I’ve recently begun the journey towards honing the skill and art of Japanese いけばな (ikebana) flower arranging. In my journey I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the best ikebana artists here in Tokyo to help instruct and inspire me.
As I’m just starting out my first lesson is to create a basic upright style moribana arrangement where the stems need to be precision cut and precision placed at fixed angles on a spiky kenzan. There are three main parts to the arrangement which are the shin placed at a 10˚~15˚ angle, soe at 45˚, and hikae at 75˚. After the three main stems are perfectly placed it’s time to accessorize with jushi subordinate stems that add volume and depth to the arrangement as the kenzan is not supposed to be visible.
The studio is filled with interesting add-ons that can make fabulous arrangements truly spectacular despite what they might look like carelessly piled in the studio corner. But I’m far from the stage where I get to go off textbook so it’ll have to be something to look forward to in the future as I progress.
There are also many interesting vases in the studio but again those will have to wait until I get a little further along.
Here’s my first ikebana arrangement in its completed stage. What do you think?
In Tokyo you needn’t look far to find Kitty-san especially considering the sparkle that many of the Hello Kitty accessories are packing such as the heavily bedazzled cell phone shells. However, the fun doesn’t need stop there as real enthusiasts could easily fill their home and cover themselves from top to toe with everything from Hello Kitty themed televisions, fans, biscuits, toiletries, clothes, handbags, sneakers, umbrellas, etc.
But don’t think that Hello Kitty caters only to young girls as Japan’s かわいい (kawaii/cute) culture means that it’s more often adults donning a sparkly Hello Kitty iPhone shell with matching fashionable fake nails in pastels with bows, glitter and pearls while out and about.
Collagen wash, acne wash, cleansing wash, pore cleaner and hyaluronic acid are just a few examples of the vast range of kitty toiletries that can be purchased with a Kitty motif on. Nail clippers, tweezers, scissors, and mirrors are also available in pink and with Hello Kitty on.
If you already have a fan but it’s not one of the special Hello Kitty ones you can simply purchase a mesh covering to jazz up your plain white fan and covert it into a Kitty’s head complete with ears and whiskers.
I’ve now returned home to Tokyo, Japan and to fête the occasion I was indulged with a wonderfully luxurious evening spent at Bvlgari Ginza Tower. The evening included exceptional live Italian jazz music by Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet enjoyed in great company and with flowing Dom Pérignon vintage champagne alongside a selection of small bite creations by Michelin starred executive chef Luca Fantin.
Francesco Lomagistro & Berardi Jazz Connection Quintet was full of energy and put on a terrific performance.
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace is currently exhibiting The First Georgians: Art & Monarchy 1714-1760. Now I’m not sure if it’s baby George that’s causing a bit of a Georgian hype/revival with several exhibitions and a BBC tv mini-series with Lucy Worsley entitled The First Georgians: The German Kings Who Made Britain recently aired. Regardless, my lust after fine paintings, etchings, sculpture, porcelain and furniture drew me out.
The exhibition explores the taste and royal patronage of George I and George II in a period of dramatic change across Britain. Satirist William Hogarth’s moralizing art print series including A Harlot’s Progress, 1734 and Marriage à-la-Mode, 1745 tell cautionary stories.
Chelsea plate, soft-paste porcelain, c.1755.
Meissen porcelain tea and coffee service, c.1730.
This would make a suitably fierce, regal throne/desk chair to help me make those tough decisions from while writing my dissertation. Though I’m not entirely convinced over its comfort in the long run.
Truth be told, I probably have far too many scented candles in my rooms at the moment and probably don’t need any more but who can resist a good collaboration? Fashion designer Giambattista Valli has teamed up with French luxury candle maker Cire Trudon to create two limited edition scented candles. Rose Poivrée combines the divine scent of roses with Tuscan black pepper and comes with a black motto on clear glass in a baby pink box. Positano transports you to the Amalfi Coast with its notes of gardenia, orange blossom, jasmine, magnolia, tuberose and lily and comes with a white motto on white glass, in a white box.
Both scents are lovely and relatively light compared to some of the heavier Cire Trudon scents so it’s perfect for summer. Not only does it make a wonderful gift to yourself because you clearly deserve it, but it could also make the perfect gift when attending those luscious summer weddings if you’re stumped for ideas.
The view from south of the river Thames features quite a few iconic views of the ever changing London cityscape. Among them are 30 St Mary Axe (the Gherkin) which now looks like a little squirt compared to 20 Fenchurch Street (the Walkie Talkie building).
The Tower of London.
New City Hall designed by Norman Foster. Southwark, London.