Japanese kawaii culture is, in most Western people’s minds, reserved for kids and teenage girls. It’s literally the culture of ‘cute’ – anything that is sweet, adorable and charming can be described as ‘kawaii’.
So as a, shall we say, more mature person, how can I get away with a cute look, either for myself or my home?
As you would expect there are many different shapes and styles of Japanese bowls and plates and it can seem like you need to make a big deal about which dish you use, when and for what kind of food.
However, unless you are serving a very formal ‘kaiseki’ meal to your Japanese boss then really it’s more about making a pleasing table setting that beautifully displays the food you sweated over and makes eating it an enjoyable experience.
As TokyoPony, Justine Sherratt writes about Japan and Japanese culture, all the while creating delicious and authentic vegan Japanese recipes.
The dishes she makes are presented as gorgeous teishoku, a meal on a tray with many small accompaniments and often a dessert too, which she photographs and shares with her followers on Instagram (@tokyopony).
What with all the disruption happening in the world right now because of the pandemic, of course foreign travel for leisure is out of the question.
As I’m sure you must be aware, I love going to Japan on holiday. My time there is always treasured; absorbing the atmosphere, experiencing the culture, enjoying delicious Japanese food, catching up with friends and (naturally) shopping.
A traditional Japanese Daruma doll is a stylized figurine made out of papier mâché whose shape and design holds much meaning and symbolism. But the modern idea of using Daruma to help reach your targets is a technique which is still relevant and useful today.
As I sit looking out at a wet dreary afternoon, what I need is a burst of colour! So this seems like a good time to research and write an article about ‘temari’ the traditional Japanese toy ball, some times made by mothers for their daughters and often handed down as treasured heirlooms.
The term ‘zakka’ in Japanese literally means ‘miscellaneous goods’ and, post-war, it came to refer to everyday utensils and home accessories. But more recently zakka has come to mean a design style, particularly for interiors, and a way of thinking about the ordinary things we use every day.
Odaiba, or just Daiba for short, is an area to the south of central Tokyo built on several artificial islands and reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay. With its open spaces, wide walkways and modern infrastructure, it’s a great place for shopping, entertainments and relaxation. Welcome to part one of my Odaiba blog!
Are you the sort of person that likes to be told what to do? Me neither!
At this time of year there are a lot of articles around, in interior design magazines and blogs, telling you everything from what colours are ‘in’, which decade you’re supposed to be reviving and that those expensive tiles you got for your kitchen last year are no longer in style.
This useful square of fabric is becoming more talked about outside of Japan as an alternative to disposable wrapping paper. But can we really use it here in the West?
In my previous blog about Ikebukuro, I mainly concentrated on shops, restaurants and the sprawling station area. However, there is still more to discover in Ikebukuro including festivals, music, arts and a big Manga and Anime culture.
Ikebukuro is a busy commercial area to the north of central Tokyo. It has great shops and restaurants and a large, convenient train station where you can connect to many of the main JR and Metro subway lines including the JR Yamanote line and the Maranouchi and Yurakucho Metro lines.
Nakano is a vibrant area of Tokyo just a few minutes west out of Shinjuku Station on the Chuo Rapid line.
It is famous as a centre for ‘otaku’ culture and most travel guides focus on this aspect and on Nakano Broadway, a covered mall close to the station. However, you can discover another side of Nakano which is less well known by tourists.