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A celebration of Japanese culture.

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  • 10/30/11--11:49: Urashima Taro
  • I’ve just spent a spooky afternoon at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington watching a production of Urashima Taro, by solo artist Aya Nakamura of Rouge28 Theatre. It was spellbinding. I first became aware of the story of Urashima Taro a few years ago when I read the story in a Japanese book for kids: Urashima [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Urashima TaroUrashima Taro

    Urashima Taro #2Urashima Taro #2

    Urashima_Taro_PleasanceUrashima_Taro_Pleasance

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  • 11/04/11--01:48: A-Z of Japan: U is for…
  • My A-Z of Japan is drawing to a close, but there are still a few letters left. This week, for U, I considered writing about the popular clothing store Uniqlo (ユニクロ). I also thought Ueno Zoo (上野動物園) might be a good topic. I could even have written about the tale of Urashima Taro (浦島 太郎), but [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Hitsumabushi at Shirakawa, Sakae, NagoyaHitsumabushi at Shirakawa, Sakae, Nagoya

    Unagi pieUnagi pie

    Unagi Pie Factory (うなぎパイファクトリー)Unagi Pie Factory (うなぎパイファクトリー)

    ウナギイヌ (Unagi inu) or ウナギイヌ (Unagi inu) or "Eel dog"

    ハマちゃんハマちゃん

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    Last week I went down to the ICN gallery to see their latest exhibition: Ryo Arai & ITARO – Essence of Edo-Tokyo. The exhibition features two artists: Ryo ARAI (b.1958; Tokyo, Japan) Arai is a rare figurative artist in Japan specialising in traditional Japanese papier-mâché, an artisan craft inherited from the traditional papier-mâché toys originally from [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Gotokuneko by Ryo AraiGotokuneko by Ryo Arai

    Nejishiki 1 by ItaroNejishiki 1 by Itaro

    Sazae by Ryo AraiSazae by Ryo Arai

    Battle Fish by ItaroBattle Fish by Itaro

    Ryo Arai with some of his workRyo Arai with some of his work

    Ogama by Ryo AraiOgama by Ryo Arai

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  • 11/04/11--16:17: Keiko Masumoto
  • I was disappointed to miss the Keiko Masumoto exhibition at the ICN gallery in October, but thrilled when I discovered some of her work was still at the ICN last week. Kinkakuji/plate Information about Keiko Masumoto’s work from the ICN gallery: The vessel is, of course, a utilitarian form. But there are vessels that are [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Kinkakuji/Plate by Keiko MasumotoKinkakuji/Plate by Keiko Masumoto

    Octopus/pot by Keiko MasumotoOctopus/pot by Keiko Masumoto

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  • 11/11/11--00:00: Happy Pocky Day!
  • It’s November 11th, 2011… It’s Pocky day! (Buy Pocky in the UK from Tofu Cute) Why is it Pocky day? Because 11.11.11 looks like a bunch of Pocky, that’s why! No, I didn’t make this up myself. 11th November is always Pocky Day, but this year is an extra special one because of the year. [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    115_pocky_chocolate_large115_pocky_chocolate_large

    Chocolate on chocolate PockyChocolate on chocolate Pocky

    Fruit PockyFruit Pocky

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    Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to a wonderful event at the Embassy of Japan called “Zen and the Art of Healthy Eating”.  The event was all about “shojin ryori” (Buddhist cuisine), which I’m a big fan of because not only is it veggie, it’s delicious! Shojin ryori was introduced to the audience [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    mari_fujiimari_fujii

    clearspringclearspring

    event-19event-19

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  • 11/12/11--00:29: A-Z of Japan: V is for…
  • What a struggle it has been to think of something to write about for this week’s A-Z of Japan. Apart from Digimon characters and the manga “Vampire Hunter D”, there aren’t really many things beginning with V in Japanese culture. Actually, the letter V doesn’t even exist in Japanese. However, I was looking through some [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Me & MakikoMe & Makiko

    HanamiHanami

    Peace!Peace!

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    Recently, when I went to YO!Sushi with some friends, one friend asked me: “Do restaurants like this actually exist in Japan?“. Initially I was surprised by the question. Of course they do! It hadn’t occurred to me that people might think that YO!Sushi was England’s take on a sushi restaurant. This style of restaurant, in [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Yo! SushiYo! Sushi

    Kappa SushiKappa Sushi

    The sushi train!The sushi train!

    Yo! SushiYo! Sushi

    Yo! SushiYo! Sushi

    j-festaj-festa

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  • 11/19/11--02:33: A-Z of Japan: W is for…
  • It’s A-Z of Japan time again, and this week I’ve been wondering what W should stand for. I thought about all of the wonderful World Heritage Sites in Japan, but I’ve only visited a handful of them. I also thought about the concept of wabi-sabi (侘寂), but it’s not something I know much about. Then I [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    wagashiwagashi

    Sakura anmitsu set with matchaSakura anmitsu set with matcha

    Hina daifukuHina daifuku

    DangoDango

    Dorayaki from Minamoto KitchoanDorayaki from Minamoto Kitchoan

    MochiMochi

    MochiMochi

    Oshiruko with mochi (red bean soup with mochi)Oshiruko with mochi (red bean soup with mochi)

    Sakura mochi!Sakura mochi!

    A rainbow of TaiyakiA rainbow of Taiyaki

    Ume YatsuhashiUme Yatsuhashi

    Souvenir shop in Tokyo TowerSouvenir shop in Tokyo Tower

    Brighton Japan Festival, 26th June 2011Brighton Japan Festival, 26th June 2011

    Minamoto KitchoanMinamoto Kitchoan

    A selection of Japanese sweets from Minamoto KitchoanA selection of Japanese sweets from Minamoto Kitchoan

    Cha no ma (near Baker Street)Cha no ma (near Baker Street)

    Tea and sweets...Tea and sweets...

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    Exciting news for everyone who’s going to be in the UK in Febrauary… Tickets for HYPER JAPAN 2012 Spring are now available! HYPER JAPAN 2012 Spring is being held at Brompton Hall in Earls Court, London, on Friday 24, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February. A limited number of tickets are being sold at a [...]

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    ttl_hyperjapan2012ttl_hyperjapan2012

    img_mainimg_main

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    What better way to spend a Friday night in London than to spend it watching a Japanese movie at the Barbican? Tonight was actually my first time to see a movie at the Barbican, and I was very impressed. The cinema there has a much classier vibe than your average British cinema, perhaps because they [...]

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    Tokyo Park_LEADTokyo Park_LEAD

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    I’ve been back in the UK about seven months now and, what with the rapid approach of the end of the year, it seems appropriate to reflect a little on my time in Japan. Also, I’ve been invited to participate in Whoa… I’m in Japan‘s blog carnival which is looking at the question “What Have [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    kitty chankitty chan

    Living-Abroad-Lessons-ThumbLiving-Abroad-Lessons-Thumb

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  • 12/03/11--10:29: A-Z of Japan: Y is for…
  • This is the penultimate post in my A-Z of Japan series, so it’s time for Y. Y could be for a lot of things, such as the beautiful city Yokohama (横浜) in Kanagawa Prefecture, the amazing island Yakushima (屋久島) which I would love to visit one day, or the citrus fruit yuzu (ゆず). I also considered [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Yokai3Yokai3

    TanukiTanuki

    Oni Matsuri (鬼祭り), Toyohashi, 11th February 2011Oni Matsuri (鬼祭り), Toyohashi, 11th February 2011

    Setsubun goodsSetsubun goods

    tsukumogamitsukumogami

    ryo arairyo arai

    GeGeGe no KitaroGeGeGe no Kitaro

    bakemonobakemono

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  • 12/07/11--13:31: Goldfish Salvation
  • Goldfish Salvation is the name of the debut London exhibition by Riusuke Fukahori at the ICN gallery in London. (Riusuke Fukahori with Quadra Tea) I went along last Saturday to find out what it was all about, and to witness Fukahori’s “live painting”. Born in Aichi, Fukahori is a graduate of Aichi Prefectual University of [...]

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    Riusuke Fukahori at the ICN galleryRiusuke Fukahori at the ICN gallery

    Goldfish Salvation exhibitionGoldfish Salvation exhibition

    Goldfish Salvation exhibitionGoldfish Salvation exhibition

    Goldfish sake: Bright red PhoenixGoldfish sake: Bright red Phoenix

    Goldfish Salvation exhibitionGoldfish Salvation exhibition

    AiAi

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

    Live painting by Riusuke FukahoriLive painting by Riusuke Fukahori

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    Is your Christmas tree lacking that certain something? Would you like to give your friends a lovingly hand-crafted decoration for Christmas? Do you love Japanese crafts? If your answer to any of those questions is “yes”, read on! Sometime back in July I stumbled upon Japan Crafts. Japan Crafts is a small, family business based [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble KitJapan Crafts - Kimekomi Christmas Bauble Kit

    Japan CraftsJapan Crafts

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  • 12/09/11--05:38: Knit for Japan
  • I just stumbled upon this initiative and had to share it with you all: Knit for Japan! Here’s what it’s all about: Website: knitforjapan.wordpress.com How can you help? Are you good in knitting or crochet and interested in putting your skills to use for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake? This is the place to [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    knit for japanknit for japan

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  • 12/10/11--11:08: A-Z of Japan: Z is for…
  • Here it is – the final installment in my A-Z of Japan! So, what could Z be for? The obvious choice would be zen, but I don’t know enough about it to write a “quick guide to zen”. I also considered writing about the 2003 movie Zatoichi, but I have to confess I didn’t really [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    binzurubinzuru

    amidaamida

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

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  • 12/10/11--11:21: A-Z of Japan
  • My A-Z of Japan has finally come to an end. In case you missed any installments, here they all are again: A is for… Azuki Beans B is for… Basho C is for… Cicada D is for… Daibutsu E is for… Ema F is for… Fans G is for… Green Tea Frappuccino H is for… [...]

    HaikugirlHaikugirl

    Azuki beansAzuki beans

    Matsuo BashoMatsuo Basho

    CicadaCicada

    Great Buddha (Daibutsu)Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

    Meiji JinguMeiji Jingu

    FansFans

    Starbucks Matcha FrappuccinoStarbucks Matcha Frappuccino

    Hachiko (Shibuya)Hachiko (Shibuya)

    Beer in Za-Watami (Izakaya)Beer in Za-Watami (Izakaya)

    Jizo at ZojyojiJizo at Zojyoji

    CarpCarp

    Lost in TranslationLost in Translation

    Momotaro ShrineMomotaro Shrine

    View of Nagoya, from Midland Square Sky Promenade, 46th FloorView of Nagoya, from Midland Square Sky Promenade, 46th Floor

    OmamoriOmamori

    Narita-san Shinsho-jiNarita-san Shinsho-ji

    QooQoo

    Rilakkuma Store, KichijojiRilakkuma Store, Kichijoji

    ShinkansenShinkansen

    TokugawaTokugawa

    ハマちゃんハマちゃん

    Peace!Peace!

    WagashiWagashi

    x japan #1x japan #1

    GeGeGe no KitaroGeGeGe no Kitaro

    Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011Zenkoji, Nagano, 20th March 2011

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    I rarely re-post something exactly as it was on someone else’s blog, but I need to share this post with you all. I found this on Japan Probe today. This video will probably make you cry, but watch it to the end. A very important message from Tsunami victims in Japan to the world:

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    arigato-from-tohokuarigato-from-tohoku

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    A couple of weeks ago I went to a seminar organised by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London). The seminar’s title was Information Aid? The role of the media in responding to disasters, and the two speakers were Jon Snow (ITN journalist and Channel 4 [...]

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    Jon Snow 2Jon Snow 2

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