Japanese culture, cuisine and tourism comes to Grand Central Terminal with Japan Week 2014, a three-day festival organized by the Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. Japan Week will spotlight unique features of Japanese culture from the last 100 years to the present in Vanderbilt Hall March 6-8, 2014.
Japan Week offers programs for the entire family. The west half of Vanderbilt Hall will transport visitors 100 years back in time when the Industrial Revolution had just begun. At that time, there was great influence from Western culture, which fast-forwarded modernization in Japan.
The Visit Japan booth will include representatives from 23 different organizations ranging from travel agents and hotels to Japanese local governments. Among other things you can learn about and sign up for are the Kintetsu International’s exclusive private sake tour, a cruise with IACE Travel of Hokkaido or Kyushu, or working with Nippon Travel Agency on the road from Tokyo to Kyushu. .
Sadaharu Ishiwari is an Amezaikushi, an artist exclusively trained in traditional Japanese candy craft who will sculpt detailed animals out of sugar. Today there are only about twenty professional amezaiku craftsmen left in Japan.
Sakai City will take viewers on a virtual reality tour inside the Ancient Tomb of Emperor Nintoku, which was created in the 5th century, and the insides of which have never been open to the public. Sakai City is also historically known for its samurai swords and tools that can cut through stone. These have evolved into high-quality kitchen knives today, some of which will be on display.
At Virtual Reality Theater, view 100 years of Japan’s vibrant culture through captivating images providing a rare insight into rural Japan giving viewers the feeling of traveling back in time. Witness how JTB aided the evacuation of Jewish refugees from Europe in “Transit to Freedom,” a moving documentary by the New York Film Academy. Additionally, a virtual reality movie will take viewers inside Kumamoto Castle.
The Sake Bar will be pouring 16 unique regional sakes and other beverages ranging from green tea to whisky. Expert sake sommeliers will be available to answer any questions and if you’re hungry, Abura soba, Kanazawa curry, Kanimeshi, and other bento boxes will also be sold, created with the 100-year theme in mind.
Delta Air Lines will demonstrate their relaxing and luxurious 180-degree flat-bed seats with featured amenities offered in BusinessElite class and offer an exclusive Delta Vacations promotional package only when you visit their booth. TAKUMI JAPAN will introduce Japanese artistry, including hand-blown glass house wares, wooden keyboards and USB’s, gold lacquered iPhone cases, and more. And, JR East will present high-end models of their trains, distributing tourism information, and playing a 3D video about Shinkansen bullet trains and tourism in Japan. They are also introducing a Japanese train enthusiasts’ club known as The Japan Rail Modelers of Washington D.C., which will exhibit a 50-square-foot Japanese-themed train model.
Seiko Watch Corporation will unveil and sell their new Astron watch, NTT DOCOMO will present the Automatic Voice Translation smartphone app, in which face-to-face conversations are automatically voice-translated and Fuji Television Network will promote “Time Trip View,” that allows viewers to experience Oedo Castle in it’s original state, and connect with Sharp Electronics Corporation’s new large screen LED TV’s to view the castle in outstanding brightness and color. Understand the gift-giving culture of Japan at the Japan Shopping Tourism Organization booth where you can receive your own omiyage by answering a survey. Also, Museyon is offering free downloads of their book Cool Japan from March 6 – 12, available at their booth and also through Barnes & Noble.
Also on March 11, 2014, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra will debut in the U.S. as part of the 100-year Anniversary. The performance will be conducted by Eiji Oue on the third anniversary of the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, featuring Mayuzumi’s Bugaku, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, and more in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. AND, through March 16, 2014, Japanese Restaurant Week will feature NYC-based Japanese restaurants serving special dishes that reflect the 100-year theme.
Founded in 2012, Japan Week is a promotional tourism event aiming to encourage travel to Japan. It is a cooperative effort between the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan National Tourism Organization, diverse businesses, local Japanese governments, and supported by the Consulate General of Japan in New York. The multi-dimensional event is open to the general public and promotes Japanese tourism through culture, food and beverages.
Photo credit: House of Japan.