This week sees the opening of plenty of new, independent exhibitions around Tokyo, from Arita ware to conceptual installations. This weekend is also your last chance to beat the crowds and get your hands on limited-edition Valentine’s Day treats.

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TW Picks


1. Launch of Umoja, The Black Diaspora Anthology

Umoja is the Swahili word for unity. “Our unity is woven from the many visions of the black diaspora. We are many and we are one.” This is the message the editors of the book Umoja, ToPoJo Excursions: The Black Diaspora Edition sent through social media posts, announcing the upcoming anthology.

The Tokyo Poetry Journal will be hosting a launch event for the book. Umoja is an anthology of poetry, prose and art by Black writers and creators living in Japan and around the world. It is edited by Biankah Bailey and Marcellus Nealy.

This event will showcase some of the wonderful works in the book along with music by live performers. For those who are unable to join the live event, there are tickets available to stream it. The cost of the live stream ticket is ¥2,000 and can be purchased on Peatix.

When: Feb 12 | More info

Laurent Grasso, Studies into the Past. Oil and palladium leaf on wood, 20 × 30 cm. Photo by Claire Dorn. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.

2. “Head in the Clouds” at Perrotin Tokyo

Perrotin Tokyo is pleased to present “Head in the Clouds,” a group exhibition featuring 13 Perrotin artists. The concept of this presentation plays with the idiom “head in the clouds,” exploring both its allusion to a dreamy state of mind, as well as the notion of being oblivious to reality or to impending danger. The expression is especially relevant in our current culture of digitization and information overload, where we tend to walk around with our minds absorbed in a world far away, often unavailable to give our undivided attention to the full reality in front of us. Art calls us back into the here and now, to re-connect and give deeper focus and thought to our sensory experience.

When: From Feb 9 | More info

3. Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions 2022

Themed “After the Spectacle,” the 14th edition of the Yebisu International Festival for Art & Alternative Visions examines the history of the (moving) image and expositions from the 19th and 20th century up to the present. In addition to displays and screenings of pieces by contemporary artists, and related events, the program was expanded with the aim to further explore the possibilities of visual media. Among others, this time it encompasses a project in which guest curator Masashi Kohara links documents related to the history of expositions to the museum’s own collection, an online movie project by the up-and-coming filmmaker Maiko Endo and educational programs aimed to connect visitors to a rather broad range of works.

Note: It is recommended that visitors use the online ticket system.

When: Until Feb 20 | More info

4. Eijiro Tokunaga: “The Flowing Scenes of Seasons”

HULS Gallery Tokyo is proud to present its latest exhibition, featuring works by Arita-based ceramic artist Eijiro Tokunaga. Tokunaga specializes in creating various textures and finishes by combining different clays and glazes. In addition to sake ware and matcha bowls, he designs and creates various types of tableware for local and foreign chefs.

Note: Hours and duration of the exhibition are subject to change. Please check the gallery’s website or SNS for the latest information.

When: Until Feb 19 | More info

Installation view of “Seven/Seven: The Fraught Landscape” at Fergus McCaffrey Tokyo, January 2022. All Artworks © Artists

5. “Seven/Seven: The Fraught Landscape” at Fergus McCaffrey Tokyo

Fergus McCaffrey is pleased to announce “Seven/Seven: The Fraught Landscape,” opening at the gallery’s Tokyo location.

The exhibition serves as a conceptual sequel to the gallery’s historic 2019 New York exhibition, “Japan Is America.” Continuing the exploration of the Japanese-American creative exchange, “Seven/Seven” furthers this transatlantic narrative, applying a cinematic lens to the joint cultural landscape. It takes its title from Akira Kurasawa’s Japanese epic Seven Samurai (1954) and the iconic Western film by John Sturges, The Magnificent Seven (1960), that followed.

When: Until Mar 5 | More info

6. Anna Weyant: “Splinter” at Blum & Poe

Blum & Poe is pleased to present Splinter, the gallery’s second solo exhibition with New York-based artist Anna Weyant. This new body of work sees Weyant delving deeper into pop history, borrowing from the visual dialectic of Lifetime movies and ‘90s celebrity culture. Struck by the way that made-for-television movies seem to simultaneously vilify, sexualize and stereotype women, the artist emulates these films by deploying the genre’s tendency to reveal the secrets of a hyperbolic version of American suburbia. This presentation of five works on paper, as well as four paintings, tells the story of a lavish party gone awry.

When: Until Mar 12 | More info

7. Togetherness: Design Exhibition by Esther Sandler

From January 2022, I AM gallery in Higashi-Nagasaki will exhibit the products of designer and illustrator Esther Sandler, under the name “Togetherness.” Togetherness is a label launched by Sandler in which she creates products such as textiles, ceramics and cards. In addition to bold colors and beautiful designs, the creator is particularly proud of the environmentally friendly production, such as eschewing the use of harmful chemical substances and utilizing natural fibers that can be decomposed.

When: Until Mar 27 | More info

Celebrate Valentine’s Day

8. Park Hyatt White Valentine’s

Executive Pastry Chef Julien Perrinet is creating a special Valentine’s and White Day menu only available this season. Several of the hotel’s restaurants will also offer limited-edition courses and afternoon tea sets. Check the hotel website for more information on each offer.

When: From Feb 1 | More info

9. Tokyo Marriott Hotel Brilliant Sweet Afternoon Tea

It’s a chocoholic’s dream afternoon tea served by the Tokyo Marriott Hotel as it incorporates milk, dark, white and ruby chocolate into all of its desserts. Spend a heartwarming afternoon drinking tea with friends, family and loved ones.

When: Until Feb 28 | More info

10. Red Roses and Strawberries for Valentine’s at Grand Hyatt Tokyo

Celebrate the season of love with a visit to Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Indulge in a special strawberry-focused selection of sweets including double-layered choux filled with rich strawberry cream. Alongside the berries, take your pick from rose-infused desserts to get you in the Valentine’s Day mood.

When: Until Feb 28 | More info

11. Valentine’s Offerings at Hotel Gajoen

Throughout January and early February, Hotel Gajoen Tokyo will offer various Valentine’s-themed afternoon tea sets, signature cocktails and limited quantity chef specials. The hotel’s patisserie also has exquisitely crafted chocolate sets available for takeaway. Note: Please be sure to check the hotel website for more details on each Valentine’s Day and White Day deal.

When: Until Mar 14 | More info

Things To Do at Home

12. Learn how to make Nagoya’s staple breakfast food: Ogura toast

Most people know Japanese people like to eat rice and fish for breakfast. But it’s not as popular in Nagoya. There, many people prefer a cup of coffee with a slice of toast. Ogura Toast to be precise. A thick slice of golden-brown toast with red bean paste.

During this online experience, brought to you by Nagoya is not Boring, you will learn how to make the famous local Nagoya-style breakfast at home and learn more about the local food culture while munching on your creation.

When: Up to you! | Book now

13. Whip up your favorite dishes and drinks

Restaurants have to close early but your kitchen doesn’t. Pro chef or not, everyone has the ability to cook and this may be the perfect time to do it. If you always wanted to learn how to make gyoza, or roll the perfect tamagoyaki, there’s no time like the present. Why not check out some of our recipes:

14. Reading at home

We also have quite a few fiction and non-fiction recommendations if you prefer the company of a good book and a warm cup of coffee to relax.

15. Netflix at home

Staying at home under your kotatsu (or blanket) doing nothing is one of the best things we can all do right now. Not only for ourselves but for the sake of everyone out there too. Here are a few of our own recommendations on what’s best on Netflix — old and new, there’s something for everyone.

Top and feature image credit: Gabriel Rico, Metawoman N1, 2020, Neon, branch, 99 × 131 × 5 cm. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli. Courtesy of the Artist & Perrotin.