It’s JapanCulture•NYC’s birthday week, and we’re celebrating turning two years old! JapanCulture•NYC launched on May 20, 2011, with the sole purpose of sharing Japanese culture in New York City with all of you.
We’ve taken this week to reflect on the last two years and some of our favorite stories. Think of this as the digital equivalent to a flashback clip show of your favorite TV sitcom.
Of course, the simplest introduction to Japanese culture is through its food. If you follow JapanCulture•NYC on Tumblr or Instagram, you know that cuisine is an essential part of Japanese culture, through seasonality, the beauty of its presentation, its regional specificity, and even the dishes on which a meal is served. JapanCulture•NYC covers various food events, bringing the trends to you.
- Ramen – As the media sponsor of Japan Block Fair in 2012, we covered the NY Street Ramen Contest. We would later interview one of the contestants, Chef Natsuko Yamawaki, about her macrobiotic approach to ramen.
- Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo – After reporting about the latest trends in Japanese food and drink, The New York Times listed the story as “What We’re Reading” in the Dining and Wine Section.
- Bento – Back in 2011 I met the family of a New York-based bento company owner while visiting Tokyo. Oh, they make bento, too.
- Curry – Go! Go! Curry! opened two new locations this year, one which is dangerously close to the JapanCulture•NYC world headquarters. (In related news, JC•NYC goes to the gym almost every day now.)
Playing off the success of food stories, we began shooting video at certain events.
- Saturday Izakaya – Our occasional video series features how to cook Japanese dishes, including aspera bacon, taco rice, and goya champuru.
- Go Ramen! – We were fortunate to meet Chef Keizo Shimamoto of the blog Go Ramen! at one of the NY Street Ramen Contests, and he was nice enough to grant us an interview.
A picture says a thousand words, so what better way to tell a story than through Flickr Photo Galleries?
- Sakura Matsuri – There were several festivals throughout the spring that celebrated the cherry blossom. From large-scale extravaganzas at Brooklyn Botanic Garden to up-and-coming celebrations such as the one on Roosevelt Island to a hidden gem in Queens, we were there.
We love telling everyone about upcoming events, but we also love meeting the people who make those events happen. Throughout the course of JapanCulture•NYC’s two years on the Internet, we’ve met talented and fascinating people who have shared their stories with us.
- Tadashi Ono – When we heard that Chelsea restaurant Matsuri was closing in March of last year, we contacted Executive Chef Tadashi Ono, and he gave us the scoop.
- David Bouley – The award-winning chef of Bouley and owner of Brushstroke, David Bouley told us how he was seduced by Japanese cooking at The New York Times Travel Show.
- Sachiyo Ito – The longtime dancer, choreographer, and instructor reflected on her 30 years in New York.
- Neo Blues Maki – We sought out this band to find out why they chose to blend enka with rock, soul, jazz, R&B, and gospel. They knew they could create a special sound that would be unique in New York.
- AK (Akemi Kakihara) – The devastating triple disaster on 3/11 in Northeastern Japan spurred this New York-based pop star into action.
- Monkey Business – We chatted with a couple of geniuses in Japanese literature and two Japanese writers at Joe’s Pub.
- Fred Ho & Sonoko Kawahara – The multi-talented forces behind Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon! gave us an in-depth look at the show that’s currently running at La Mama.
- The Hearts and Eyes Choir – Most recently, we caught up with several incredibly thoughtful and energetic people who organized a concert featuring special needs singers from Tokyo. They performed at Carnegie Hall on May 22.
So that’s a brief look at what the past two years have been like for us at JapanCulture•NYC. We hope that we’ve informed you, enlightened you, and nurtured your appreciation for Japanese culture. We are indebted to you for your support, and we welcome your suggestions. If you have an event or an idea for a story, please pass it along by sending an email to email@example.com.