Henry Southeran Japanese Prints

Henry Southeran Japanese PrintsWhen we think of Japanese prints it’s usually ukiyo-e, traditional ‘floating world’ woodblock prints of actors and kimono-clad beauties, that come to mind. But Henry Southeran’s current show of twentieth century Japanese prints includes not just traditionally-made woodblock prints of flowers and landscapes, but Studio Ghibli storyboards and hand drawn anime and manga cels as well. They’re for sale, and they’re pretty reasonably priced. Continue reading

(Don’t) hold the soy sauce – Yashin Sushi

Yashin SushiYashin Sushi isn’t the kind of place I’d normally hang out. For one thing, it’s in Kensington, just off Kensington High St, and for a North Londoner like me that’s a bit of a trek. Plus it pulls a fashionable crowd, especially in the evenings, while I tend to go for more traditional Japanese places. But I was invited there for lunch by some Japanese friends and I was very glad I went. Continue reading

Boro – Japanese Textiles at Somerset House

Boro Japanese TextilesIt’s funny how things that were originally just household reliables, used every day without a second thought, can turn into art. That’s what happened with boro, which is an art born from poverty, as Japanese families patched and mended their textiles so as to keep on using them as long as possible. And then times changed and those patched and faded blankets and clothes ended up hanging on the walls at Somerset House. Life is strange. Continue reading

The new Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Serpentine Sackler GalleryLike the title says, this post is supposed to be about Yannick’s and my visit to the new Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens. And it is, really. It’s just that some cherry blossom, yuzu meringue tart, Mashiko Pottery (see the Japanese connection there?) and the Albert Memorial have crept in too. Continue reading

Regent’s Park Cherry Blossom Virtual Tour

Regent's Park cherry blossomIt’s really hard to get the timing right with cherry blossom. When the lovely grove of pink cherries at the south of Regent’s Park flowered early this year, in mid-March, I thought I ‘d blown it. But no! I visited the park yesterday and it was perfect timing – I even caught the avenue along Chester Road in full flower which I’ve never managed to do before. So I decided to share it all with you in my Regent’s Park cherry blossom virtual tour. Continue reading

Looking for cherry blossom? You’ve come to the right place!

Kew Gardens Cherry BlossomIt’s cherry blossom season again, and time for my annual cherry blossom report. No, it’s not a guide – I did that last year and if that’s what you want then go straight to London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five which tells you all you need to know about finding cherry blossom in London. This year I’ve decided to just show you some of the fabulous cherry blossom that is in bloom right now at Kew Gardens, my all-time favourite cherry blossom viewing spot. Enjoy! Continue reading

The Prince of the Pagodas


Momoko Hirata as Princess Sakura and Joseph Caley as the Salamander: Photo Richard Battye

A dying emperor, a wicked sister, a strange journey under the sea led by a Prince who has been turned into a salamander. Sounds like your kind of thing? Then you might be up for The Prince of the Pagodas, a ballet with a fantastical plot and lots of gorgeous and imaginative costumes. Throw in a new production with a strong Japanese influence and you won’t be able to resist. Continue reading

Handkerchiefs for Tohoku

Daiwa Yasashii HankachiIt’s two years now since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku in North East Japan claimed over 18,000 lives and left many more injured and homeless. The people of Tohoku are rebuilding their shattered lives and to help them, particularly the children, many of whom were left orphaned, graphic designers from the Japan Graphic Designers Association have collaborated with children in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima to create beautiful handkerchiefs which are exhibited and sold to raise money for schools in the area. Some of the handkerchiefs are now on display in London.

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Utamaro at Two Temple Place

Utamaro Chushingura

Two Temple Place is a gothic-revival mansion built by William Waldorf Astor in 1892. At the time Astor was the richest man in Europe and his architect, John Loughborough Pearson, one of the foremost neo-Gothic architects of the late nineteenth-century, was instructed to spare no expense. It’s only open to the public when there’s a special exhibition on, as there is at the moment – Discoveries, featuring works from ten Cambridge museums and galleries. Continue reading

Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arranging

Ikebana Hilary Wain Sogetsu

I’ve been wanting to do a post about ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arranging – ever since I started this blog, but it’s not easy to find in London. But this week I struck lucky; an exhibition by members of the London chapter of Ikebana International titled The Delights of Spring at the Brompton Oratory Hall. It was only on for a few hours but I raced down there  – here’s what I found. Continue reading