Shrine Maiden at Heian Jingu

This Week in Tokyo and Kyoto – 26 April 2022

A week split between Kyoto and Tokyo for me this week! This week: Shrine Strolling; Kyotographie x Irving Penn x Mac; Cindy Bissig at KG+; Bruichladdich Festival 2022; Whisky Festival 2022 in Tokyo – The Movie.

Featured image – Shrine Strolling: The cherry blossoms of Heian Jingu were featured in last week’s ‘This Week in Kyoto’. I went back there this week to further explore the site and shrine buildings and snapped this. ‘Nuff said.

Irving Penn at Kyotographie 2022 Kyoto

Kyotographie x Irving Penn x Mac: One of the reasons I was in Kyoto last week was to experience as much of the KYOTOGRAPHIE as I could. The international photography festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and the theme is ‘ONE’.

One of my favourite exhibitions was ‘Irving Penn: Works 1939–2007. Masterpieces from the MEP Collection’ held at the Kyoto City Museum of Art Annex.

Beginning in 1943, Irving Penn photographed for Vogue, and other commercial clients in America and abroad for nearly 70 years. Until his death in 2009, his innovative photographs continued to appear regularly in Vogue, and he was busy with assignments and experimental personal work.

The exhibition featured a Portrait Shooting Corner – a triangular space inspired by the photo sets of the Marcel Duchamp and Elsa Schiaparelli portraits shown in the exhibition. The narrow space and sharp corners naturally limits the poses of the subject, and instead brings out the people themselves. I think it did just that with me!

Irving Penn preferred to use light grey-coloured background paper for his photographs, which was also the theme colour for this exhibition. BTW, that T-shirt comes from Matsui Shuzo – a sake brewery in the heart of Kyoto. Although they are better known for their incredible range of premium brews, their 5% Yogurt Sake is devastatingly good!

Cindy Bissig Blurred Reality Exhibition at KG+ 2022

Cindy Bissig at KG+: Running in conjunction with Kyotographie, KG+ is a public festival showcasing photography in smaller venues around the city. 2022 saw over 60 exhibitions, but the one I really wanted to see was ‘Blurred Reality’ by Cindy Bissig (left in photo).

Cindy’s work at the exhibition deals with the timely themes of isolation, self-absorption, emptiness, connection… introduced through video, music, soundscapes and prints. The poignancy of the work was enhanced by the venue – MANDARACHA – the most amazing modern tea house in the Kiyomizu district of Kyoto.

Congratulations to Cindy on this fantastic exhibition.

Bruichladdich Festival 2022 at Roppongi Hills with Whisky Jack at Roppongi Hills

Bruichladdich Festival 2022: Bruichladdich once again took over the plaza at Roppongi Hills for their Bruichladdich Festival.

As a tour guide whose success criteria is to be the best guide in the world, I am very attuned to recognizing the intersection of knowledge, credibility, passion and customer focus that creates for an immersive, sometimes life-changing consumer experience.

I recognized these qualities in many of the drinks brand ambassadors who I have met in Tokyo.

One of these legends is Jack Chambers. He’s the Brand Ambassador for Bruichladdich (pictured), and he’s been very busy at the Bruichladdich Festival in Roppongi last week. Running two seminars a day, his tireless energy is an inspiration. He’s got great taste in music too – here we are by the record booth which featured his curated selection of drinking tunes!

All credit to Oscar Hashizume and his team for a fantastic event.

BTW, Jack wears many hats in his role at Remy Cointreau… he is also Brand Ambassador for Seattle’s Westland Distillery, which you can find out more about, direct from Jack, in this video…

Whisky Festival 2022 in Tokyo – The Movie: Whisky Festival 2022 in Tokyo marked the return of real-world whisky festivals to Tokyo! A thirsty crowd lapped up the comeback on the weekend of 26 and 27 March 2022. 4 sessions were held across two days. Each session was 3.5 hours long. I attended Session 1 and Session 4, and you can check out my adventures there sampling delicious beverages and networking with Japan’s drinks industry Illuminati in the latest video on Kanpai Planet! It includes appearances from Suntory Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, Chichibu Distillery Founder Ichiro Akuto, Mars Tsunuki Distillery Manager Tatsuro Kusano and many more.

It was great to see lots of new Japanese distilleries at the event, in many cases upstaging the presence of the big guns such as Suntory and Nikka. And it’s not just Japanese Whisky. Watch to see how Scotch, American, Irish, Welsh and English Whisky are presented in Japan. And it’s not just whisky – rum and gin get a shout out too! Kanpai!

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