What with this all unpredictable British springtime weather, you might not have managed to fully appreciate the blossoms before the petals were blown away. If you are feeling a little hard done by on the hanami-stakes, here are some sakura-related suggestions for your sensual delectation! Drink some cherry blossom tea Just the act of making Read more

Top 4 Must-Reads for UK Japanophiles!’s Vanessa picks the top 4 must-read books for Japanophiles based in the UK! Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure by Hoshino Yukinobu This marvellous manga (comic book) stars the famed Professor Munakata, the fictional Japanese detective. He is visiting the UK and gets embroiled in a mystery involving many treasures we host in the British Read more

‘NAGASAKI: Life After Nuclear War’ by Susan Southard, Souvenir Press 2015, £20 Exquisite in execution and extensive in research, this profoundly important book is almost too harrowing to read. NAGASAKI must have been an immense labour to write; brought forth by Susan Southard with the realisation most Americans were ‘ignorant of the history of the Read more

‘The art lover’s guide to Japanese Museums’ by Sophie Richard, Japan Society Publications 2014, £18.99 Like a chisel to a chestnut, this book effectively cracks open the daunting barrier to Japanese museums, revealing toothsome treasures inside. Staggeringly, Japan has some 5,600 museums, a fifth devoted to art (the UK has approximately 1,600 museums overall. Finally Read more

‘WA: The Essence of Japanese Design’ by Rossella Menegazzo and Stefania Piotta, Phaidon Press 2014, Hardback £49.95 Traditionally bound in an appealing Japanese style, featuring folded pages bound with striking red cord, WA is a tactile treat for the senses. Applied abstract designs on the covers indicate this is no ordinary book.  Delve into WA Read more

Billy the Bus and the Great Tour of London by Trevor Hawes, White Post Corner Limited 2012, £5.99 Omiyage alert!  A perfect present for the Japanese kids in your life; Billy the Bus and the Great Tour of London is a cheery, winsome look at popular tourist attractions through the eyes of an iconic red Read more

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami, Portobello Books 2013, translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell. Elegantly encapsulating an essence of ‘Japaneseness’; with all the elusive paradoxes that entails, this mesmerising book offers a read that is somehow light and breezy, yet possessing of  literary depth.  Nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2013 Read more

Sushi Slim by Makiko Sano, Quadrille 2013, £12.99, Photographs: Lisa Linder Ok, so we all know that Japanese people are slim, thanks to their healthy diet (yes, sumo wrestlers are an exception).  And Westerners have taken to sushi like a fish to, er, rice – sushi has been widely available in the UK for years.  Read more

Adam Komisarof: Author, Professor

With Japan’s working population greying and rapidly dwindling, supplementing the labour shortage with non-Japanese workers has been proposed as one solution to this demographic crisis. It is crucial, however, that foreign nationals not only be “imported,” but also that Japanese and non-Japanese can coexist comfortably and ultimately thrive together.  This is the focus of the Read more

‘The Gilded Fan’ Book Review

The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay, Choclit Publishing, 2013, 350 pages, ISBN 978-1-78189-008-0, £7.99 The Gilded Fan is sure to bring a smile to the lips of even a reader a little cynical of ‘historical romance’. Not a genre I had read before, the setting in 17th Century Japan was nonetheless rather appealing. Still, I Read more

‘Blossoms and Shadows’ Book Review

Blossoms and Shadows by Lian Hearn, Quercus Publishing, 2011, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-85738-297-9; £12.99 Blossoms and Shadows is an absolutely riveting piece of historical fiction which brings alive a fascinating period of late nineteenth century Japanese history. Japan, which had been kept largely closed to the rest of the world from the late 1630s onwards Read more