Frieze London 2014

Frieze Art FairFor those of you who didn’t manage to make it to the big Frieze Art Fair that took over Regent’s Park between October 15-18, here comes a glimpse into Frieze London. Now it wasn’t only the heavy weights of the art world that descended but the baby pram club did as well (urgh). Despite Frieze occupying a vast amount of space, there simply wasn’t enough of it to accommodate the SUV of prams (the twin pram in double width).

Frieze Art Fair 2014Regardless, it was interesting to see what each gallery chose to promote. The art was of course of varying quality but there were a few select pieces that I would have liked to bring home with me and many that I wouldn’t have taken even if I got them for free.

Kevin Francis GrayKevin Francis Gray.

Yoshitomo Nara, Beh!, 2014Yoshitomo Nara, Beh!, 2014, acrylic on canvas.

Frieze 2014

Ella KruglyanskayaElla Kruglyanskaya.

Takashi Murakami, Cosmic Truth, 2014Takashi Murakami, Cosmic Truth, 2014, acrylic on canvas on aluminum frame.

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A Matinee at the Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House Interior, Covent Garden LondonI’m now back in London and what better way to toast my return than with a glass of bubbly during the intermission of a terrific matinee performance enjoyed from the orchestra stalls of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Manon at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden LondonManon, The Royal Opera House © ROH / Johan Persson 2011.

The performance was Kenneth MacMillan’s highly acclaimed ballet Manon which has an intriguingly scandalous story but with a tragic end.

A few months prior I’d seen the opera performance of Manon (also at the Royal Opera House) and absolutely fell in love so I was excited to see how the opera and ballet performances differed when it came to dealing with the same story. Both performances were enchanting with spectacular costumes, props, sets, vocals (opera), and dancing (ballet). The music differed completely between the two performances as instead of relying on Massenet or Puccini’s score of Manon Lescaut, MacMillan used lesser-known music by Massenet.

Royal Opera House London

After a performance I leaving feeling as if I’m on cloud nine and as graceful as the prima ballerina. The last performance is on November 1st so hurry up and catch it before it ends as its definitely worthwhile.

Trendy Fashion for Pet Pooches

Dog raincoatShopping for your pet pooch who’s trendy to the point of rivaling you, has never been as stylish or fun as it is here in Tokyo. Colorful raincoats, pet IQ training toys, doggie carrier bags that look like luxury handbags and bedazzled leashes are just some of the must-haves.

Pet toys

Pet IQ Training Toys

Dog CarriersStylish pet carriers that look like luxury handbags but with breathable fabric inserts to the sides to make for comfortable travel.

Dog FoodBanana, apple, avocado and cheese flavored treats are just some of the many options available in the dining department for your pet.

The Art of Ikebana – Lesson 1

Ikebana VasesI’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.

Ikebana with Linnea NilssonAs 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.

Ikebana MaterialsThe 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.

Ikebana Materials

Ikebana VasesThere are also many interesting vases in the studio but again those will have to wait until I get a little further along.

Linnea Nilsson's IkebanaHere’s my first ikebana arrangement in its completed stage. What do you think?

All Things Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty iPhone ShellIn 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.

Hello Kitty Bling

Hello Kitty iphone shellsBut 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.

Hello Kitty ToiletriesCollagen 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.

Hello Kitty FanIf 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.