A trip to Cambridge with the Japan Society

17th c illustrated scroll, Cambridge University Library Summer’s here, the sun’s shining and what better way to enjoy it than with a nice day out with the Japan Society? Yesterday I joined a small group of members on a trip to Cambridge for a look behind the scenes at the Japanese print collections at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Japanese Department at Cambridge University Library, plus a stroll around the historic streets, and a delicious lunch at Fitzbillies. Continue reading

Utamaro at Two Temple Place

Utamaro Chushingura

Two Temple Place is a gothic-revival mansion built by William Waldorf Astor in 1892. At the time Astor was the richest man in Europe and his architect, John Loughborough Pearson, one of the foremost neo-Gothic architects of the late nineteenth-century, was instructed to spare no expense. It’s only open to the public when there’s a special exhibition on, as there is at the moment – Discoveries, featuring works from ten Cambridge museums and galleries. Continue reading

Hokusai Exposed in Spitalfields

Hokusai - Red Fuji in Fine Weather

There’s a bit of a buzz around about the Hokusai Exposed exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery in Spitalfields. It describes itself as an ‘immersive exhibition of “recreated” works by Hokusai’ which sounds a bit out of the ordinary so I was keen to get down there and see what it’s all about. Starting with finding out just what it means to “recreate” a work of art. Continue reading

Let it snow, let it snow…but only in Cambridge

Ogata Gekko © The Fitzwilliam Museum, CambridgeI put off going to the Snow Country exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge until now (and you thought I was just slow off the mark! Shame on you) so as to get the full shivery effect of looking at snow in the depths of winter. And it worked. What with the amount of snow in the pictures and the chilly temperature of the room they’re displayed in you could practically see our breath forming ice crystals in the air by the time we left. But in a good way. Continue reading

Magical picture books from 19th century Yokohama

CamelliasForeigners in Yokohama at the end of the nineteen century lived an enviable life. They inhabited large mansions up on the hills overlooking the bay with spacious grounds and plenty of servants so they had time to turn their attention to gardening, versifying and keeping the kids entertained. Which is where Japanese publisher Takejiro Hasegawa spotted an opportunity. Continue reading

Let a volunteer be your guide at the British Museum

Dawn by Yasokichi IIII spent a fascinating morning in the Japanese Galleries at the British Museum today on a tour led by Yannick Pucci, one of the team of volunteer guides who take you round the galleries and help you understand what you’re seeing. The tour only lasts half an hour so we just looked at a small selection of the exhibits but I found it all highly illuminating. When the tour finished I asked Yannick to pick out his favorite objects for me. Here they are, along with a couple of my favorites as well. Continue reading