Brighton Japan Festival: Moshi Matsuri, Saturday 18th June 2011

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Brighton Japan Festival (ブライトン日本フェスティバル) today, and feel like I’ve just returned from a day-trip to Japan! 😀 It was everything I had hoped for – and more. There was traditional music, modern music, stalls selling interesting and cute Japanese items and food glorious food. The whole event is free, with some workshops, film screenings etc that you have to pay for. I was also fortunate enough to win a VIP pass on the Brighton Japan Festival Facebook page, so I managed to get this great bag and a matching T-shirt for free too:

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

I’ll quickly run through the events I saw today – my “jet lag” is kicking in (i.e. it’s way past my bedtime), so I’ll keep this quite short.

Today the Moshi Matsuri Festival took part in Bartholemew Square (BN1 1JS). The festival was due to kick off around 11.30, but it ran a little late starting. Still, it was more than worth the wait. Here’s the line-up (information in red is copied from the Brighton Japan Festival website):

Charity Performance – Saara Takase
Last summer, Brighton resident Saara Takase bought a guitar at charity shop in Brighton for £20 and began practicing every day. When Saara heard about the recent tragic earthquake in Japan, she wanted to do something to help – so she packed her bags and went on a busking tour of UK and Europe, raising over £1,000 in the process. Her song was even used for the US TV programme Democracy Now!

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

Saara was absolutely wonderful – her closing number (Amazing Grace) utterly blew me away.

Pop Violinist – Masa Futagami (with Daniel-san)
A skilled violinist, Masa will be performing popular songs from Japanese animation and pop culture – like you’ve never heard them before!

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

They played songs from games like Mario, Tetris and Final Fantasy, as well as anime classics like Naruto and Sailor Moon. So fun!

Shamisen and Awa-Odori – Miyo Urushihara
An accomplished shamisen player performing a selection of traditional songs, as well as her speciality – Beatles shamisen! Miyo will also be giving a demonstration of Awa-Odori – join in and learn this folk dance from Tokushima prefecture, which is often performed at the Obon festival in Japan!

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

Miyo and her friends had us dancing in circles doing a traditional Obon dance! (There may be photos of that elsewhere on the Internet – but I hope not! Haha!)

Koto Performance – Melissa Holding
Melissa Holding is one of the UK’s most highly regarded composers and performers of the koto (Japanese 13-string instrument). Melissa currently performs with contemporary ensemble Okeanos , but has also has performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as composing music for the Royal National Theatre and several films including As You Like It (dir. Kenneth Brannagh).

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

I think it’s so wonderful that Melissa is keeping a Japanese tradition alive and also adding her own touches to koto music she has composed herself.

Omikoshi Parade
The Omikoshi is a portable shrine to house Shinto Gods and spirits. Constructed by the Brighton and Hove Japanese Club, with help from their children and students – the omikoshi will be paraded around the streets of Brighton accompanied by Japanese musicians and dancers. 

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

So cute! I’ve never seen an omikoshi made out of papier-mâché before – what a wonderful idea!

Hibiki & Alika Mochida – Ensemble Performance
Join us for an ensemble performance by renowned shamisen player Hibiki, enka singer Alika Mochida and their band – a collection of classical musicians.

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

I really enjoyed the enka, and I especially loved the taiko drumming parts of this performance.

Unshin
Unshin is a six piece, Japanese band fronted by Megumi Miyoshi, a singer/songwriter from Sendai, Japan. With an eclectic mix of nationalities making up the band, their writing style is unique – taking influences from around the world but with a focus on Japanese Pop/Rock. Their debut album “Waltz for Broken Dolls” is a concept album telling the story of a young girl growing up under the strict pressures of Japanese society.

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

Absolutely amazing band! Their album is out in July and I will definitely be buying it. Until then, they have some singles available on Amazon and iTunes.

As I said, it wasn’t just musical performances. There was also food at the festival – naturally I had to have takoyaki!

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

There were all kinds of stalls and activities:

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

And other interesting sights to be seen…

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

☆★☆

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011
I was very impressed to see people getting into the spirit of things and dressing up. This lovely girl especially caught my eye. Doesn’t she look great?

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

This, er… lovely “lady”… also caught my eye…

Brighton Japan Festival 2011, 18th June 2011

It was a fabulous day, and I’m happy to say I’ll be back for more tomorrow!

As always, I took a whole heap of photos, which can be seen on Flickr. I also took some videos, which weren’t finished uploading when I wrote this post. When they’re done, they can be seen on my YouTube channel. [19/6 This post has now been edited to include videos!]

☆★☆

Finally, I don’t usually enter Show Me Japan twice in one week, but I really want to share this festival with as many people as possible so I will this week. Parts of this event are helping to raise money for the people affected by the March 11th disaster in the Tohoku region of Japan, so I want to help spread the word. If you’re in the area, why not come along to the Brighton Japan Festival this weekend, during the week, or next weekend. Full details are on their website.

Don’t forget to check out the other Show Me Japan entries! 🙂

8 thoughts on “Brighton Japan Festival: Moshi Matsuri, Saturday 18th June 2011

  1. Hey 🙂 I’m the girl in the Cyberdog clothing! I write a monthly article over here
    http://toshivk.blogspot.com/search/label/amai%20furiku%3F all about Japanese fashion, mostly focussing on the more alternative side, to fit in with the visual kei theme of the blog.
    I also have a personal tumblr page which I keep updated with photos of myself, fashion and makeup tips, ideas, and anything else I find interesting.
    missescupcakeface.tumblr.com
    Feel free to have a look 🙂 thank you for your lovely comments and I hope you enjoyed your day!

    Like

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