Food and drink have the power to be transformative, whether it’s through unearthing a new culture, or the simple joy of spending time with friends and family. That sense of magic can be felt in certain ingredients and transform how we look at categories such as mould. Koji is exactly the kind of magical substance that will change your perception of how a mould is used in food and drink.
Koji Alchemy, written by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, is a comprehensive guide on understanding what makes koji so versatile. From delving into the history of different strains, to offering one-of-a-kind recipes, Koji Alchemy is a must-read book for chefs, fermentation enthusiasts and anyone who’d like to expand their knowledge on an ingredient that’s ushering in a new wave of innovation.
Continue reading “Koji Alchemy Review: A Book That Will Change Your Perception Of Mould”
From writers to artists, Japan has a history of inspiring creatives to bring a new dimension to their work. When Spanish artist Amaia Arrazola took up an art residency in Tokyo, she was inspired to create an entire art portfolio after spending a month in Japan’s capital. The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook: Kawaii Culture, Wabi Sabi Design, Female Samurais and Other Obsessions is the fruit of Arrazola’s labour. Continue reading “The Tokyo Travel Sketchbook Review: Capturing The Contradictory Nature Of Japan”
In recent years, Japanese philosophy has had a profound effect on the West. Practices such as ikigai and yugen have become popular for developing a positive mental health routine. Yet one of the earliest Japanese practices to take off in the West happened to be an amalgamation of both cultures called kaizen.
A Japanese noun for ‘improvement,’ kaizen is all about making continuous change throughout life. In Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step at a Time, Sarah Harvey explores the practice in great detail. But rather than just being a typical self-help book, Harvey goes deeper by examining the history of kaizen and introducing psychological theory as well. Continue reading “Kaizen: The Japanese Method Of Transforming Habits One Small Step At A Time Review: Insightful And Resonant”
Japanese cooking features some of the most enjoyable ingredients on the planet and an izakaya is one of the best places to enjoy traditional Japanese fare. Famous for a small-plate style of serving, izakayas are a wonderful place to share a meal with friends and family.
The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook, written by Wataru Yokota, takes the reader on a journey through 120 classic izakaya dishes that can be cooked from home. Continue reading “The Real Japanese Izakaya Cookbook Review: An Excellent Book To Have In Your Kitchen”
The geisha is one of the most famous images of Japanese culture. Elegant, mysterious and graceful, geisha have connotations with a romantic side of Japan that’s been perpetuated by myths and legends. The truth is a lot more complicated.
Stephen and Ethel Longstreet’s Geishas and The Floating World delves into the myths surrounding geisha and separate fact from fiction. The book charts the rise and fall of the infamous Yoshiwara districts that became a part of The Floating World and women’s roles within it. Continue reading “Geishas And The Floating World Review: A Fascinating Read That Separates Myth From Reality”
The pursuit of finding balance is a life-long goal that’s forever changing. Everyone has different perspectives on what they need to find peace, whether it’s through spending time with friends, or going for a long walk. Author Akemi Tanaka believes the best way to find balance is with chowa, the Japanese concept of harmony.
In her book, The Power Of Chowa, Tanaka tells the story of her life and pulls back the curtain on what it means to walk your own path in Japanese culture. Soulful, honest and powerful, The Power Of Chowa is a book that’s worth reading. Continue reading “The Power Of Chowa Review: Soulful, Honest And Relatable”
As a fan of tattoos, one of my favourite pastimes is discovering new styles. Irezumi, the art of Japanese tattooing, has always been fascinating to me because of its connotations in Japan. Associated with criminality, irezumi is thought be both shocking and taboo. But outside of Japan, the distinctive style has captivated tattoo enthusiasts and that kind of contrast is intriguing.
Japanese Tattoos, written by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny, goes into detail about the history of irezumi and the motifs that make it one of the most beautiful tattoo styles in the world. Continue reading “Japanese Tattoos Review: A Book Filled With Beautiful Irezumi”
There’s a romantic side to Japan that’s easy to get swept up in. It’s great to appreciate cherry blossoms, good food and samurai. But there’s also a dark side to the country. Human trafficking, prostitution and ruthless crime families and are all harsh realities that people deal with everyday in Japan.
Much of the corruption is attributed to the yakuza and the role they have in Japanese society. Tokyo Vice, written by Jake Adelstein, gives real insight into the world of the yakuza and Japan’s criminal underbelly. Provocative and gripping, Tokyo Vice is a worthy addition to any Japanophile’s book shelf. Continue reading “Tokyo Vice Review: A Gripping Tale Of The Yakuza And Japan’s Criminal Underworld”
Looking after your mental health is important, especially in a fast-paced world that is driven by digital experiences. While everyone has their own mental health coping techniques, it’s good to examine different cultures and gain an appreciation for their practices. Japan has a rich tradition of self-improvement concepts, such as ikigai, which is all about finding a purpose.
Erin Niimi Longhurst’s Japonisme provides insight into the rationale behind ikigai and other Japanese self-improvement techniques. By detailing her own experiences through the lens of her heritage, Longhurst has written a fascinating book that is inspiring from a mental health perspective. Continue reading “Japonisme Review: An Inspiring Book That Is Dedicated Towards Promoting Positive Mental Health”
As an author, Ryu Murakami specialises in presenting Japan in a way that few other writers do. His stories combine the seedy underbelly of Japan with the darker side of human nature. One of his most famous works, Audition, became so popular that it was adapted into a film. The novel is a brutal exploration into the psyche of a scorned woman and the hell she can unleash on the men who have wronged her. Continue reading “Audition Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Crazy Woman Scorned”