The sound of Taiko: Yamato Drummers on tour

yamato drummersThe Yamato Drummers of Japan are back in the UK with a twenty-date tour that opened in Bristol on 20 April. They offer a dynamic high energy drumming show that combines strength and skill with humour and showmanship. It’s a thrilling kaleidoscope of sound – and very loud. Continue reading

On Kawara: One Million Years at Asia House

Volunteers participating in a live reading of On Kawara's "One Million Years" at the Guggenheim (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York)

Volunteers participating in a live reading of On Kawara’s “One Million Years” at the Guggenheim (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York)

I generally try to cover topics which have a strong visual aspect on this blog. Art exhibitions, flowers, food and the like. Stuff I can take photos of. So the presentation of On Kawara’s epic work One Million Years at Asia House leaves me in a bit of a quandary; how do you visually represent an audio presentation? Continue reading

Just for a change: magnolias at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens magnoliaWhen I was at Kew Gardens last week I took at look at the little blackboard by the entrance on which they write what’s worth seeing that day. It said magnolias, and I have to admit it was right. I’ve never thought of going to Kew for the magnolias before, but they are spectacular, so I thought I’d share some pictures with you. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom April Update – Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens Prunus ShirotaeI was surprised when I went to Kew Gardens a few days ago. I expected to see the cherry blossom walk (which earned Kew its top spot in my London Cherry Blossom Guide) in full flower, but to be honest, it’s actually still about a week away from its peak. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of wonderful blossom to be seen, but that moment when the sheer mass of it all is overwhelming is yet to come. So what do you get if you go now? Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom April Update – Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace cherry blossomGosh, I owe Alexandra Palace an apology. I posted my London Cherry Blossom Guide two years ago and I’ve been updating it regularly since then, but not once have I mentioned Alexandra Palace, even though I live nearby. It just never occurred to me it was a top cherry blossom viewing spot, and somehow I never went there in cherry blossom season. Until now, that is. And now I know better. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom Easter Update

Regent's Park cherry blossomWe’re moving into full cherry blossom season now, and I bet you’re wondering where to see cherry blossom at Easter. Take a look at my London Cherry Blossom Guide for my top five spots. Today, as part of my regular series of updates on the progress of the blooms, I’m doing a report on the current state of the blossom in Regent’s Park. Continue reading

A mystery solved – the Taitokuin model returns home

Taitokuin MausoleumJust over a year ago I did a post on the Japan-British exhibition of 1910, tracking where the exhibits ended up when the exhibition was over. The one that interested me the most was the one-tenth scale model of the Taitokuin Mausoleum, the memorial to the second Tokugawa Shogun in Zojo-ji Temple in Shiba. It was presented to the then King, George V, and remained for many years in the Royal Collection in dismantled form. But then what happened? I’ve only just found out. Continue reading

International Ceramics at Erskine, Hall & Coe

Lucie RieI’ve been to the Erskine, Hall & Coe gallery in the Royal Arcade again, this time for a mixed exhibition of international ceramics that includes several Japanese ceramists as well as some of the major names in English pottery like Bernard Leach and the modernist Lucie Rie. They all work in a pared-down, honest style that owes a lot to the Mingei movement in Japan pioneered by Shoji Hamada. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom March Update

cherry blossomI know (from the number of hits on my London Cherry Blossom Guide) that all you folk out there just can’t wait for the cherry blossom season to start. And you want to know what the state of play is, and whether it’s worth going now or not. So I’ve decided to do a regular update on the state of the blooms so you know just where you stand. You’re welcome! Continue reading

Cotton to Gold at Two Temple Place

Cotton to GoldIn the nineteenth century, the textile industry in the North West was booming, making the factory owners rich beyond the dreams of avarice. What did they do with this huge wealth? Well, some of them at least spent it on amassing some amazing collections of art and natural objects. Like Roman coins, medieval manuscripts, Turner watercolours, Tiffany glass, Japanese prints, Byzantine icons, ivory sculptures, preserved beetles and a Peruvian mummy, which all feature in the current exhibition at Two Temple Place. Continue reading