This weekend kicks off Disaster Preparedness Month so after stocking up on water bottles, batteries and Cup Noodle hit the streets of Tokyo for a devastatingly fun lineup of events that are sure to knock you over. And if you haven’t already, be sure to download a copy of the Tokyo disaster preparedness manual.
In the 1960s jazz pianist Herbie Hancock along with the other young members of Miles Davis’ “Second Great Quintet” broke new ground with the improvisational concept of “time, no changes.” In the 1980s Hancock introduced the keytar to pop music. His synth battle at the 1985 Grammys with Stevie Wonder, Howard Jones and Thomas Dolby was a magical moment in ’80s history. This weekend Hancock returns to Tokyo to share the stage with jazz all-stars from Switzerland, Singapore and Australia.
When Hirohiko Araki created Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure he was inspired by the 1970s TV mini-series Roots to use a periodical style where the main character changes, but the story continues. Thus different members of the Joestar family use their superpowers to battle vampires and zombies throughout the ages. Over the last 30 years one of the most popular manga series of all time spawned numerous incarnations and spin offs and collaborations with the Louvre and Gucci. Araki created 12 exclusive prints for this special exhibition at The National Art Center, Tokyo.
This pop-rock mega fest on the west coastline of Lake Yamanaka features some of Japan’s finest bands and an unrivaled view of Mount Fuji. With sweaty thrash metal legends Maximum the Hormone and dreamy pop rockers One Ok Rock headlining, you’re going to need a sweet love shower when it’s all said and done.
Wooden clappers called naruko were traditionally used by rice farmers on the island of Shikoku to scare away birds. The yosakoi dance, founded in the Shikoku prefecture of Kochi, is a blend of traditional dance and modern music. Every dance team creates their own style, with the one defining aspect of each performance being the use of naruko. Come see 45 yosakoi teams compete at the Kiba Park in Koto.
Popular culture in 1990s Tokyo saw the rise of anime and manga otaku and the emergence of kawaii fashion. Particularly influential were Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke and the apocalyptic Neon Genesis Evangelion. This inaugural exhibition at the new gallery space inside Tokyo Culture Research explores connections between pop culture and art in the first decade of the current Heisei period, in conjunction with the exhibition of works of digital artist Kazuki Takakura (who was 2-years-old when Emperor Akihito acceded the throne) and media production company KAI-YOU.
Saitama-Shintoshin, billed as the “new heart of Saitama,” is a comprehensive transport, shopping and entertainment complex easily accessible from Tokyo and a great place to let the kids run loose. This weekend this family-friendly organic lifestyle festival has something everyone will enjoy including live music, movies, a “wonder bazaar” and a selection of food trucks.
The event has all the summer matsuri essentials from tasty food stalls and colorful yukata to taiko drumming and goldfish scooping attractions. The second day sees a parade of mikoshi portable shrines carried through the shopping streets of one of Tokyo’s liveliest neighborhoods.
Trunk (Hotel) hosts a contemporary matsuri complete with summer-themed craft cocktails and a modern take on festival eats like yakisoba with truffle-grilled chicken and shrimp prawns. Kids can learn to bartend non-alcoholic cocktails with Trunk bartenders, hand-paint Trunk T-shirts and make wine cork mini-planters. Put on your yukata and end the summer on a high note with friends and family.