Hokusai

hokusai - Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province from Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji
Yesterday we were kindly invited by a Japanese client to dinner at their apartment. It was a highly enjoyable evening – including some great Dassai sake – and we were treated to a tea ceremony to end the evening by our host.  Suffice to say, the British tea drinking tradition of dunking a tea-bag into hot water doesn’t quite match up.
We discussed a number of topics, though generally with a common Japan-related theme.
From the dinner I realised that I’d missed the discussion of Hokusai’s life and work on the recent In Our Time programme on Radio 4.  I hadn’t previously known that Hokusai took 30 professional names in his life, or that The Great Wave off Kanagawa – the most reproduced image in the world – came to be made largely due to technological and commercial pressures. Hokusai’s publisher suggested developing prints using a new Prussian blue pigment which had become widely available and had fallen in price.
There is a forthcoming  Hokusai Exhibition at the British Museum beginning 25 May.  I’m sure we’ll visit.

JET event at the House of Lords

Its taken a little while to post this, but I recently attended an event held at the House of Lords to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the JET scheme in Japan.

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I’m not a JET alumni, though have done some English teaching in Japan in my time…  The JET scheme has gone from strength to strength, growing from an initial cohort of a few hundred in its initial year, to 50,000+ participants from 50+ countries in total.

The amount of investment made by the Japanese government in developing these cultural links must be extremely significant.  It feels that this is taken for granted in the UK, shown by policies such as the restriction on post-MBA work visas for international students.

More event photos can be seen at this link; https://boltsie.dphoto.com/album/f8d6ag