Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

“Kappa was born out of my disgust with many things, especially with myself” – Ryunosuke Akutagawa

In Japanese folklore, the kappa is a water sprite described as being the size of a small child, yellow-green in colour, with a sharply-pointed beak and with fish scales instead of skin. They are mischievous creatures that are said to kidnap and eat children and in some stories even rape women.
Akutagawa was very interested in mythical creatures during his life, including the kappa. He started drawing sketches of them around the time his first son was born in 1920. 7 years later, the same year he committed suicide, he wrote the novella Kappa.

Read More »

The Tower of London

I first visited London in April 2011 and I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy it too much. I had come to the UK for a concert, which I eventually missed and went straight to Oxford to stay with my friend Daria. While I was there, we only went to London once for a one day trip (which happened to coincide with the Royal Wedding of Prince William). I remember us walking from Big Ben to Tower Bridge and the castle catching my attention, but we didn’t have time to go inside then (you won’t have time for a lot of things if you’ll be in London for just one day to be honest).
I returned to London 4 years later also for a concert which I didn’t miss this time around (and it was such a mind-blowing experience seeing Godspeed You! Black Emperor perform at the Roundhouse that year). I got to spend more time there with this occasion, but we didn’t even consider visiting the castle. And even after moving here, I realized I never did consider visiting it. It was probably due to the fact that it’s such a popular place with the tourists that made me not want to go there.
Luckily, when my parents came to visit me here we went there together. And I simply loved it! I loved it so much that I had to go there again a week later when my boyfriend came to see me.Read More »

The medieval town of Rye

Cobbled streets, very old and beautiful houses, smugglers, ghost stories and a lot of history – these are some of the things that we found in the small town called Rye.

Rye is located on the south coast of England, in East Sussex, and was once almost completely surrounded by water. In time, the sea retreated and nowadays the town is located several kilometers inland, separated from the sea by a marsh. This natural phenomenon has had a huge impact on the town’s history. From a thriving fishing and trading port, Rye was suddenly left without its main source of income. Read More »

Silence by Shusaku Endo

“Behind the depressing silence of the sea, the silence of God …. the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with folded arms, silent.” 

In the mid-1630s, in the regions of Shimabara and Amakusa of Japan, over taxation, famine and religious persecution of the local Christians led to the Shimabara Rebellion, an uprising which involved mostly Christian peasants. After the rebellion was defeated in 1638, 37 000 rebels were beheaded and Christianity was banned in Japan. The shogunate suspected the European Catholics to have been involved in this rebellion and trading with Portugal ended at that point.

Read More »