Yonks ago in the middle ages, when the Romans ran amok in England building bath-houses, glorifying Gladiators and murdering masses of people under the banner of ‘The Crusades’, Spain was itself undergoing a transformation of kinds. At the bottom end of Spain lies the Mediterranean sea, and just across the pond, Morocco. It was then occupied by the so-called Moors, a misnomer for a mixture of peoples from Berbers to Iberian Muslims to Arabs.
The year is 2552, and we are celebrating Songkran, the Thai New Year at the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon. The Thai calender, similarly to the Nepalese one, counts the years from the date that Buddha was born, just like Christian countries count the dates from Christ’s birth. Songkran coincides with the Vernal Equinox, which is more than I can understand of our mysterious universe and the more mysterious ancients who managed to somehow figure these things out.
So what do you do after night falls in Shinjuku? In our case, just dinner and a quick walkabout, but still, Shinjuku at night proffers out her sights and sounds to those willing to explore her underbelly. Continue reading
Textiles and design from Japan have always beguiled me with their beauty, form and textures conspiring to tell a story of a nation’s culture and tradition all in an unassuming piece of tapestry. The simple monograms one sees on a piece of cloth may in fact be a family crest that goes back centuries or how a ‘tie-dyed’ fabric is in fact a complex diminishing art form called ‘Shibori.’ The mission this time around was to look for textiles as gifts for friends back in London.
A quick JNTO search turned up Yanesen, which seemed interesting due to the traditional Japanese atmosphere that purportedly still lingers there. Yanesan is the combination of the 3 neighbourhoods of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi.
This visit was my great plan to kill multiple birds with one stone. as this was my plan……. Continue reading
What happens when you fish out a statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Guan Yin, or Kannon) in a river? This happened at the Sumida river in 628AD, according to the most trustworthy source of information in the world, Wikipedia. The rest of the story, you can read for yourself, but if true, you gotta admit that that is a pretty cool story.
The last time I was at Asakusa, it was May 2006, on a day coinciding with the Sanja Matsuri. This being one of the top 3 important Shinto festivals in Tokyo was unbeknownst to me then, as I found to amazement at the hordes of people cramming the exit out of Asakusa station.