Bronze pumpkins in a garden – must be Kusama!

Kusama pumpkinsYayoi Kusama is best know for her spots. Her collaboration with Louis Vuitton a couple of years ago was all about spots. But they’re not the only major theme in her work – another one is pumpkins, three of which have now arrived for a stay at Victoria Miro in Shoreditch. They’re rather different from the characteristic child’s-drawing bright colours of her other work. They’re dark and handsome and bronze. Continue reading

Autumn leaves, autumn colours… and murder

Autumn Leaves in Hockley, CanadaAutumn leaf viewing is a big thing in Japan – almost as big as cherry blossom viewing in the spring.  Plus, it has a special significance for me this year because the murder in my new book, The Haiku Murder, happens against the background of golden autumn leaves in Matsuyama, on the island of Shikoku. So I had to do a post on autumn leaves didn’t I? There’s just one thing I have to confess. Continue reading

The Haiku Murder is here!

The Haiku MurderIt’s publication day! The Haiku Murder is out!

A haiku-writing trip turns to tragedy when a charismatic financier falls from the top of Matsuyama castle. But was he pushed? Expat Londoner Josie Clark thinks so, but her life goes spinning off the rails as she tries to find the victim’s missing bag and its mysteriously valuable contents before more people die. Who’d have thought poetry could be so dangerous?

Praise for the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series:
Lush imagery captures Japan’s bustling cities and restful countryside… believably crafted characters, a fast pace, and clean prose. – Publishers Weekly

The Haiku Murder is the second book in the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series, but you can read it as a stand-alone story as well. Get the ebook at Amazon UK and Amazon USA, or the print version at Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

And, as a bonus, there’s also an ebook prequel novelette, The Tokyo Karaoke Murder. It’s a short read – should take about an hour – that challenges you to solve the mystery faster than Josie can. It’s on Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

The Tokyo Karaoke Murder

Aiko Miyanaga at the White Rainbow Gallery

Aiko MiyanagaThere’s a new gallery in town, the White Rainbow Gallery on Mortimer Street, round the back of Oxford St and guess what? It specialises in contemporary art from Japan. As you can imagine, Yannick and I were onto it like a cat on a lazy sparrow.  Saturday afternoon saw us pushing open the tall glass doors to check out the cool white space inside, suitably inaugurated with a selection of ethereal works by Aiko Miyanaga. Continue reading

Basho and Wordsworth – more in common than you’d think

Basho and wordsworthIt’s a bit far for a day trip, but up in Cumbria there’s an exhibition on called Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets. It’s at the Wordsworth Museum, next to Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth wrote some of his greatest poetry. It features manuscripts and early printed editions of work written by Basho, Wordsworth, and Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, who is now recognised as a significant writer in her own right, as well as new works by contemporary artists responding to the manuscripts and what originally inspired them. The theme, and the connection it makes between two such different poets, sounds fascinating. Continue reading

Autumn Season: Japanese dancers at the Royal Ballet

Artists of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, Act II © Bill Cooper/ROH 2011

Artists of The Royal Ballet in Swan Lake, Act II © Bill Cooper/ROH 2011

With the 2014/15 season opening at the Royal Opera House (yes, they’ll be doing Swan Lake), it’s a good time to take another look at the Japanese dancers and see what changes the last year has brought. Some ups and downs and a few leavers is the answer, but so far no dramatic announcements about new principals. Will we see a Japanese dancer reach principal this year? Who knows. But this is how the runners and riders look at the moment. Continue reading

The Ming Exhibition at the British Museum

Chinese Warriors I went along to the new Ming exhibition at the British Museum just because I wanted to see it, not thinking it would have much of a Japanese aspect to qualify it for a blog post. But, as so often happens, once I got there I found all sorts of references to Japan – not really surprising when you consider that Japan is China’s nearest neighbour after Korea. So here’s a Japanese take on a Chinese exhibition for you. Continue reading

Kimonos rule at Japan Matsuri 2014

Japan Matsuri 2014Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square gets bigger and better every year. Especially this year, with the Indian summer we’ve been having, which really brought out the crowds. A surprising number of people dressed the part in kimonos – everything from cotton yukata, the traditional wear for a summer festival, to richly decorated antique kimonos. That’s what I’ve focused on this year, so here’s my kimono fashion parade from Japan Matsuri. Continue reading

Another murder case (or two) for Josie Clark

Josie Clark in Japan mysteriesBack in February I published The Cherry Blossom Murder, the first book in the Josie Clark in Japan mystery series. It’s done really well, reaching the quarter finals (meaning it was one of the top hundred in the mystery and thriller category) of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, a competition with 10,000 entries worldwide. Now the next book in the series, The Haiku Murder is coming out – plus a prequel novelette, The Tokyo Karaoke Murder. They’ll both be published on 13th October, but you can pre-order the ebooks now. Continue reading

Tokyo Imagine at Tent 2014

Tokyo Imagine Tent is one of the annual set pieces of the London Design Festival. Located in the Old Truman Brewery in Hanbury Street, it showcases designers from around the world. In previous years I’ve discovered Mashiko Pottery and textile crafts there. But this year it’s different. There’s a whole section called Tokyo Imagine which features young digital media artists (I’m not sure I’d call them designers exactly) working with new technology, showcased alongside traditional artefacts. It’s refreshing and, judging by the crowds, I wasn’t the only one who found it exciting.  Continue reading