The Fiendish Innocence of Yoshitomo Nara

Yoshitomo NaraSometimes I like to go to art shows by myself and sometimes I like to go with other people. For the Yoshitomo Nara show at the Dairy Art Centre, it was a sociable outing with regular visitor to this blog Yannick and new Twitter friend Allie. Which means I can share their perspective on the show with you as well as mine – some interesting insights to come. Continue reading

A Japanese/English autumn garden in Regent’s Park

Regent's ParkOne of the things I love about London’s parks is the way they change with the changing seasons. Yes, I know, all gardens do, but there are little nooks and crannies in the parks where I’m continually surprised by how different they can look as the year passes. One of my favourites is the Japanese garden in Regent’s Park. I went down to have a look at it this week and found it enchanting. Continue reading

Where manga-cute meets horror: Junko Mizuno

Junko MizunoCovent Garden is a home from home for me. There’s hardly a day goes by that I’m not down there for dance classes of one kind or another, or meeting up with friends for dinner. So when I heard that manga graphic novelist Junko Mizuno would be exhibiting at the Atomica Gallery in Short’s Gardens, it was the work of a moment to pop in to take a look. After all, the gallery is right next to my hairdressers. Continue reading

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