Next Saturday, 6th October, Japanese culture will once again take over central London, as the Japan Matsuri arrives in Trafalgar Square.
The festival will kick off at 11am with a formal opening by His Excellency Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Ambassador of Japan in the UK, and The Chairman of the Japan Matsuri Committee, Mr Keisaku Sano. Entertainment will follow until 9pm. There will be two stages – the Festival Stage and the Martial Arts Stage. Listings of the performances can be found on the Japan Matsuri website, but here’s a summary:
The Festival Stage (Main Stage)
11:30 – 11:50 Thames Taiko (taiko drumming)
12:00 – 12:15 Japan Meets West (classically trained Japanese girl band)
12:25 – 12:40 Japanese School Wadaiko (taiko drumming)
12:50 – 13:15 Green Chorus (Japanese women’s choir with pianist Noriko Sekiya)
13:25 – 13:55 Hibiki & Akihiro Ichikawa Tsugaru Shamisen Show (folk songs)
14:00 – 14:10 Eisa Dance: London Bunka Yochien (folk dancing)
14:10 – 14:20 Lolita Fashion by the Tea Party Club
14:25 – 14:30 Yosakoi Soran (dance)
14:40 – 15:25 Nodojiman: The J Factor (singing competition)
15:35 – 15:50 British Suzuki Institute (violins)
16:00 – 16:25 Okinawa Sanshinkai (Okinawan folk music and dance)
16:30 – 16:40 Tsubasa Children’s Choir conducted by Jason Kouchak
16:55 – 17:30 Taiko Meantime (taiko drumming)
17:40 – 18:00 Frank Chickens (comedy music)
18:10 – 18:30 Hiroko Tanaka Nihon Buyo (traditional dance)
18:40 – 19:00 Hibiki Ensemble (folk music)
19:10 – 19:30 London Bon Dancers x Bu U (traditional dance)
19:40 – 20:05 Naomi Suzuki Gekijo (singer)
20:20 – 21:00 London Taiko Drummers (taiko drumming)
Martial Arts Stage
11:30 – 12:00 Sakura Dojo – Iaido
12:00 – 12:30 Nihon Kobudo UK
12:30 – 13:00, 14:00 – 14:30 British Naginata Association
13:00 – 13:30, 14:30 – 15:00 London Aikikai
13:30 – 14:00 Hizen Kendo Club
15:00 – 15:30, 16:30 – 17:00 Wakaba Kendo
15:30 – 16:00, 17:00 – 17:30 Okinawan Traditional Goju-ryu Karate-do
16:00 – 16:30, 17:30 – 18:00 Budokwai Judo Club
There will also be lots of opportunities to take part in traditional games and activities, buy Japanese goods, and of course to try Japanese food.
I’ve been asked to give a special mention to Yakult, who will be there handing out FREE samples and chatting to visitors about the fascinating 75 year history behind the little bottle. Yakult was developed back in 1935 by the Japanese scientist Dr Shirota who isolated the unique Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain of bacteria. Today, each bottle of Yakult contains at least 6.5 billion live cells of this same strain which is proven to reach the gut alive.
I’m delighted to see that An-An from Brighton will have a stall, which means I will be able to spend the day surviving on mochi (woman can survive on mochi alone and I intend to prove it) and, if mochi isn’t enough for you, I can also recommend the okonomiyaki from Okan.
There will also be plenty of chances to talk to people about visiting Japan, and to pick up leaflets and brochures to help you plan your trip. Inside Japan Tours will be there to answer all your questions about travelling in Japan, and of course the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will be there too.
For more information, please visit: japanmatsuri.com.