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This Week in Tokyo August 10 – 16, 2015

Every week we post our picks of upcoming events in Tokyo. If you would like your event listed here, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 7 min read

This week’s article is a special one. Besides festivals and fireworks, we have an interview with one of the hottest new rock bands in the world. All that and more in This Week in Tokyo! If you’re doing something fun or interesting, be sure to leave us a comment or email us to have your event listed.

“Motion Science” Exhibition


  • Date: Sunday, September 27th, Closed on Tuesdays
  • Time: 10:00 – 19:00
  • Location: Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku
  • Admission: ¥1100, student discounts available

The “Motion Science” exhibition explores the work of artists from across the world who create moving objects: “Motion Science exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to touch and observe the power of expressions that “movements” bring about. By understanding and experiencing their structures, visitors are able to perceive the enjoyment of manufacturing, and to reassess the relationship between design and progress in science and technology.”

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MONO and downy at FEVER


  • Date: Monday, August 10th
  • Time: 19:00 open / 19:30 start
  • Location: Live House FEVER, Shindaita Bldg. 1F, 1-1-14 Hanegi, Setagaya-ku/li>
  • Admission: ¥3800 advance / ¥4300 door

MONO is internationally regarded as one of the best instrumental rock bands of all. Downy are underground rock legends that only recently returned after an extended. This double feature is a must for all of Tokyo’s serious music lovers.

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Jingu Gaien Hanabi Taikai


  • Date: Tuesday, August 11th
  • Time: Varies, Fireworks from 19:30 – 20:30
  • Location: Jingu Baseball Stadium, Chichibunomiya Rugby Ground
  • Admission: Tickets start at ¥2500

This display of 10,000 fireworks takes place at multiple venues around Shinjuku. Unlike most fireworks festivals, this one charges admission, but there will be musical performances preceding the show.

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Earthquake Simulator and Fire Safety


  • Date: Wednesday, August 12th
  • Time: 13:00
  • Location: 2-37-8 Nishi-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
  • Admission: Free

Living in Japan means always being ready for an earthquake. Get prepared and meet new friends with this event hosted by the Young Professionals and Students Meetup Group. They’ll be going to the Ikebukuro Safety Learning Center and practicing both earthquake and fire safety.

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Fukagawa Hachiman Matsuri


  • Date: Thursday, August 13th to Sunday, August 16th
  • Time: Thu.-Fri. from 14:00, Sat. from 11:00, Sun. from 07:00
  • Location: 1-20-3 Tomioka, Koto-ku
  • Admission: Free

This annual festival is one of the three best summer festivals in Tokyo. Traditional music, dance, and drama performances are scheduled along with parades. The highlight is the Mizukake-matsuri where heaps of water is splashed on shrine bearers.

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Summer Sonic / Sonicmania


  • Date: Friday, August 14th to Sunday, August 16th
  • Time: Fri 22:00-05:00, Sat 10:00-05:00, Sun 10:00-21:00
  • Location: Tokyo: QVC Marine Field, Makuhari Messe Osaka: Maishima Summer Sonic Osaka Site
  • Admission: ¥15,500 for one day admission

Where can you see Marilyn Manson on the same stage as Babymetal, or Carly Rae Jespen open for D’Angelo? Summer Sonic, of course. The eclectic festival will be taking over both Tokyo and Osaka this weekend with artists rotating between the two cities. For those not looking for a full-on festival experience, on Friday there will be the compact Sonicmania and Saturday’s late night Hostess Weekender event.

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Asakusa Summer Night Festival


  • Date: Saturday, August 15th
  • Time: 18:30
  • Location: Sumida Park Shinsui Terrace, Taito-ku
  • Admission: Free, ¥1500 per lantern

Guide the spirits of the departed back home with this beautiful memorial ceremony. During the “toro-nagashi,” everyone is invited to float paper lanterns down the Sumida River after OBon. You can purchase your own lantern for ¥1500 that day.

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Saitama City Fireworks


  • Date: Sunday, August 16th
  • Time: 19:30
  • Location: Omagi Park, Iwatsuki-bunka Park, Saitama
  • Admission: Free

For a free fireworks show, head up to Saitama City. 3,500 lights will fill the sky over Omagi park this Sunday night.

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Interview with Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice


Wolf Alice is one of Summer Sonic’s most exciting acts. They are a rock band from London that has been called a throwback to the golden age of 90’s alternative. With the release of their well-received debut album “My Love Is Cool,” many fans and reviewers are convinced they will single-handedly save rock and roll.

GaijinPot talked to vocalist and guitarist Ellie Rowsell about Summer Sonic, music videos, and whether she really is the rock savior we’ve been waiting for.

On why she makes music:

I’ve always listened to music, always liked watching music, and always liked writing music. When I started, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in a band. That really wasn’t on my mind. I just liked writing music. You can write music for other people, but I thought it’d be more fun to be in a band and be a performer. So I gave it a go once and enjoyed it.

On the reaction to Wolf Alice’s debut album:

It’s amazing, everything we had hoped for, longed for, and dreamed of for a long time. We’re very grateful and hope things continue to get bigger and better.

On being asked to play Japan:

It’s one of the best news we’ve had in ages. We’ve never been, but we’ve always wanted to go. It’s something that we’ve been waiting for a long time. Japan seems like a place like no other place. I’m very interested to go and play.

On whom she’d like to see at Summer Sonic:

The Chemical Brothers. I saw them when we played a festival in Ireland. It was my birthday and they put on a great show. I really enjoyed it. I don’t know that much about that kind of music, but I’d watch them again definitely.

On Wolf Alice being labeled as a “90’s” band:

I’m a big fan of Nirvana and they’re one of my favorite bands, but that wasn’t what was on TV when I was growing up. I don’t think we set out to be a 90’s sounding band, we don’t exactly know what that means really. We’re just a fan of sludge guitars and heavy guitars, so I can see why the 90’s thing is applicable.

On whether Wolf Alice can save rock and roll:

We’ll try our best is all I can say. Maybe we’ll leave that to Royal Blood.

On the strangest thing she’s seen on tour:

On our first American tour we were driving through the desert late at night. It was pitch black and we saw the Marfa lights. The lights look like stars, but they aren’t stars and just disappear and no one has explained them. I wasn’t expecting to see that sort of thing on the way to a show.

On karaoke:

Anything by Abba.

On why music videos still matter:

You get given an opportunity to make a short movie, why would you not take advantage of that? How can you portray the song, how can you have a little bit of fun? We enjoy it, and it’s important to have a good visual to accompany a song, sometimes that can really change the song so we like to put in the effort. Plus I’ve always been into music videos. I like film and cinema so it’s a cool opportunity to push myself in that field.

On what fans expect from the show:

We’ll be playing some old tunes and new tunes: a mixture of stuff from our album and our previous work. We always like to keep our festival sets punchy, fast, and heavy. You go to a festival to have a good time, so we’ll just keep it like that.

Thanks for having us and hopefully you’ll have us back to play our own shows. And, see you at the karaoke booth.

Wolf Alice will be playing 11:20 on the Sonic Stage on Saturday in Tokyo and 11:30 on the Sonic Stage on Sunday in Osaka. Learn more about Wolf Alice at wolfalice.co.uk. Interview conducted via Hostess Entertainment.


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