Monday, 31 October 2011

Gusto e Vino

On saturday night, Neil took me out for a lovely birthday meal. We went to a restaurant in Akasaka that had been recommended by a friend and was called Gusto e Vino. Little did we know, we'd be the only ones there that night. Normally, this would feel a bit strange, but it was a wonderful experience.

The restaurant is run by Naofumi Ito, a Japanese chef who has trained in Florence, Siena and Sicily, as well as New Zealand. He's a very outgoing man and eager to tell stories of his travels as well as share tidbits about his cooking. The restaurant consists of one small bar and can only sit about 8 people at the most. The diners sit along the bar and watch Naofumi as he creates these wonderful dishes. Being the only ones there, meant that we got to talk to him about how he makes each dish as well as share in his delights in other world cuisine such as Indian (where he brought out a scrumptious-smelling Indian relish for us to smell). It was a truly unique evening and something I will remember for a long time....or until we go back there again!
This is the restaurant - just one bar.
Naofumi is the chef and has worked extensively in Italy.
Naofumi took this photo of us and emailed it to us yesterday. I'm looking a bit dodgy, but put it down to extreme jetlag.....

October Morality Poster

I made it back just in time to catch October's morality poster and it's so blooming sweet! The animal theme is still in full swing and this time it's an image of a kitten looking in a mirror. The caption reads, in a rather old-fashioned way " Please be aware that applying make-up on the train may be bothersome to others".

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Highland Fling

We went to the 29th annual Higland Games yesterday - as you do when you're in Tokyo! It was held out at Kanda University in Chiba and was a rather random affair, but a lot of fun. There was haggis and fish and chips to eat, ale to drink, as well as all the traditional events that go with the highland games - throwing the weight, tossing the caber, and highland dancing. We were amazed at how many Japanese people were involved and how good they were at most of the events!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sketches and Paintings from the Edo period

Yesterday I met up with my gallery group and we went to a lovely little gallery out in Itabashi. It's an area I'd never been to before and it was great to go somewhere new. The Itabashi Art museum is situated in a serene park. The crickets were still chirping and locals were enjoying the balmy afternoon.

The exhibition showcased about 40 works created towards the end of the Edo era when Japan was experiencing a huge shift in its visual culture. This was due to influences and techniques from Europe and China. The interesting thing was that the Japanese either didn't understand the way Westerners were depicting subject matter, or chose to keep some of their traditional techniques, so that the pieces ended up being unique works, rather than imitations of Western art.

The exhibition had a really lovely selection, some of scenics, which were beautifully intricate and involved, as well as more scientific/biological pieces. The latter ones were my favourite, with beautiful renderings of fish, flowers and animals. This turtle was particularly impressive and I can see why they chose to use him for the ticket! He was painted onto a traditional scroll and measured about 7 feet high!