The Weekend(er): Just Keep Swimming

Events - June 16th, 2016

In one of the markedly safest countries in the world, we enjoy our weekends fairly carefree, unaware of the dangers others are confronted with that linger elsewhere – sometimes, daily.

Even in a city as safe as Tokyo, one of the best ways to show solidarity with the victims of last weekend’s killings in Orlando is to be supportive, bond with those around us, and be adventurous: go somewhere you’ve never been, see a show you wouldn’t have gone to last weekend, or speak with people with whom you haven’t yet had the pleasure.

Here are several events we recommend for this weekend, all at which you can push yourself to discover something new about Japan, the international community, and yourself.

And remember: without all of you sharing events with us, there is no “Weekend(er)”! Submit your details from an upcoming show or exhibition you’d like us to feature next week.


Discover Kabuki

Remove the intimidation and fear of seeing a kabuki show with this special performance and lecture – in English! – that focuses on the language and subtle nuances of the traditional stage art. Several actors will be present to guide you through the talks, and introduce you to the history and world of this time-honored art. Check the full event listing for ticket reservation information!


This & That Cafe Vol. 29: City Shapers

Broaden your mind – musically and beyond – at the quirky and off-beat “This & That Cafe” at the beginning of the weekend. Between a drummer from Ghana and an ink painter from Tokyo, the performances will be off the walls bonkers on Friday. You best not miss out! As always, the whole family is welcome to enjoy some good food and an entertaining evening downtown.


June Tokyo Closet Ball

The night will be filled with laughs, drag, and a taste of burlesque – and so much more. In light of the tragedy in Orlando last weekend, the performers and hosts will be holding an auction and raffle to raise donations to support the victims and their families. Support the community and talented individuals who intend to continue lighting up the stage and, simply, being themselves.

sanno matsuri

Sanno Matsuri

The Sanno Matsuri marches on this weekend with the next installment of events. Ginza, usually visited primarily with shopping in mind, will be the backdrop for one of the “Giant Three” festivals of Tokyo. With days of parades, children in purple and orange, and enormous floats, this is one to see for sure. Check for more details about where and when, this time around!


Zendama Fes in Yokosuka

Head down to Kanagawa for an earthy musical event filled to the brim with stellar back-to-back performances. All participating musicians, MCs, and groups are connected by a single cause: to inspire Japanese citizens to vote. Japan infamously has some of the lowest voter turnout rates in the world, and these performers are looking to change that, through music and the arts.

Short Shorts Film Festival

Short Short Film Festival & Asia 2016

See a collection of Academy-Award-accredited short films – completely for free! – this weekend. Featuring films by well-known Hollywood directors, and starring (at least a few of) your favorite actors, this is a good event should the rain start rolling in. There are several locations and venues showing multiple films, for your convenience. Be sure to reserve your spot online first!


Philippine Festival: 60 Years of Friendship

After 60 years of friendly relations between the nations, organizers from both the Japan side and Philippines side of the aisles are coming together and throwing the party of the summer. The two communities are looking to promote their cross-sea cultures through the spirit of music, dance, costume, and food. They predict this to be an explosive event; we aren’t sure if Hibiya Park is ready for the celebration size…

summer call

Summer Call Party

Their alternative name is, concisely, “Free Tequila!” While that might not attract everyone, the Tokyo Scramble folks at Trump Room are convinced that headline will wrangle in quite the crowd nevertheless. Kicking off their summer show series with a dozen popular Tokyo DJs, the hosts will be – yup, you guessed it – handing out free shots as the night goes on. If that isn’t enough, there is also a raffle you can enter into for other drink varieties.

forest beer garden

Meiji-jingu Forest Beer Garden

After a walk through one of Tokyo’s most recognizable iris gardens, relax in the shade of the trees and enjoy a beer into the summery dusk at Meiji-jingu’s surrounding park. Bring the family and try some BBQ, and enjoy conversations with other groups and families partaking in the festivities.


The Fireflies Fly On…

We are starting to run out of time to see the dazzling lightning bugs take flight. Check out our guide for a rundown of nearby locations to camp out and wait for dusk to settle, and the fireflies to light up and take flight. Many predict this will be the “last best weekend,” so be sure to take advantage!

matcha beer

Matcha Beer Garden

Oh Japan, and your ceaseless energy to create the “next big thing.” Their latest attempt in combining things you would never have dreamed up, brewers are putting green tea into our beer mugs and calling is “culinary art.” But don’t judge a pint by its color, try it for yourself this weekend at the very green beer garden.

Would you like to see your event, fundraiser, show, or exhibit listed here? It’s easy! Email details and photos, along with your name and contact information to