There used to be shop in Neal St, a long time ago, called Neal St East. No, not the same as the East chain of shops that now have a branch near Covent Garden market; Neal St East was something else. It took up four floors of a complex emporium where goods from China, Korea, India and Japan were piled up in chaotic profusion, like an Eastern bazaar that had taken it into its head to migrate to what was then a quiet back street. I used to love it, not least for the racks of vintage kimonos on sale. Now vintage is becoming an increasingly acceptable choice, Neal St East is gone, taken over by a shoe shop. But it’s still possible to get your hands on vintage kimonos if you know where to look. Continue reading
It’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.
On Saturday afternoon I joined a select group of people on Yannick Pucci’s guided tour of Holland Park. The last time I was there was on a roasting hot day in July when the Fukushima Garden was officially opened by the Japanese Ambassador (see my blog post) so I was interested to see how the new garden had settled in and also to learn more about the long-established Kyoto Garden. Continue reading