Arigato in London

Features News & Views - July 29th, 2012

Not only one opening ceremony was taking place in London this weekend.

The Arigato in London campaign, too, was marking the start of 15 days of events on the riverside which celebrate Japanese culture while giving thanks to those from around the world – whose eyes will be on London – who are helping the country recover.

Arigato in London

The event is being held at London County Hall, which is right on the river front near the Houses of Parliament. Organisers say that during the event, “a video will be shown to express “arigato” (meaning “thank you” in Japanese) in 83 languages toward the 163 countries and regions that offered to help after the disaster.”

The video is inspiring as well as poignant and deserves to be watched – lest people forget Japan is still struggling to recover completely. It seems to be about reflecting on the past but also very much looking to the future and teaching the world how while the nation is still suffering, it is also very much “open for business.”

Whilst they are not allowed to be too cavalier with their Olympian brand association, alongside Coca Cola on the streets of London throughout the week of the Games will be some Japanese booze – including sake from Tohoku. Miyagi is one of the prefectures represented at the N Bar, produced by Hidetoshi Nakata, whom we talked to last week.

There will be a photo exhibition showing Japan working toward reconstruction, in cooperation with Recovery Assistance Media Team and photographer Shinich Sato. One of the most interesting aspects of their work was giving youngsters from the tsunami affected areas cameras to document their lives in the aftermath of the disaster to, as Sato said in a press conference last week, help them cope. Images will be on display throughout.

Sato explained how surprised the organisers were with the playful nature of some of the the images, some of which will be displayed in London, and their honesty: perhaps they had forgotten that they were just kids, he thought. Children had a more primitive way of expressing their emotions and dealing with trauma and the photos are testament to the success of the project.

Have a look at a film about another of Sato’s projects below and check out the Arigato in London official site, here.

Arigato in London project