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Japan in Paris

Because after the darkness comes the light, according to the Geneva’s motto, I had to write a few words about the city of lights – Paris – under more festive circonstances than the actual news.
The city of lovers is also the perfect spot for Japan lovers such as myself; and the trip is shorter and less expensive.

In the district of the Opera Garnier, on the Saint Anne street to be precise, there are millions of Japanese, Korean and Chinese restaurants. You will also find many craft boutiques and Asian supermarkets and if you walk to the street Saint Antoine, you will even find the Book Off, a second-hand bookstore with magasines, dvds, cds… all in Japanese! I always buy some language manuals and a couple of children books hoping I will be able to read them one day.

But to tell you the truth, the main reason I went to Paris was to enjoy a meal at Happa Teï, a picturesque little restaurant specialised in Takoyakis and Okonomyakis which are the traditional dishes of the region of Osaka (pronounced Oozaka). The Takoyaki is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked (yaki for grilled) in a special takoyaki pan. it is typically filled with minced or diced octopus (tako). You may have it with a miso sauce or some mayonnaise or curry depending on your taste… But be careful, it’s very hot!
The menu of the restaurant offers many different dishes and you may choose from a wide variety of starters and side dishes such as: diced cucumber with sesame or red chilli (my favourite), Edamame, scallop sauté, fried shrimps, tomatoes with chive, avocado with wasabi and soya sauce… For desert, after a second round of takoyaki, you may enjoy green tea ice cream sprinkled with macha (tea powder): it is simply exquisite and is less sugary than a normal ice-cream so you may eat some even more. I could go back and forth to Paris only to visit this restaurant.

As I was fortunate enough to be well-advised (thank you Jennifer) before my trip and headed to Le Petit Palais’ duo exhibitions: Kuniyoshi, demon of prints and Visionary Prints from Goya to Redon. Both exhibitions have a fantasy theme. A full picture of Kuniyoshi’s dramatic genius is displayed including the Fuji Mount, the courtisanes and actors of Kabuki, historical scenes of Japan but also demons, animals, which he painted in a genuine way to avoid censorship and to represent forbidden personalities or even mock some of them.

From this colourful world, you will enter a darker zone but as aesthetic, in black and white, such as the below engraving of Piranese. This second exhibition is a real piece of jewels. The world of Redon is populated with tiny strange and charming living beings. Dürer, Doré, Delacroix… they are all waiting for you until January the 17th, 2016.

Photographies © Nathalie Mastail-Hirosawa

Happa Teï
Rue Saint Anne 64, 72002 Paris

Mon to Sat 12-3pm; 7-10.30pm 

Le Petit Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris

Fantastic! Kuniyoshi demon of prints
Until January 17th, 2016
Fantastic! Visionary Prints from Goya to Redon
Until January 17th, 2016

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