Cultural Exchange Takes Place at Japan Week

By Kerry Chan’15 and Jeffery Ou’15
Sushi, anime, and ramen- those words are what usually come to people’s mind when they think about Japan, but through other food and technology at Japan Week, you can experience Japanese culture like never before.
Japan week, a free event, organized by Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization, promotes Japanese culture and technologies in Vanderbilt Hall from March 6 to 8. “It advertises Japan so that people will want to travel there,” said Mayumi Kuriyama, a manager for the event.
Throughout the exhibit there were subtle hints of Japanese tourism; brochures featuring different types of Japanese districts and landmarks. There was a stall about a Japanese translator app, and there were surveys to win a free trip to Japan.
Japan Week effectively reinforces the desire to go to Japan.
“I would definitely want to go to Japan now,” said Chris Ratiff. “It has always been a dream of mine since I was nine. I love the era from Edo period to the present.”
The theater showed videos and slideshows about Japan 100 years ago. Transit to Freedom by the New York Film Academy was one of the three films that told the story of Jewish refugees in Japan in 1940. Other videos were Emperor Nintoku’s Tomb and Kumamoto City which gave glimpses into Japan’s history. For a certain amount of time, the theater also gave people a chance to try on traditional Japanese armor.
Minamoto Kitchoan, Azuma Foods, and ITO EN gave a taste of traditional Japanese food. While ITO EN sold green tea and green tea ice cream, Azuma Foods served savory food such as seafood salad. Minamoto Kitchoan is a bakery company that sold wagashi and Japanese sweets like dorayaki (a type of red bean pancake), mochi, and cookies. Different restaurants, such as Go Go Curry, sold non tradition foods as wells as traditional foods like: curry with rice, soba noodles, Anagomeshi eel (eel over rice), kanimeshi (crab) and Honetsuki jidori (bone in chicken). There was also a traditional sake bar that sold many different drinks from green tea to whiskey.
“My favorite part (of Japan Week) is the food,” said Eli Sangela. “I get to experience Japanese culture in New York.”
Modern day aspects of Japan included the bullet train, solar powered GPS watches, and different Japanese inventions. East Japan Railroad Company showcased 3D presentation of the bullet train and a 50 square feet model train set. Takumi Japan is a company that help expands smaller businesses that work on high quality goods such as metal works and wood, to North America and Europe.
“[Takumi] helps give exposure to small business,” said Ami Fugimura.
People generally enjoyed the atmosphere of Japan Week.
“It’s nice that people can learn new facts about Japan such as it harbored Jewish refugees,” Sharon Mei ’15.
“It’s so nice to get a taste of culture in your everyday commute,” said Sonia Marketkar. “But I wish there were more different types of food and more mainstream music”

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