Making the Most of Japan Day 2015
Mark your calendars: the ninth annual Japan Day @ Central Park is coming up Sunday, May 10th! Japan Day is a huge festival designed by the Japanese community showcasing Japanese arts and culture, attended every year by thousands of New Yorkers. The festival, set up around the Naumburg Bandshell, features live performances, Japanese food stands, and a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. It is a chance to show the Japanese community’s appreciation for the people of New York, as well as reinforce the bonds of friendship between our two countries. The festival is free and open to the public.
If you would like to make a donation toward planting new cherry trees in Central Park, make sure to stop by the Charity tent. With a donation of $20 or more, you will receive a Japan Day T-shirt featuring original artwork.
Since there’s so much to do and see, we’ve taken the opportunity to help you plan out your day. Are you a fan of Japanese culture? Are you bringing your children along? Do you love Japanese food? Read on to get an idea of what to expect.
Japan Day @ Central Park 2015 Map
- Families and The Young-At-Heart
The day starts early with the Japan Run, a 4 mile New York Road Runners race through Central Park starting at 8:00am, followed by kids’races at 9:30. The scenic course, which follows Central Park's "inner loop," can be enjoyed by both runners and spectators. Although registration for the race has closed, you can still find a spot to cheer the runners on!
Children, or the young-at-heart, may want to drop by Hello Kitty’s Photo Booth to get an answer to the burning question everyone’s been asking lately: "Is it really true that Hello Kitty is not a cat?" Also check out the Domo Photo Booth to meet another cute Japanese character.
Active kids will find lots of fun things to keep them busy, like origami, YO-YO Fishing, the Super Conducting Maglev, and the Stamp Rally.
- Japanese Culture Lovers
Whether you're a fan of martial arts, Japanese pop music, or taiko drumming, you'll find something to thrill you on this year’s program. Performances begin at 10:30am and continue until 4:00pm. You’re welcome to stay for all the acts or just a few, no ticket necessary!
Japanese traditional culture is highlighted in the morning session, with acts like Samurai Sword Soul, a demonstration of sword fighting techniques. In the afternoon, dance fans might want to find a spot to see the former So You Think You Can Dance contestant Nobuya Nagahama show off his unique talent. And pop music lovers won't want to miss the final act, when six members of the Japanese all-female pop group AKB 48 take the stage. This year’s program also features: Soh Daiko drumming group, the Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York, IKO Kyokushinkaikan karate group, the band Fighting in the Streets, OMOTENASHI dance group, COBU drumming group, roller painting artist Takeshi Sato, and the dance and vocal group EXPG Boyz.
There are also lots of great stops at the activity tents for culture buffs. Give Japanese calligraphy a shot, try on a lightweight summer kimono called a yukata, or get your face painted like a kabuki actor.
The food stands are another popular component of Japan Day, offering tastes of Japanese cuisine like okonomiyaki. Sometimes called a “Japanese pancake” because it is flat and round, this savory concoction literally means “grilled how you like it,” and generally consists of batter, cabbage, and any number of other delicious ingredients. Also make sure to try onigiri rice balls, as well as gyoza, tea, yakisoba, and an assortment of snacks!
Japan Day is officially supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the Central Park Conservancy, the Consulate-General of Japan in New York, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, The Nippon Club, and many Japanese and American corporations. For a full list of performances, activities and food stands, check out http://www.japandaynyc.org/ .
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