Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

This Weekend in Tokyo

raining-in-tokyo

+ Tap into your creative side and feel inspired by Festival/Tokyo, a performing arts festival that is on till the end of March. This weekend, there are four exciting events going on: Clouds. Home, Sunshine 63, Fireface, Shinkan Shonen (Kumquat Seed). Our top pick is Sunshine 63 as the audience gets to take part in the performance. For more details, surf over to the official website.

+ The weather will probably be wet and miserable, so if you don’t want to head out in the rain, hole up in your nook and watch funny Japanese commercials on Youtube. Here are a few suggestions: an old sake anime ad, a weird but kinda cool MacDonald’s ad, a bizarre exercise equipement one and lots more.

+ If movies are what you need to switch off from that stressful work week, there are three movies out that may tickle your fancy as an escape from reality: Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, or Disaster! (a claymation flick by the Team America guys. Yes, it was released in 2005, and it finally made it to the big screen in Tokyo, like…now).

+ It could be time to get yourself to hugely popular French crepe café, Le Bretagne. Park yourself there nice and early at 11.30am or as late as 15.00pm as it’s hard to get a table during peak lunch hour. Go sweet with fruit and syrup or hit the spot with a savoury plate of eggs and ham.

Photo: Kim

This weekend in Tokyo

The chill is letting up a little (or we’re just getting used to the cold — I know I am!) so don’t hole up in your apartment. Get out there and make sure you soak up some of that wintry sun and gorgeous blue skies Tokyo has to offer.

+ Hang out with Tokyo’s Rockabilly Club at the entrance of Yoyogi Park on Sunday afternoon. The sight of so many Elvises will make you laugh out loud.

+ Sign up for tennis lessons or a tennis getaway with Globa Tennis. The instructors speak French, English, and Japanese, so they are very expat-friendly.

They don’t just do lessons in central Tokyo, but organize one and two-day tennis retreats that are no further than three hours away from the city. Think Mount Fuji area, Karuizawa, or Nagano — all beautiful locations with meals provided.

+ Okay, the weather report says it may rain a little on Saturday, Jan 31, but don’t stick your head in the sand and watch cable TV. Grab a book or magazine and head down to Azabu-Juban’s cozy Windsor Café for heartwarming sandwiches, pasta, and pizza. 1-5-10 Azabu Juban, tel: 03-3405-4497.

+ If you’re doing the office Valentine’s Day game, stock up on good chocolate before the maniacal prices hit you smack in the face. Two weeks prior to the (dreaded) event of giri choco (obligation chocolate) is a good time to buy your choccy tokens. But if you have hon chocco (sincere chocolate) in mind, the only place to go is Jean-Paul Hevin if you want to impress. Located at Omotesando Hills and Isetan.

+ For a night of chic clubbing, Le Baron serves up cool cocktails and a fashionable crowd. This Saturday’s gig is called Art At Night Project: See Art With Mind Half-Asleep. The Tokyo club scene is definitely not just about spinning a few good tunes and you may stumble onto something far more intriguing. Aoyama Centre Building, B1F, 3-8-40 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku

Photo: Lynt

This weekend in Tokyo

Temperatures are dipping to icy levels in our lovely city, but that doesn’t mean your weekend has to be dull.

+ Learn to appreciate the finer points of sake in a Sake Fundamentals workshop by culinary arts group A Taste of Culture on Sat, Jan 17, 2pm.

+ Authentic Swiss fondue with red wine will warm you up from your tum at Life Up. This cozy joint won’t let you forget you’re in Tokyo, so expect izakaya fare on the menu. 4-2-1 Sakuragaoka, Shibuya, Tokyo, 03-3476-5663/5758.

+ It’s freezing outside but you can get fit in your living room anyway. Check out latest exercise DVD, Core Rhythms, which Japanese women are going nuts over. Some say this Latin dance based workout beats Billy Blanks yelling army-like drills in your face. Available at Amazon Japan or if you’re pinching pennies, eBay is always an excellent place.

+ We know you love heading to brunch hotspot Fujimamas on Sundays, so instead of heading straight home for a snooze, take a leisurely stroll down to Spiral along Aoyama-dori. Poke around its quirky art exhibitions and make sure you browse the shop where you will find rare products — from crafts to home wares to bath & body. You would definitely find a cool thingamabob for your home or a great gift for a friend.

Photo: EOSXTi

This weekend in Tokyo

It’s brrr cold, so let’s slow down a notch from all the end-of-year partying, and breathe…

+ If you’re craving for a hot cocktail, you should head to Bar Radio for a warm, civilized drink in an old school classy bar. 3-10-34 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 03-3402-2668; Opening hours: 1800 – 0100.

+ Cooking is therapy. Broaden your skills at hot culinary school of the moment — ABC Cooking Studio. Food and kitchen vocabulary in nihongo are easy enough so take the plunge and try learning how to conjure homey alchemy in a foreign language.

+ Feel like you overindulged during the festive season? Mosie over to Eat More Greens in Azabu Juban for a healthy vegetarian meal that actually tastes good, even for meat-lovers. 2-2-5 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku, 03-3798-3191.

+ Stay home this Sunday, Jan 11, and space out to a couple of awesome fantasy flicks, Eragon (1330 on Channel W, also known as WOWOW) and Beowulf (1530 on the same channel).

+ If you’re plain scared of getting a bad haircut because of mis-communicating in broken Japanese, you can allay such fears at Who Ga New York in Akasaka where the good people there give great service in perfect eigo. Call 03-5575-0855 to book an appointment.

Photo: sashimigRaphy

Ideas for New Year’s Eve in Tokyo

While your Japanese mates have plans to be holed at home eating mochi, soba, and drinking beer with the fam, you are wondering what is on offer for the expat crowd. There are plenty of parties out there and here are some we think would be pretty groovy for some champagne and shaking your tush.

+ G9 NYE Countdown Party at Shibuya’s Gonpachi/Legato. Dance the night away to house and techno beats right in front of the awesome night views of Tokyo from the 15th floor of Space Tower. Click here for details.

+ 2009 Liquid New Year’s Party at Liquidroom in Ebisu promises Japanese techno and sensational psychedelic videos.

+ If you want something heavier music-wise, you should make a beeline for Club Asia in Shibuya, where the music will range from cyberpunk to deep house to hip hop.

+ Fans of Womb will not be let down by its New Year Countdown. Though Sven Vath has always made the headline act at the club, this year his protégé Andre Galluzzi will take over as spin-meister. Expect tech/house tunes all night.

+ For a chi-chi night out, Velours has its Gold Rush Party for those looking for a bit more velvet and champagne.

Photo: jmvnoos

This weekend in Tokyo

If you’re at a loss for what to do with yourself and your head feels like it’s stuck in a watermelon, here are some ideas to have a fun weekend in Tokyo.

+ Summer may have all the cool outdoor parties but the tunes don’t stop in winter. The good people behind Womb Club in Shibuya is throwing an all-night techno and hip-hop party, Womb Adventure ’08 Contakt, on Sat, Dec 20 at Makuhari Messe.

+ Recession entertainment idea: a free Christmas concert at the Canopy Square of Tokyo Mid-Town in Roppongi. Remember to rug up, though. Expect J-pop artists Sowelu, Meg and others. Dec 20-25, various times. Click here for the schedule.

+ If you’re stressed and dying to get the kinks out of your body, make an appointment with zen shiatsu therapist for a real Japanese-style massage. It’s a great solution for those who dislike the hard-kneading style of Thai or Chinese massages. One session costs 5,000JPY and above. Surf over to www.shiatsu-k.com for more details.

+ You’re probably planning to do some Christmas shopping this weekend, and if you’re around Omotesando, you might want to inhale some ramen sustenance at Mist. It’s pretty fancy ramen in a chic joint, but here’s some motivation: it’s really really tasty shoyu and salt ramen with melt-in-your-mouth charsiu (roast pork). The chef behind this enterprise was featured on TV several times, so this stuff is good. 3F at Omotesando Hills.

+ Catch Wall-E or Tropic Thunder for some laugh-out-loud action at the movies. I know, I know, we get Hollywood stuff waaaay after the rest of the world. Better late than never.

Photo: Danz in Tokyo

This Weekend in Tokyo

At Tokyo Metblogs, I’m going to start a new column, “This Weekend in Tokyo”, or TWiT, for short. I’ll put it up every Thursday night, so if you’re thinking of what to do on the weekend, you can poke around here for some ideas when you’re dreaming at your desk on a Friday afternoon.

Photo: regolare

+ Popular dance event, OOOOZE, is holding its final party of the year at hot Ginza club, Desert Rose, on Dec 12 2008, Friday. For details, click here. I’ve been to one of their parties before and I was impressed — just lots of playful, happy grooves in a cool venue.

+ If you’re into watching dare devil stunts, the X-Trail Jam at Tokyo Dome this Sun, Dec 14, 5pm, and Mon Dec 15, 3pm could give you an adrenalin fix. The best snowboarders in the world will gather at this one place to show off breathtaking moves on scary slopes.

+ Take up a hoop class at Hoop Lovers if you’re looking to shake up your workout or just want to try something different. These guys make hooping look way cool.

+ There is such a thing as affordable kaiseki dinners and you can savor authentic, delicate Japanese cuisine at Rakushokushu Maru in Omotesando. 5,000JPY – 7,000JPY for set dinners and an English menu is available.

+ Even if you are a pedestrian museum go-er, you would jump at heading over to have a peek at Picasso’s personal art collection at the National Arts Center and his captivating series of self-portraits at the Suntory Museum of Art. Find out more here. You’ve got to hurry because the exhibition ends this weekend.

Peace Day Tokyo September 15, 2007

With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s sudden resignation today, I think the Peace manifestation on September 15 in Tokyo will be a very, very cheerful event with a lot of enthusiasm from peace activists who have maintained their support for Article 9 of Japan’s Peace Constitution, that clearly says, Japan is a country that will not wage wars. Especially not now, and not in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tokyo says “No War” and “Peace for everyone”!

Now I’m really looking forward to Saturday!

Place: Shiba Park (by Tokyo Tower)
Time 11:00AM – 17:00PM
More details on the World Peace Now Website and at the Peace Day Tokyo Blog.

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Pecha Kucha

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Last weekend I have been to the great SuperDeluxe club to attend the evening session of Pecha Kucha University Vol.1, a cooperation between the regular Pecha Kucha Night (organised by Klein Dytham Architecture) and Temple University. It was a very interesting night with so much input that I needed some time to get things in my brain in order to write about it. The overall topic of this first Pecha Kucha University was “Youth and Imaginative Labour: East Asia and Beyond”. There were in the fashion of the Pecha Kucha Night several speakers and every one of them had the time of 20 slides à 20 seconds (6min40sec) to present their idea, paper, research, whatever in connection to that topic. Most talked about various efforts to earn money with the internet, some were representing their favourite niche of youthculture and I didn’t really see the connection to the term “labour” all the time. But who cares, most of the prestentations were quite interesting and some very entertaining – like the one by a guy who was costumed as Goku from Dragonball. He came with a dancing crew of mostly male (!) cosplayers dressed in “moe” style who performed their dance two times – because of the great response from the audience… But there were also informative and rather academic lectures, all held by students from abroad (mostly Korea and HongKong). I wonder why there were no Japanese speakers?! Because the speech had to be hold in English, I guess.. the old problem.
After those presentations followed the screening of the fantastic movie Avalon, introduced by THE guru in the field of Japanese cinema, Donald Richie.
And as if all that wasn’t input enough there was a HipHop afterparty hosted by Zulu Nation Japan, with a Spoken Word performance by Marcellus Nealy and live painting by Rinpa Eshidan. I strongly recommend to have a look at their website – their work is amazing and they are something like “youtube celebrities” with one of their videos been watched more than 2 MILLION times.

As I said, this was Pecha Kucha University, not the regular Pecha Kucha Night, which is about architecture and design. If you are interested in that, going to SuperDeluxe club should be your plan for tonight, when young designers, architects and so on meet there again for another round of Pecha Kucha. And for all those of you who are not in Tokyo: Pecha Kucha Night has spread all over the world and you can attend it in more than 80 cities! All of upcoming events are listed on their website.

Matsuri Games

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In my first article as a guest blogger in Tokyo I want to write about one of the most enjoyable things here in Japan: O-matsuri! When I arrived end of May I was told I am just in time for matsuri season – yay, many festivals that offer a fun glimpse on Japanese culture!
Matsuri offer the opportunity to relax, to celebrate, to have a lot of fun – even when you are just watching and eating (like I did) and not actively taking part in carrying a mikoshi. At the shrine-festivals you won’t see any earnest salary men in black suits, no: here people are enjoying themselves and many are dressed in yukata and special matsuri gear. That can look very pretty and sometimes.. uuhm.. quite exciting ;)
What amazes me the most is the array of games for children never seen before somewhere else in that form. Those distinctly Japanese (correct me if I am wrong) kid’s entertainments include many water games, which are thought to be refreshing during hot summerdays. For example fishing rubberballs or other toys out of a swiftly moving water stream, which is enjoyed mostly by the little ones.
Although the animal rights activist in me had to keep both eyes shut, it is great fun for schoolkids to try to catch real goldfish (and I read sometimes even tiny turtles – aaw) with round paper-covered frames. This demands a lot of skill because the paper soaks and rips easily, especially when the victim flounders and struggles not to get caught and the little fisherman keeps his scoop underwater for too long. But some way or the other the kids seem to become experts pretty fast and you can see many of them walking around proudly with their prey in small plastic bags.
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