About

Kota Kinabalu Week 2 048 (Large)

Hi, I’m Lisa. Welcome to my site.

This is the place where I want to share with you some of the wonders of Japanese art, design, craftsmanship and culture as well as letting you in on some of the magical places I have discovered while exploring off the beaten track in Japan. Hopefully, some of you may be inspired to find out a little more about Japanese arts and culture, to perhaps visit the country for yourself someday (or explore a little more of it if you’re already there), or maybe just to venture off the beaten track once in a while, a little closer to home.


I am from the UK, although I had the pleasure of living and working in various parts of Japan for around five years – from sub-tropical Southern Kyushu to the snowy mountains of Hokkaido, as well as the old capital of Kyoto ‘the city of ten thousand shrines’ which sits in between. After returning to England, I studied Japanese and Korean Art at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, London) and went on to manage an art gallery in Notting Hill, which specialises in Japanese folding screens, hanging scrolls and other hand-crafted works of art. I am now pursuing various projects to help promote Japanese art, design and crafts to new audiences outside of Japan.

When people ask why I went to Japan in the first place, all I can say is that I had somehow always been drawn to the Japanese sense of style and design… as well as being attracted by the prospect of delving into the mysteries of this far-off land with its deeply entrenched customs and traditions and its seemingly indecipherable but intriguing language system. Somehow, too, it gave me the impression that it was a place which possessed a certain quiet wisdom as it silently and calmly observed the outside world.

Having lived in Japan, all of these elements which drew me there in the beginning still remain. Over time, the mysteries of the country have been replaced by new ones, yet it continues to be just as fascinating and alluring to me as it did when it existed simply as an assortment of expectations and imaginings inside my head.

This website is in part an exploration into identifying the underlying thread which runs through the essence of Japanese art, design and culture, and to ponder the question of why these aesthetics and sensibilities resonate with so many people on such an instinctual level.

Designer Kenya Hara, when asked what he thought were Japan’s most valuable resources for export looking to the future, gave this answer:

“What are Japan’s resources?” he asks, “I’m particularly thinking about traditional aesthetics. I’ve identified four keywords related to this: sensai (delicateness), chimitsu (meticulousness), teinei (thoroughness or attention to detail) and kanketsu (simplicity).”

Nicely put.

2009 07 11 momiji shadows 150

A word on my site name, dewdrops on momiji.

Momiji is the Japanese name for maple, and the pastime of momijigari (maple-leaf viewing) in autumn remains a popular and much-loved activity across Japan, an annual celebration of the beauty of the vibrant multi-coloured leaves which stretch across the mountainsides. At the same time, however, there is a bitter-sweetness felt when observing the fleeting beauty of this visual display which marks the changing of the seasons as it reminds the viewer of the ephemeral nature of all things.

The dewdrop often sits, unnoticed, due to its small size. Look a little closer though, and you might see a whole world encapsulated within it. The world we experience depends wholly on our perspective, and sometimes changing this perspective can open the door to limitless exploration and adventures.

Himeji Castle in a Dewdrop

Feel free to contact me by sending me an email using the form below!

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