Culture ~ Japan Week 2016

Today starts Japan Week, a promotional event organized by the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) in New York.

Visitors can discover and experience art, crafts, clothing, food, technology and travel in Japanese culture through their five senses at Grand Central Terminal.

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Broadcasting organization, NHK World sharing the scenes of Japan Week. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Hearing:

Listen to artistic instructions of how to apply Kabuki makeup. Create crafts such as lovely Kinchaku hand purses, beautiful Kaga Yuzen handkerchiefs and cool origami configurations. Win collectible items or a Hatsune Miku concert ticket, Japan’s favourite fictional character who changes the way music is made today.

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Hatsune Miku. Photo: Google.

Sight:

Watch JNTO feature performances from Ishikawa. Participate in kimino fittings, I remember when I wore my first one as seen below. Learn about the traditional symbol of beauty, cherry blossoms or sakura (桜 or 櫻; さくら in Japanese) that bloom every spring. View the beautiful pink petals in Vanderbilt Hall. Guess the cherry blossom blooming date in Hirosaki to win a trip to Japan!

I have been three times Japan already in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It’s truly an amazing country with warm hospitality. Missing my Japanese friends now and memories of karaoke during the weekends. The JNTO Tourism Booth can provide you with information on city highlights, castles, temples, hot springs and festivals across Japan with free maps and brochures in English and Japanese.

Touch:

Venture to the Hokkaido booth to try on traditional clothing from the Ainu, (アイヌ in Japanese) indigenous people from Japan  and understand the natural wonders of the region.

Smell:

The 120 year old company, Kubara Honke is showcasing their Japanese seasonings and locally sourced natural products such as Dashi cooking broth, dressings and tea. Sip on tradition. From there, your nose will wonder over to the delicious or oishii (美味しい/ おいしいin Japanese) offerings.

Taste:

Food and innovative technology combine to provide a traditional cuisine serving of kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi). Restaurants will recommend their renowned seafood. Then my favourite place, Mitsuwa Marketplace will be selling Hokkaido ikameshi (rice stuffed squid), corn soup and Tohoku’s local root vegetable, dried gobo. Cosmopolitan items including miso ramen noodles, chocolates and candy are available too. At these stands, visitors will learn why Hokkaido is a major agricultural and culinary center.

Travel:

Delta Airlines, New York’s ever-growing carrier will be offering non-stop flights to Tokyo. Visitors can experience Business Elite Seat and receive vouchers for travel. Additionally, you can learn about JR-EAST, Japan’s largest railway company and the high speed train, shinkansen coming soon to connect Tokyo, Tohoku and Hokkaido.

Japan Week is a collaborative event between JNTO and over 40 exhibitors from New York and Japanese governments, businesses and travel agencies are in attendance. Walk around and find what excites you. Who knows the international television network, NHK World might even interview you. Join now from 10-12 March 2016. Follow the latest updates on Facebook and Twitter. For more information on travel to Japan: www.us.jnto.go.jp

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