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Word Vault 2018

Every year there are so many words invented. Some of them are wonderful additions to our collective vocabulary are truly awful and should not be allowed to survive into the new year. So this is the Word Vault 2018 which gets the words that annoyed most and seals them away hopefully never to be seen, heard or even sensed again.

Here's some words and phrases I'd like to be locked up next year:
ActivationDon't just have a pop-up, "activate the space". The idea is that a space was just lying around doing nothing until it was activated by whatever marketing whizzes came along and "activated" them. I feel sorry for these spaces that sound like they've had electrodes attached to their earlobes and had a current run through them to achieve activation. Just call it an event already. See also activated foods. It used to be that an almond was pretty good but now it has to be ACTIVATED! PoojoggerHere's one you can't unhear. In June this year a guy put on hi…
Recent posts

Kyoto International Manga Museum

As lifelong comics fan and gold-standard nerd, I'd been looking forward to visiting the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Maybe a little too much. It boasts a collection in excess of 50,000 manga titles which create several walls of manga that stretch over 200 meters throughout the former Tatsuike Primary School. For bibliophiles it might be enough to see the shelves curving around the building or see Japanese visitors of all ages sitting reading their favourites. But the 'international' titles are restricted to a range of translations in the bookshop and a few examples of manga's influence with international books (including Australia's own Queenie Chan). Japanese manga is so popular that it almost doesn't need translation into English.
There are great exhibitions which are bilingual. The Manga Hall of Fame, for example, draws together some of the great manga titles since 1945 with text panels detailing the best of each era. The comfy Children's Library w…

Sushi making class at Buddha Bellies

One of the best experiences we had was sushi making at Buddha Bellies. Before we left for Japan we visited a local sushi train and tried a place in Tokyo so by the time we got to Buddha Bellies we thought we knew a bit about Japan's original street food. We were wrong.

Our host was expert sushi chef and sake sommelier Ayuko Akiyama who starts the class with an overview of sushi's history and the huge variety of sushi. We were familiar with nigiri (rice with topping and a belt of nori) and sliced nori rolls but she also showed us a family style that was wrapped into a cone of seaweed and other kooky types. Our class was a basic one with nigiri and nori rolls that was great for kids though we were tempted to come back and do the mosaic sushi which was presented in a colourful square of deliciousness.

We make sushi at home so the advanced techniques Ayuko showed us were really helpful. Turns out we've been using the wrong side of the nori and avoiding vinegar (for taste) when…

Visiting Ghibli Museum

At the other end of the technology spectrum to the Digital Art Museum, the Ghibli Museum is a no-photos shrine to the films of Hayao Miyazaki. Refreshingly low tech and hands on, it brings the films to life and gives you insights into the animation process. Even if you've never seen films like Kiki's Delivery Service or Princess Mononoke, you'd recognise figures like Totoro and the distinctive animation style. Approaching the building, you are met at a ticket booth staffed by Totoro himself though you have to wander around the corner to a long line to get in. 
The Museum has been here since 2001 with a series of permanent exhibitions refreshed by newer displays and a short film usually only seen in the museum's theatre. Ours was Boro the Caterpillar, a 14-minute peek into the birth and early life of a cute critter. There's great walks through the studios that showcase the animation process from pencil sketching, inking, colouring and filming each frame. It's l…

Visiting Tokyo's new Digital Art Museum

As a stunning visual spectacular, Tokyo's Digital Art Museum has become the must-Instagram experience for visitors to the city. Its full name - Building Digital Art Museum Epsom teamLab Borderless - suggests just how big the collaboration must have been to get this 100,000sqm exhibition space happening. It took the Mori Building Group and Epsom to make it work and nothing about it feels like this was a cheap exercise.

The collaborative art group teamLab are known for works in Singapore and London but with this permanent space they paint across a big canvas. Rendering butterflies, flowers and charging rhinos onto walls, floors, mirrors and a series of cutomised surfaces, the canvas is truly vast and visitors are warned in advance that this is about discovery - non-sequential, likely to get lost and maddening to visitors wanting linear narrative. This means you can jump in anywhere and experience the exhibition any way you want. The Borderless part of the title is about the shifting…