This Week in Japan July 24-30, 2017
By Dan Grunebaum
On July 24, 2017
From the most refreshing matsuri in Kansai to a good ol’ fashioned New Orleans-style brass band bash, 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.
Monday: Down and dirty
Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Born in 1977, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has arrived at its 35th Anniversary like a pot of New Orleans gumbo. The band puts a different twist on the music, not staying in one particular bag. Their latest, "Twenty Dozen" is also very much a group effort, with each of the members — Davis, Lewis, tenor-sax man Kevin Harris, trumpeter Efrem Towns, sousaphonist Kirk Joseph, drummer Terence Higgins and guitarist Jake Eckert — bringing original compositions or arrangement ideas to the sessions.
- July 24
- 6:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m.
- Blue Note Nagoya - Map
Tuesday: Ritualistic dip
A festive atmosphere that envelops the ancient Shimogamo Shrine as night falls. In Kyoto, visitors gather for the Mitarashi Festival, a foot-bathing ritual held each year over a four-day period around the Day of the Ox (which falls in the latter part of July). The rite entails a visit to the Mitarashi pond on the temple grounds, lighting a candle at the altar and saying a prayer for good health. The ceremony was apparently used by nobles during the Heian period to cleanse themselves of disgrace, and gradually spread among commoners.
- July 25-30
- 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Shimogamo-jinja Shrine, Kyoto - Map
Wednesday: En pointe
Paris Opera Ballet & Royal Ballet “Ballet Supreme”
This remarkable program brings together star dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet and England’s Royal Ballet. Together they will stage a five-day engagement starting July 26 and feature selections from "Swan Lake," "Giselle," "Romeo and Juliet" and other classics. Among the dancers making the trip are Francesca Hayward, Federico Bonelli and Steven McRae, who will tap dance solo.
- July 26
- Bunkyo Civic Hall - Map
Thursday: Creative ferment
Intersecting Artists: Postwar Kansai
Following the censorship of World War II, Japanese artists burst their chains in a flowering of expression and questioning of norms. Some formed new groups while others revived prewar organizations. Many established fresh forms of expression that continue to resonate. Artists from the Kansai region from Kobe to Osaka whose works are shown include Saburo Hasegawa, Jiro Yoshihara and Waichi Tsutaka.
- July 27-Sep 18
- 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Ashiya City Museum of Art and History - Map
Friday: Record release party
Kuniyuki New Album Release Party
Veteran Japanese techno DJ and producer Kuniyuki Takahashi is a sound engineer from Sapporo, Hokkaido. Also called Kuni or Koss, Takahashi will present his new album "Cats" with a live new wave project set. Gilb’r aka Chateau Flight (Versatile Records, France) and Daniele Baldelli (Italy) will join the celebrations with an original set from cosmic club 1979/1984. Takahashi records with different aliases depending on the style of music he is producing, including techno, acid house, downtempo and drum ‘n' bass.
- July 28
- 10 p.m.~
- Contact Tokyo - Map
Saturday: Hypnotic beats
Originally from New York, deep-house DJ Terre Thaemlitz has for years made Europe and Japan his home. Terre was the resident DJ at legendary NY transsexual club Sally’s II and won “underground Grammy” for Best DJ of 1991. Terre launched Comatonse Recordings in 1993 and mixes thought-provoking deep house, ambient, and fusion using the moniker DJ Sprinkles, under which his first album "Midtown 120 Blues" won Resident Advisor’s Best Album of 2009.
- July 29
- 9 p.m.~
- Noon + Cafe, Osaka - Map
Sunday: A bounty of riches
Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts
Premier artworks and artifacts from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston come to Japan. The exhibition presents 80 select items from the collection, including masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh, Japanese and Chinese treasures and treasures that highlight the museum’s archaeological holdings such as ancient Egyptian art. Also in focus are the collectors who helped the museum amass one of the world’s finest troves of art.
- July 30-Oct 8
- 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum - Map