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Posts Tagged ‘Tokyo’

Book Review: A Beginners Guide to Japan: Observations and Provocations

A Beginners Guide to Japan Pico IyerA particularly idiosyncratic book this may not suit the tastes of some but is certainly one which provokes.

There are many and often inexperienced travellers to Japan who seem to think they understand the country after just one visit. The author and commentator Pico Iyer, who has lived in Japan for more than thirty-two years, seems to ‘beg to differ’. In this enjoyable romp, through a plethora of very varied perspectives from other commentators, philosophers and writers and also from his own experience during his time there, Iyer seems to assert that even after thirty-two years he no more understands Read more…

Book Review: Tokyo Stories: A Japanese Cookbook

January 7, 2020 1 comment

Tokyo Stories is a journey through the boulevards and backstreets of Tokyo via recipes both iconic and unexpected!

Tokyo Stories coverThough having published other books (his humorous biographical essays ‘Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Dairies’, his own Brixton restaurant cookbook ‘Nanban: Japanese Soul Food’, and other cookbooks of classic and modern Japanese recipes; ‘Vegan JapanEasy’ and ‘JapanEasy’) Tim Anderson first began to impact on the public consciousness in the UK with his appearance on, and winning of, ‘Masterchef’ in 2011. Since then he has gone on to work as a freelance chef, food writer and consultant and is a regular contributor on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube, the Kitchen Cabinet on Radio 4, and has appeared on various TV programmes such as Read more…

The Taste of Chūbu

September 28, 2019 1 comment

Where ancient and modern coexist!

GO CHUCUChubu, the most central region of the main island of Honshū (Chūbu means central), is made up of nine prefectures; Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama and Yamanashi. At the region’s centre lie the Japanese Alps, made up by the Northern Hida, the central Kiso and the southern Akaishi mountains.

The region offers an extensive range of attractions to visitors, both domestic and foreign including gardens, castles and temples; the tradition and culture of geisha, traditional costume, samurai, festivals, events and fireworks; wellness through Read more…

Review: Brave Blossoms – The History of Rugby in Japan

February 2, 2019 4 comments

As with any activity in Japan once it gains the Imperial seal of approval, formally or implied, it goes from strength to strength!

Japan Rugby replica home jersey canteburyNot having been a rugby fan and only really actively interested in the two larger tournaments, the Six Nations and the World Cup, and the more famous National sides from Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, it came as something of a pleasant shock whilst on a visit to Japan in September 2015 when, with very little warning, the news media in Japan was suddenly flooded with images of their National Rugby Team dealing out a shock 34-32 defeat to South Africa’s Springboks in Brighton at the 2015 Rugby World Cup which was Read more…

Review: January 2019 New Year Kabuki: Part One – Shinbashi Enbujo and the National Theatre of Japan

January 26, 2019 3 comments

Part one of a two-part review.

Shinbashi Enbujo

new year kabuki at the shinbashi enbujo january 2019 mini posterThe first performance of the afternoon was ‘Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura’, (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), one of the three most popular plays of the Kabuki repertoire (which includes ‘Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy’, and ‘Chūshingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers’). The particular act of the play performed was ‘Torii Mae’, (Before the Gate of the Fushimi Inari Shrine). This part of the play focuses on the story of how Shizuka Gozen (Otani Hiromatsu) the lover of Minamoto Yoshitsune (Otani Tomaemon) who is following Yoshitsune on his flight from his older brother Yoritomo, is restrained in her attempts to follow Yoshitsune. To restrain his lover Shizuka Yoshitsune enlists the help of his retainer Satō Tadanobu (Nakamura Shidō) who is in fact not the real Tadanobu but is indeed a magical fox. As a fairly standard and very popular act from Read more…

Review: Tokyo Year End Kabuki – December 2018

January 18, 2019 4 comments

Two reviews in one.

national theatre december 2018 mini poster resizeThere were two main Tōkyō theatres holding end of year performances in December 2018. The National Theatre of Japan in Hanzōmon and the Kabukiza in Higashi Ginza, and a lucky attendance on the final auspicious day or senshūraku (lit. music of a thousand autumns, an old entertainment industry term for the final day of a performance run) at the Kabukiza andas a result was a full house.

The December 2018 Kabuki at the National Theatre of Japan was the Tōshi Kyōgen (full length play) Zoho Futatsu Domoe (The New and Improved Story of the Read more…

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…

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…

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

October 25, 2017 4 comments

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…

Film Review: Boys For Sale – Bai Bai Bōizu

September 26, 2017 2 comments

Premiered in the UK as one of the official selection at the 25th Anniversary of the Raindance Film Festival 2017.

Boys for Sale logoWhat might at first seem like a potentially titillating documentary on male prostitution in the Shinjuku 2-chome area of Tōkyō, reportedly the largest urban gay area in Asia, becomes something fascinating and shocking in equal parts. One wonders as the documentary progresses at what point the historical Japanese openness and acceptance of male-male sex as a necessary part of human life became something to be frowned upon and kept hidden. Adrian ‘Uchujin’ Storey, who Read more…

Book Review: Samurai Trails By Lucian Swift Kirtland

August 18, 2017 5 comments

A chronicle of wanderings on the Japanese high road!

Book coverOriginally published in 1918 by George H. Doran in NY and Hodder and Stoughton in London, two articles relating to the book entitled ‘On Foot Through Japan’ and ‘Adventures at the Bottle Inn’ by the same author were also published in the January and February 1918 editions of Harper Monthly magazine. Though this book has since been made available by a variety of publishers this review is based on the most recent Toyo Press publication in 2017.

The husband of the WWI photographer Helen Johns Kirtland (1890-1979), Lucian Swift Kirtland (1881-1965), a scion of the very prominent Kirtland family of Poland, Ohio (originally the Read more…

Review: Spring and New Year Kabuki in Tōkyō – Part One Shinbashi Enbujo and the Kabukiza

February 6, 2017 6 comments

Plays in Review: Futago Sumidagawa, Genpei Nunobiki no Taki – Yoshikata Saigo, Shikorobiki, Shōgun Edo wo Saru, Otsu-e Dōjōji, Igagoe Dochu Sugoroku – Numazu, Matsuura no Taiko

otsu-e-dojoji-goro-ya-no-ne-ichikawa-somegoro-resizeThis year, 2017, to mark the New Year and Spring in Tōkyō seven Kabuki shows were scheduled during January. Matinee and evening performances at the Shinbashi Enbujo, the Kabukiza and the Asakusa Kōkaidō Public Hall, and a Tōshi Kyōgen, full length play, at the National Theatre of Japan.

There were two Tōshi Kyōgen included in the New Year/Spring Read more…

Find Yourself in Tokyo

September 29, 2016 1 comment

Those who wander aren’t always lost!

geisha

It’s pretty common these days for people of all ages to hit the open road in hope of ‘finding themselves’. Is it just a myth, or is there some truth behind that fact that experiencing a new culture or place can help us to have that lightbulb moment that changes our life forever? If it is true, there’s no better place to find yourself than in the colourful city of Tokyo. Popular with luxury travellers and backpackers alike, this brightly-lit city is on the map for all the right reasons. If there is a Read more…

Interview: Sebastian Masuda – Art Director and J-Pop Culture Pioneer

August 29, 2016 2 comments

Internationally-renowned artist Sebastian Masuda brings global participatory art project to London with NHK WORLD TV for Hyper Japan!

AAD_1008 (2) croppedIn the run up to Hyper Japan, which took place on July 15 – 17 July, internationally-renowned artist and Japanese pop culture expert Sebastian Masuda – who is art director for Kawaii International  – brought his global art project to London with NHK WORLD TV.

Time After Time Capsule is a five-year participatory artwork in which Masuda, invites people to share their love of kawaii. It has been created in collaboration with NHK WORLD TV to Read more…

Hit The Road With NHK WORLD TV This Spring

Japan’s international English-language channel launches travel season

Journeys in Japan – Exciting travel programmes on NHK World TV_44 (from website no logo)This spring NHK WORLD TV, the 24-hour international English language channel from Japan’s public service provider NHK, presents an exciting season of travel programmes offering unique insights into Japanese culture, both ancient and modern.

Kicking off this April, the season of travel programmes form part of NHK WORLD TV’s extensive resource of materials for anyone studying Japanese, planning a trip, or interested in learning more about the country in the run up to Japan’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Read more…

December 2015 Tea Tasting Event At Minamoto London

December 16, 2015 Leave a comment

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

Japanese teaVenue: Minamoto Kitchoan 44 Piccadilly, London

Date: 19th December 2015

Time: 14.00– 19.00

Admission: FREE Read more…

Sumo: The Traditional National Sport Of Japan

October 8, 2015 1 comment

An introduction into the world of Japan’s oldest martial art!

Sumo sept 2013The Founding of Sumo

Nomi no Sukune was a potter from Izumo and ancestor of Sugawara no Michizane. His famous fight with Taima no Kehaya under the patronage of Emperor Suinin resulted in the death of Taima no Kehaya and the founding of Sumo, the traditional national sport of Japan. An influential figure Nomi no Sukune also proposed to Emperor Read more…