Japan Block Fair Brings Japanese Culture to Manhattan's Streets

The first annual Japan Korea Block Fair took place on Sunday, October 9. Occupying one block of a larger street fair that ran along Broadway, the Japan Korea Block Fair put the spotlight on food, products, and music from both cultures.

Food always seems to be the big draw for crowds mingling through street fairs, and the restaurants represented didn’t disappoint.

Japanese food culture New York City
Food tents at Japan Korea Block Fair

Visitors enjoyed standard Japanese treats such as pork skewers and chicken kara age, and they also learned about foods they may have never before seen. Curry rice and okonomiyaki are common favorites among the Japanese, but they were new items to many.

Curry rice
Curry rice from Go! Go! Curry!
Okonomiyaki Queen, Kazuko Nagao, making a savory Japanese pancake

Offering Western flavor to the Japanese street food of takoyaki (grilled octopus bits in dough), Mimi and Coco were there with their Teriyaki Balls. Instead of octopus, Mimi and Coco use country sausage, potato, and shrimp.

Mimi and Coco Teriyaki Balls
Mimi and Coco's unique take on Japanese Teriyaki Balls

In addition to food, there were Japanese products on sale. Children enjoyed cute masks.

Japanese masks
Japanese masks

Wuhao newyork’s fall-themed tenugui (multi-purpose cloth with beautiful patterns) reminded everyone that, despite the warm weather that day, autumn is here.

Wuhao newyork's tenugui booth

One of my favorite vendors is Tesage, purses and accessories sewn by Yukiko Sato. I bought a cool bag for my mom.

Yukiko Sato bags
Bags designed by Yukiko Sato

Throughout the day, several bands entertained the crowd, including The Asterplace, a group of young Asian men who play a playful mixture of rock and punk.

The Asterplace
The Asterplace performs onstage

Street fair season is nearing an end, so keep up with Japan Block Fair by visiting their website at www.japanblockfair.com.