This Week In Japan Jan. 15-21, 2018
By Dan Grunebaum
On January 15, 2018
From fantastic food fests to modern art, music and dance, there’s something for everyone across the archipelago. If you’re planning or organizing something cool, send us an email to have your event listed here.
Monday: Painterly photographs (Tsu, Mie Prefecture)
Japanese Tradition Rediscovered by Modernists: “Katsura” by Yasuhiro Ishimoto
Born in San Francisco, photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921-2012) studied at the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and won acclaim for his photographic opus “Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture.” The book saw him working together with noted architects Walter Gropius and Tange Kenzo, in presenting new and decidedly modern approaches to traditional Japanese beauty. The show presents 50 representative photographs from the “Katsura” collection.
- Jan 15-Mar 3
- 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Mie Prefectural Art Museum - Map
Tuesday: Regional appeal (Tokyo)
Furusato Matsuri Tokyo
Wondering where to head for your next Japan road trip? First, stop by the annual Furusato Matsuri at Tokyo Dome. Each one of Japan’s 47 prefectures pulls out the stops to strut their stuff, showing off their geographic and cultural amazements—Unesco treasures even—along with a surfeit of local craft beer, sake and culinary delights. The main attraction is recreations of traditional festivals like Aomori’s Nebuta Matsuri.
- Jan 16-21
- 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
- Tokyo Dome - Map
Wednesday: Food fest (Fukuoka)
The 36th Hakata Umakamon Ichi Food Festival
The gourmet delights of Fukuoka will be available for sampling at the 36th Hakata Umakamon Ichi Food Festival. The event will see upwards of 60 companies promoting delicacies from fish products like "mentaiko" (pollack roe) to local fruits and sake. The opening day will feature performances from geiko dancers, sake tastings and drawings for free tickets to onsen hot springs, hotels and plush restaurants.
- Jan 17-22
- 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
- 7F Iwataya Main Bldg, 2-5-35 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka - Map
Thursday: A collector curates (Tokyo)
My Favorites: Toshio Hara Selects from the Permanent Collection
Launching the Hara Museum in 1979 as one of Japan’s first museums devoted to contemporary art, Toshio Hara finally curates his first show. The works are selected from the museum’s 1,000-strong collection of art spanning painting to sculpture, photography and video art. The first of a two-art exhibition focuses on art from the late 70s through early 80s, including pieces by Yayoi Kusuma, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei and more. Part two looks at more recent artists including Yoshitomo Nara and Mickaline Thomas.
- Jan 18-June 3
- 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Hara Museum - Map
Friday: Indie rock redux (Osaka)
Formed by high school friends Robin Pecknold (lead vocals/guitar) and Skyler Skjelset (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Fleet Foxes epitomized the indie-folk sound of the late 00s when they emerged in 2008 from Seattle. Winning comparisons to the likes of Crosby, Stills, & Nash; they found global acclaim for their debut album "Sun Giant." Several world tours and a gold album for "Helplessness Blues" later, they went on a five-year hiatus that ended with the release last year of of the ambitious "Crack-Up," named after an essay by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Jan 19
- 7 p.m.
- Big Cat, Osaka - Map
Saturday: Psychedelic beats (Tokyo)
Launching in 1999 in the village of Ozora in Hungary, O.Z.O.R.A. is now one of the biggest celebrations of psychedelic trance music on the planet, regularly drawing 40,000 ravers. The 2018 Tokyo edition marks the fourth local installment, with the dayglo faithful expected to converge from across Japan for a full night of beats and mind-bending visuals courtesy of DJ/producers including Dickster and Burn in Noise. Foreigners and people 23 and under with ID can enter for the reduced price of ¥3,000.
- Jan 20
- 9 p.m.-6 a.m.
- AgeHa, Tokyo - Map
- ¥4,500 / ¥3,000
Sunday: Explore manga through dance (Tokyo)
In 2015, Belgian choreographer and director Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui directed his first full-length theatre production "Pluto" based on the award-winning manga series by Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki at Bunkamura in Tokyo, bringing beloved manga character Astro Boy to life on stage. Depicting a universe where people and robots both coexist and find themselves in conflict, "Pluto" engages audiences with far-reaching themes that ask what it means to be human.
- Jan 21
- Bunkamura Theater Cocoon, Tokyo - Map