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France, Paris: The Throne in the Palace of the Louvre

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France is celebrating 160th anniversary of diplomatic ties between France and Japan. Japonismes 2018: Les Ames en Resonance, will run through February 2019 involving exhibitions and events promoting Japanese art and design. Visual artist Kohei Nawa’s monumental sculpture “Throne” has one of the most prestigious spots in Paris: the Louvre. “I see the location as a connecting portal of modern lifestyles and the past, says Nawa, the Kyoto-based artist whose 10.4-meter-tall work is installed under I.M. Pei’s 1989 glass pyramid in the Louvre’s main courtyard.

The making of the throne itself involved both the past and the present. It was designed using state-of-the-art 3D modeling software and carved by robotic arms, however its gleaming gold leaf exterior was hand-applied by Japanese traditional craftspeople.

“The maximum capacity the pyramid can hold is 3 tons, so I told the museum I would ship a sculpture weighing exactly 3 tons,” says Nawa about the work’s creation. “I think they were bit worried, but after it went up, the Louvre’s curator, Martin Kiefer, told me the sculpture looks like it’s been at the pyramid all along.”

It’s not Nawa’s first “Throne” and it is different in that in previous iterations there was usually a small child seated within Nawa’s unique abstract shapes and geometric forms. For the Louvre, the seat is strikingly empty.

“Thrones are for kings. Here, the seat is for the authority that will eventually take over the control in the future. I left the seat empty to emphasize the invisibility,” says Nawa.

It sounds ominous, but Nawa goes on to explain that he foresees the type of power we see controlling today’s politics, economy and lifestyles as disappearing in the future, and in its place will be a very different form of authority. It could be artificial intelligence and advanced computer technology that will “take the throne,” he suggests, while we blindly follow, something that history has shown us that humans have had the tendency to do.

To us it is interesting that he chose a throne to be placed in this, the Palace of the Louvre, where French Kings sat on their thrones. Francis I chose this edifice as the residence for French kings and where it remained thus until good old King Louis XIV decided to move to Versailles and this building was then used to store his pretty things.

US: New Haven, CT – Welcome Spring at New Haven’s Cherry Blossom Festival

The 44th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of spring commemorating the planting of 72 Yoshino Japanese Cherry Blossom trees in 1973.  Hanami (cherry blossom) viewing, has been a Japanese custom since the 7th century when the aristocrats enjoyed the transient beauty of  looking at sakura (cherry trees). Sakura is a symbol of Japan, and it’s said that there are over 400 varieties of cherry trees in Japan.CherryTrees

The longstanding tradition of the Cherry Blossom Festival,  takes place  in New Haven’s Historic Wooster Square, and offers something for everyone in the family, including your 4 -legged family member.

Enjoy free entertainment including music, dancing, shop a flea market, food, a children and family area that includes puppet shows, arts and crafts, face painting and activities from the Peabody Museum, New Haven Free Public Library’s Readmobile and a raptor-rescue organization  -Horizon Wings.CBFestival_15 (1)

There is a Pet Friendly area, with New Haven Animal Shelter, Greater New Haven Cat Project, Little Shop of Howlers, Pups Without Partners and Veterinary Wellness Center.

With so much to do don’t forget the main attraction, enjoying the scenic view of the early blooming cherry blossoms. This family-friendly festival is a great and inexpensive way to bring in spring.

Location: Wooster Square, New Haven, CT 06511
Date: Sun., April 23, 2017
Time: 12 – 5pm
Tel: 203-777-1371
historicwoostersquare.org/cherryblossomfestival.html
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitnewhaven.com

Canada: BC has Authentic Asian Night Markets

In Richmond, BC, Canada,  mounds of swirly hurricane fries, Japanese takoyaki, and sweetly flavoured mini donuts are ready to hit the fryers. Grills are heating up in anticipation of skewered seaweed, squid pancakes, roasted yams and fresh duck wraps. Sweet treats, from mountains of sweet mango and cream to fresh dragon’s beard candy, are being scooped and spun for the hot summer months ahead. Meanwhile, vendors are ready to sell their unique wares to shoppers, as performers line up to entertain you.

Richmond is home to 2 Asian night markets, bringing the Far East to the Canadian West Coast. The Richmond Night Market and the International Summer Night Market combine to bring nearly 150 food stalls and over 400 retail vendors to their sites.

With a population that is 65 per cent Asian, Richmond’s two Asian night markets bring together cuisines from Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, France, Kenya and Canadian First Nations. Snaking through the dining stalls is like being transported around the world, and offers a chance to sample some finger-licking good bites.

And, even with so much diversity, there is one element that unites all foods – the humble skewer. Look for tasty and swirly skewered potatoes dipped in flavoured salts – these night market skewers are just one of the “on-a-stick” options carried around the markets. Other stalls can be found skewering everything from spears of asparagus wrapped with bacon, to fried garlic prawns and juicy Thai chicken satay.

Vendors at both night markets bring together some of the hottest and most unique accessories – including jewelry, clothing, and everything you didn’t know you needed – at street-side prices (cheap). The most popular items visitors head there for are – socks and cell phone covers. For the fanciest of footwear, look out for superheroes, animals galore and, Mr. Gangnam himself, Psy. To keep electronics safe or give them some sparkle Richmond’s night markets have got it covered.

www.richmond.ca