Bachata en Fukuoka

Bachata en Fukuoka

Keeping up with a Japanese culture blog when you lead a busy life can be hard, but it seems that whatever I do, wherever I go, Japan finds me. A lot of my free time these days is taken up with Latin dancing (salsa and bachata), and a while ago my teacher pointed out that one … Continue reading

Japan-inspired street art in Bristol

Japan-inspired street art in Bristol

A few weeks ago Bristol saw another fantastic Upfest street art festival take place. Upfest is Europe’s largest free street art and graffiti festival, and the event sees artists travelling from all over the world to take part. There was lots of great artwork there, but today I’d like to highlight a few Japan-inspired pieces … Continue reading

Sweet Bean (あん) – A Movie by Naomi Kawase

Sweet Bean (あん) – A Movie by Naomi Kawase

Billed as an “ode to the simple joys in life”, Sweet Bean (あん) directed by Naomi Kawase (河瀨直美) really is just that, and it’s lovely. Sweet Bean is set in a small-town dorayaki (どら焼き) (red-bean pancake) shop run by a grumpy middle-aged man (Sentaro, played by the rather handsome Masatoshi Nagase / 永瀬 正敏) who … Continue reading

Book Review: The Bullet Train Murder by Fran Pickering

Book Review: The Bullet Train Murder by Fran Pickering

The Bullet Train Murder is the latest in Fran Pickering‘s ‘Josie Clark in Japan’ mystery series: When a body’s found on Japan’s famous bullet train it’s got nothing to do with Josie Clark. Or has it? Tokyo-based expat Londoner Josie Clark hopes her transfer to Osaka will give her career a boost, even though it means commuting weekly … Continue reading

Unexpected Stories by Umi Kumano

Unexpected Stories by Umi Kumano

Whilst I was in London recently I popped in to see my old colleagues at the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation and was invited in to see the latest exhibition: Unexpected Stories by Umi Kumano (熊野海). Umi Kumano is a Japanese artist from Fukui, who currently lives in Berlin as a guest student at the Berlin University of … Continue reading

Shami-sensational by Hibiki Ichikawa

Shami-sensational by Hibiki Ichikawa

The UK’s number one Tsugaru shamisen player Hibiki Ichikawa is back with a sensational new album, aptly called ‘Shami-sensational’. This fantastic album contains 8 new tracks, featuring the shamisen player himself, as well as guest vocals from Akari Mochizuki and instruments from a number of other contributors. Check out some samples from the album in … Continue reading

Japan 2015: All The Kit Kats!

Japan 2015: All The Kit Kats!

Finally, I’ve reached the very end of my 2015 Japan trip posts! It only took me six months… I thought I’d finish with a quick post about a theme which ran through my whole trip – Kit Kats! Back in 2014 I had the pleasure of visiting the first Kit Kat Chocolatory in Tokyo. Now there … Continue reading