Part One: Japan in Pictures

I’ve always loved Japan. I used to dream of it after watching too much anime and borrowing my dad’s novels by James Clavell. I would read Gai-jin and Tai-Pan and watch endless episodes of Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, which in retrospect didn’t help my naive impressions of Japan. I was transported by historical, fictional…

Punch Drunk Love Potions at Bam-Bou

“Let’s talk about love” were Susie Johns’- mystic Tarot card reader extraordinaire – first words to me as she leant across the bar, fixing me with her bright stare as shadows from the nearby candles flickered across her face. Have there ever been more terrifying words uttered? Fair was foul and foul was fair as…

Malta: The Island of Plenty

I was rummaging through my cupboards today, hunting for olive oil, when I knocked over a thick, glass bottle full of lurid pink liquid that fell with a dull thud onto the tip of my big toe. After I stopped swearing and looked at the offending bottle I realised that it was Bajtra, a souvenir…

Luoyang, Henan, China

We seemed to be the only westerners in Luoyang when we visited. It was the middle of a bitter, Chinese winter and the further north we travelled the deeper the ice-laden wind cut. When we arrived at our hostel we realised it was a flat shared with the owner and his son in the centre…

Flower Girls by Elżbieta Wodala

Duszek / Brownie – fragment Duszek / Brownie Occasionally, when sifting through twitter updates, you’ll stumble across a gem – something so beautiful and magical it grabs your attention utterly and completely. When I was very little I firmly believed that fairies lived in flowers. I would crouch, perfectly still in my parent’s garden in…

Extreme Japan: Mental Bento

I was trawling down my Facebook feed yesterday when a post from Tokyo Otaku Mode popped up. I always view their posts with a degree of trepidation – will it be an inappropriately dressed lolita gazing at the camera in an alarming cosplay get up, or will it be a sneak peak at covert Jap-anime…

Travel Diary: Indian Trains and Restaurant Menus

Image: 2ose Illegible scribblings, doodles and snatches from the dirty, scuffed travel diary I kept while travelling around South East Asia in 2008. On Ordering from the Menu in India “A menu is essentially useless here. They will either not have or not have the inclination to cook half the dishes from it. Ordering merely one…

Song for the day: Happy

The weather might be getting biblical outside my London window but I’m feeling uncharacteristically, almost moronically happy, and this song encapsulates that addictive feeling. I defy you to listen to this and not start jigging about like a dad at a wedding…or this:   Five Reasons To Be Happy This Weekend It’s Burn’s Night tonight….

On the Nature of Incessant Business

If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As…

The Rum Kitchen, Carnaby

I’ve always been a bit afraid of Caribbean food. Saying that, my experience has been limited to some ill-judged, late night jerk chicken that was coated in so much scotch bonnet chilli sauce it took the skin off the roof of my mouth and some questionable rice and peas. To be honest, Reggae Reggae sauce…

Beijing’s Smog Five Years On

Apparently you can still see the sunrise in Beijing, but only a televised version. Yesterday The Huffington Post reported that the Beijing sunrise is being screened on a huge television in Tienanmen Square amid the choking grey smog that shrouds the capital. According to reports, the smog is the worst it has been since this time…

Last Chance to See: Male Nudes and Chinese Masterpieces

This weekend two exceptional, not to be missed exhibitions close and this Sunday, the 19th January, will be your last and final chance to catch them before they’re gone forever.   The Male Nude: Eighteenth-century Drawings from the Paris Academy The Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN Jacques Dumont le Romain, Nude…