A new weekly AGI column brings you the best of things to see and do around the capital. These highlights should help to keep you busy and your schedule full!
DINE OUT (Restaurants & Food)
Flesh and Buns opened on August 8 in Covent Garden, from the folks who brought you Bone Daddies Ramen. They feature something called a ‘hirata bun’ which is a bit like an open-style Chinese bun with various meat fillings. Sake cocktails and Japanese fusion desserts round out the menu. See their website (http://www.fleshandbuns.com/) for more details or to make a reservation.
GO (Festivals, performances)
The 16th Annual Kingston Korean Festival (http://krsuk.com/K_fes.html) will be held on August 17th at the Fairfield Recreation Ground. Includes music, entertainment, kids fun zone, and Korean food of course. This year’s event will also feature a special tribute to British veterans of the Korean war. Free entrance.
READ (Books etc)
13 novels were put on the longlist for the prestigious Booker Prize for books written in the UK, Ireland and the Commonwealth this year. They include three stories with Asian themes: A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki, about a bullied girl from Tokyo with a Zen Buddhist grandmother; Five Star Billionaire
by Londoner Tash Aw, about Chinese-Malaysian immigrants living in Shanghai; and Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland
, an epic family story set in Calcutta (unfortunately this one won’t be released until Sept. 8 in the UK). The first two were noted by AGI long before the Booker longlist was decided. Ozeki visited London earlier this year and at the time of this writing, signed copies of her book are still available at Foyles bookshop, online or at their Charing Cross branch.
Also, up for the 23rd Biennial Neustadt International Prize For Literature (called “America’s Nobel”) this year are authors Duong Thu Huong of Vietnam, Haruki Murakami from Japan, Palistinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan, and Korean-American Chang-Rae Lee.
SEE (Art & Photography Exhibitions)
The Ainu photo exhibition by Makiko Ui continues at the National Geographic Store in Knightsbridge.
The Art of Influence: Asian Propaganda, at the British Museum until September 1st, includes propaganda materials from North Korea, China, Japan, India, Vietnam, and more.
The Painted Word by Indian/Pakistani calligraphic painter Jamil Naqsh, at Asia House until August 31st.
Silver from the Malay World, at the Victoria & Albert Museum; ongoing.
Weeds by Suda Yoshihiro, a Japanese artist known for his extremely realistic plant and flower scupltures. At the Faggionato Gallery until August 16th.
Note: All of the exhibitions above are FREE to attend.
WATCH (Theatre & Film)
Akira Kurosawa’s classic samurai film ‘Throne of Blood’ (loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth) plays outdoors at Somerset House on August 15th. The film will be preceded by an optional talk on Japanese gothic cinema by film expert Jasper Sharp. Tickets for both events can be purchased (while supplies last) at http://somersethouse.org.uk/film.
‘Chimerica’ at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End started on August 6th after a very successful run at the Almeida Theatre in East London earlier this summer. The story revolves around the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and stars Benedict Wong. It has received rave reviews across the board. Get your tickets while you still can.
Satyajit Ray, a legendary Indian director, will see a multi-film retrospective of his work at the British Film Institute from August 14th, as part of a celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema. Details are available here.