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Urashima Taro

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan: U is for…

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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 [...]

Ryo Arai & ITARO – Essence of Edo-Tokyo at the ICN gallery

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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 [...]

Keiko Masumoto

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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 [...]

Happy Pocky Day!

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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. [...]

Zen and the Art of Healthy Eating

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan: V is for…

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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 [...]

Dining in Japan: Kaiten-zushi

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan: W is for…

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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 [...]

HYPER JAPAN 2012 Spring: Tickets out now!

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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 [...]

Premiere Japan 2011: Tokyo Park (東京公園)

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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 [...]

What I’ve learned from living in Japan

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan: Y is for…

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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 [...]

Goldfish Salvation

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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 [...]

Japan Crafts – for Christmas!

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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 [...]

Knit for Japan

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan: Z is for…

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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 [...]

A-Z of Japan

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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… [...]

Message From Tohoku: We Will Always Remember You

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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:

Information Aid? The role of the media in responding to disasters

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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 [...]