Japan Society’s 2012 Family Programs

Sunday, February 26, 2012

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Japan Society’s Education Program presents a year-long series of events introducing families and children to Japanese culture by celebrating some of Japan's most popular annual holidays and festivals with hands-on activities, crafts, performances and more.

Japan Society 2012 Family Programs

The 2012 family programming at Japan Society includes events recognizing Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) on March 4; Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) on May 6; Tanabata (Star Festival) on July 15; Kuromori Kagura, a day celebrating Japan’s traditional folklore particular to the Tohoku region, on October 28; and the Shichigosan Shinto ceremony for children on November 3 & 4.




Doll Festival (Girls' Day): Hinamatsuri
Sunday, March 4, 2012, 2:00 pm
Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival or Girl’s Day) in Japan is a time to wish for the health and future happiness of young girls. Participants enjoy songs, taste festival-related snacks and drinks and help decorate hina-ningyo (ceremonial dolls). Children and families create a variety of hina dolls to take home or share them with other children. Recommended for children ages 3-10 and
accompanying adults. Boys are welcome to participate!


Celebrating Japan's Children's Day: Kodomo no hi
Sunday, May 6, 2012, 2:00 pm
Enjoy Children’s Day with a program introducing classic Japanese stories Peach Boy (Momotaro) and festival-related song and dance. Following the presentation, participants enjoy traditional snacks (kashiwa mochi) and create their own samurai helmets (kabuto) and carp streamers (koinobori), traditional Children's Day decorations. Recommended for children ages 3-10 and
accompanying adults. Both boys and girls are welcome to participate


Japan's Star Festival: Storytelling & Create Tanabata Decorations
Sunday, July 15, 2012, 2:00 pm
Japan's famous Tanabata legends (Hikoboshi and Orihime) are introduced through a variety of storytelling forms, including kamishibai. As a part of Tanabata tradition, participants learn how to make various, fun paper ornaments and their own tanzaku, thin paper strips for writing wishes, to decorate bamboo branches. Recommended for children ages 3-10 and accompanying


A Special Program from Tohoku: Kuromori Kagura: Traditional Folklore Music and Dance
Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 11:00 am
Kuromori Kagura is a traditional Japanese folklore-based music and dance developed several hundred years ago in worship of the divine spirit of the Kuromori Shrine located in Iwate prefecture, the region devastated by the recent Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Children of all ages enjoy Kuromori Kagura’s variety of ritual dances which act as prayers for health, harvest, and maritime safety, receive good luck from the lion-head-shaped sculpture (Gon-gen), learn some basic movements of Kagura, and enjoy festival-related crafts making. Recommended for children of all ages and accompanying adults.


Celebratory Rituals for Children: Shichigosan (7-5-3) Ceremony
Saturday & Sunday, November 3 & 4, 2012
Morning session: 10:00 am, Afternoon session: 2:00 pm
Celebrate and appreciate the growth and good health of children ages 3, 5 and 7 through the Shinto ritual of Shichigosan ("seven-five-three" in Japanese). Three- and 5-year-old boys and 3- and 7-year-old girls of all nationalities and religions, with parents or accompanying adults, are invited to participate. Special candies (chitose ame) will be served to participating children. Co-sponsored with the International Shinto Foundation.


Tickets: $12/$5 Japan Society members; children ages 2 or under free. Reservations for all events except Shichigosan can be made  through the box office by calling 212-715-1258, in person during business hours or online at www.japansociety.org

For tickets and information regarding Shichigosan, call The International Shinto Foundation New York Center at 212-686-9117 or visit their website at http://shinto.org/isf (English) or http://shinto.org/isf/jpn/ (Japanese).

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.)

CelebrASIA is a collaboration among leading cultural institutions in New York City designed to introduce children to Asian festivals and themes. Children are invited to ring in many Asian New Years from January to March by participating in hands-on workshops and programs at The Korea Society, Japan Society, Asia Society, China Institute, and the Rubin Museum of Art.

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1st Natural Dye Exhibition at 2012 New York Korean Fashion Festival

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 New York Fashion Festival on Saturday, March 3 in Dae Dong Manor, Flushing, NY features the 1st Korean Natural Dye Exhibition hosted by 34 artisans and designers from Korea who craft traditional Korean dyed fabric. The festival also presents 4 fashion shows, including a Hanbok Fashion Show.

New York Korean Fashion Festival

The Natural Dye Exhibition opens at 5PM and the fashion shows begin at 7:30PM. Both events include cocktails and hor d'ouerves. Exhibit only tickets are $40 and festival tickets are $70, but Korea Society members receive a 30% discount promotional code. Email Claudia at claudia.ny@koreasociety.org for more info about becoming a member.

For festival information and to purchase tickets visit - http://www.nykoreanfashionfestival.com/

Celebrating New Year in Japan

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A few days ago many celebrated the Asian Lunar New Year. While many people know about the Chinese customs and traditions, very few know about the OTHER asian customs for Lunar New Year. I asked Tara, who's blogs at Tara Kamiya to share how her family celebrate the New Year in Japan - Onica, editor

I spent New Year’s in Gujo, a small mountain city in Japan. It was awesome to be one of the first in the world to have a New Year. But I must say that by American standards it was not that action packed.

Japanese New Year

I arrived at my uncle’s house in Gujo greeted with smiles and lots of food. There are traditional New Year’s Foods & Sake and then there is just good old fashioned eating. I was lucky; my uncle had some wine that he had made himself and some homemade soba noodles. After stuffing my face with black beans, sushi, egg, beef, soba etc., we all sat under a traditional table that sits low on the floor called a kotastsu. It is warm under the table and it’s a sight to see a bunch of people passed out with their legs covered by a table sitting around the TV.

Usually if you’re home in America on New Year’s Eve you sit around the TV and watch the countdown of your choice. Maybe you have a few drinks, or some noise makers. In Japan New Year’s is not really a time when people go out and party, at least not most people over 25. I spend the night with my family sitting around the TV waiting for the temple to ring the New Year’s bell. Once New Year’s Eve came we watched hundreds of people rush into the temple. There were even a few Gaijin (non-Japanese) as this is a popular thing to do for Buddhist wherever they are from.

I must admit at first I felt cheated. No party? No noise? I was definitely not in America. Shortly after the bell was rung everyone went to bed and I could not stop thinking, that’s it?

Japanese New Year

Japanese New Year

How wrong I was! The next day proved to be awesome. TV programming for the day is centered on comedy. There are hours and hours of comedy specials to entertain most of the public who are off from work for about a week. We sat around the TV watching comedies and eating New Year’s junk food. I really enjoyed this big triangle cookie with a prize inside. It tastes like a really fresh fortune cookie, but it is like 10 times bigger.

New Year’s Day started a week long chain of family visits, events, and parties. One of the traditional foods for New Year’s is called mochi, which is steamed rice pounded into a gooey sticky texture. And it is so important that it has its own party. My aunty made a mochi party at her house with family, friends and lots of mochi. It can be eaten just as it is or it can be dried a bit and toasted. It is used in soups, sweetened for deserts and is really delicious and filling. New Year’s Day we took the mochi and wrapped little bits around tree branches to make the mochi look like flowers. Mochi is used to celebrate thankfulness for a bountiful rice supply for the year.

This was the best New Year’s I ever had surrounded by family and friends. Sure I only understood about 35 percent of what was being said, but one common denominator between Japanese New Year and New Year’s in America was that there was always some kind of spirits circulating and that made everything pretty familiar.

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