Wed May 1 – Wed May 22, 2013 Tokyo Midtown (Grass Square)
Limber up with a few hundred other Tokyoites at these outdoor yoga sessions, held on the verdant lawns around the back of Tokyo Midtown. There’ll be morning gatherings held during Golden Week and on the second weekend of May (9.30am-11am), plus evening sessions on every Wednesday until May 22 (7.30pm-8.30pm). Attendance is limited to 500 people, which sounds like a lot to us, but it might be worth turning up early if you want to be guarantee your spot.
Until Sun May 26, 2013 Hibiya Park
Never mind that it’s a few months early: this Hibiya Park reincarnation of Munich’s notorious beer festival is one of the highlights of the spring in Tokyo. The annual bacchanal lures throngs of office workers, fräuleins andmen with impressive beards with the promise of sausages, oom-pah music and quality German beer served from hefty glass tankards (note that you’ll have to pay a refundable ¥1,000 deposit each time you order one). There’s always a strong showing by German breweries, plus local heavyweights like Sankt Gallen and Fujizakura Heights, with a few beers that aren’t available anywhere else… well, except in Munich.
We went to the October fest today and it was a blast! To see the pictures, click here.
Japan Art Association 125th Anniversary Show
Until Sun Jul 14, 2013 Ueno Royal Museum
Swoon over a selection of exquisite paintings, ornaments and kimono from the Meiji era onwards, at this 125th anniversary exhibition organised by the Japan Art Association, the Ueno Royal Museum’s sugar daddies.
Eat the Lotteria bizarre new ramen burger
Two of the world’s greatest fast foods have finally been united. On May 20, Japanese fast food chain Lotteria – whose recent culinary
atrocitiesinnovations include the nine-patty Evangelion: Q cheeseburger – will be launching what’s being billed (inaccurately, we might add) as the first ever ramen burger. They’ve even got a famous noodle shop to help them out, Shinjuku’s Menya Musashi.
Drum roll, please… The Menya Musashi Ramen Burger (¥634) comes as a lightly charred noodle patty, topped with a slice of well-stewed chashu pork and served in a bun smeared with mayonnaise. This unlikely concoction is accompanied by a side order of katsuo (bonito) flavoured soup, and – in keeping with time-honoured ramen traditions – you can get an extra ‘kaedama‘ serving of noodles (well, a noodle patty) for ¥100.
The ramen burger will be on sale until mid-June, by which point savvy consumers should have realised that it isn’t all that different from an old convenience store staple, yakisoba pan.
See the Lotteria website for more details
4th AQFF Asian Queer Film Festival
Fri May 24 – Sun Jun 2, 2013 Cinem@rt Roppongi
Filmmakers from countries including South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Cambodia are taking part in this year’s AQFF, a biennial festival that sheds light on the range of LGBT experiences in Asia. Tanwarin Sukkhapisit’s ladyboy-themed It Gets Better opens the festival, while One Night and Two Days, a trio of shorts by gay cinema pioneer Lee Song Hee-Il, closes the proceedings the following weekend. Films to look out in between include Kim Jho Kwang-soo‘s Two Weddings and a Funeral – a feelgood romcom in which the main characters happen to be gay – and Saratsawadee Wongsomphet’s Yes or No, So I Love You, which holds the distinction of being Thailand’s first film to feature lesbian protagonists (the 2012 sequel is also showing). All films screened with English subtitles.
Great French Paintings from the Clark
Until Sun May 26, 2013 Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo
It may be a three-hour schlep from New York and Boston, but that hasn’t stopped Williamstown’s Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute from becoming a magnet for academics, thanks mainly to its superlative collection of French paintings. When work began on renovations and a new Tadao Ando-designed facility in 2010, it prompted the Clark to begin its first-ever international touring exhibition of these masterpieces. Arriving in Tokyo this February, Great French Paintings from the Clark offers local audiences their first glimpse of over 70 pieces from the Institute’s collection, including 22 by Renoir.
Ginza Théâtre Cinema closing event
Until Thu May 30, 2013 Ginza Théâtre Cinema
Another Tokyo arthouse cinema takes its final bow this month, as the Ginza Théâtre closes its doors after 27 years of dedicated service. The 150-seat picture house is dusting off some old favourites in the run-up to its final day on May 31, including John Cassavetes’ Opening Night, Pedro Almodóvar’sBad Education and Talk to Her and François Ozon’s 8 Femmes. Screenings start at 8.40pm, with a different film each evening (except May 17), and there’ll also be a pair of Saturday all-night sessions dedicated to Jacques Demy and Ken Loach, respectively.
May 11: Opening Night; May 12: Bad Education (La Mala Educacion); May 13: Maelström; May 14: Talk to Her (Hable con Ella); May 15: The World;May 16: L’Enfer May 18: Belle Toujours; May 19: Honey (Bal); May 20:Another Year; May 21: Summer Hours (L’heure d’été); May 22: Pingpong;May 23: Let the Right One In; May 24: Coffee and Cigarettes; May 25:Hodejegerne; May 26: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamini si 2 Zile); May 27: La Ragazza del Lago; May 28: 36th Precinct (36 Quai des Orfèvres); May 29: The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band); May 30: 8 Femmes
May 18 (all night): Belle de Jour; The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles de Rochefort); Donkey Skin (Peau d’âne)
May 25 (all night): It’s a Free World…; The Wind That Shakes the Barley;Route Irish