Butterflies, flowers and kimonos – the paintings of Kyosuke Tchinai

Kyosuke Tchinai

The new year has begun in earnest; it’s back to work all round and I’ve been back on the art gallery trail, visiting odd corners of London to find tucked-away galleries you might never know were there. Today’s gallery is West End rather than East End – beyond the farthest corner of Grosvenor Square, almost to Park Lane, there’s a little hidden mews called Lees Place, where the Elena Shchukina gallery is showing richly coloured intricate paintings from Kyosuke Tchinai. Continue reading

South Bank Winter Festival

South Bank Winter FestivalIf I tell you I’ve been to the South Bank Winter Festival, I suppose you’ll expect pictures of roundabouts and santas and gluwein and chestnuts roasting on a open fire. And you’ll be right, there will be all that. But, this being the kind of blog it is, there’ll mainly be pictures from the Designer Makers Christmas Market which you can find tucked away under the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and another round of suggestions for Christmas presents with a Japanese flavour. Continue reading

Kirazu Japanese Restaurant

Kirazu Japanese Restaurant

The search for good authentic Japanese food in London is never ending, but last night I found a place that goes right to the top of my list. It’s Kirazu, a tiny restaurant on Rupert St, just off Shaftesbury Avenue and opposite the stage door of the Gielgud Theatre. It bills itself as specialising in ‘Japanese tapas and takeaway’. So what made me like it so much? Continue reading

Japanese Calligraphy with Passion

Tairiku Teshima CalligraphyIf you want to see the exhibition of Tairiku Teshima’s calligraphy at the Asia House gallery, you’d better get a move on – it’s only on for four days (why so short?) and one of them has already gone. It would be a pity to miss it – we don’t see much Japanese calligraphy in London and this is a lovely exhibition – well laid out and lit, with helpful ladies just waiting to answer any questions you might have. Continue reading

A Japanese artist paints an English Country Garden

Hiroko Imada - Riverside StudiosI meant to go to the private view of Hiroko Imada’s exhibition at the Riverside Gallery, Works on Nature, Dance & Movement, but a combination of cold, dark rainy night and power failure on the Piccadilly Line kept me away. At last I got there this week and I was very glad I did. Continue reading

Paintings inspired by Murakami

Junko O'Neill at GV GalleryThe paintings in Junko O’Neill’s exhibition, Fragments of Time, at the GV gallery in Chiltern St are about ‘ma’ – the Japanese concept of negative space, or the space between things, like the intervals between pillars, or the space that surrounds an object. Without the space the object would not be what it is. In Japanese art the ‘ma’ exists in the mind of the viewer- the job of the artwork is to provoke that sensation of space rather than depict it. Continue reading

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Ono

I’ve just been to see Jiro Dreams of Sushi and I think you should go and see it too. In fact, a lot of other people think you should go and see it. It has a rating of 7.8 on the IMDb and a 99% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian film reviewer loved it; the Telegraph film reviewer loved it; the Observer film reviewer loved it…and so on. You get the picture. So what is it? A documentary about a sushi restaurant, that’s what. But it’s not your average sushi restaurant. 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

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen at Shoryu

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen at ShoryuChristmas and New Year are over, it’s time to go back to work, and you feel like you never want to see another plate of turkey or a mince pie again. Or at least not until next year. So what you gonna eat? Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen, that’s what. Continue reading