the sun not setting until around 11.30pm, there’s plenty of time to make the most of the 12km of lightly-dusted groomers.

Sandboarding Mũi Né’s Epic Dunes

Vietnam will open its borders to the rest of the world from mid-March, in a move that the rest of the world is extremely excited about.

A hotpot of festivals, beaches, culture, beauty and food, not to mention interesting people, Vietnam is one of the must-go places for any traveller.

And while Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang and the like are epic places, get lost is steering you away from the well-trodden path to another beach town on the southeast coast.

Mũi Né is a haven for travellers for fishing, kitesurfing, beachside chilling and its massive sand dunes.

Rent a board and go flying down the sand. The red dunes in town aren’t bad, but the white dunes slightly further out are the best.

When you’re done, grab a cold Saigon Red on the water’s edge in town – we doubt there’s anywhere else you’d rather be.

Take it easy, Brother

Ever watch Gilligan’s Island? This is your chance to go full-Gilligan.

The Philippines are made up of over 7,000 islands, but there’s tiny one in particular we at get lost are interested in. Brother Island is situated in the Palawan province, next to El Nido, the famously beautiful resort island.

Fortunately, you can escape the crowds while marooning on Brother, where you can rent the entire island for not that much. For AUD $539 you get the entire, picturesque white-sand island to yourself – that’s just AUD $33 per night if you get 15 of your closest brothers (and sisters) together. Now granted, it is a tiny island – you can kayak the entire circumference in half an hour – but we think the idea of having an epic beach to yourself for you and a bunch of mates is pretty cool.

Included in the price is a Filipino ancestral-designed house with a heap of bedrooms, a well-preserved jungle and bamboo forest, a coral reef that skirts the perimeter of the whole island, and some of the whitest sand you are ever likely to come across. You can also get three-meals a day for a little bit extra.