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Artist and wordsmith, whose work engages with issues of access, from acknowledged physical needs to perceived symbolic exclusions. After being selected as one of DAO's New Voices in 2011, Gini's online presence has become an integral part of her arts practice

Tokyo Christmas and New Year - a family affair

31 December 2014

Blog

a pair of Kadomatsu, traditional New Year symbolic decoration of pine branches, bamboo and straw standing out side the entrance to a shop, flanking a corn dolly style message above the door.

End of year day and a holiday. The festive air is infectious. There will be celebration events all over the city. People will be out partying but many families will be staying home to watch the traditional marathon tv singing contest.  As the year changes bells will strike 108 times and at some temples visitors are invited join in with the ringing. Around a million people will pass through the Meji shrine as it is the custom to offer wishes and prayers in the first five days of the New...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - clear separation

30 December 2014

Blog

The white sheep in the Wako department store window sit on white balls, like giant snowballs, with there backs to the audience. The golden curls of their horns and the yellow-gold setting are the only colour.

Swirls of coloured lights decorate the abundant planting in the streets. Good luck messages flash from the hoardings. The end of the year is fast approaching. The Wako department store window has the usual crowds standing in admiration, blocking access to the pavement. This New Year's display constists of white sheep, with golden horns, lined up and facing the back of the window. Suddenly one of the sheep swivels around to peer out at the crowd. Passing pedestrians make sudden stop and...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - lucky sheep

29 December 2014

Blog

On a small dark wood tray sit simple representations of the twelve zodiac animals, most of them are white and crudely decorated

  One of our Christmas day deliveries was the bunch of New Year flowers. An assortment of yellow blooms with greenery, including the all important branch of a pine tree. Traditional beliefs held that the gods visited the earth at this important time and lived in the pines trees until the New Year.  Good wishes for the New Year arrive frequently and include plaited rice stalks or straw, rather like a corn dolly, with good luck messages and prayers, which we hang on the front door. Big...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - last day for a lucky outcome.

28 December 2014

Blog

A dark background, the door, with the traditional 'corn-dolly style' rice decoration ( this one looking a little like a western-style angel) hanging on it

Today is the last day that I could consider beginning Tokyo New Year celebration blogging. The 29th is out - any number that includes a nine is bad luck and the 30th is just too late for showing any proper respect. Preparations are already well underway; anytime after 13th December it is ok to start gathering pine branches. Most firms have already held their End-of-Year staff parties and people are taking holiday and beginning to gather as families in festive mode. Free End-of-Year concerts...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - Christmas Day

25 December 2014

Blog

A pinky- blue dawn with a tiny bit of Tokyo skyline. The buildings have a few lights, but it's earlyand people are sleeping.

Back to work for most people, the day starts with the delivery of some internet purchases; a modern version of Santa?  Merry Christmas. The light here is amazing! I have a suddenly refreshed insight into the utter necessity of Nordic Juletide festivities. Enduring the darkness of winter, the reemergence of the sun needs celebrating and the possibility of new light-provoked shoots and leaves needs every encouragement it can get. Here in Tokyo it might be cold, but light-dependant life...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - Juleaften

24 December 2014

Blog

Close up of golden deep fried biscuit on a red, white and green Christmas napkin

Christmas Eve day, so light and bright, even if there are clouds in a less than perfectly blue sky. The klejner (Christmas biscuit) dough has rested in the fridge overnight, to be rolled out, cut, twisted and deep fried at this very late stage in the proceedings.  Everybody warns me that already tomorrow evening, latest the 26th, all signs of Christmas will be gone. New Year is the big unmissable event and preparations are already underway. Chinese New Year celebrations involve families...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - Emporer's birthday and Lille Juleaften

23 December 2014

Blog

Close up of green Christmas tree with typically ScandiBrit red and white decorations.

Today is the Japanese Emporer's birthday, a public holiday, and for us, Little Christmas Eve. It is also light, bright and full of sunshine. Our Christmas cake has come together well, looks right and fills the apartment with just the right aromas, in spite of some interesting dried fruit substitutions. The final verdict will of course have to wait until 25th. Potato and butter shortages threaten to scupper the traditional ScandiBrit Christmas my family is accustomed to. The butter shortage,...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - seasonal scurrying

22 December 2014

Blog

Purple and cream paper cut and plaited into a heart-shaped container with a thin purple ribbon handle to hang it up with; a traditional Danish tree decoration.

I've been on a most unJapanese mission to acquire the ingredients for an English Christmas cake. Not far from Tokyo station there is a shopping complex/department store with a baking/cooking ingredients and implements section on the first basement floor. Heading out into glorious sunshine and a bitingly cold wind, I'm surprised to pass incredibly long queues of Japanese people at bus stops and at, possibly, a lucky lottery ticket seller. There is a familiarity in the sight of...

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Tokyo Christmas and New Year - getting there

21 December 2014

Blog

A handmade red woollen Julenisse, a Danish Christmas elf, with a white beard and a pointed red hat.

Here I am in Tokyo again and feeling lucky to be here. Each time I take to the skies there are obstacles to overcome. Every single time they are different; somebody somewhere has fun shaking up T&C's for the ideal knife edge experience every traveller longs for. The first thrill was that my ebooking was invisible to the airline flying the aircraft. Three companies were using this plane, each with their own system. I was advised to contact the plane owners 48 hours before the flight when...

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one day

12 December 2014

Blog

a very simple handmade impression of a person, a body with stumpy legs; a smile and an x marking the belly-button; this is black Zambian clay baked in the African sun.

The more complex a society becomes, the more fully the law must take into account the diversity of the people who live in  it... (Margaret  Mead). One day in the future we will construct  the laws and the institutions of a modern, humane  society that will take real account of the people  who make, or potentially make, the communities within it. Right now we live in a  dark age every bit as horrific as  past  barbarics. The current 'one...

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