Friday, 6 March 2009

Tokyo Promotion Day : I'm off to London!

At the end of January I traveled to London to visit the Tokyo Promotion Day on Saturday 31st. ( The homepage of their website won't let you get to the original pages anymore , but you can take a peek via this page).
Instead of a quick oneday (hurry,hurry!) trip I decided to make a weekend of it , arranged for 2 overnight stays at a B&B ( bed and breakfast) somewhere in Kent and on Friday morning I took off. By motorbike of course ! Sure , it was the middle of winter and it was really freezing, but that wouldn't stop me !
(click the pictures for a large version)

Waiting at Calais Harbour for the trucks to unload from the ferry (which you can see in the back behind the gate sign).

Safely strapped to the deck on level 5. I'll be in England in one and a half hours.

By 7 pm I stopped at the Chinese restaurant "The Sundridge House" where I had a nice evening dinner before going to the B&B.

Saturday morning I took the train to London , leaving the bike at the station. Walking to the exposition, I walked by Buckingham Palace and took these pictures.

Looking past the Queen Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace.

The Victory statue on top of the memorial.

As you can see I was not the only one taking pictures on this lovely sunny Saturday.

The theme of the exposition : Tokyo : So old, So new, So Tokyo.
There was an awful lot to do and see here : the old and the new. Traditional arts, traditional activities to participate in, a Hokusai exposition; lots of information for tourists going to Tokyo, there was even anime and robots !

I've always admired Ukiyo-e ( I have like 3 books on Hokusai alone)

and apart from the Hokusai exposition here, I was able to watch a real hanga (woodblock printing) artisan at work!

Look at the print on the front left : for every color he needs to carve those separate wooden printing blocks( you can see 3 of them in front ) that have to be inked ( unless the colors are completely separate ) and they have to match exactly !

Did you know that Hokusai made everyday-life sketches that were called manga ?
You can see some of these sketches here. Several of the Hokusai manga volumes were on display at Tokyo day.

Right next to him there was a craftsman creating kanzashi (flower-like hair ornaments from silk).

Aren't they すてき (lovely) ?

To see more of Tokyo day , keep visiting !
Next time on this blog: Real Live Stage Events : drums,dance,music,lions (lions ?!)


Priscilla said...

Hi Walter! I'm so glad you managed to get pictures of the kanzashi! My favourite one was the red, blue and yellow one at the top ^_^

Anonymous said...

It sounds so exciting that you can go to other country so easily. But I just can't believe how you can be OK riding a motorbike under such freezing weather. You must be very strong against coldness!

Also thanks a lot for sharing interesting photos! Amazed you have Hokusai books!

Walter said...

Hi Priscilla!
The kanzashi are very pretty. I noticed the price tags on some of my pictures : I'm glad that you could buy one. Too bad we missed each other at the TCP. I would have liked to have taken pictures of you and your friends in kimono. Why do you like the red,blue and yellow one ?

Hello Kirin, yes, it is easy to go from one country to another in Europe.
I can travel from here to the other 22 countries of the Schengen area , without border control (see which is great fun : you come at the border , you don't need to pass control, all you see is a blue plate saying : welcome in germany ( or france or spain or italy etc.. ) and you can pay with the same coin ( Euro ) everywhere.
It's a traveler's dream :)
(except for Ireland and England , whose OLD-fashioned governments keep clinging to their 'independence' , so I still need to buy pounds when going there :( )
But even there I only need my identity card, not my International passport.

Yes, I'm pretty tough and can stand quite a lot of cold ( I drive my bike every day 45 minutes to work and 45 minutes to home , all year around.)
Because of the wind , you cool down more quickly ( at -4 you feel like -17 when driving at 105 kmh )It is called wind chill factor see

Even though I dress warmly and wear good biker clothing , at 0 degrees C after 30 minutes your hands start freezing and after an hour you start to slowly cool down. It hurts, but you get used to it.
I remember on my trip to England it was sunny but freezing, and the lady in the booth at the border control asked me : "you're driving a MOTORBIKE in THIS weather ? Isn't it rather .. cold ?" I said :" No it is not. It is ABSOLUTELY cold." Haha.

I have always liked the Ukyo-e by Hokusai and whenever there is an exhibition nearby I go to visit.
Many years ago in Belgium I was able to see original woodblocks and printings by Hokusai in an exhibition. It was so exciting!
Afterwards I started buying books with his prints ( the bigger the better ! ) .
I think 'Kanagawa oki nami-ura' (also known as The Great wave' ) must be the best known print outside of Japan.
You're so lucky to live in Japan where you can see the real prints whenever you like.