A Japanese living in London writes anything about everyday life in UK – cafe, restaurant, design, stores, politics, news, events, art/museums, films, food, fashion, travel etc. イギリス暮らしもかれこれ10年。カフェ、レストラン、デザイン、お店、政治、ニュース、イベント、アート／美術館、映画、食、ファッション、旅行等々、ロンドンでの日常生活や、英国に関する情報を思いつくままに綴ります。
Van Doesburg’s works are kind of gloomy and weak, and I was not so impressed. But the exhibition includes a variety of works by great artists and designers who were influenced by the movement, is quite spectacular. Simple, colorful, and powerful works are still modern and strong, after more than 80 years – I can still feel the energy, and passion of the artists and designers of the art movement that affected the lifestyle and values during the period in turmoil between WWI and WWII. Although van Doesburg had never gained high recognition as an artist in compare to his fellowmen such as Mondrian, but his leadership and efforts to spread his ideal to whole Europe, which led the movement to great success, are the significant achievement that deserves great recognition.
＊I didn’t notice that the lens of my camera was dirty, and I couldn’t take a good picture today…sorry!
日本に帰ると、「イギリス料理は不味いの？」と聞かれることが非常に多いのだけれど、ガストロパブ（おいしい食事を提供するパブ）やセレブ・シェフの流行もあって、材料にこだわった、美味しくて洒落たブリティッシュ・レストランが増えている。Canteen（カンティーン）は、私たちが好きなブリティッシュ・レストランの一つ。「Canteen」は、学校やオフィス、軍の基地等にあるカフェテリア/レストランを意味するイギリス英語で、学食や社食を指す。ロンドンに現在4軒あるけれど、私たちがよく行くのは最寄りのSpitalfields店と、BFIでの映画やコンサートの際に立ち寄る、サウスバンクのRoyal Festival Hall店。
Incredibly, so many people from abroad believe that British food is bad. Due to the popularity of gastropubs and celebrity chefs, there are a wave of cool and delicious British restaurants using good quality ingredients in UK recent years. Canteen (“a cafeteria/restaurant at school, office or military base,” in British English) is one of our favorite British restaurants. Canteen has four branches in London, and we sometimes go to the nearest Spitalfields restaurant and the Royal Festival Hall branch in Southbank Centre when we go to a concert or a movie at BFI.
The food at Canteen is traditional British; pies, roast, stew, bakes, fish, and sausage & mash etc. The desert is also good old British treats, such as fairy cakes (cupcake) and Victoria sponge (sponge cake). All their meat is free range and additive free, and their fish is delivered directly from south coast of England. With their unpretentious food using fresh and mainly domestic ingredients from selected sources, and with its reasonable price, Canteen is very popular among Londoners and is also highly regarded by media and food critiques. I saw yesterday a documentary “True Stories: Pig Business” about pig welfare in some farms abroad (USA and Poland), and I got to know that the British regulation on animal welfare is the strictest in Europe. In general, British are passionate about animal right and welfare, and I’ve seen many restaurants, including Canteen, expressing their values in better life for farm animals and using free range and/or organic meats.
Canteen’s simple and modern but also warm interior, using British design furniture from Very Good and Proper and Windmill Furniture, is also highly recognized, and Canteen was nominated for “Best Restaurant Design 2006” by Wallpaper and Time Out. Their 24-page information booklet (photo below) also stylishly designed, and worth to get a copy.
今日はエンジェルで用事があったので、N1ショッピングセンターにあるWagamamaでランチをした。Wagamamaは、中華の有名店・Hakkasan（ハッカサン）やYauatcha（ユアッチャ）、そしてブログでも書いたPrinciやCha Cha Moonを手がけたカリスマレストラン仕掛人・Alan Yau（アラン・ヤウ）氏が1992年に創業した、「なんちゃって」ジャパニーズ・チェーン（Wagamamaのホームページでは、「pan-Asian（アジア料理）」とあるけれど）。味は今イチなんだけれども、学食のように長いテーブルが並ぶシンプルでモダンなインテリアにスタイリッシュなグラフィック、そして「ヘルシー」な「日本食」（イギリスでは、日本食＝健康的と思われている）が気軽に食べられるというので人気に火がつき、今ではイギリスのみならず、ヨーロッパやアメリカ、中東にも進出している。
We had lunch at Wagamama in N1 Shopping Centre, as we were around Angel station . Wagamama is a “pan-Asian” restaurant chain (according to its website), founded in 1992 by charismatic Hong Kong-born restauranteur Alan Yau, who also created the prestigious Chinese restaurants Hakkasan and Yauatcha, as well as more casual Princi and Cha Cha Moon I wrote in this blog before. Their food, for my eyes, is below average, but with their concept to offer “healthy” “Japanese” food with affordable price, as well as its simple and modern interir with long tables and cool graphics, Wagamama has gained popularity across UK and now expands the chain to Europe, USA, and middle eastern countries.
The name is in Japanese (means “selfish”), and Japanese fast foods and noodles such as ramen, udon, yakisoba (fried noodle), Japanese curry, and gyoza dumplings are on their menu, but Wagamama is not really a “Japanese” restaurant or quite far from it – so please don’t believe what you eat there is what you eat in Japan. I can see some Chinese influence on their ingredients and cooking. Wagamama ramen M ordered (in the photo below £7.95), with mishmash, like grilled chicken, smooth dory, prawn, kamaboko, fried tofu, mushrooms, wakame and seasonal greens, menma and spring onions, on the top of mushy noodles and bland and flavorless broth. It didn’t seem to bother M, but I prefer to buy an instant noodle from Japanese grocery store for less than £1 and cook it myself. Deep fried Vegetable (sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash) and side salad on my yasai (vegetable) katsu curry is fine, but curry doesn’t have much taste and too little for the amount of rice – I tasted mainly rice but not curry much. Their food is Japanese fast food and equivalent to a hamburger or fish & chips and quite reasonable, but in somehow, Wagamama manages to make the dish a bit more posh. I rarely go to Wagamama because for me the price doesn’t match to the taste. However, if there is nothing decent nearby, and I craze for something Japanese-ish, I just give myself in to Wagamama…
English National Opera（イングリッシュ・ナショナル・オペラ／ENO）で、ヘンデルのメサイア（Messiah）を観た。イエス・キリストの生涯を描いたオラトリオの名作・メサイアは、もともとオペラの楽曲ではないのだが、気鋭の演出家・Deborah Warner（デボラ・ワーナー）によって、現代社会を舞台に、ダンスを取り入れたユニークなオペラ作品に仕上がった。衣装も小物も現代風、時折舞台後方のスクリーンに宗教画が映されたり、キリスト教の儀式に使われる小道具が劇中に出てくる程度で、キリストの物語にも関わらず宗教色は強くない。ティーンエイジャーの妊娠はマリアの処女懐胎、天使が羊飼いにキリスト降誕を告げる場面は、お遊戯会で子供たちがその場面を演じる形に、キリストの磔刑シーンは、若者の喧嘩に変えるなど、原作と繋がりを持たせようとしているが、ちょっと無理があるかも。キリスト教の学校に行っていたので、ある程度の知識はあるのだが、舞台上で起こってることと音楽とどう繋がりがあるのか分からず、後でタイムズ紙のレビューを読んで、ああそういうことだったのかと得心した。
We saw Handel‘s Messiah at the English National Opera (ENO). Messiah was not written for opera, but the director Deborah Warner transforms this oratorio masterpiece into an unique opera work, setting in modern urban life and taking in dance elements. The opera seems to reduce religion to a minimum – costumes and stage sets are modern, except the religious arts occasionally projected on screens and some ceremonial objects used in some scenes. The director tries to make a connection between the original story and this opera, but the attempt unfortunately doesn’t not really work well and quite cheesy: the Virgin Birth becomes teenage pregnancy, the meeting of shepherds and angels is turned into a school nativity play, and Christ’s scourging and Crucifixion translate into a fight among youths. I went to a Protestant school and know a bit about the life of Jesus Christ, but I barely understood the relationship between the music and what was going on on the stage. I figured out the meaning of some scenes after I came back home and read the review by the Times.
The biggest problem for me was the kids in the opera – I know it is not their fault but it was just annoying. A 6 year-old boy was almost always on the stage, walking around, running or sitting down, and it was very distracting. The scene of school play was really irritating as well, except a song by a boy with beautiful clear voice: the kids jumped up and down and the parents took a pictures or filmed with camcorders. It is reported that the opera uses 44 extras other than singers, including dancers. Some people just stand up or lie down – is it really necessary to put useless people on the stage??
However I I like Handel and Baroque music and enjoyed the music a lot: the Handel specialist conductor Laurence Cummings led the orchestra beautifully and voices of the two female soprano and alto singers were truly graceful. The modern and simple stage sets designed by Tom Pye were interesting, such as video footage of modern society (people going up and down on an elevator, or silhouettes of moving cranes) and transparent coffins placed all over the stage at the final part. We got a ticket, original price of £71 for only £10 with Evening Standardpromotion – so it was really worth going. But I would be upset if I paid £71 for the opera…