Culture

This Week in Japan, May 8-14

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

By 4 min read

From noise rock to geisha dancing to boat race gambling, there’s something for everyone across Japan this week. If you’re doing something cool, leave us a comment or send us an email to have your event listed.

Monday: Rock out

Afrirampo, Akkogorilla, Dotsuitarune

Free spirits of noise rock, Afrirampo helm a lineup of progressive Japanese sounds at Shibuya’s WWW. Oni and Pikachu formed the band in Osaka in 2002 and have charmed audiences worldwide with their unpredictable performances. They returned from a long break last year. Akkogorilla is the moniker of an MC and track maker who spans hip-hop and club music while Dotsuitarune is a humorous rock quintet.

When & Where
May 8
7 p.m.
WWW, Tokyo - Map
¥3,000

Tuesday: Geisha dance

Kamogawa Odori

For most of May, girls of Kyoto’s Pontocho geisha district enact the traditional Kamogawa Odori dance in the Pontocho Kaburenjo hall, overlooking the eponymous river that runs through town. The performance was founded in 1872 to revive the city's economy after the capital of Japan moved to Tokyo.

When & Where
May 9-24
12:30 p.m., 2:20 p.m. & 4:10 p.m.
Pontocho Kaburenjo, Kyoto - Map
¥2,300, ¥4,200 or ¥4,800

Wednesday: Birds of a feather

So Many Roosters and Birds in One Place!

This thematic exhibition on the pheasant family of birds is organized jointly by Ueno’s Tokyo National Museum, the National Museum of Nature and Science, and the Ueno Zoological Gardens. Images of the pheasant family of birds — peacocks in particular — were introduced to Japan from India and Chinese phoenixes are thought to have been created based on these birds. The museum invites you to experience some unusual “bird watching” in their gallery.

When & Where
May 10-June 4
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tokyo National Museum - Map
¥620

Thursday: Conceptual art

Photo:

Ryan Gander: These Wings Aren’t For Flying

Ryan Gander, born in England in 1976, uses art work and objects from daily life as his materials, producing objects, installations, paintings, photographs, videos and printed matter that is highly diverse and never falls into conventional patterns. This solo exhibition will present approximately 60 important and new works. As the mysterious title suggests, the exhibition promises to escort us to an unknown world. At the same time, Gander will curate an exhibit made up of works from the museum collection.

When & Where
May 11
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The National Museum of Art, Osaka - Map
¥900

Friday: Bumpin’ beats

dB #01

Shibuya nightspot Contact launches dB, a new club event with a twist in that the focus is on live acts. Heading up the first installment are Plaid & The Bee, led by Warp Records electronic music veteran Plaid. Also on the bill are domestic downtempo master Aoki Takamasa, abstract hip-hop track maker O.N.O a.k.a MachineLive, Tyme and more.

When & Where
May 12
10pm
Contact, Tokyo - Map
¥3,500

Saturday: Go gambling

Boat Race Fukuoka

It’s perhaps a little known fact that boat racing is one of just a few forms of legalized gambling in Japan. Now, foreigners can get in on the fun as Boat Race Fukuoka offers a special guided program to teach the uninitiated the intricacies of this high-speed marine sport. An English speaking guide will be on hand to explain things and visitors get to visit one of the pits to see the boats closeup.

When & Where
May 13
1-4:30 p.m.
Boat Race Fukuoka - Map
Free (betting tickets optional). Apply by Tue, May 9, 1 p.m.: www.fukuoka-now.com/boatrace-event

Sunday: Seismic rhythms

Skism

British dubstep artist Skism heads up a night of bass music at Circus in Tokyo. Since appearing on the scene in 2009, Skism has gone from strength to strength and established himself as a major player in the global electronic music scene as track maker and head of Never Say Die Records.

When & Where
May 14
3 p.m.
Circus, Tokyo - Map
¥3,000
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