Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square

Japan Matsuri

Japan Matsuri is London’s annual celebration of all things Japanese. Arguably Hyper Japan is bigger, but it’s more commercial and you have to pay to get in, while Japan Matsuri is free to all. This year it was held in Trafalgar Square for the second year running and attracted an eclectic mix from London-resident Japanese through die-hard Japan fans to passers-by attracted by the fun and not quite sure what it was all about. 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