Do you know Japanese Daruma dolls? At the start of the year you colour one eye in black, set a goal for yourself, and then if you achieve your goal you colour the other eye. I am currently making a limited number of IKIMASHO Daruma postcards to welcome 2020. Each card will be individually drawn and painted, and come with a message from me. (Eyes will be left blank for you to colour!) If you would like one, please drop […]
Last weekend was seriously one of the best weekends I have had in years. There is a fine line being a travel blogger – I obviously want to write informative posts about places, but sometimes I like the fact that this site is simply a diary for myself, and something I can look back on in years to come. And so this post isn’t really about anything, and yet it’s about everything. This is what my three-day weekend looked like […]
Last weekend I was out at the Mori Art Museum reviewing the new NS Harsha retrospective for Tokyo Art Beat. I’ll hopefully get that article written and published later next week. I’ve always been a big fan of the Mori: it’s a space that never fails to enhance the exhibitions it hosts, not any easy task considering its size. What also makes the Mori special is that admission to the museum also grants you entrance to Tokyo City View on the 52nd floor. Offering 360-degree […]
A rare glimpse into the art and culture of one of the world’s most intriguing countries. A few weeks back I was invited along to the Ueno Royal Museum in Tokyo to check out its latest exhibition of art and relics from the Kingdom of Bhutan – a country I’d love to go to. Unfortunately, the only time I have ever seen the Himalayas was from the window of an airplane as I was evacuated from the earthquake in Nepal. […]
Categories: Art, Music & Culture, Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: art, asia, bhutan, blog, buddhism, buddhist, culture, design, himalayas, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, masks, nepal, se asia, travel
Sunshine makes me happy. I’m not sure if I’d go as far as to say I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I also certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that was to be the case. There are many people I know who class winter as their favourite season, loving the snow, and actually preferring to wear about ten layers of clothing day in, day out. I’ve never been able to understand it. Give me shorts, tshirt and bare feet any day. […]
A 100-metre long mash-up of otaku culture & Japanese art history. While it was always my intention to return to Tokyo in 2016, I thought I would most likely arrive in March, just in time for hanami. As it turns out, a position in my old company opened up in January, so here I am. Thankfully, coming a few months early meant I was able to catch the current Takashi Murakami exhibition before it closes in March. Murakami is one of the most […]
A fisherman makes his last catch of the day as his wife looks on from the shore In travel photography circles, sunsets get a bad rap – widely considered as overdone and clichéd. The chances of taking a shot that’s different to the millions of others is slim, yet when the sun begins to set and the colours fill the sky most of us feel compelled to take out our camera. Photography means recording beautiful light. And sunsets are all about beautiful, […]
❤ IKIMASHO! NEEDS YOUR HELP! ❤ IKIMASHO! has been shortlisted for ‘Best Travel Blog’ in this year’s Irish Blog Awards. 30% of the judging for this round is by public vote, so if you would be sooo kind to click the link below and vote for IKIMASHO! You don’t need to register, or give your name, or any of that stuff – just click the link and vote. Remember, IKIMASHO! is 100% my own travel experiences. I’m not a tour operator. […]
I spent some time in Copenhagen last week. It’s a lovely city, and the Danes have a very high standard of living. Everyone looks happy and healthy. It’s also not as expensive as people make it out to be, so you shouldn’t let worries about costs put you off going. (£3 a pint where I was staying and supermarket prices on par with UK. Restaurants slightly higher but not extortionate.) I primarily came to Copenhagen to just sit about, go […]
Categories: Travel: Outside Japan • Tags: art, blog, blogging, colour, copenhagen, denmark, design, designers republic, drawing, energy, ikimasho, illustration, japan, justin egli, museum, scandanavia, sculpture, street, sweden, tokyo, travel, urban
Please contribute to Camp Hope & help those affected by disaster rebuild their lives. It’s been two months since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake left a profound trail of destruction in the villages surrounding Kathmandu, Kavre District and Sindulpalchowk – along with many other areas of central and western Nepal. To date, more than 8,000 lives have been lost with countless homes and villages destroyed. Small (unreported) aftershocks continue to hit the country, and so those who survived the disaster unfortunately still have to live in fear. […]
I was in Spain a few weeks back, walking about Tossa de Mar. I went into a church – Esglesia Parroquial de Sant Vincenç – and drew the image above while sitting there listening to the organ. No one else was in the church at the time. It was both relaxing and eery at the same time.
One talented reader shows how the Tokyo rail network really can be a work of art I’m grateful to the people who take the time to write to me about Japan and Ikimasho! The majority of the stuff I get these days is from people wanting to know how to become a kindergarten teacher – actually this site ranks #1 if you Google the words Japan and kindergarten. Sometimes though, I get mails that are pretty left field and interesting. The other day I received a great […]
Categories: Art, Music & Culture, Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: advertising, art, blog, design, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, map, minimal, otaku, public transport, rail, railway, tokyo, trains, trainspotting, yokohama
I should explain what is happening in the picture above. This is “dissolution” – an impressive sound installation by Shun Owada at the Tokyo Experimental Festival 2015. Chunks of limestone filled with extinct fossils from 270 million years ago are slowly dissolved by weak acid dripping from intravenous bags hanging from the ceiling. When the surface of the stone dissolves, it generates CO2 – releasing gas from the fossils which lived when reptiles first roamed the earth. The room is completely […]
“Every space has its own sound, according to its shape and material, and it has already been singing long before you entered it.” A few weeks back I attended the Tokyo Experimental Festival where I saw a performance by vocalist and cross-media artist, Ami Yamasaki. The space was limited to 20 people, the walls covered with thousands of origami feathers to catch and diversify the sounds of the room. Of course, a quiet space is never truly quiet, and so […]
Categories: Art, Music & Culture • Tags: Ami Yamasaki, art, blog, culture, ikimasho, installation, japan, justin egli, Ochanomizu, performance, surreal, TEF, till a quiet room sings, tokyo, tokyo experimental festival 2015, Tokyo Wonder Site, voice, weird
Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles… Stumbling across the extraordinary in Kita Senju. Last month, contemporary artist Shinji Ohmaki invaded Senju Asahi Park (also known as Taroyama Park) in Kita Senju, releasing massive amounts of sparkling soap bubbles and transforming the grey urban space into a dreamland. The result was an ordinary space turned extraordinary, with music, dancing, and thousands upon thousands of bubbles. You can read my feature for Tokyo Weekender here.
Categories: Art, Music & Culture, Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: art, bubbles, contemporary, ikimasho!blog, installation, japan, japanese, justin egli, Kita Senju, Shinji Ohmaki, subrban, suburbia, tokyo, tokyo weekender, uban
From Northern Ireland to Nippon with one of the world’s leading netlabels From its humble beginnings in a room in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Acroplane Recordings – headed up by Paul Moore – has matured to become of the world’s leading netlabels. Boxcutter (Planet Mu) and Space Dimension Controller (R&S) put out their first releases on Acroplane, and over the years Paul has played alongside artists as diverse as Autechre, Scorn, Luke Vibert, Remarc and Surgeon to name but a few. Acroplane […]
Categories: Art, Music & Culture • Tags: acid, acroplane recordings, ambient, art, beats, blog, culture, design, electronic music, electronica, Himuro Yoshiteru, idm, japan, japanese, music, netlabel, street, techno, tokyo, urban
BBW WLTM BF for fun times I was lucky enough to spend the morning with a very special girl last weekend. Standing 23-metres high and weighing in at half a tonne, she dominated me – and the skyline. If you`d like to have a date with SKYWHALE yourself, head on over to Kanda this weekend where she will be flying high as part of TRANS ARTS TOKYO 2014. To find out more about her, check out my full review for Tokyo Art Beat here.
Categories: Art, Music & Culture, Daily Life in Tokyo • Tags: art, blog, canberra, contemporary, culture, installation, japan, japanese, kanda, modern art, Patricia Piccinini, skywhale, tokyo, trans arts tokyo 2014
“The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.” – Kamo no Chomei (12th Century Buddhist Poet) Born in Kyoto in 1981, Tsuyoshi Hisakado completed an M.F.A. at the Department of Sculpture of Kyoto University of Arts in 2007. He formed the artist group SHINCHICA in 2002 while he was in university, taking charge of sound and installation. From this background, the two elements ‘sound’ and ‘sculpture’ are the main features in Hisakado’s art creation. I was recently invited […]
The mundane is beautiful. See Tokyo in a new light through the private lives of others. Fiona Tan was born in 1966 in Pekan Baru, Indonesia, to a Chinese-Indonesian father and an Australian mother. Now living in Holland having studied in both Amsterdam and Hamburg, her works are known for contesting and underlining cultural identity. With such a rich cultural history herself, it’s no surprise that an in-depth exploration of identity has always been at the forefront of her artistic career. The main focus […]
I got back from Indonesia a few weeks ago, but despite my feet being firmly in Japan, my mind is still wandering around somewhere in SE Asia. I went out for a walk with my camera today to remind myself where I live. Yes, I’m definitely back in Tokyo.
Trans Arts is back. The format may have changed – but it still packs a punch. Centering around the site of the former Tokyo Denki University, Trans Arts Tokyo is a unique project which last year saw the participation of 300 artists and attracted over 10,000 visitors. It’s the most chaotic and creative arts event in the city – and this year I was kindly asked by Tokyo Art Beat to snoop about and give my opinion. You can read my full […]
Travel with a smile and the whole world smiles with you… OK, brace yourself. I’m about to say something extremely cheesy so please bear with me. Someone once asked me what the most important thing was to pack when going to Asia. I simply replied, “a smile.” Cheesy or not, I still stand by it. It goes for whatever country you visit. Body language is universal. I can’t speak Burmese but in the past I’ve been beckoned over to eat […]
4 men. 1 album. 3 dimensions. After a sell-out (and computer crashing) run at the Tate Modern, Kraftwerk brings its catalogue retrospective to Tokyo: 8 consecutive gigs at the intimate Akasaka Blitz. It’s raining heavily in Tokyo. Outside a venue in one of the city’s central business districts, lines of people are waiting patiently, colourful umbrellas hoisted in the air. An almost fittingly minimalistic hand-drawn sign is taped to the door: KRAFTWERK. STARTS 5PM. Inside, you are immediately struck by the intimacy of […]
“You can’t be more horrific than life itself.” Your last chance to catch the master of the macabre in Tokyo. Described by Margaret Thatcher as “that man who paints those dreadful pictures,” Francis Bacon was one of the most exalted, most disliked artists of the postwar era. His abstract images of psychological and physical brutality still have the power to unsettle today – achieving on canvass what David Lynch achieves on film or what Beckett did on paper. The Tate gave […]
On 23 March 2013, the level crossings at Shimokitazawa in Tokyo lifted for the very last time. It was a sad day for anyone who has ever lived in the area. The Odakyu train line has now gone deep underground, and with it has brought a huge, brand new station that is both sterile and soulless in equal measures. It is not what Shimokitazawa is about, but I guess this is what you call ‘progress’ in the modern age. I […]