NHK World is coming to Los Angeles for Japanese Culture Week.
Public broadcaster NHK operates Japan’s largest domestic and international television network. Experience the true spirit of Japanese New Year celebrations and discover NHK World’s wide range of programs about Japan, from local culture to street fashion and human-interest stories.
The Echo Park Film Center, 1200 N. Alvarado St. in Los Angeles, is excited to work with NHK World, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles City Council District 13 and the Japanese American National Museum to present five days of thematic films and workshops. All events are free and everyone is welcome.
* Thursday, Jan. 5, 7 to 10 p.m.: Local Culture
7 p.m.: “Cycle Around Japan – Spring Through Izu to Mt. Fuji” (49 min.)
There’s no better way to see the world than bicycle touring. We head for the Izu Peninsula to enjoy onsen hot springs, breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji and the blossoming charms of spring – and provide useful tips on recommended routes, cycle rentals, what to pack and much more.
8:15 p.m: “Journeys in Japan – Takayama and Furukawa: Celebrating Traditions” (28 min.)
Explore the adorned floats and other traditions behind the Takayama autumn festival with photojournalist Kit Nagamura, before heading over to Hida Furukawa for a rural cycling tour and sake tasting with a local American brewer.
9 p.m.: “Document 72 Hours – Tonkotsu Ramen Restaurant: Bowls for the Soul” (25 min.)
Embed yourself at Japan’s oldest 24-hour ramen restaurant in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, and hear the unique stories of regular customers as they warm their bellies with a creamy bowl of pork bone and noodle soup.
* Friday, Jan. 6, 6 to 10 p.m.: Fashion and Public Art
6 p.m.: “Kawaii International – The Evolution of Kawaii” (49 min.)
Learn about the history and development of kawaii culture, and discover the Time After Time Capsule project by art director Sebastian Masuda. The screening will be followed by a discussion and Q&A with Masuda.
7 p.m.: Cross Talk – Sebastian Masuda and Paolo Davanzo – A Perspective on Public Art
Masuda explains his unique perspective on art and shares what he intends to accomplish through his latest public art project, Time After Time Capsule. He also talks about the role of kawaii as a means of personal expression beyond age, gender, religion or nationality, and as a tool to bring people together.
At the vanguard of Japan’s kawaii culture, Masuda is celebrated for his film, theater and fashion designs. He also speaks at museums and conferences across the world about the impact of kawaii on pop culture in Japan and other countries. Davanzo is the co-founder of EPFC and an advocate for community engagement.
8:15 p.m.: Works by Sebastian Masuda
* Saturday, Jan. 7, 1 to 7:30 p.m.: J-Culture
1 p.m.: “Kawaii International – The Evolution of Kawaii” (49 min)
2 p.m.: “imagine-nation” (28 min.)
With hundreds of manga, anime goods and cosplay outfits, Ikebukuro is a treasure trove for otaku all over the world. Find out the latest information about otaku’s must-go place.
2:30 p.m.: “Tidy Up with KonMari! In New York” (28 min.)
Follow organizing consultant Marie “KonMari” Kondo in New York as she helps a young woman, whose boyfriend is about to move in, identify the things that matter the most. Everyone benefits from Konmari’s organizing tips – and so could you.
3 p.m.: “Sumo Spirit – A Storm in Egypt” (49 min.)
A young wrestler from Egypt adapts to the Spartan lifestyle of sumo and overcomes cultural differences to fight his way to the top division. Discover how passion and perseverance are driving his dream of reaching the highest rank of yokozuna.
5 to 6 p.m.: “Japanese New Year’s Cuisine” – special lecture by Yoko Isassi (presented by the Japan Foundation)
Isassi is the founder of Foodstory, a company that’s committed to presenting educational and entertaining experiences for food lovers, home cooks, and travelers through the Japanese culinary arts. Her first production, the “Traveling with Sushi” class, offered participants the chance to sample different types of sushi while learning about sushi’s thousand-year history. This production ignited her profound interest in Japanese food history and regional food varieties and led her to serve as a guest lecturer and panelist at the “American Sushi History” event held at the National American Museum in Washington, D.C.
Isassi started teaching Japanese home cooking in Los Angeles in 2012. For the past few years, her passion for Japanese food has also been channeled into creating and curating seasonal culinary tours in Japan. She is currently developing 12 regional and season-based culinary tours throughout Japan.
6:30 p.m.: “Dining with the Chef – Osechi New Year’s Cuisine Part 1” (28 min.)
Savor the taste of Japan’s New Year cuisine with a variety of recipes for ozoni, a soup with mochi rice cakes, and kuri kinton, candied chestnuts with mashed sweet potatoes.
7 p.m.: “Japanology Plus – Snow Country” (28 min.)
Snow country pioneer Natsuo Numano explains the various practical ways Japanese people have devised to cope with harsh winters and to attract visitors. Plus, get to learn the secrets of shoveling snow the right way.
* Sunday, Jan. 8, 5 to 7:30 p.m.: Documentary Screening and Discussion
(Note: This program is at Tateuchi Democracy Forum, Japanese American National Museum, 100 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo)
5:30 p.m.: “The Phone of the Wind: Whispers to Lost Families” (49 min.)
On a hill overlooking the ocean in northern Japan is a telephone booth known as the “Phone of the Wind.” It is connected to nowhere, but many people come here to “call” their loved ones lost in the 2011 tsunami. The phone booth is in the private garden of a man who originally installed it to talk to his lost cousin. The phone’s namesake comes from the owner’s desire for the wind to carry his voice. After the devastating tsunami, he made it available to everyone. Since then, many have visited the phone booth, including a boy who lost his father and a woman who lost her husband. This is a documentary about love, grief and rebirth.
6:30 p.m.: Q&A, discussion, presentation
(Note: Sebastian Masuda will also have a workshop at JANM’s Oshogatsu Family Festival, to be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
* Monday, Jan. 9, 8 to 10 p.m.: Human Interest
8 p.m.: “Give Water, Not Weapons – Building Peace in Afghanistan” (49 min.)
Meet Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese doctor building irrigation ditches in drought-hit areas of Afghanistan, driven by the belief that reviving agriculture is the most effective way of ending decades of conflict.
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