JQ Magazine: Nippon in New York — The Joy of Sake, BoroughCon, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

After an unusually chilly spring, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. Enjoy some seasonal events this month that celebrate the best of both fine art and pop art.

This month’s highlights include:

Courtesy of Asiasociety.org

June 6-7, 6:30 p.m.

New York Japan CineFest 2018

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$12, $10 seniors/students, $8 members

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest is an annual event that features works by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. This two-day program of short films includes Sugihara Survivors, a short documentary film about Chiune Sugihara (considered Japan’s Oskar Schindler); Hatis Noit, a glimpse into the music of the titular musician whose experimental vocals recollect memories of snowy Hokkaido; and Dolphin Dreams, a groundbreaking experimental documentary that builds on the communicative power of dance to give audiences an unprecedented visceral experience. The first night’s program is followed by a reception.

© Yow Kobayashi/Yamaha

Thursday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.

Makoto Ozone: Jazz Virtuoso

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$38, $30 Japan Society members

Celebrated jazz pianist Makoto Ozone, hailed by the New York Times as “thrilling, virtuosic and unabashedly personal,” performs selections from his wide-ranging repertoire, from Gershwin and Bernstein to Piazzolla and Ravel. Known for his large concert hall performances with prestigious philharmonic orchestras and jazz legends such as Gary Burton and Chick Corea, Ozone offers an upbeat, freewheeling and fearless solo in our auditorium.

Bakuretsu Records

Friday, June 8, 7:30 p.m.

Super Chon Bros Tour 2 (featuring Tricot)

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$20

Prog rockers Chon and Polyphia have announced a second installment of their Super Chon Bros tour, set to take off this spring with help from TTNG and Kyoto-based Tricot. Rolling Stone calls the latter quartet “adrenalized math rock sped up and given pop’s candy coating.” Their meticulously painted set—complete with shadows and amps brushed into the background—picks up on the Kyoto band’s brilliantly colored math-rock, its hooks popping into view like neon splashes against a canvas.

Courtesy of Citycinemas.com

June 9, 11

Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern

Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue

$15

During the Taisho era of 1918, 17-year-old Benio Hanamura determines to find love on her own, though her family has other plans. She meets the handsome second lieutenant Shinobu, who immediately ruffles Benio’s feathers, though she gradually finds herself falling in love with Shinobu and his family. With their country on the brink of war, Shinobu enlists to fight the Russian army. Striving to be bolder than her culture allows, young Benio does more than simply wait at home with her feelings; she must continue on her journey to modern womanhood, with no guarantee that her fiancé will return. Based on the legendary manga by Waki Yamato and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, these special screenings are presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Courtesy of Joyofsake.com

Friday, June 15, 6:30 p.m.

The Joy of Sake

Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street

$110

Over 478 premium sakes + 18 top restaurants = 1 amazing evening! Experience the largest and liveliest sake-tasting event in the U.S., with award-winning sakes from the U.S. National Sake Appraisal served in peak condition, plus sake-inspired appetizers to nibble while you sip. This year’s superb restaurant line-up features names like Momofuku, Sushi Nakazawa, and Sakagura. Good food, good friends, good sake—it all comes together at The Joy of Sake.

Courtesy of Rashad L. Florence

June 15-17

BoroughCon 2018

Brooklyn EXPO Center, 72 Noble Street

$32-$90

BoroughCon returns to the boroughs of New York for its second year for three full days. In its inaugural year BoroughCon brought a plethora of amazing guest such as Khary Payton (The Walking Dead), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings and Stranger Things), and Dante Baso (Hook and Avatar: The Last Airbender) to the New York geek community and it’s looking to do the same for 2018. With excitement still buzzing from Marvel’s Infinity War and Deadpool films, the BoroughCon team brings Jim Starlin, writer of the original Infinity Gauntlet comic, and Fabian Nicieza, co-creator of everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth, in addition to popular voice actors Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh, and special media guest Jamie Chung (Big Hero 6, Dragonball Evolution). BoroughCon also offers various panels and events to attend for all ages.

GKIDS

June 17-18, 20 

Pom Poko

E-Walk 42nd Street 13, 247 West 42nd Street

Empire 25, 234 West 42nd Street

$12.50

From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away, and Academy Award-nominated director Isao Takahata, comes an action-packed ecological fable about the clash between nature and human civilization. The tanuki (raccoon dogs) of Tama Hills find their fun-loving community under attack when their quiet woodlands are threatened by encroaching developers looking to create still more houses and shopping malls. Desperate to survive, the tanuki band together and learn the ancient art of transformation, shape-shifting into a comical variety of humans and spirits as they undertake a last-ditch plan to scare away the humans and save their home, in this deeply-affecting, funny and heartfelt look at what it means to live in the modern world. The June 17 and June 20 screenings are presented in English, with the June 18 screening presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

Courtesy of Playstationtheater.com

Monday, June 18, 8:00 p.m.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$30

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (aka KPP) can best be defined as Tokyo pop mecca Harajuku’s iconic existence. Her debut single “PONPONPON” has been played over 123 million times over YouTube. Her album Nanda Collection debuted Number One on Japan’s national music charts, selling over 400,000 physical copies. In 2016, she released her first best of album KPP BEST and went on her third world tour. KPP is also the most followed Japanese artist on Twitter (5.4 million followers to date), cementing her massive influence on the pop world.

GKIDS

June 19-Aug. 30

Studio Ghibli Festival

Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Avenue

$15

This summer, the Village East Cinema will feature some of the greatest and most influential animated films of all time from the celebrated Studio Ghibli. Praised for their originality, stunning animation, and ambitious storytelling, each film is a beloved part of Japanese culture and has received worldwide acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The 7 p.m. shows are presented in Japanese with English subtitles and the 11 a.m. shows are dubbed in English. June screenings include Princess Mononoke (June 19-20), and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (June 26-27), both directed by Academy Award-winning anime master Hayao Miyazaki.

Courtesy of Carnegiehall.org

Tuesday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

Nagisa Shamisen Concert: Japanese Traditional Music

Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, 881 Seventh Avenue

$50, $70

The shamisen is a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument. Perhaps best known in the West as musical accompaniment for kabuki performances, it has in recent years has seen a revival in pop music through notable Japanese musicians like the Yoshida Brothers, Miyavi, and Babymetal. Presented by Imafuji Kai, this intimate concert will feature Chojuro Imafuji, Yoshijiro Imafuji, and Chotatsuro Imafuji, shamisen; Tosei Kineya, Choichiro Imafuji, and Saki Kineya, nagauta singers; Roei Tosha and Tatsuyuki Mochizuki, percussion; and Kan Fukuhara, Japanese flute.

Courtesy of Sweetsweetkpop.com

June 23-24 

KCON 2018 NY 

Prudential Center, 25 Lafayette Street (Newark)

$20-$155

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a mini-Coachella for Korean pop music,” the world’s largest Korean culture convention and music festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Presented by Toyota, this year’s event is set to showcase even more vendors and all-new programming highlighting the rise in popularity of hallyu, or Korean pop culture. Last year, over 75,000 fans on both coasts attended KCON for unforgettable concerts, celebrity meet and greets, workshops, panels, food, and fashion, touching on every aspect of Korean culture and entertainment. The concert portion of KCON NY includes some of the largest names in K-Pop over two nights, and this year’s feature acts (10 total) include Heize, Red Velvet, EXID, and Golden Child.

Want to stay in the loop on future eventsFollow Justin on Facebook and Twitter.