Whether you are thinking of taking a Japanese language course in London or you just want to learn more about the country’s traditions, there are plenty of fantastic Japanese events in the city. Here are a few ideas on how to discover a world of Japanese culture in London.
Explore the British Museum’s Japanese collection
To improve your knowledge of Japanese history, head to the British Museum. The museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Japanese material culture in Europe. It houses about 30,000 objects which trace the country’s history, ranging from early pottery to 20th-century Manga comics.
You can see painting, prints, swords and Buddhist artefacts. There are also useful online tours on the British Museum website, such as Japanese Swords: A Cutting Edge and Collecting Souvenirs in Japan: A Diary.
Check out Hyper Japan
Hyper Japan is an annual event hosted at Earl’s Court at the end of November. It promises to bring the best of Japan to London with contemporary fashion collections, tasty food displays and plenty of quirky Japanese Christmas gifts.
One of the main highlights this year is the MARBLE Collection fashion show. The show presents contemporary Tokyo street fashion, such as the iconic Lolita style. There will also be a panel talk show about Tokyo’s fashion culture.
Another exciting highlight of the Earl’s Court exhibition is Japanese samurai sword act, KAMUI. Their unique style of weapon performance combines modern influences with the traditional samurai warrior spirit.
The troop is world famous, as their leader acted in and choreographed scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s hit film Kill Bill: Volume 1. As well as showcasing a dazzling display of their art, the performers are holding workshops to give you the chance to learn about traditional Japanese fighting skills and weaponry.
Learn your own sushi skills
One of the most popular aspects of Japanese culture to take off in London is sushi. There are plenty of delicious sushi eateries in the heart of London ranging from chain branches such as Yo! Sushi to independent venues.
For a really special experience head to Nobu: the restaurant’s gourmet ingredients and high prices coupled with fantastic views across Hyde Park make it a favourite hangout for celebrities.
If you want to gain more knowledge of Japanese cuisine then enrol yourself in a Japanese cooking course. Nari & Yoshie’s Sushi School in London offer private courses to teach you the traditional ways of sushi making. They also offer the chance to learn how to make other Japanese dishes, such as tempura, miso soup and gyoza dumplings.
Get involved with the annual Japan Matsuri
The Matsuri, which means ‘festival’ or ‘holiday,’ is being held in Trafalgar Square this year and is a celebration to show appreciation for British support during the tsunami and earthquake disaster in Japan in 2011.
The annual event is put on to allow the Japanese community in London to enjoy food, music and dance with friends and neighbours of all nationalities, in a similar way to a local festival in Japan.
Go along for the chance to play Taiko-drums, try on a Kimono, draw your own Manga character and learn the art of origami. There will be performances by Japanese bands and singers, as well as fashion shows and martial arts displays.
If you feel inspired by these activities or if you are already a Japanese film and culture buff and want a chance to master the lingo, click here for information on language courses in London.
British Museum A link to the museum’s online tours of Japanese artefacts.
Hyper Japan Information about the Hyper Japan event.
The Japan Foundation Information on Japanese events in London.