Websites, Kougai & 4th Plinth

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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I have just completed my daughter’s new, portfolio website – It was time to redesign and update it. Still lots of testing to do but I’m hoping it will not have any hiccups. Initially I tested it in Firefox, my preferred browser, and all was fine but there were a few snags when it was viewed in the hateful Internet Explorer, so those had to be overcome. Now that I have done the design and development work, my daughter can do the testing to ensure I haven’t overlooked any problems or details.

I will take a break from websites for a few days, then go back to adding a few more items to my new, upcoming site. I have stacks of Japanese garments in this room waiting to be added bit by bit and that is only a tiny fraction of the items yet to go on my site. I looked out a shamisen plectrum, a few antique kougai (hairpins) to add and another takekago (bamboo base) kinchaku (drawstring) bag plus, of course, numerous kimonos, obis and haoris. There is a picture of two of the kougai below. I really must concentrate on getting some more men’s garments on the site, as I have looked out a nice selection of those, but I need to take additional photos of them first. There’s so much to do that it’s quite daunting.


I have been watching quite a bit of the 4th plinth event; organised by the artist Anthony Gormley and run by One & Other and Sky Arts. It consists of a different person every hour, for 100 hundred days, on top of the empty 4th plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square. Participants are picked from members of the public who applied (over 30,000 applicants so far) and they may do anything they please during their hour, with just a few health and safety exceptions. Only one person at a time is allowed on the plinth. In total there will be 2,400 people having one hour each on the plinth. It is shown live online at and past hours may be seen if one goes to the Plinthers section of that site.
Often the 4th plinth participants do nothing more than sit there, read, knit or talk on their mobile phones to friends or look as though they somehow just landed there on their way home from work and were simply standing waiting for a train to arrive, which is fair enough but not very interesting to watch. Now and then there is a real gem. John Badger, week 1, Thursday at 1am, was excellent; an art teacher who gave an art lesson from the plinth, who made me laugh and reminded me that I love art and really must take to visiting galleries again. Haydon the Womble, week 1, Friday 6pm, was delightful too, even though I don’t like wombles much. There was also a woman who built a life sized statue out of loaves and bagels and a man who did a talk on archaeology. All of those are well worth watching, as will be many more that I missed.
Not surprisingly, many have spent their hour on the plinth in pouring rain, which doesn’t seem to faze them at all.
There are plinthers there all through the night too, sometimes being heckled by lingering drunks in the square. A lot of plinthers have tossed sweets down to onlookers or flown paper planes down to them. Bubbles have been a frequent theme too.
It must take quite some organisation and management to run but it is fascinating and I think it is a wonderful idea. Many of us watch it and comment on Twitter about what we are seeing, adding the hash tag #oneandother, so all using it can see each other’s comments (tweets).

If you haven’t seen any of it, it’s worth a look. If the person you see is of no interest to watch, just keep looking back and one of those times, someone will grip you.

I’m sort of on the 4th Plinth by proxy on Thursday, 13 August, between 5 and 6pm. The chap on the plinth at that time will wear my Wafuku tee shirt and toss down wrapped sweets, with a card attached, with ‘4th Plinth, Trafalgar Square, London, 13 August 2009, 5-6pm’ on one side and my website details on the back.




  1. Thank you for your comments. your Kimonos are excellent! Did you see the Japan exhibition many years ago? I think it was at the RA. Portable paper picnic houses in case of earthquake–brilliant.

    1. Hello John.
      I have not had a chance to update my wafuku blog recently, so have only just found your comment there.
      I’m pleased you like my kimonos. Kimonos are such lovely things and the Japanese do create the most exquisite textile art.

      I didn’t see the RA’s exhibition that you mentioned. I would have enjoyed that a great deal. I live in Scotland and miss out on all the wonderful exhibitions in London, unless on a rare visit to my sister. You have reminded me, though, that I must look for exhibitions near home, a habit I got out of, and must visit Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Galleries, which has recently been refurbished and reopened after over 2 years of being closed.


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