27 Jul 2012

The Bankside Walk

The London Olympic Games have started!! It has been getting busy in London.

The other day, I went for a stroll along the River Thames. Started from London Liverpool Street Station. Passed the Monument and walked under London Bridge. There is the Bankside Walk, a wonderful place for a stroll. Sometimes you will enjoy the view of the opposite shore, sometimes you will pass under the bridges or buildings. But the path prevents you from being bored. Under Blackfriars Bridge, you will see historical pictures of London.

I crossed the Millennium Bridge to go to Tate Modern. From the cafe of upper floors of Tate Modern, you can see the Millennium Bridge and St.Paul's Cathedral.

Near the Tate Modern, there is Shakespeare's Globe, which is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre. It was destroyed by fire in 1613 (rebuilt in 1614 and demolished in 1644), and built close to the site of the original theatre.

Shakespeare's Globe

I was concerned about an old ship from opposite shore, but it was Sir Francis Drake's ship (English sea captain; 1540-1596); the Golden Hinde. Some school groups of small children visited there. 

 the Golden Hinde

Southwark Cathedral

I passed the London Dungeon. It remains the popular attraction for young people, there were students in the queue. I've never enjoyed this kind of attraction, because I don't like horror houses or spooky things. My husband said he went to there once, and it was nice, but he thinks Tower of London is not so good. Hang on, are you saying artificial spook is much better than real? I've never entered theTower of London, but I prefer Tower of London.

I passed Hay's Galleria, there are many nice shops, restaurant, cafe and so on. And again, I came back to the waterfront. You can see the huge HMS Belfast and then City Hall.
HMS Belfast

Now you can see Tower Bridge clearly. There is the Olympic mark this year.

Tower Bridge
Once I skipped to cross Tower Bridge, and continued to walk along the path. It's a back side of Butlers Wharf Pier, which the old spice warehouses and water frontage were renovated in to flats. There are nice restaurants and shops around here. Police officers on horseback passed by on patrol, that is found only in Europe.

I turned at some point, I crossed Tower Bridge. It was over twenty years to the day since I accessed it for the first time. At that time, it was under repair and covered with white sheets.

A part of the views in London has been changed into much more modern and unique.

Tower of London
There, Tower of London. It was crowded with visitors. I've never got inside the Tower of London, but I'm interested in it. After I passed Tower Hill tube station, I walked towards the north. I came across a street market, in which maybe many African and Middle Eastern people sold beautiful textiles. And then, I saw Christ Church Spitalfields on my right hand side, which is a white building. Finally I arrived at Old Spitalfields Market, near the Liverpool Street Station. This market is nice to see around. It was really nice strolling.

24 Jul 2012

The Burghers of Calais

When I went to the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo a couple years ago, I found there are Auguste Rodin's sculpture replicas in the forecourt. I had totally forgotten about it, but when I passed through Victoria Tower Gardens in London, I realised that there is his sculpture "Burghers of Calais". Actually, there are some "The Burghers of Calais" in the world, and it's one of them.

The story of "The Burghers of Calais" goes that "England's Edward III, after a victory in the Battle of Crecy, laid siege to Calais, while Philip VI of France ordered the city to hold out at all costs. Philip failed to lift the siege, and starvation eventually forced the city to parley for surrender. Edward offered to spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed. Edward demanded that they walk out almost naked, wearing nooses around their necks, and carrying the keys to the city and castle. One of the wealthiest of the town leaders, Eustache de Saint Pierre, volunteered first, and five other burghers soon followed suit, stripping down to their breeches. Saint Pierre led this envoy of emaciated volunteers to the city gates. It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life. In history, though the burghers expected to be executed, their lives were spared by the intervention of England's Queen, Philippa of Hainault, who persuaded her husband to exercise mercy by claiming that their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child." (Source; Wikipedia)

Another photo was so dark, so from backside...

It's been a while since I saw the River Thames.

The Houses of Parliament & Big Ben with the statue of Oliver Cromwell.

23 Jul 2012

Marriage Notification

We submitted a notification of our marriage to the Japanese Embassy in London today. Wherever I am, a lot of good and bad things happen in my life, but I am happy now.

22 Jul 2012


When I went to Colchester with my parents in late June, roses and flowers were blooming. They were very lovely and beautiful, so I post some pictures.

21 Jul 2012

Relaxed Life

I've already mentioned this before, but Japanese people think British people have breadth of mind. They seem to enjoy comfortable and affluent daily lives. I think one of the reasons are the huge green spaces. In Europe there are many parks and beautiful lawn space here and there, even in London city centre. In fact, to casually stroll through the park makes you feel relaxed and refreshed. Britain and Japan are both densely populated islands, but it seems there is more greenery for people to enjoy in Britain.

20 Jul 2012

Tate Britain

I went to Tate Britain, which opened in 1897. The most substantial collection is the works of  Joseph Mallord William Turner (J.M.W.Turner). He was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourists and printmarker. I liked his paintings. They were worth watching!

18 Jul 2012

Witham Carnival

The other day, there was a carnival in Witham. According to the website, the earliest recorded carnival here was 1929, which was an occasional carnival. It was the first time to see it for me, so the image of a sort of Rio Carnival popped out in my head. Of course it wasn't like that.

Seemed like the Carnival Queens and Princesses were selected every year, and the parade of cars moved on the street slowly. They were very lovely like characters of Walt Disney World. Some people walked beside the parade with buckets and collected money, which is allocated to several local charities each year.

Also a poster competition is held for local schools to design the carnival poster. It was a lovely civic participation carnival.

16 Jul 2012

Portobello Market

When I strolled around Notting Hill with the flow of passangers, I came on to Portobello Market. It's one of the most famous street markets and a popular area. There are a lot of lovely shops, stalls and cafes. You can wile away the time window-shopping and real shopping.

15 Jul 2012

Victoria & Albert Museum

I went to Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). It's the world's largest museum of various collections, anything-goes collections from the cultures of Europe, North America, North Africa and Asia to glass, silver, ironwork, jewellery prints and so on. I walked around the museum. Some museums have Japanese collections, but the one of V&A gave me the greatest satisfaction I've ever seen.

I was completely overwhelmed with the vast amounts of collections. I mainly enjoyed looking at Britain and Medieval & Renaissance, but also ironwork, silver, jewellery, fashion and Asia. The jewellery section was a bit busy with people, but is somewhere you may feel as if you are in a complately different dimension.

The John Madejski Garden


Cafe - Morris, Gamble & Poynter Rooms

14 Jul 2012

UK Border

The London Olympic countdown has started, but Heathrow border seems a bit confused. It is said that Heathrow will get more border control staff during the Olympics and all passport control desks to be manned at peak times. Now, all border security checks were in place.

Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest hubs and also famous for long queues at the border control. There are still concerns about UK Boarder's sluggish response during the Olympics. It's a good to be absorbed in immigration checks, but I've wondered why they don't keep all desks open even if border control is always slow. Sometimes, people who guide passengers into control desks are talking as well. Is this a problem only during the Olympic games?

Immigration minister; Damian Green indicated his desire to introduce separate lanes for passengers arriving from the US, Japan, New Zealand and Australia as low-risk countries. It's a sort of "desperate" measure to make an improvement, but I think it has been pushed to the point of discrimination.

Not only the UK Border, but also the main M4 motorway link between central London and Heathrow Airport had been closed after a crack was found. Some problems actually have surfaced at the last moment. I wish everything will go well smoothly and safely.

12 Jul 2012

Japanese Sweets

When my parents visited us, they brought us some Japanese sweets; Yokan, which is jellied dessert made of red bean paste, agar and sugar. My favourite is Yokan with chestnuts. And also there are some kinds of Yokan, such as contain whole sweetened azuki beans, or made of sweet potato etc. This is nice to eat with green tea. Eat nicely a bit of slice is Japanese way:)

The Shard

Now you can see the new London skyline; the Shard. It's the tallest building in Western Europe. London has been changing as the same as other cities have. The Shard was designed by a famous Italian architect Renzo Piano. The height is 310m (1,016 ft), and consists of office space, restaurants, a five star hotel (Shangri-La hotel), residential space and on the highest floors an observatory deck, and has 11,000 glass panels façade.

Traditionally the London skyline has been low buildings, and I am really not sure modern buildings are good for old cities' landscapes. It's a controversial matter. Always different opinions are expressed regarding modern and eccentrically designed buildings, especially in old cities. Go with the times, or keep tradition. If I was an architect, I would feel confident about design and plan, and also want to challenge to new things. Designing a irreversible building on an old and historical canvas means a big responsibility of landscape and future. On the other hand, if I was conservative city planner, historian or environmental protector, I may disagree with it. Big cities need to promote tourism and city itself at the same time a protecting the local environment. It's a very difficult issue.

But one thing that I can say is that I prefer old, historical and traditional buildings, not only in London but everywhere I go.

The Shard
Address: 32 London Bridge Street, London SE1
Expected to be completed May, 2012. Observatory deck to open February, 2013.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7920 3161

10 Jul 2012

Demonstration Against the New Family Migration Rules

As I mentioned earlier, the government announced changes to the family migration rules in the UK. This legislation includes an income requirement of £18,600 per year (it has been set at the lower than the previously planned £25,700) and an extended period from two to five years for applying for settlement in the UK.

On 9th July, JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants), and MRN (migrants' rights network) took the lead in a demonstration against the new rules outside the Home Office, because this was the day most changes to family migration come into force. Ironically, it was my 40th birthday.

I know it's impossible that all people accept any legislation unanimously in favour, always some have objections. The new rules may produce an effect on reducing net immigration, but why do people who can't imagine to feel other people's affairs, emotional pains, family ties and loves, set new "family" migration rules? That's extremely dangerous. Think again before you build on the plan since you may be guilty of a lack of humanity.

Later, we went to a discussion in Parliament. We went through the security check  similar to airports, attached a tag as a visitor, and got inside the Houses of Parliament. I've never entered Parliament, I was amazed at the magnificent building. Our purpose to got to Parliament was to attend the first meeting about changes to the family migration rules.

Only rich people have a right to get married freely, and poor people can't have it. People, families are ripped apart by the Government just because of income requirements. This is a problem of fundamental human rights. Some MPs warn that this legislation may affect not only people who can't afford to meet requirements, but also the British Economy and its future. In the meeting, some organisations and people who are faced with the deep problem of these migration changes attended and made appeals to MPs.