Photos of Japan

January 6, 2010

One of the writers of this blog has just been back to Japan.  If you are feeling a bit natsukashi or just want to drool over Japaness then check out her flickr page to see lots of her fab photos.

She also has some great sets on japanese street fashion.


Japanese Wine Tasting

January 6, 2010

Japan Society

Tuesday, 12th January 2010

6.00pm to 8.30pm

Embassy of Japan,

101 – 104 Piccadilly



Free for Japan Society members (booking required)

Deadline for bookings: Friday 8th January


Were you aware that Japan is a producer of fine wines? The quality of Japanese wines and their popularity in Japan has improved markedly over recent years.

This even brings together the fifteen wine producers who have formed a group called Koshu of Japan (KOJ) in order to ensure the high quality of Koshu wine and to promote the product. This is the first of KOJ’s international events and members will have the chance to taste a selection of wines, discuss them with the producers and sample food from Sake no Hana selected to match the wine.

Japanese Festival (London)

August 29, 2009
Japanese Festival London

Japanese Festival London

A celebration of Japan and its rich culture, arts & crafts at one of London’s most vibrant markets. Situated in the heart of the city, Spitalfields offers a unique spot for East to meet West. Whether you are a londoner, missing home or have a bit of curiosity, this will be a fantastic opportunity for you to experience some of the most exciting entertainment in London, delight in exquisite Wa-shoku (Japanese cuisine) and get involved in as many interactive arts & crafts events as you can think of throughout the day.

If you are a Japanese business or performer who would like to get involved, you can contact the organisers:

When: Saturday, 19th September 2009, 10am – 8pm.

Where: Spitalfields Market, nearest tube Liverpool Street Station.

For more information: visit the Japan Festival website.

Japanese Recipe – kinpira Renkon

August 23, 2009

Thanks to Atsuko’s Kitchen, which specialises in Japanese homestyle cookery classes, for our new monthly Japanese food feature.

Kinpira Renkon

Kinpira Renkon

On a sunny day, why not make a bento (lunch box) and have a picnic in the park.

Kinpira is a style of Japanese dish, using crunchy vegetables and basic Japanese seasonings.  It’s commonly found in bento boxes, as it’s quick and simple to make.

Renkon is also know as lotus root and can be found fresh, vacuum packed, or frozen, from Asian supermarkets (see the directory for a list).  It is full of fibre and vitamin B12, which helps absorb iron.  It’s important not to cook it too long as it ruins the crunchy texture.

You could also make this dish with other types of root vegetables such as parsnips, salad potatoes or celery.


300g renkon (lotus root)

1 carrot

1 age (friend tofu)


1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)

3 tbsp shoyu (dark soy sauce)

1 taka no tsume (chili pepper)

A small pinch of ground sesame seeds


1. Slice the renkon and carrots into thin round slices. *If you use fresh renkon you need to soak it in water and a dash of vinegar for 10 mins then strain it. This will remove any bitter taste and stop it from darkening.

2. Wash the age in boiling water.  Squeeze the excess water from the age and dice.

3. Remove the seeds from the chili and slice as thinly as possible.

4. Heat the frying pan, add the sesame oil.

5. Fry the renkon and carrots.  When the oil has coated all the vegetables, then add the sugar, mirin and 2tbsp of shoyu.  Sprinkle the chili over the ingredients in the pan evenly.

6. Add 1/3 of a cup of water and bring it to the boil.  Cover pan with a lid.

7. Reduce to a medium heat and simmer for 4 mins.

8. Take the lid off, add 1tbsp of shoyu and increase the heat until the liquid has evapourated.

9. Finish by serving sprinkled with ground sesame.

10. Serve in a bento box or as a side dish.

More to come next month…

Zen Brushwork classes (Various)

August 13, 2009
Zen bruswork

Zen bruswork

16 August 09

A day workshop that will include zazen, yokiho (energy raising exercises), Zen brushwork and Jikishinkageryu Hojo (swordsmanship).
The focus across all the work is in relaxing the bodymind and allowing ki to flow freely.
It will be led by Sarah Moate sensei visiting from Japan, who trained for over twelve years with the late Rinzai Zen master Prof. Terayama Tanchu.

When: 16 August 2009, 10 – 4.30pm

Where: 19-22 Aug – Charney Bassett, Wantage, Oxon OX12 0EJ

Cost: £35

19 – 22 August 09

A residential workshop that will include zazen, yokiho (energy raising exercises), Zen brushwork and Jikishinkageryu Hojo (swordsmanship).

It will be led by Sarah Moate sensei visiting from Japan, who trained for over twelve years with the late Rinzai Zen master Prof. Terayama Tanchu.

Arrival is from 5pm on Wed 19th and departure after 3pm on Sat 22nd August.

When: 19 –22 August

Where: Charney Bassett, Wantage, Oxon OX12 0EJ

Entrance cost: £315


Anime: Ayacon 2009

August 13, 2009
Haruko Momoi

Haruko Momoi

August will see the return of one the UK biggest anime conventions in the UK. The weekend will feature guests such as renowned Japanese singer song writer Haruko Momoi and lots of fun cosplay events.

Where: Warwick Arts Centre

When: Friday August 14th – Saturday 16th

Check the site out for a full listing of events and further details.

TATSUYA YOSHIDA (RUINS – ALONE) – Residency at Cafe Oto

July 28, 2009


SAT 8 & SUN 9 AUG ’09

 “The undisputed master drummer of the Japanese Underground” 

Next weekend Cafe Oto will host Tatsuya Yoshida aka Ruins, a Japanese musician making exciting high energy music that fuses contemporary sounds with elements of hard core and progressive rock.  

Tatsuya has been working on his unique mix of drums, vocals and electronics since the 1980’s and has collaborated with a range of Japanese musical luminaries such as Acid Mothers Temple and Keiji Haino.  He is now highly acclaimed as one of the most innovative drummer/improvisers on the Japanese avant garde music scene.

This is one event we will definitely be attending; I saw a Ruins performance back in 2006 and his frenzied performances really are pretty electric to witness.  His live shows are much talked about so I am sure this event will sell out.

Ruins will also be performing on Friday 7th August at the Serpentine Gallery also organised by Cafe Oto, further details here

** As we’ve mentioned before, Cafe Oto is also a really unique venue; it’s sparky atmosphere, eclectic music programming, minimal warehouse style feel and array of oishii Japanese drinks and snacks (with occasional okonomiyaki) we think all make it a pretty special place very worthy of continuing support.

Where: Cafe Oto, 18-22 Ashwin St, Dalston, E8 3DL

When: Saturday 8th + Sunday 9th August, 8pm

Price: £8 one day / £14 weekend pass

Buy tickets:

SAT 8 AUG ’09  
SUN 9 AUG ’09