Living in Manhattan, I sometimes overlook Japanese-related organizations/events in the outer boroughs. But today I’m here to give Queens some love, as I made my first visit to Resobox in Long Island City.
Founded by Fumio Tashiro and Takashi Ikezawa last June, Resobox is a gallery, a workshop, and a café rolled into one 600-square-foot space. Tashiro and Ikezawa chose Long Island City for the location because they recognize the area as an up-and-coming scene for the arts. Saying “We’re not Manhattan, we’re not Chelsea,” Ikezawa balances exhibiting and selling fine art with offering affordable classes at Resobox, with the aim of introducing Japanese culture to New Yorkers of all backgrounds and interests.
“Of course we want Japanese people to visit our gallery and take the classes,” says Ikezawa, “but we focus on teaching non-Japanese people about Japan.”
That teaching is done in a variety of ways. Tashiro and Ikezawa hold regularly scheduled exhibitions of work done by both Japanese artists and non-Japanese artists who are inspired in some way by the Japanese aesthetic. Resobox also holds classes and workshops that range from anime to Okinawan music and dance to iaido (samurai sword techniques).
“Japanese culture is so broad that we want to cover as many things as possible,” says Ikezawa.
Recobox recently began a professional speaker series. The first was held last weekend and featured cultural anthropologist and anime expert Charles Dunbar. In the second installment, which is Saturday, August 18, filmmaker Yosuke Hosoi discusses his experiences showing his film Man of the House at the Cannes Film Festival.
Resobox is also a café, serving coffee, tea, shakes, and smoothies, and they added bento lunches from BentOn to the menu.
So if you’re growing tired of Starbucks, head to LIC and have a Japanese Nel Drip Coffee at Resobox. You may even learn something about Japanese culture while you’re there.