The Truth about Japanese Knotweed

As far as I know, there isn’t any Japanese knotweed round our way. Which is good news, as the scare stories about what it can do to your garden and even your house are legion. It’s commonly called the modern-day triffid; it starts out as a rather attractive bamboo-like plant sitting neatly in the corner of the garden and ends up taking over the universe. It’s seriously scary. Continue reading

Schema-Sukima paired artists at LGLondon

Atsuo Hukuda One of the things I love about blogging on art in London is the huge variety on offer. Want to see some of the great masterworks of the last thousand years? The British Museum and the V&A are waiting for you with open doors. Prefer something small, new, quirky and offbeat? There’s a host of small galleries down hidden back streets ready to oblige. Which is what led me to duck into Hanway Place yesterday for something at the tinier end of the spectrum. Continue reading

Edmund de Waal at the Turner Contemporary, Margate

Edmund de WaalI cover Edmund de Waal’s exhibitions on the blog whenever I can – I love his ceramics – and his strong association with Japan through his family netsuke collection and his training as a potter qualifies him for a blog about art (and other things) with a Japanese connection. Though I’m stretching things a little as his current exhibition isn’t in London but at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. Still, it’s day trip-able from London so do what I did and get down there for a look – you won’t be disappointed. Continue reading

The Battersea Park Peace Pagoda

Battersea Park Peace Pagoda This week I ventured south of the river (but only just) to visit the peace pagoda in Battersea Park. If you’re a local you’ve probably jogged past it many times as it’s on the bank of the River Thames, and you may even know its story, but if not, I imagine you’re now asking, what’s a peace pagoda, and why is there one in Battersea Park?  Continue reading

Book Review – The Art of Japanese Architecture

THE ART OF JAPANESE ARCHITECTURE

I’m an ebook person most of the time. I like being able to download a book and start reading instantly, and I like that when I’ve finished I don’t have a book to clutter up my shelves. But I’ll make an exception for a beautifully illustrated book like The Art of Japanese Architecture. Continue reading

Spectra – a light show like no other

Spectra - Travelling Dave All this week, as darkness fell over London, crowds of people have headed down to Victoria Tower Gardens, the patch of green next to the Houses of Parliament where politicians are interviewed for the television news, to see a light show that’s making an all too brief appearance on our shores. It’s called Spectra, it’s by Japanese sound and light artist Ryoji Ikeda and it seems to have captured people’s imaginations. Why should that be? Continue reading

Happy Tanabata – again!

Tanabata at Kew GardensHappy Tanabata, for the second time this year. Tanabata again? What’s going on? Well, the Tanabata festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh month. So most places celebrate it on the seventh of July, like the Japan Society- led Tanabata festival on the South Bank that I wrote about before. But not all calendars are the same – by the lunar calendar August counts as the seventh month, so here we are celebrating Tanabata all over again. Continue reading

Cool summer lunch at Tombo Deli and Cafe

Tombo Deli and Cafe I don’t know about you, but with the summer we’re having, my thoughts turn to light, healthy lunches in cool places. Something salad-focused with a bit of a difference to tempt a summer appetite. Well, I’ve found just the place. It’s in South Kensington, just around the corner from the V&A, but off the tourist track so it’s quiet and relaxed. It’s called Tombo and it serves healthy Japanese food. Continue reading

Hokusai’s Great Wave – a view from the souvenir shop

Hokusai Great Wave souvenir apron I was in the British Museum the other day (as I often am) and, as I was passing the shop in the great court, a shopping bag printed with Hokusai’s Great Wave caught my eye. It made me wonder about the perspective people get who don’t climb the stairs (or take the hidden lift) to the fifth floor to see the Japanese collection, but just come across images in the shop. So I went to see what else was on offer. And got a bit of a shock. Continue reading

Hyper Japan 2014

Hyper Japan 2014 If it’s July it must be time for Hyper Japan, London’s biggest Japanese pop culture show. Once again it’s at Earl’s Court, but bigger, better and taking over the main hall for the first time. Which is great, except it makes it much harder to bring you the flavour of this varied and popular show. But I’ll give it a go. Continue reading