London is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, and it is this rich diversity which makes life in the capital so exciting and fulfilling. If we think with our stomachs for just a moment, the benefits of such plurality are plain to see. Whether it’s sushi delivery, Peruvian specialities or a Bangladeshi banquet, we can eat what we want, when we want.
But the benefits are much more than just gastronomic. There are deep cultural reservoirs we can dive into to get a true taste of what life is like on the other side of the world. Japanese culture has been keenly embraced in London, and now the city is awash with events you can take part in to immerse yourself the very best this fascinating country has to offer.
Here’s our guide to the standout upcoming events:
Plexus, January 22-23, Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Plexus is a portrait of the remarkable dancer, Kaori Ito, who trained in classical ballet in Japan and America. As one of Europe’s most exciting dance innovators, Ito is entrapped by five thousand cords, forming an impenetrable cage. Like a warrior-woman, she must conquer her environment and escape her cage.
Contemporary Art History: Japan, A book Talk by Hideki Nakazawa, January 26, School of Oriental and African Studies
Life the lid on Japanese contemporary art with this book talk by Hideki Nakazawa on his first ever trip to London. The author explores and explains contemporary art trends in the company of three experts on Japanese art and culture.
Womenomics Seminar Series 2015, January 27, The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
The World Economic Forum Gender Inequality Ranking places Japan 104th out of 142 countries, far below the vast majority of developed countries. This seminar by a female former senior Japanese diplomat discusses the obstacles that Japanese career women must negotiate and the hidden barriers to meaningful change.
Dokei, January 28 – February 1, Lion and Unicorn Theatre
Allow yourself be transported to the city of Nagasaki in 1865 by the words of Taki Kusumoto. Taki, the mistress of Japan’s celebrated western physician, Dr Phillip Von Siebold, tells of the passionate relationship that ended abruptly when Siebold was banned from Japan for life on suspicion of being a spy.
It Only Happens in the Movies, January 30 – February 5, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)
The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme takes a closer look at Japanese cinema and the encounters that so often occur therein. Showcasing a variety of genres, from contemporary films through to classics and animation, the programme of films explores unusual meetings and unexpected circumstances, and asks – does it really only happen in the movies?
Chu Enoki “Scrap Heap Hero”, February 9, Chelsea College of Arts
In this artist’s talk, Chu Enoki, a seminal figure in Japanese contemporary art, discusses his diverse artistic practices. Ranging from avant-garde public performances through to controversial and compelling sculptural works, this event has something for Japanophiles and art fans alike.
And, if all that leaves you hungry for a little more Japanese culture, why not head to your local sushi takeaway on the way home?