Japan Week 2015

Article by Jasmin Justo
Photo credit Japan Week

Japan Week was an educating and exciting event full of fun activities and colorful booths showing New Yorkers what Japan has to offer. From free taste samples of Japan’s finest sake to taking pictures with Domo and Doraemon, it’s a fun event everyone can enjoy while indulging in Japan’s culture. This annual event was founded in 2012, as a promotional event, encouraging travel to Japan. It is a cooperative effort between the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan National Tourism Organization, and diverse businesses in both New York City and Japan. Japan Week provides the latest information on tourist hotspots across Japan with a chance to speak with tourism experts to help plan your expedition. Plus there were exclusive offers from Japanese travel agencies, and raffle contests for a chance to win a flight from New York City to Japan!

Japan Week began with the opening ceremony, Ambassador Sumio Kusaka, Consul General of Japan in New York, gave an opening speech and cut the red ribbon officially starting Japan Week. The president of Vanderbilt Hall, the president of Delta Airlines, the Ambassador Sumio Kusaka and president of the Japan Tourism Agency joined in the Kagami Biraki, a Japanese tradition of breaking of the sake barrel with wooden hammers to usher in prosperity and peace.

Japan week hosted a variety of shows, including a fashion show hosted by Kamakura, featuring the latest in men’s fashion and Seiko gave out free samples of their watches and advice on finding the right design for your style. There was also a live tea ceremony demonstration presented by tea master, Souheki Mori, who gave a brief history about the creation of the tea ceremony, dating back to feudal times, in which the tea ceremony spiritual peace and harmony with nature . The Takafuji Dance Company performed their Kaga Shishi lion dance, exciting youngsters and adults with their spectacle dance, powerful music, and vibrant costumes. Special guests such as Chef Nakamura (Ramen Lab) and Chef Orkin (Ivan Ramen), discuss the history of ramen and its unique ways of preparations. Models Alisa Ueno and Marie held a discussion about the emerging new styles in Japanese modern fashion and cartoonist Abby Senson held a book signing for her colorful Cool Japan Guide, a must have informative guide full of travel links, useful phrases and simple but fun cartoon illustrations.

NHK featured a dazzling kabuki costume designed in intricate gold and red with colorful flowers and design authentic to the Japanese traditional art and heel-less shoes designed by Noritaka Tatehana. Watabe Wedding sponsored a special event, hosting raffles each day for a new lucky couple to win a chance each day to experience an extravagant Japanese style wedding with a beautiful wedding kimono, the centerpiece of a luxury Japanese wedding.

Highlights from this year’s Japan Week also include the new Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train, where children get a chance to dress up as station master and collect stamps with Doraemon. The Japan National Tourism Organization offered a variety of informative brochures of its exclusive travel offers to Hokuriku and guides to Japan’s historical castles and onsens. Travel agencies Amnet, HIS, and IACE also provided exclusive discounted travel packages to explore Japan’s various regions including Nagoya, Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto and Shikoku to name a few. The booths also gave free giveaways including t-shirts to attendees when they join a raffle for their chance to win a trip to Japan. Delta Airlines also featured the new Flat Bed Business Elite seat which will be featured in the Boeing 777, providing trips from NYC to Tokyo. Attendees, especially the children played an interactive Sky Search game at the Delta Booth for chance to win a Delta Vacation Package with two roundtrip tickets to Japan and three nights at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo.

Apart from the special raffles and travel promos, there was also a very long line of people waiting to purchase a variety of authentic Japanese sweets and regional specialities across the nine regions of Japan at the Depachika and Mitsuwa Marketplace. Beard Papa and Minamoto Kitchoan also made an appearance selling Japanese popular sweets including Japanese style cream puffs and authentic mochi. Shirohato, Sun Noodle, and Kukuru and La Poppo also made an appearance selling their delicious mazeman, takoyaki octopus balls, and roasted sweet potatoes. For tea lovers, SHARP introduced the new “Ochapresso” tea machine to create your own matcha from your own home. Matcha is finely powder green tea. Traditionally, there is a long process to make matcha since it is derived from the regular green tea and few cafes specializing in the making of matcha tea. With the machine however, it makes the process much shorter and provides the same rich flavor of matcha tea. Ito En with SHARP, sold bottles of green tea and green tea ice cream. Delicious, organic, and not too sweet it’s a authentic healthy drink with antioxidants that helps clean and repair your body.

In just three days, Japan Week 2015 was a grandiose exciting event full of activities for everyone’s interests giving a taste of Japan’s fascinating culture.

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