Kyoto, City of Dreams, comes to London

Kyoto City of Dreams I went to a lovely little exhibition of photos of Kyoto and Kyoto-made kimonos yesterday. It’s in a new gallery on Museum St called Mokspace, perfect if you’re on your way to the British Museum and want a little art aperitif before you go in. It’s the work of photographer Jeremy Hoare and his Japanese wife, kimono-maker Chizuko Kimura. Continue reading

Japanese armour in Kensington

Usagi Juku armourI expect your idea of armour is the kind of solid, clanking metal suit you might find nowadays standing in the hall at a stately home. Effective, but heavy and unwieldy. Or maybe lighter, more flexible chain mail – a great step forward. But in Japan they went further. To enable samurai to ride, shoot arrows and use a sword, they developed a lightweight armour in which metal or leather scales were bound together with string. Doesn’t sound too effective? You’d be surprised. Continue reading

Kyoto Cherry Blossom 2013

Heian Shrine shidarezakuraWhen it comes to cherry blossom, timing is everything. The season is so short – you get about a week when it’s at it’s best, and if it isn’t the week you chose to be in Japan, well, bad luck. There’s always next year. So when I planned to go to Kyoto and see the cherry blossom this year, I booked for the first week in April, the week when, all else being equal, the cherry blossom was likely to be at its best. Except for this year. Continue reading