Culture

This Week in Japan Aug. 14-20, 2017

Every Monday we serve top picks for this week’s events in Japan. To list your event, contact the editor of GaijinPot.

By 5 min read

From a drumming good time to fire festivals to rock all-nighters, there’s something for everyone across the archipelago. If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed.

Sponsored: Imbibe the beat

Drumstruck

Promising a drum in every seat, the world's first interactive drum-theater experience returns for what looks to be another sold-out engagement. More than a musical, “Drumstruck” offers attendees the chance to make the music together with the cast, a talented group of Africans who lead the audience through a range of joyful traditional and contemporary numbers, introducing the continent’s customs and manners along the way.

When & Where
Aug 16-27
Various
Galaxy Theatre, Tokyo - Map
¥8,300 & ¥5,200 (under 19)

Monday: Artify yourself

Yokohama Triennale 2017

The latest Yokohama art triennale is underway with the theme "Islands, Constellations & Galapagos.” The words, say the curators, “open possibilities for us to discuss various issues such as isolation and connectivity, imagination and guidance, distinctness and diversity, among others.” Sprawling across several large spaces including the Yokohama Museum of Art, the triennale features noted artists including China’s Ai Wei Wei and Indonesia’s Joko Avianto.

When & Where
Aug 14-Nov 5
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse No.1, Yokohama Port Opening Memorial Hall - Map
Various

Tuesday: Dance explosion

Tokushima Awa Odori

Many in Tokyo know the Koenji Awa Odori, but the festival originates in Tokushima, where it has been celebrated for centuries. A central feature of Japan’s O-bon (festival of the dead) season, Awa takes its name from the classical name for the area. Thousands pack the streets of Tokushuma to view dancers in distinctive folded straw hats perform the unique swooping steps of the dance. Arrive early for a view or purchase a reserved seat.

When & Where
Aug 15
6-11 p.m.
Tokushima City, Tokushima - Map
Free

Wednesday: Fire festival

Gozan no Okuribi

Kyoto’s hallowed bonfire festival lights up the night in the ancient capital. The Daimonji celebration comes at the height of O-bon and sees the city’s surrounding mountains illuminated with five bonfires. Three are in the form of kanji, and two in the shapes of a boat and a Shinto gate. Folk tradition holds that deceased relatives rise from the spirit world Aug. 16, hence the blazes are “send-off-fires.”

When & Where
Aug 16
8 p.m.
Daimonji, Kyoto - Map
Free

Thursday: Retro funk

Tuxedo

Tuxedo is Grammy nominated renaissance man Mayer Hawthorne and Grammy nominated producer Jake One. They are descendants of the one-word moniker families of funk, where you will find groups such as Chic, Shalamar, Plush and Zapp. The Tuxedo collaboration began with an exchange of boogie funk mixtapes back in 2006 and became a full album’s worth of Tuxedo released on Stones Throw Records.

When & Where
Aug 17
7 & 9:30 p.m.
Billboard Live Tokyo - Map
¥8,500 & ¥10,000

Friday: Island exploration

Earth Celebration 2017

The legendary Kodo drummers mark 30 years of Earth Celebration festivals this weekend on far-flung Sado Island in the Sea of Japan. Join the members of Kodo in numerous workshops on taiko drumming, Japanese folk music and arts and crafts. Spend the weekend soaking in the traditional atmosphere of Sado, heading to the beach and chilling out amid the flea markets and food stands.

When & Where
Aug 18-20
Various
Ogi Port, Sado Island, Niigata - Map
Various

Saturday: Rock around the clock

Hostess Club All-Nighter

Sandwiched in between the first and second days of Summer Sonic is an all-night rock fest worthy of its own name. Hostess Club All-Nighter is produced by indie rock distributor Hostess and presents some of the better acts on the circuit. St. Vincent is the bewitching goddess of intelligent indie, while Scotland’s Mogwai are a veteran collective of noise rock pioneers. Emerging acts include Cigarettes After Sex and Beak.

When & Where
Aug 19
11:30 p.m.~
Makuhari Messe, Chiba - Map
¥10,450

Sunday: Dangerous (but cool) beasts

Exhibition of Poisonous Animals

View a bestiary of poisonous animals in a popular exhibit about to wrap up at the Fukuoka Park department store. A myriad of scorpions, tarantulas, centipedes, poisonous underwater creatures and even a venomous primate native to Southeast Asia called the slow loris are on display.

When & Where
Aug 20
10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Fukuoka Parco - Map
¥800
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