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Review & Giveaway 15: Japan Journeys

18 Apr

Here is another book that Tuttle Books have kindly given to me to review and, again, they have agreed to give (given) one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

(Click here to read all of my reviews and giveaways.)

This book is titled “Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” by Andreas Marks.

“Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan”

I will put the details of the free drawing for this book at the end of this post.

Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” is a hardcover book full of large, beautiful pictures of all kinds of ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints).

Mr. Marks is a historian of Japanese and Korean art and he gives explanations of the prints that show famous sights around Tokyo, Kyoto and other parts of Japan.

I have been to many of the places shown in these prints and it’s fun to see them depicted in artwork that is sometimes centuries old.

This book would be treasured by anyone interested in Japan, Japanese ukiyoe art, or artwork in general!

Japan Journeys: Famous Woodblock Prints of Cultural Sights in Japan” can be purchased through Amazon here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Books has agreed to give (given) one random visitor to my blog a free copy of this book.

To enter the drawing for the free book, submit this form by 2015 May 10th:

***** Updated May 10th, 2015 *****

This special promo ended on 2015 May 10th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

KISS in Japanese art

27 Feb

The American rock band KISS are currently on tour in Japan.
(I wrote a post about their Japan tour of 2015 here.)

KISS are doing many unique, only-in-Japan promotions while they are here.
Among them is the 「KISS激辛チリトマトまん」 (“KISS Spicy Chili Tomato Buns”):

Available in Japan now for a limited time!

These are delicious! If you’re in Japan, try them!  They were first available in Japan when KISS toured here in 2013.  Here’s the similar ad that was run then:

They were introduced to Japan in October 2013.

Now, KISS has commissioned Japanese artists to make unique artwork that combines KISS’s Japan-inspired images with traditional Japanese art:

A professional Japanese 書道 (calligraphy) artist wrote the KISS logo and the band members’ personas in Japanese kanji. (They were signed by the band members too).

A professional Japanese 浮世絵 (ukiyoe woodblock print) artist made two prints showing the KISS band members as samurai in one, and samurai battling Japanese monsters in the other.

Here is a YouTube video showing the ukiyoe artist carving the woodblock to make the KISS ukiyoe prints:

Review & giveaway 8: Geisha prints Origami Sets

11 Oct

Tuttle Publishers has given two more sets of origami papers to review.

(You can read all of the reviews on my blog by going to my ““Reviews & Giveaways” page).

This time it’s two sets of origami papers with Geisha prints.

The publishers have kindly agreed to give (given) a set of each free to two random visitors to my blog (one set each)!

These sets, called “Origami Paper: Geisha Prints“, each have eight beautiful ukiyoe designs of geisha.
One set has origami that are 6¾ inches (square) and the other has 8 ¼ inches paper.

geisha-big

geisha-small

Both of these sets of origami are perfect for anyone interested in Japanese ukiyoe art or art in general, folding origami, or Japanese culture.

The artwork on each piece is gorgeous!

Both sets come with illustrated step-by-step instructions for folding a variety of origami animals, toys, kimono, etc.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Geisha Prints”(6¾ inches) here and (8 ¼ inches) here.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Publishers is going to give (has given) one free set of each of these origami papers to two random visitors to my blog (one set for each winner)!

***** Updated October 27th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 25th. The random winners were selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami sets.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winners were contacted.
*****

 

Review 6: Hokusai Prints Origami Paper

29 Sep

Tuttle Publishers has given two sets of origami papers with ukiyoe prints to review.

(You can read all of the reviews on my blog by going to my ““Reviews & Giveaways” page).

One set has prints by Hiroshige and a set by Hokusai.

The publishers have kindly agreed to give (given) a set of each free to one random visitor to my blog!

To enter the drawing for the “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Prints“, click here.

The set that I’m writing about on this post is “Origami Paper: Hokusai Prints“.

hokusai

This set is similar to the other set except the papers are larger (these are 8 ¼ inches), and the prints are by the ukiyoe master Hokusai who has painted the famous “Great Wave near Kanagawa” ukiyoe print.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Hokusai Printshere.

But, as I said above, Tuttle Publishers is going to give (gave) one free set of this origami paper to a random visitor to my blog!

To enter in the drawing, simply submit this form by 2014 October 11th:

***** Updated October 11th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 11th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami set.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Review 5: Hiroshige Prints Origami Paper

29 Sep

This is the fifth in my series of reviews for Tuttle Publishers.

This time it’s not a book, but origami paper with famous ukiyoe prints.  And, once again, Tuttle Publishers will kindly be giving (gave away) one free set of these papers to a random visitor to my blog!

The details about the giveaway will be at the end of this post.

Do you like origami? Are you interested in Japanese ukiyoe woodblock prints? How about traditional Japanese culture? Or even art in general?
If so, then you will certainly like “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Prints“!

hiroshige

This set contains forty-eight 6¾ inch origami papers printed with famous ukiyoe artwork by the master ukiyoe artist Hiroshige.

It also comes with an instruction sheet explaining how to fold six things such as the iconic “paper crane”.

You can buy “Origami Paper: Hiroshige Printshere.

But, as I said above, one random visitor to my blog will receive (received) this origami set directly from the publisher.

To enter in the drawing, simply submit this form by 2014 October 11th:

***** Updated October 11th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 October 11th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free origami set.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

Book review & giveaway 3: Ukiyo-e; The Art of the Japanese Print

10 Sep

I have reviewed some books from Tuttle Publishing (One about Japanese Architecture and another was a Japanese language study tool) and they gave a free copy of each book to random visitors to my blog.

Now, Tuttle Publishing has given me two more books to review on my blog here…and, once again, they will be giving (gave) one free copy of each book to a random visitor of my blog!

The next book that I will be reviewing is titled “Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print” by Frederick Harris.

ukiyoe

The details of the book giveaway will be at the end of this review.

The author, Mr. Harris, is an expert on ukiyoe. He has been living in Tokyo for over fifty years and has an art studio here.

This book will appeal to anyone who’s interested in traditional Japanese culture (even if you don’t know about Japanese woodblock prints), interested in ukiyoe (whether you don’t know much about the art or you’re very knowledgeable on the subject), or interested in art in general.

As for me, I’m interested in ukiyoe (I’ve written a few “ukiyoe-related” posts, including this one).

I especially like ukiyoe pictures of Japanese monsters. So, I was a bit disappointed that this book doesn’t have more information and photos of this particular type of ukiyoe.
But, I guess that’s to be expected since woodblock paintings of monsters aren’t nearly as popular as other subjects.

That’s a minor issue anyways, because this is an excellent and comprehensive book.

It is a large, hardcover book full of beautiful photos of all types and styles of ukiyoe prints. It also explains the meaning of the details in the artwork. The hairstyles, types of kimono worn, etc all have meanings!
The book also explains the incredible work and effort that is required to make a ukiyoe painting.
As well as, how to care for a print if you decide to start your own collection.

It’s a wonderful book.

I must mention one thing that could potentially make you rethink adding this book to your collection:
It contains one 10-page chapter of very explicit ukiyoe prints.

Just like artists in any culture or era, many ukiyoe artist often freelanced to earn a living.
They would often design posters and flyers to be used as advertisements for upcoming kabuki shows or sumo matches, as well as do private portraits…and sometimes p○rn0gr@phy (intentionally misspelled by me to avoid attracting spam).

To tell the truth, I was a bit taken aback by the inclusion of this chapter. I knew this type of ukiyoe existed, but I’ve never seen them included in a ukiyoe book or exhibit.

Because these photos are included, I don’t recommend this book where children would access it…such as a school art class and such. But, for adults who don’t mind explicit artwork, I do recommend this book.

Outside of that one chapter, the rest of the photos are the more “common” ukiyoe subjects: geisha, sumo, kabuki, nature, etc.

Ukiyo-e: The Art of the Japanese Print” can be purchased through Amazon here.

As I mentioned above though, the publisher has kindly agreed to give (given) away one free copy of this book to a random visitor to my blog!

To enter the drawing for a chance to win the free book, simply submit the following form by Saturday, 2014 September 27th:

***** Updated September 28th, 2014 *****

This special promo ended on 2014 September 27th. One random winner was selected and contacted directly by Tuttle Publishers (via email) with the details about the free book.

Thank you to all who entered, but only the winner was contacted.
*****

I like monsters

25 Aug

KISS has announced that they will release an album of all new songs sometime next year (2012) titled “Monster“.

KISS...still the hottest band in the world!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked monsters.

When I watched the Disney cartoon “Peter Pan” as a child, for example, I didn’t care for Peter Pan or any of his friends. They were too “regular”.
Unlike Peter Pan with his pansy outfit and little knife, Captain Hook had a sword and a sharp hook instead of a hand.
(Admittedly though, Peter Pan could fly, which would be fun and Hook didn’t dress much better than Peter Pan.)
Captain Hook was the first movie character that frightened me…and even at that young age I enjoyed being frightened a bit.

Who cares about a practical prosthetic when you can have one that puts the fear of god in people?!

When I was a bit older, I saw Star Wars for the first time.  I was only seven years old when the first movie in the series was released, so I was a bit too young to fully understand the story.  But I still  enjoyed it a lot.  Especially when “Darth Vader” made his entrance!
Luke Skywalker was the hero…but Darth Vader stole every scene in was in.

The "Dark Side"

And of course I’ve always like the “traditional” monsters…Frankenstein’s Monster, The Werewolf, and Dracula.

And when I came to Japan, I learned about 妖怪 (Japanese monsters).

"Ge-ge-ge Kitaro" is Japanese cartoon inspired by traditional Japanese monster and ghost stories.

Even my favorite superhero character has always been “The Incredible Hulk“. He’s anger-incarnate. A huge pissed-off monster! The coolest of the superheroes.

Hulk will smash even Superman

Even the music I listen to reflects my interest in monsters.
I like heavy metal music. There’s a reason that the soundtracks to many horror movies are full of heavy metal music…heavy metal is to music as horror is to movies.

If you’re not interested in heavy metal, you may not know that that genre of music is further divided into sub-genres.
The sub-genre of metal music that I like the most is “Shock Rock“. It’s just as visual as it is musical. Shock Rock artist—such as KISS, W.A.S.P., Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Lordi—often look like monsters.

Alice Cooper

Anyways, as I mentioned at the top of this post, KISS will be releasing a new album soon.  The last time they they released a new album was about two years ago…it was titled “Sonic Boom“.

As I mentioned, KISS‘s new album will be titled “Monster“.  It’s an excellent album title…I can’t believe they haven’t used it before!

So far only five song titles have been confirmed by the band.  They are: “Hell Or Hallelujah”, “Born To Be A Sinner”, “Out Of This World”, “Are You Ready?”, and “Wall Of Sound”.

I’m looking forward to getting this album.

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