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.
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!