Archive | June, 2011

Tanabata Festival & Traditional Japanese Festival Foods


Tanabata is an important Japanese festival held on the 7th day of the 7th month and represents the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi, the names of two stars (Vega & Altair) portrayed as lovers who only have a chance to meet once a year.

As with many Japanese festivals, there are lots of traditional customs for Tanabata. The most popular is the custom of writing one’s wishes onto a small strip of paper and then hanging them on a piece of bamboo. The bamboo is then set afloat down a river so that the wishes can be taken away and hopefully come true.

Of course, like other Japanese festivals, tanabata is a great way to celebrate with friends and family and eat some popular Japanese festival foods. During Japanese festivals, the streets are alive with small stalls selling everything from dango mochi balls to takoyaki octopus balls and all number of snacks in between! We know that not everyone can be in Japan during the tanabata festival so instead, Japan Centre has four of the top Japanese festival foods to introduce to you along with some easy to follow recipes so you can make these great tasting dishes at home.

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COMPETITION: Win a Pair of Tickets for Hyper Japan


If you have been reading our weekly newsletter, you know that I have been teasing recently about a new competition Japan Centre are going to be running to win some tickets for the coolest, cutest, and craziest Japanese exhibition of the year.

That time has now come!

Hyper Japan is being held at the Olympia in West London from the 22nd to 24th of July and will be the biggest J-culture event of the year. There will be loads of cool things to watch, listen to and snack on, as well as music performances by Kanon Wakeshima!

Competition Time

We have a pair of tickets for Saturday 23rd July to give away to a lucky Japan Centre fan. All you have to do is visit our facebook page and leave a comment on the Hyper Japan competition post. We will choose a random winner to give the tickets to, but fun and interesting comments are always welcome! :)

This competition is open until Tuesday 28th June, so there is plenty of time for you to leave a comment. We will choose a winner on 28th June, so make sure you check your facebook in the evening to see if you have won!

If you enter the competition, please make sure that you will be available on the 23rd July to attend the Hyper Japan event in London. If you are chosen as the winner of the tickets, please confirm that you are able to attend the event within 48 hours of receiving the private message. This is to make sure we have enough time to arrange the tickets in your name.

Any questions about the competition, please ask in the comments on the facebook blog and keep an eye out for more Japan Centre competitions.

Hyper Japan Event


Hyper Japan is a three day Japanese extravaganza held at Olympia in London celebrating everything about Japanese food and culture.

With plenty of events going on over the weekend including the 2011 UK sushi awards, music performances from Kanon Wakeshima and a cosplay competition, there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy.

And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, Japan Centre will have a stall there too showing some of the cool Japanese books, magazines and snacks that you can buy at our shop.

Be sure to have a look at the Hyper Japan website and watch out for a competition that we will be running soon for a chance to win free tickets for this event.

COMPETITION: Win Tickets for Teshigawara at Sadler’s Wells Theatre


A cult figure in Japan, Saburo Teshigawara began his career in Tokyo in 1981 after studying the unusual combination of plastic arts and classical ballet. In 1985 he formed his own company, KARAS, with Kei Miyata and started creating group choreographies alongside other visual art works. With KARAS he has performed in major cities all over the world and has been commissioned by many international ballet companies (Frankfurt Ballet, Paris Opera, Nederland Dans Theater).

Read on for a fantastic Japan Centre competition to win tickets to see this new performance.

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UK Sushi Awards 2011 at Hyper Japan


HYPER JAPAN 2011 will be hosting the UK Sushi Roll Championship, a UK-only version of the renowned Sushi Awards created especially for HYPER JAPAN! This is your chance to help decide the best of the best in the UK, as chefs from Japanese restaurants in the UK roll up to create the ultimate sushi.

Held on Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July at Olympia Two, London, the UK Sushi Awards 2011 will be a great day out for fans of all types of Japanese food and culture, you can be sure that Japan Centre will be there to watch these masters at work!

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