Isle of Man – More Than Just Motorcycle Racing! Check Out a Manx Cat Café, Drive on Roads With No Speed Limit and See Trains Inspired by Thomas the Tank Engine

The Isle of Man is most famous for its Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, the world’s most dangerous motorbike race, which has been held on the island since 1907. We of the Domain Expedition decided to explore attractions on the Isle of Man outside of bike racing, such as taking a look at trains modeled on Thomas & Friends and a cat café for Manx cats, a tail-less cat that originated on the island. The ccTLD for the Isle of Man is “.im”.
It is used by quite a few messaging services such as arenastatusGapMessengerTocaro, etc.

= Table of Contents =

◆Where is the Isle of Man?

◆Refugee Staff Member from Ukraine

◆Only 3 Motorbikes Seen on the Isle

◆”Manx Cat Café”, the Isle of Man’s First and Only Cat Café

◆Discover 10,000 Years of Isle of Man History

◆ Is Thomas & Friends really modeled on the Trains From the Isle of Man?

◆Driving on Roads with “No Speed Limits”

◆Finding “.im” Around Town

◆How to Purchase an eSIM & Test the Internet Speed

◆Where is the Isle of Man?

The Isle of Man is a British Crown Territory situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, between Great Britain and Ireland. It has a population of about 90,000 and covers an area of 572.39㎢, roughly the same size as Awaji Island in Japan. The isle’s military and foreign affairs are outsourced to the UK and it is heavily dependent on the UK economically. The local currency is pound sterling.

◆Refugee Staff Member from Ukraine

Having finished our bus exploration of Guernsey, we’re now heading to the Isle of Man via London. While we’re in London, it’s only right that we enjoy some famous local fish and chips.

We arrive by the British low-cost airline, easyJet. Outside it’s extremely cold and windy.

We want to go to our hotel by taxi. But where are the taxis…? Since the Isle of Man has more tourist attractions than Jersey or Guernsey, I honestly thought I’d get a taxi more easily. It’s already past 9:30pm. The airport staff let us know that, like in Guernsey, there is a last bus of the day. Phew! Taking a Mercedes Benz bus to the hotel.

It takes about 30 minutes. We arrive at our hotel, . The heating isn’t on so it’s pretty cold inside. Perhaps they’re conserving energy due to the situation with Russia?

When I was chatting with one of the hotel staff members before breakfast, she told me I had the same name as her son – Yuri. Her son is called Yurii, which is a Slavic male name. In Japan, Yuri is a female name but it’s a male name in Eastern Europe. The most famous male Yuri is probably Yurii Gagarin, the first man in space (Soviet Union), who said “the earth is blue”. The lady I spoke with had been evacuated from Ukraine to the Isle of Man via Kraków, Poland. She nows lives with a host family and works in this hotel. Hearing that her son dreamt of going to India but is now unable to, made me realize I shouldn’t take the ability to travel freely for granted. When I left the hotel, I shared some Japanese sweets with her as a parting gift.

◆Only 3 Motorbikes Seen on the Isle

Breakfast was fried and scrambled eggs, bacon and orange juice.

Unfortunately, going outside we see that it’s raining now. We take a walk around the hotel.

SPAR is the world’s largest food retail chain, operating in more than 30 countries, mainly in Europe. We don’t see them in Japan very often.

Here’s an intriguing looking shop. It’s called SOUND RECORDS.

The radio-cassette player is marked with “OSHIMA”. Maybe it’s the previous owner’s name.

An expected sight on an isle famous for motorbike racing. Three men arrived on motorbike. They were on off-road motorbikes. How cool. I had wondered how many more will we see during our time here, but surprisingly, in the end we only saw those three.

The weather turned sunny as we strolled around the area.

◆”Manx Cat Café”, the Isle of Man’s First and Only Cat Café

Our first stop was Manx Cat Café. It’s about a 7-minute walk from the hotel.

As you enter, there’s a sign instructing customers to close the door behind them. It would be a problem if any of the cats got out.

At the entrance to the cat café. We enter cautiously as I see there is a cat near the door.

We paid an entrance fee of £7 at the counter. The price includes a drink, such as a cup of tea.
It’s recommended that you book via the website.

View of the café as seen from the reception counter. Today there are three cats wandering about freely.
I wonder where they all are?

Here’s one! An orange tabby Manx cat.

Next, a black Manx playing hide-and-seek.

And a grey Manx, taking a break. I found all three!

Kōtōbu enthusiasts (those who love the back of a cat’s head) can enjoy the view for as long as they like.

I tried to tempt him with some catnip, but was unsuccessful. It seems he keeps a clear distinction between work and break time.

All three cats are here now. The Manx is a breed of tail-less cat that originated on the Isle of Man. All the cats here are authentic Isle of Man Manx cats. I tried the catnip again, but was ignored. Perhaps my way of tempting him was too Japanese?

Manx cats are known for being gentle and kind. There are many theories as to why they don’t have a tail, the most famous being that when the last Manx cat jumped on board Noah’s Ark, it lost its tail when it was caught in the door slamming shut.

Three women enjoying delicious-looking toast and sandwiches. By the way, 20% of us here at Interlink Co., Ltd. are owned by cats.

Today’s menu. The cake looks delicious.
Better get going before I lose the will to explore anywhere else.

The grey Manx is on another break. Bye! Take care!

◆Discover 10,000 Years of Isle of Man History

Under beautiful blue skies that belie the morning’s rain, let’s go and check out the Manx Museum, where we can learn about the history of the Isle of Man.

Here we are. Admission is free.

Many artefacts and treasures unique to the isle are on display.

You can really get a sense of the 10,000 years of history on the Isle of Man.

The story of Tynwald, the world’s oldest continuous parliament.

The Natural History Gallery showcases the island’s landscape, wildlife and habitats.

A section dedicated to the world-famous Isle of Man TT Races, showing legendary riders and Michelin motorcycle paraphernalia.

They were selling cute Manx cat soft toys at the souvenir shop.

Also the Isle of Man flag.

◆ Is Thomas & Friends really modeled on the Trains From the Isle of Man?

To find out if the rumor is true – that Thomas & Friends was modeled on trains from the Isle of Man – we decided to visit the Isle of Man Steam Railway, arguably the most popular tourist attraction on the isle. First stop, Douglas Station. Magnificent brick arches give it a historic and grand atmosphere.

Let’s enter the platform.

Some people are already on board. All seats are in private compartments. Each compartment has its own door for entry and exit. Pretty unusual!

The leading steam carriage. It does look a bit like Thomas the Tank Engine. All of these steam trains were built around 1900.

The private compartments seat 4 to 6 people. The railway runs for 25km with 11 stations, but since we didn’t have a lot of time we decided to just go from Douglas Station to Castletown and then come back again. The fare was £11.80 return.

A short time after leaving the station we could see the sea. It looks like a framed picture but it was our actual view! The windows are designed to look like picture frames.

Passing through Port Soderick Station.

They’re so small it’s hard to see but there are sheep in the fields. The idyllic scenery continues.

We’ve entered a residential area now.

We arrive at Castletown Station.

Castletown was the seat of the Isle of Man parliament until 1863. There was a stone building on the station grounds.

So, were the trains on the Isle of Man really the inspiration for Thomas & Friends? We talked to five staff members at Castletown Station and they all told us, “Yes, that’s right”. We were told the steam train “Southerland” on display at the Isle of Man Steam Railway Museum was the model for Thomas. Isle of Man Steam Railway Museum, which we unfortunately didn’t have time to visit, is a one-minute walk from the railway’s final station, Port Erin. If you’re a Thomas fan you won’t want to miss it.

We return to Douglas by steam train.

◆Driving on Roads with “No Speed Limits”

Back in Douglas, we now head for the airport. In order to continue our exploration for as long as possible in the little time remaining, we book a taxi. Is it true that the roads on the Isle of Man have no speed limit? The speed limit on this road was 40 km/h.

Suddenly we see a white road sign with a black diagonal line.

Then our driver starts going faster and faster!

That white road sign with a black stripe meant “No Speed Limit”.
While drivers can go as fast as they like, it seemed like everyone was sticking to safe speeds.
You see a lot of these signs on the way to the airport.

Thanks to them, we arrived at Peel Castle in no time at all.

Since we didn’t have enough time we didn’t go inside, but we did take a stroll around the outside.

View of the sea from the outer wall. What a magnificent view!

The famous prawn sandwiches were incredible, even if we had to eat them in a hurry.

We walked 5 minutes to St. German’s Cathedral.

It’s called the ruins of St. German, but it doesn’t really look like ruins to me?

Ah, unsurprisingly, the ruins of St. German’s Cathedral were located within Peel Castle.
The cathedral within Peel Castle dates back to the 12th century and was abandoned in the 18th century. It was decided not to rebuild within Peel Castle, and the present cathedral was build outside the castle between 1879 and 1884. Since we didn’t go inside the castle, we didn’t realize this. Keep this in mind if you are visiting the ruins of St. German’s Cathedral.


Finally we visit , which manages the “.im” domain.

We didn’t have an appointment so we explain the purpose of our visit over the intercom.

The director was out, but David, the Senior Manager was there to greet us with a smile. We gave them some Japanese souvenirs and talked about our Domain Island Tour. A few days later we received an e-mail from the director of Domicilium Ltd Isle of Man Datacentre apologizing for not being there after we had traveled all the way from Japan.

And that concludes our exploration of the Isle of Man. We left on a propeller plane operated by Scottish commuter airline, Loganair.

◆Finding “.im” Around Town

Fitness Club

The largest building contractor on the Isle of Man.

This is a construction company too.

The Isle of Man Railway website, which has timetables and other information.

Isle of Man tourism website, which I saw at the airport.

◆How to Purchase an eSIM & Test the Internet Speed

Domain Island Tours have reported on how to find and purchase local SIM cards from June 2018 to September 2020. However, since it takes a surprisingly long time to find a store and buy one, from now on we’ll use eSIMs. Switching to eSIM made it easy to sign up for a connection that works in the Isle of Man. The one I used this time was Airalo for the Isle of Man (Isle of Man compatible, 1 GB, 7 days, $5 USD) Isle of Man eSIM speeds as measured at Isle of Man Airport (Ronaldsway Airport). It was 51 Mbps.

■List of Places Visited

■ For access to Man click here

■ For “.im” domain details click here

Are there really no Maltese dogs in the Maltese Islands?

The Maltese Islands are the birthplace of the Maltese dog, an adorable creature with gorgeous eyelashes and pure white fluffy hair like a stuffed animal. Do the islanders of Malta love Maltese dogs and is it a sort of Maltese dog heaven? Hmm, searching the net reveals little information on Maltese dogs in Malta. They are not mentioned at all in the guide book. On the tenth trip of the Domain Island Tour, I visited Malta to check the situation of the Maltese dogs there. The ccTLDs (country code top level domain) for Malta are “.mt”, and “”.

<<Table of Contents>>
◆Cat Village!? I Went to See “Cat Village”
◆Asking the Maltese People “Which Dog do you Like Best?”
◆At Long Last, a Maltese Dog
◆If You Think this is Just a Resort Area, You are Much Mistaken! Malta, a Leader in Cryptocurrency
◆Interesting Things on Malta
◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed
◆Similarities between the “.mt” domain and Maltese dogs

The Republic of Malta is located in the south of Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea, it has a temperate climate and the people of Europe like to vacation in Malta.

Cat Village!? I Went to See “Cat Village”

Although small dogs called “Maltese” originated in the Republic of Malta, it is full of cats and now very famous as a “Cat Island.” Some tourists come to see the cats. On the map of Malta, there is even a place called the “Cat Village”. Is Malta a cat place not a dog place? Since there is no information about Maltese dogs, I went to the Cat Village.

A sign for Cat Village. Will the Cat Village be surrounded by, and full of cats? Sounds irresistible.

Cat Village. I am welcomed by a cat sitting on a scooter bike.

There are plenty of stuffed animals, it’s like a fairy tale. However, I cannot find enough cats to call it a village …. Wait a minute, maybe they are all just out doing cat errands.

There seem to be more people than cats.

Finally found some! Aww, pretty cute ☆ blending in with the other people handing out treats, I also pass out popular treats from Japan.

Yummy kitty

That looks so yummy, kitty

Hey, sneaky kitty

With the number of cats so few, I was wondering if this could really be called a Cat Village? but actually it functions as a shelter and there is a sign asking for money and food.

Cats can be seen everywhere on Malta, in fact, there are about 700,000 cats living there, more than the human population.
If you like cats, this is an island you must visit at least once.

Asking the Maltese People “Which Dog do you Like Best?”

“Do you know of any Maltese dogs here on Malta?” I asked local dog owners. Also, to find out the present status of the Maltese dog in Malta, I showed them pictures of Toy poodles, Maltese, Akita dogs, and Golden Retrievers in order to find out which dog people like best.

Local people who cooperated with this survey.

A friendly family in Malta also helped out.

A gallant German shepherd. Dog lovers having a tea together.

Here are the survey results. Rather than the little Maltese dog, big dogs were popular… The Japanese Akita and the Golden Retriever were tied in first place. Maybe this is due to influence of the world-renowned Alina Zagitova? As a Japanese person, I’m happy. Or is it because on Malta, these dogs are even more rare than the Maltese dog? Well, I couldn’t get any information on anyone keeping Maltese dogs.

Next, when I asked at the hotel if there are pet shops that sell Maltese dogs, they told me that there are places that sell pet food, but no places that sell dogs. Pet shops on Malta are places that care for animals and look for foster homes for them. I found a pet shop called the MSPCA but they are only open every Wednesday. Besides that, they told me the sad fact that there are no Maltese breeders on Malta.

At Long Last, a Maltese Dog

The next day, I went out by bus to renew my investigation, I chose the morning walk time to catch dog owners, but I had a hard time finding a Maltese dog. Other kinds of dogs going for walks.

Where did you come from doggy?

Doggy likes the wind

A tired doggy…

After about 5 hours of walking I finally found a small white dog.

It had just come out for a walk. A Maltese dog kept by an elegant lady.

His name is Max.

Unfortunately, he comes from Serbia and not from Malta.
In the end I only met this one Maltese dog. Currently there seems to be very few people with Maltese dogs on Malta Island.

If You Think this is Just a Resort Area, You are Much Mistaken! Malta, a Leader in Cryptocurrency

Close to Europe, with beautiful nature and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Malta is popular as a luxury resort. Many tourists visit from Japan, some for their honeymoon, others as exchange students. If you search the net for Malta, only sightseeing information will appear on the top page. However, many cryptocurrency-related companies have moved to Malta recently.

This is why:

①It’s a country that encourages the use of cryptocurrency

②They have progressive laws that are favorable to cryptocurrency

③With low tax rates Malta is a kind of tax haven, and it has a preferential tax system for foreigners.

Especially since the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) started regulating these things, it’s quite well known that the biggest crypto exchange company “Binance” left Hong Kong and moved to Malta. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat posted some heated tweets after the opening of Binance’s Malta office.

Incidentally, a Maltese lady journalist who was investigating allegations of slush funds around Prime Minister Muscat, was killed when a bomb exploded in her car while she was driving in northern Malta.
This was also a hot topic in Malta.

(※AFPBB News


Views near Hilton Hotel

Descending to the bottom it seems like a theme park.

Descending to the bottom it seems like a theme park. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA


<blockquote data-width=”500″ data-height=”375″ class=”ricoh-theta-spherical-image” >Descending to the bottom it seems like a theme park. #theta360 – <a href=”” target=”_blank”>Spherical Image – RICOH THETA</a></blockquote>

<script async src=”” charset=”utf-8″></script>


The harbor is full of pleasure boats costing over 30 million yen. Are they owned by rich people who made profits from cryptocurrency?

A real estate company has a lot of expensive property information posted. Payment is in bitcoins only, and it seems a condo in the capital city of Valletta is selling for about 400 million yen.(※Coin Choice)。

◆ Interesting Things on Malta

  • Maltese Cuisine

・The Number 1 Food Recommended by the Malta Tourism Authority is “Sea Urchin”

Here are the “10 Foods You Must Eat” if you come to Malta, according to the Malta Tourism Authority. Number 1. is “sea urchin.” How could I not eat the food recommend as Number 1 by the Tourism Authority?!

I ordered sea urchin pasta (16.50 €) at the Il Ponte Restaurant. The sea urchin sauce was rich and flavorful.

Actually, I went to some restaurants where you could get sea urchin, according to the restaurant guide provided by the Malta Tourism Authority, only to be told that it was no longer on the menu. You need to be careful about trusting information on the internet these days.

・Calamari fritto

If you come to Malta, I recommend the seafood. Especially, please try the calamari fritto (squid: 15 €).

・Rabbit dishes

Speaking of Maltese’s specialties, there’s rabbit… For Japanese people, this seems a bit cruel, but in fact, there are a lot of countries that eat rabbit. Tastes like chicken.


Stuffed beef rolls stewed with vegetables with tomato sauce.

・ Maltese bread

It often comes complimentary with your meal. Eaten with a mixture of olive oil, salt pepper and balsamic vinegar.

・Aperol (oranges and herbs blended into a sparkling liqueur)

・Cisk Lager Beer (beer with low alcohol content, 4.2%)


Called “The Ideal City of the Renaissance” Valletta is a beautiful fortified city registered as a World Heritage Site. Build by the Knights Hospitaller, the buildings are made of honey colored limestone.

Night view of World Heritage Valletta.


The streets of Valletta also had cats.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

There is a Vodafone shop in the Malta International Airport, so you can purchase local SIM. It was 20€ for 2GB.

Rest assured, you can ask the staff to help you set up the SIM.


I checked the internet speed at The speed was 15Mbps and I could use the internet without any problem.


◆Similarities between the “.mt” domain and Maltese dogs

The country code domains for Malta are “.mt”, and “”. I searched for them in town. Bus tickets Bicycle rental company One of the top 15 most spectacular theaters in the world. Clothing company

On the other hand, many were using the word “malta” in a second level domain name, like

Contrary to my expectations, and like the Maltese dog, I could not find the Maltese country domain “.mt” much in Malta.

The “.mt” domain is an uncommon domain that the Maltese people do not use much, but because it is a country-specific domain, it is best for operating websites and e-mail addresses related to Malta. As long as people keep using “.com” in the character string, the “.mt” domain may still be available.

Click here for how to visit Malta

■For the Malta Domain “.mt” click here

■For the Malta Domain “” click here