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

Step Inside Japan

Step Inside Japan

I’m incredibly proud to say that InsideJapan Tours, the travel company I work for, has recently released a stunning interactive website which allows you to explore the wonderful country of Japan, and here it is… Step Inside Japan! Step Inside Japan encourages the user to ‘explore’ Japan by scrolling across the country and clicking on … Continue reading

When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー)

When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー)

Yesterday I went to see the latest Studio Ghibli film, When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー) (2014), directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (米林 宏昌). Yonebayashi also directed the Studio Ghibli film Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ) (one of my favourites), and both films are based on British books. When Marnie Was There is based on the children’s book of the … Continue reading

Japan 2015: Himeji

Japan 2015: Himeji

After returning from my Mount Shosha adventure on 18th December I decided to explore Himeji a bit more, and went in search of some kind of reward for my morning’s efforts. I soon found what I was looking for: Jidai Cafe. Jidai Cafe is a tacky tourist trap of a cafe serving ninja themed food, … Continue reading

Japan 2015: Mount Shosha

Japan 2015: Mount Shosha

On Friday 18th December I set off on a mission. My plan was to visit Mount Shosha (書写山), the site of the temple Engyoji (円教寺) which was partially used in the filming of the Last Samurai. (I know, I know, most of it was filmed in New Zealand, some people really don’t like this movie … Continue reading