The few holidays after New Year’s is vital to Tokyo’s shopping districts and department stores do their best to lure customers with sales, bargain bags and performances! La Foret, one of the premier youth fashion department stores in the world put up this performance by the Yushima Tenjin Shiraume Taiko group (湯島天神白梅太鼓), which has to be one of the most beautiful taiko drum groups in the world! It was packed with people already before they started but somehow I managed to wriggle my way to the front where I crouched down (so as not to bother the people behind me) and go these pictures. They were just as fantastic as they look!
Last week, in front of Meiji Shrine in Tokyo’s Harajuku district the national farming association held a small demonstration against the TPP proposal. You can read about it here on Wikipedia, but to put it in easy to understand terms, the day Japan joins the TPP is the day when Japanese agriculture and therefore the entire countryside outside the most major cities starts dying. I am absolutely against the TPP and all the problems with anti-democratic, pro-corporation and anti-environment laws that will be the result. Instead of just holding banners the farmers held a parade and then distributed free vegetables and flowers to any member of the public. To raise awareness about the danger of TPP they also distributed some very informative pamphlets and flyers detailing the problems. I wish them luck, and although I try to keep politics and negative things away from this blog, I just can’t let this one slide. I hope the grassroots anti-TPP movements around the world can join hand in this protest.
At the Gallery in Omotesando’s Gyre I saw the leaf art exhibition by Azuma Makoto. Born in Fukuoka in 1976 he has quickly become on of Japan’s most famous Ikebana artists using flowers, leafs, plants, moss and grass as his subject. All of the works in this exhibition was carefully made by hand in a process that must have take a lot of time. I really recommend putting his name in a Google Image search and enjoying the fabulous photos, or take a few moments to browse his personal blog. I really enjoyed the stark patterns that emerge from his works when viewed close up!
On March 27th, on an abandoned lot near the back streets of Harajuku I came across this cherry tree in full bloom, a couple of days ahead of most trees in the metropolitan area. I am sure you’ll see thousands of images like these in the next few days as friends and family members blog, tweet and mail you the images they snap! Still, wouldn’t want to hold out on you so here goes, the first Tokyo cherry blossoms of the year here at Tokyobling! Enjoy!