Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York – From ‘Edo Pop’ to ‘Poppy Hill’

"From Up on Poppy Hill," the latest film from Studio Ghibli, premieres in New York March 16.

“From Up on Poppy Hill,” the latest film from Studio Ghibli, premieres in New York March 16. (©2011 Chizuru Takahashi/Tetsuro Sayama/GNDHDDT)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Tucked between Oscar and cherry blossom season, March offers an unmissable array of concerts, performances and film premieres, along with a special gathering to mark the two-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

This month’s highlights include:

Sunday, March 3, 6:45 p.m.

Exploring the Road of Shamisen – Koto Workshop and Concert

Still Mind Zendo, 37 West 17th Street

$15 advance, $18 at the door

For reservations, email contact[at]marcreation.com or call 917-400-9362

In the latest workshop of the Spring Traditional Japanese Musical Instrument Series, shamisen specialist Yoko Reikano Kimura will demonstrate the vast 400 years of shamisen repertoire and explore the infinite possibilities of the instrument. Shamisen was brought to Japan through the Silk Road and since then it was popularized among samurai to ordinary citizens. But in today’s cosmopolitan age, new shamisen music continues to thrive.

March 6-9

The Bach Variations: Bach and Mendelssohn

Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza

$41-$123

In its first-ever Bach Festival, a kaleidoscopic three-week celebration of the depth and breadth the man the New York Times named the greatest composer of all time, Kobe-born conductor and harpsichordist Masaaki Suzuki leads five vocalists along with his own Bach Colleguim Japan and Yale Schola Cantorum with his own unique approach, combining his perspective with the virtuosity of the New York Philharmonic. On the program are Bach’s “Motet No. 1: Singet dem Herrn” and “Magnificat,” along with Mendelssohn’s :Magnificat in D Major” and “Christus.”

March 9-June 9

Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$12 general admission, $10 students and seniors, Japan Society members and children under 16 free

Edo Pop playfully juxtaposes classic ukiyo-e prints from such masters as Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige with contemporary works inspired by these artists and their works. Delve into alluring worlds created by the power of Edo period and contemporary popular culture in which change is the only constant. Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, with the contemporary art selections curated for the New York presentation by Miwako Tezuka, Ph.D., Director, Japan Society Gallery.

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