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October 2018 Tea Tasting Event

October 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 27th October 2018

Time: 14.00– 18.30

Admission: FREE Read more…

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Book Review: Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan’s Most Rigorous Zen Temple

October 8, 2018 Leave a comment

By Kaoru Nonomura – Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter.

eat sleep sitFor anyone who has ever considered becoming a Zen monk this account is a serious wake up call to the rigours that novitiates at Eiheiji Temple in Fukui Prefecture, one of two main temples of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism, have to endure.

Founded by Dōgen in 1244 its claim that Dōgen was in residence at Eiheiji tends to outshine its rival Sōjiji, the other main Sōtō school of Zen with which it tends to compete, which is located in Tsurumi near Tōkyō, though in spite of the ‘rivalry’ those undergoing zuise training to complete their Read more…

September 2018 Tea Tasting Event

September 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 22nd September 2018

Time: 14.00– 18.30

Admission: FREE Read more…

Review: Shochiku Grand Kabuki – Salle Jean Vilar

September 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris, France, 13 – 19 September 2018

Japonismes Theatre de ChaillotJaponismes 2018: les âmes en résonance’ (souls in resonance) is a celebration of Japanese culture taking part in Paris and other cities in France to mark 160 years of friendship between France and Japan. As part of the celebrations two Kabuki actors, Nakamura Shidō II and Nakamura Shichinosuke II (whose grandfather Nakamura Kanzaburō XVII was one of the first Kabuki actors to perform Kabuki in Paris at Read more…

Book Review: This Great Stage of Fools – An anthology of uncollected writings

August 7, 2018 3 comments

Written by Alan Booth. Edited by Timothy Harris with an afterword by Karel van Wolferen.

Cover photo of nebuta in Aomori by Brian KowalczykIt is a testament to Alan Booth’s skill as a writer that he is regarded by Japanophiles as one of the pre-eminent commentators on Japan and Japanese culture (though a culture far removed from Japan’s city environs). This even though only two of his books about Japan became mainstream publications, ‘The Roads to Sata: A 2000-Mile Walk Through Japan’ (1985) and, posthumously (Booth passed away in 1993), ‘Looking for the Lost: Journeys Through a Vanishing Japan’ (1995). *

‘This Great Stage of Fools’ is a comprehensive collection of his journalistic articles. Initial impressions were good and as this review progressed it became increasingly apparent that the Read more…

April 2018 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 28th April 2018

Time: 14.00– 18.30

Admission: FREE Read more…

Review: Ehon Gappō ga Tsuji

 

Evening performance of the Grand April Kabuki at the Kabukiza Theatre, Tōkyō: 2 April – 26 April 2018.

Ehon Gappo ga Tsuji poster croppedEhon Gappō ga Tsuji (’The Revenge of Gappō at the Crossroads’) is a ‘kizewamono’ (gangster play) which premiered in the 5th lunar month of 1810 at the Ichimuraza Theatre in Edo (modern day Tōkyō). Dramatised by Tsuruya Namboku IV from a popular novel this rarely performed full length play (toshi kyōgen) was last staged in April 2012 at the National Theatre in Tōkyō with, as in this performance, the 74 year old veteran Read more…

March 2018 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 31st March 2018

Time: 14.00– 18.30

Admission: FREE Read more…

Book Review: The Way Of Whisky By Dave Broom – Photography By Kohei Take

January 31, 2018 Leave a comment

‘Renowned whisky expert Dave Broom has been visiting Japan’s distilleries for the past 17 years and is recognised as a leading commentator on this fascinating whisky style… …Dave investigates what makes Japanese whisky Japanese, the secret of ‘Whisky-do’.’ (Octopus)

The Way of Whisky press imagesThe first impression on seeing this book, even without opening it, was expensive coffee table book. At a glance it is beautifully put together with stunning photography by Kohei Take. Thankfully, on reading the Introduction it becomes obvious it’s so much more than that. It’s the Introduction that nails the aim of the book and it’s surprisingly close to a Buddhist concept, that of seeing the universe in a sheet of paper (what the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls ‘Clouds in Each Paper’) except in this case it’s applied to Japanese whisky. It’s in this typically Japanese approach, highlighted by Glaswegian whisky expert Broom’s analysis, that there is so much more involved than just the brewing process; an in Read more…

January 2018 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

January 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 27th January 2018

Time: 14.00– 19.00

Admission: FREE Read more…

Book Review: On the Tracks of 007 – You Only Live Twice 50th Anniversary Guide to Japan

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Go on an exciting journey from Tokyo to Kagoshima, revisiting all the filming locations used in You Only Live Twice!

Front cover“Go on an exciting journey from Tokyo to Kagoshima, revisiting all the filming locations used in You Only Live Twice. From Osato Chemicals HQ to Tiger Tanaka’s countryside house, from Blofeld’s volcano base to the remote shrine where Bond married Kissy. An action packed adventure!” (Rear Cover)

Written by Martijn Mulder (author of “On the tracks of 007”), who, according to his Twitter account, is a writer – musician – traveller – historian – photographer living in Holland (sic) this is the field guide to film locations in Japan for the film ‘You Only Live Twice’ published to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the film. Read more…

Book Review: Unbeaten Tracks In Japan By Isabella Bird

January 2, 2018 Leave a comment

A remarkable contribution to the world of explorative literature of early modern Japan!

isabella_bird_unbeaten_tracks_book_An interesting and charming read though interspersed throughout with comments, occasionally outrageous (e.g. ‘The Japanese have a perfect passion for children, but it is not good for European children to be much with them, as they corrupt their morals, and teach them to tell lies’), that illustrate stereotypical Victorian based attitudes and prejudicial perceptions towards the Japanese in a relatively undiscovered (at the time) country. Isabella Bird frequently exhibits a patronising pseudo-proselytising attitude towards the lower classes, cites their ‘national defects of concave chest and bow legs’, and refers to them as Read more…

Book Review: Ghosts Of The Tsunami: Death And Life In Japan’s Disaster Zone

December 15, 2017 Leave a comment

A deeply moving book by Richard Lloyd Parry!

Ghosts of the TsunamiAt 2.46pm Japan time on the 11th March 2011 a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific coast of Tohoku. The earthquake moved Japan’s main island of Honshu 2.4 meters further east, moved the earth on its axis by between 10 – 25 cm, and at the time dropped Honshu’s Pacific coast by around one meter. It triggered massive tsunamis, some of which were up to 40.5 meters (133 feet) in height, some of which travelled up to 10km (6 miles) inland.

As is pointed out in the book it wasn’t the earthquake which caused most of the damage; most of Japan’s physical infrastructure is built to Read more…

December 2017 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

December 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 16th December 2017

Time: 14.00– 18.30

Admission: FREE Read more…

Book Review: ‘The Meaning of Rice: And Other Tales from the Belly of Japan’ by Michael Booth

October 25, 2017 1 comment

Michael Booth and his family embark on an epic journey the length of Japan to explore its dazzling food culture.

meaning of riceIf this book were food it would have deep umami undertones. Michael Booth has written yet another intriguing account of food, cooking and Japanese cuisine in Japan as an accompaniment to his earlier and just as his readable companion piece ‘Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know about Cooking’; a main course to his earlier amuse-bouche.

We re-join him ten years after his first book on a return trip to Japan with his family to explore some of the elements of Japanese cuisine left unexplored a decade earlier. Though at first not as liberally sprinkled with the tongue in cheek humour as ‘Sushi and Beyond’ Booth warms to his Read more…

October 2017 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

October 25, 2017 Leave a comment

Sample some of the best high quality Japanese teas available in the UK!

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 28th October 2017

Time: 14.00– 19.00

Admission: FREE Read more…

Film Review And Q&A: ‘Blade of the Immortal’ (無限の住人- Mugen no Jūnin) Takashi Miike

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Fights involving different types of weaponry leave nothing to the imagination!

Blade of the Immortal posterFilmed in Kyōto and based on the manga series of the same name by Hiroaki Samura ‘Blade of the Immortal’ is Takashi Miike’s 100th film, his previous films in the jidaigeki genre include ‘13 Assassins’ and ‘Hara-kiri; Death of a Samurai’. The film follows Manji (Takuya Kimura) who after witnessing his sister die and lying on the battlefield near death is made immortal by a strange nun called Yaobikuni (Yoko Yamamoto) who infects him with a Buddhist Lama’s ‘sacred bloodworms’ (kessen-chu) which help his body to regenerate after Read more…

Theatre Review: Ninagawa Company ‘Macbeth’.

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

 

Presented by the Barbican in association with Thelma Holt, Saitama Arts Foundation and HoriPro Inc

macebth barbican.jpgCo-produced by The Japan Foundation

Barbican, London 5-8 October

Theatre Royal, Plymouth 13-14 October

After Yukio Ninagawa’s death nearly a year and a half ago in May 2016 his ‘Ninagawa Macbeth’ (and this is the only one of his Shakespearean productions he allowed to use his name) returned to London this year after a thirty year absence for a memorial run at the Barbican in London and the Theatre Royal in Plymouth with the help, amongst others, of Read more…

Film Review: Mukoku

October 3, 2017 Leave a comment

A departure from director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s graphic, often ultra-violent style!

Mukoku-p1Kengo Yatabe (Gō Ayano) is a fifth dan Kendoka who used to be a Kendo instructor at the local high school. His father Shōzō (Kaoru Kabayashi), who he detests and loves in equal measure, was also his Kendo teacher and had a bad reputation for being a brutal practitioner of the technique associated with ‘satsujin ken’, a murderous sword, as opposed to ‘katsujin ken’, a life giving sword. His father is in hospital in a vegetative state after a dreadful incident involving both father and son and his mother has died, something he is struggling to come to terms with. He has given up his Read more…