Every year, at this time, Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall is dressed up to celebrate Japan Week. And, just as in other years, it was a splendid and colourful event. Though squeezed into one side of the exhibition space, because of construction, Japan week was a huge hit. Even in the much smaller space, there was, I think for the first time, a favourite in Japan; namely, kaiten-sushi!
The theme this year was Tohoku and Hokkaido. Of course, there was much else, but the beautiful colours of Northern Japan really shone through. Now, for the literary types, Hokkaido and Sapporo have been put on the map by Murakami Haruki (A Wild Sheep Chase and Dance, Dance, Dance). Food, as always, is a delight in Japan. Hokkaido has an abundance of delicacies that are (or should have been a must) for tasting – everything from the traditional seafood croquettes to the internationally acclaimed chocolate- and cheesecakes. And what about the corn- potage or gobo tea? Then, there is the miso ramen noodles, a speciality of Hokkaido.
More than the food was the display of the traditional arts and culture of Japan. First, the exquisite and delicate art of ‘ukiyo-e’ could be seen at the Tokyo booth under the impressive and masterful hand of Keizaburo Matsuzaki. Then, there were the spinning tops, or Kyoto koma. Not made from wood but spun thread, these tops are unique, dating back to the pre-Tokugawa period in Kyoto. The Amaike textile company displayed its super-organza (tennyo no hagoromo) scarves that are wisp-like. In Hokkaido, the Abyssal company excels in natural exfoliative skin-care products. Finally, Japan Week could not be complete without the kimono fitting for willing visitors and the imaginative displays of kabuki make-up.
Here are a few photos that mark this wonderful event and show CLAIR New York’s contribution. For more pictures, please see our (Japan Local Government Center) Facebook page.