Japan Festival has come to a close for another year and we’re sad to see it go! We had a wonderful time at the festival, and it’s broad range of events gave us the opportunity to work alongside a variety of amazing and talented people from across the globe. Here’s a summary of what happened, and a selection of images for those of you who missed it!
Before the festival:
Before the festival even opened, we decided to spread the word with a bang! We took the city by storm with local Taiko Drumming group Humber Taiko on a promotional event in City Square and Lincoln High Street. The drummers performed throughout the day and offered bespoke workshops for the general public, while we enjoyed telling people about all that was to come!
Nintendo Gaming Event:
The Nintendo Event was our big opening event, and it outweighed expectations! Over 200 people came to enjoy our variety of retro gaming consoles, and we had well over 100 entries to our various tournaments! Amazingly enough people even wanted to enter Darren’s special Japan Festival 2015 Mario Maker level, which could easily be described as the ultimate challenge. The level should have been judged on the fastest time, but the level was so difficult, the winners were the only 2 people that managed to reach the end! Casa Wabisabi’s Bento Boxes were a huge hit, selling out in a matter of minutes too!
Being a video and film production company, we couldn’t forgo the opportunity to see some cinema classics on the big screen! We teamed up with local independent cinemas The Ritz & The Venue to put on some real gems from Japanese film history. Starting on Sunday, we had Ghost In The Shell, accompanied by an absolutely fascinating talk on The Mechanism of the Feminine from Helen McCarthy. Helen was an absolute joy to work with and her talk gave interesting depth to the anime classic. Later in the week we showed Onibaba, the 60’s horror was accompanied by another talk, this time from Jasper Sharp on the Gothic in Japanese Cinema and literature. Another insightful talk and a rare opportunity to see this acclaimed and unique Japanese film. On Saturday, we worked with The Ritz’ weekly ‘Kids Club’ to show Howl’s Moving Castle – Studio Ghibli has a place in all of our hearts and we couldn’t let Japan festival pass us by without it! Finally, on Saturday night we had our closing party, which naturally meant an excuse for another film screening! This time it was Samurai classic Yojimbo. We accompanied the screening with Japanese nibbles for all of our guests, and some free Asahi to round of the night.
Bright and early on Monday morning, we made our way down to Sir Francis Primary School to teach them some Japanese Games in the launch of Playfinders! Playfinders is a website created by Blueprint: Film in collaboration with Paul Drury and the British Council’s ‘Elevate StartWell’ Challenge. The challenge asks participants to find new ways to encourage children to engage with more traditional non-digital games. The Playfinders platform allows children to discover new games from around the world, and gives them the opportunity to share games they love. To launch the Playfinders website, we allowed Sir Francis’ Year 5’s to learn some traditional games from Japan, and be the first children in the world to upload their ow childhood games!
We had a busy week teaching the people of Lincoln all about Japanese Martial arts & Crafts! In a total of 9 busy (and often frustrating – we are not talented origami-ists) workshops we brought people from across the country to teach us the ways of Calligraphy, Origami, Sushi Rolling, Samurai swords, Throwing Stars and Jujutsu. We worked with local business Craftea Cafe to put on the craft based workshops, and Croft Street Community centre for the martial arts!
On Thursday evening, after enjoying some of that delicious sushi from Casa Wabisabi’s workshop, we headed over to Brewhaus to enjoy some live music. Chieko Tezuka came up to Lincoln all the way from Reading, with her beautiful and incredibly unique 25-string Koto. A traditional Japanese Koto has 13 strings, however the talented Chieko is one of very few people – even in Japan – that can play this majestic instrument. It’s safe to say that the crowd were well and truly wowed by Chieko’s raw talent. A beautiful evening.
Saturday morning we woke to greet Buddha Maitreya from Pureland Japanese Garden in Newark, as he joined us in Lincoln to perform a traditional Tea Ceremony. The Ceremony took place in the lovely attic of Coffee Aroma. The peaceful ceremony had us all feeling very zen and refreshed!
Across the festival week, we had worked with Gallery at St Martins to put on an exhibition of Japanese art. Local Japanese artist Kaoru Shimada exhibited his work in the majority of the gallery, with a variety of beautiful paintings. Kaoru also demonstrated in the gallery on two occasions, giving people the opportunity to meet the artist and see the methods he uses to create his pieces. We also had a display of Japanese advertising styles ‘The Aesthetic of Clutter’, and a digital display from Edo100, showcasing beautiful historical paintings of Japan alongside photographs of the places today.
On Wednesday Evening we took to Brewhaus again, this time in collaboration with Lincoln Pecha Kucha! PechaKucha means ‘chitchat’ in Japanese and is an event devised in Tokyo to allow creatives to network and share what their work. PK takes the form of 20 slides, each spoken about for 20 seconds. That gives people around 7 minutes to talk about their passion, which is surprisingly difficult! Our evening had a Japan theme, and featured a variety of amazing speakers who have been inspired by Japanese culture. It was wonderful to see so many people celebrating this beautiful culture! We also had Kana from Takayo Kimono Party London, who brought a range of Kimono’s and dressed people traditionally, we were on hand with our Polaroid Printer so that people could have a physical memory to take home with them. We also had Casa Wabisabi providing food for the guests; Elika brought an amazing spread of delicious sushi and traditional Japanese nibbles. Please excuse the photos from this event, as they have largely been taken from video. Apart from the last image, which is the Blueprint team (minus Chris). Don’t laugh at us.