This Week in Japan Dec. 4-10, 2017
By Dan Grunebaum
On December 4, 2017
From taiko drums to craft markets to techno raves, there’s something for everyone this week in Japan. If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed here.
Monday: Holiday light-up (Nagoya)
138 Tower Park Merry Christmas
One of the most popular holiday illuminations in the Chubu area is the one at the 138 Tower Park, so named for the 138-meter tall Twin Arch that looms over the grounds. Boasting around 500,000 lights in addition to fireworks displays, the park’s illuminated greenery and jungle gyms make for quite an impressive sight. The arch and tower itself apparently represent the majestic flow of the area’s 3 Kiso rivers.
- Dec 4-Jan 28
- 5-9 p.m.
- Kiso Sansen Park 138 Tower Park, Nagoya - Map
Tuesday: Ancient meets modern Japan (Tokyo)
SuperDeluxe 15th Anniversary
New York-based musician Kaoru Watanabe helps SuperDeluxe turn 15. A stellar cast will join Watanabe to perform music from his latest album "Néo." Watanabe, who works with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma while making music for such filmmakers as Martin Scorcese, has been developing a body of work that seamlessly melds the "natsukashisa" (nostalgic feeling) of old Japan with the sophisticated improvisations of jazz, Indian and contemporary classical. At the core of the performance will be Watanabe in a duo with his top disciple Fumi Tanakadate.
- Dec 5
- 8 p.m.
- SuperDeluxe, Tokyo - Map
Wednesday: Contemporary classical (Tokyo)
Young sax phenom Masanori Oishi presents a night of new music at Tokyo Opera City’s Oumi Gakudo Hall. After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts, Oishi entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 2001 and was given a Ministry of Culture overseas research grant. As a soloist and member of quartet Osmose, Oishi energetically performs both classical and contemporary music; he has also introduced new compositions by young composers. For the Horizon concert series program he will perform works by Japanese composers as well as by American minimal giant Steve Reich.
- Dec 6
- 7 p.m.
- Oumi Gakudo, Tokyo Opera City, 3F - Map
Thursday: Iconoclastic art (Osaka)
When Attitudes Become Form: Photography of Anzaï Shigeo
In 1970, Anzaï Shigeo began using a 35mm camera to record the ephemeral works that were being made by artists of his generation. Anzaï captured a movement that rejected Western art and would later come to be known as "Mono-ha" or "School of Things" in its infancy, but soon he shifted his focus to other emerging trends of the era. This exhibition looks at Anzaï’s efforts over his career to document the changing times in Japanese contemporary art.
- Dec 7-25
- 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- The National Museum of Art, Osaka - Map
Friday: Scandinavia drops in (Tokyo)
Sóley Japan Tour 2017 with Ella Blixt
Icelandic chanteuse Sóley Stefánsdóttir kicks off a week in Japan with a set at 7th Floor in Shibuya. Sóley has attracted a huge following with her fairytale song craft over the last few years. After the EP “Theater Island” (2010) announced her as a solo musician, the fantastical alt-pop tunes of debut full-length “We Sink” (2011) won her a massive, devoted fanbase. She arrives in Japan to tour her new album “Endless Summer,” in company with Swedish songstress Ella Blixt.
- Dec 8
- 7:30 p.m.
- 7th Floor, Tokyo - Map
Saturday: Go gift shopping (Sasaguri, Fukuoka)
Sasaguri One-Day Market
Handcrafted treasures are waiting to be discovered at this one-day festival in Fukuoka Prefecture. Over 30 different stalls will present a selection of handmade arts and crafts from both within and without the prefecture. Visitors can choose from a wide range of clothing, accessories and lovingly crafted decorations, as well as sample food and drink and take part in workshops led by the craftspeople themselves.
- Dec 9
- 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
- Sasaguri General Health and Welfare Center, Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture - Map
Sunday: Wired in Mie (Nagoya)
Raving comes to Mie Prefecture in the form of Wired X, a winter edition of the popular Wired Music Festival. Headlining is none other than half-Japanese super DJ Steve Aoki, who will man the proverbial wheels of steel atop a bill that also includes Max Styler from Aoki’s label in his first set before a Japanese audience. It all takes place at the Nagashima Super Dome on the bay near Nagoya.
- Dec 10
- Noon-8 p.m.
- Nagashima Super Dome in Nagashima Spa Land, Mie Prefecture - Map