A different kind of festive tree – Kalpataru at the V&A

V&A Christmas treeWith Christmas Day galloping towards us at a rate of knots, I thought I’d bring you a Christmas tree with a difference. It’s this year’s Christmas tree installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum and it’s quite literally a tree of light. Continue reading

Christmas Past at the Geffrye Museum

Christmas tree Geffrye MuseumEvery year I have my first mince pie of the season at the Geffrye Museum Friends Christmas party, and revisit their annual Christmas Past exhibition. The exhibition has been running for over twenty-five years and it takes the staff hours to painstakingly decorate each room in the style of the relevant period. The result never fails to enchant. Continue reading

The Festive Season starts with The Nutcracker

© Dave Morgan

© Dave Morgan

As far as I’m concerned, it wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker. You know how the story goes – a little girl, Clara, is given a nutcracker for Christmas by a magician and when midnight strikes finds herself embroiled in a fight to the death with giant mice and then transported to the kingdom of sweets. All this, plus Tchaikovsky’s fabulous music and a Christmas tree that grows to giant proportions. It’s the essence of Christmas. Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

Merry ChristmasI wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope you’re looking forward to your turkey and Christmas pudding and all the other Christmas traditions your family follows. As it’s Christmas, I thought I’d share with you a couple of Japanese Christmas traditions that may surprise you. Continue reading

Hyper Japan does Christmas!

Hyper Japan plushiesHyper Japan is is the biggest show of Japanese goods and culture in the UK, and this year we’ve got an extra dose of it in the Hyper Japan Christmas Market at Kensington Olympia. (Not Earl’s Court like the main show – boy, am I glad I checked the location before I set out.) It’s got everything you expect from Hyper Japan – games, cosplay, sake, martial arts, J-pops and a whole lot more, including an incredible range of ideas for presents for the Japanophile in your life. Want to know what I picked? Read on. Continue reading

Silkworms and mortice joints – the Minka House at Kew

Minka House at KewHave you ever wondered how silkworms make silk? No, me neither. Not until I took Kew Gardens up on their Twelve Days of Christmas free ticket offer and went to see the Minka House – a traditional Japanese House transported to Kew and re-erected by the Japan Minka Re-use and Recycle Association. Continue reading

Christmas decorations with a Japanese flavour

John Lewis Christmas decorationIt’s December so it’s finally okay to talk about Christmas. You probably spent the weekend dragging home a tree and rescuing the box of Christmas decorations your Mum gave you when you left home from the top of the wardrobe. Now, as shiny bits drop off your worn-out tinsel and litter the floor, you might be wondering about getting something new and a little bit different this year. This is where I can help Continue reading