It’s Our Birthday!

On May 20, 2011, JapanCulture-NYC launched with the goal of showcasing “All Things Japanese in New York City.” Four years later, the site continues to strive to be an important English-language resource for New Yorkers who are interested in Japanese culture.

The number of Japanese-related events, restaurants, shops, exhibitions, tastings, and, well, THINGS also continues to grow, making the city a great place to explore the culture without boarding a plane. I don’t think there were so many opportunities to see so many different aspects of Japanese culture when I first moved here fifteen years ago. Or perhaps I wasn’t looking for them as intently back then. At any rate, one can easily attend three or four Japanese-related events in one week – or if you schedule it properly, three or four events in one day.


Sake at a trade show

Ninohe City, Iwate, Japan, Northeastern Japan, Tohoku, Ninohe City Fair, Kyo Ya, En Brasserie, SakaMai, NYC, Nanbu Bijin, sake, lacquerware, Urushi, Joboji-Urushi

Urushi, lacquerware from Iwate


New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con, NYCC, Hatsune Miku, vocaloid, cosplay, manga, anime, Lolita, Godzilla, X Japan, Yoshiki, Stan Lee, Gundam, Obata, Shonen Jump, Kakehashi, IA, VIZ Media, Bandai, Capcom, Doraemon, Hello Kitty, Power Rangers, Dragon Ball Z, Nintendo, Pokemon, Pikachu, Gen Manga, Cheeky Parade

Hatsune Miku

Miki Katagiri, hats, millinery, Parsons, Parsons The New School for Design, Globus Washitsu, Globus Chashitsu, NYC, art, political statements, environment, current events, endangered species

“Okinawa” by Miki Katagiri

Hirotaka Asano, Shokuraku Asano, kimono, obi, Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese traditions, textiles, Globus Washitsu, Arte Group, NYC, exhibition

Obi by Hirotaka Asano

izakaya, Saikai Dining Bar, NYC, West Village, Japanese cuisine, Masa, Brushstroke, Zuma, Chef Xiao, Chef Wing, Hakkaisan, sake, uni, yuba, edamame, miso, cod, karaage

Miso Black Cod

Takashi Murakami, Gagosian, Gagosian Gallery, art, NYC, Japanese artists, contemporary art, Mr. DOB, exhibition, sculpture, paintings

Takashi Murakami

Japan Week 2015, Japan Week, Grand Central Terminal, Grand Central, NYC, Japan, travel, tourism, Seiko, Kamakura Shirts, Watabe Wedding, kimono, depachika, Domo, Doraemon, fashion, kawaii, Cool Japan

Doraemon with Yuki Tanaka and Ambassador Kusaka


Doraemon at Japan Week

Japan Week 2015, Japan Week, Japan, NYC, Grand Central, depachika, cuisine, fashion, Japanese culture, Japanese cuisine, kimono, Doraemon, Domo, NHK World, Seiko, Kamakura Shirts, takoyaki, sake, craft beer, Beard Papa's, Minamoto Kitchoan, Ito En, House Foods, Marukome, Mitsuwa

Kimono dresser Emi Kikuchi at Japan Week

Dr. Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, Vermeer, Johannes Vermeer, Dutch, painting, artist, otaku, NYC, Openhouse Gallery, RE-CREATE

Dr Fukuoka with Woman Holding a Balance

Sakura Matsuri, cherry blossom festival, cherry blossoms, sakura, matsuri, JAA, JAANY, Japanese American Association of New York, NYC, Japan, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Soh Daiko, Junko Fisher, Urasenke Tea Ceremony, Japanese Folk Dance Institute

Soh Daiko at Citi Field

Yayoi Kusama, David Zwirner, Give Me Love, art, exhibition, Japanese artists, NYC, infinity nets, polka dots, pumpkins, gallery, Chelsea

PUMPKIN by Yayoi Kusama

Pink sakura

Cherry blossoms at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Never before have Japanese traditional and contemporary culture, politics, food, music, art, or cats seemed more relevant in New York City than right now, and I’m happy to be in the middle of it. I’m grateful to all of the artists, musicians, dancers, chefs, filmmakers, tea ceremony masters, language teachers, protestors, and peace activists, and non-profit organizers who keep my calendar booked and my mind and soul nourished. “You learn something new every day” is probably cliche, but it literally happens whenever we step into a gallery filled with ukiyo-e tattoo art or Yayoi Kusama’s signature polka-dotted pumpkins, encounter young cosplayers while picnicking under the cherry blossoms, or dine at a restaurant serving uni in new, unexpected ways.

It’s this diversity in the culture that keeps everyone interested. From mainstream to grassroots, we try to cover it all, but we may miss a story or two (sorry!). As Japanese culture expands its reach throughout the city, JapanCulture-NYC also is broadening our scope by adding Fashion Editor Jen Green and more people to come. We’ve also begun partnerships with The Gohan Society and BentOn Cafe to help promote their individual goals of educating New Yorkers through Japan’s culinary prowess.

We’re looking forward to more events, stories, and Japanese things in the near future. Thank you all for your support!