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JFM in 2013

Akemashite omedetou!

2013 has been an interesting and busy year for JF Manila.  Aside from the yearly events such as Nihongo Fiesta and Philippines-Japan Friendship Month, JFM also presented events to celebrate the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

Here are the some of the events in 2013:

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“Tohoku: Through the Eyes of Japanese Photographers” Exhibit held last January 30 to March 17, 2013 at the National Museum of the Philippines.

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“Uchusentai NOIZ Concert” held last February 23, 2013 at the SM City North EDSA Sky Dome during the Nihongo Fiesta 2013.

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“Time of Mime 2” featuring Iimuro Naoki held at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater) last February 27 and 28, 2013.

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Pantomime Workshop with Mr. Iimuro at the Tanghalang Huseng Batute (CCP Studio Theater) last March 1, 2013.

Oshaberi Salon: Let's make "Nihongo Friends Book" (May 3, 2013)

Oshaberi Salon: Let’s make “Nihongo Friends Book” (May 3, 2013)

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Filipino dancer, Mia Cabalfin during the “Eiga Sai 2013” Opening Ceremony held at The Atrium, Shangri-La Plaza Mall last July 3, 2013.

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“unit asia Concert with Noel Cabangon” at the Music Museum last July 9, 2013.

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“Ukiyo-e: Art and Tradition” Exhibit Opening at the Museo Pambata last July 17, 2013.

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Printmaking Workshop for Kids by the Printmakers Association of the Philippines (PAP) last August 3, 2013 at the Museo Pambata.

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“Iza Kaeru! Caravan” held in Marikina City from August 2 to 3, 2013.

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“Restaurant of Many Orders” by the Hiroshi Koike Bridge Project held last October 16, 2013 at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (CCP Little Theater).

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“Media/ Art Kitchen: Sensorium” Exhibit held at the Ayala Museum from November 7 to 24, 2013 featuring works such as “Mapping” by Fairuz Sulaiman (Malaysia).

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“Biya” by Manny Montelibano (Philippines)

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WSK.FM Radio at the Green Papaya Art Projects.

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Performance by Tetsuya Umeda in 413 Escolta.

Oshaberi Salon: Making your own Nihongo Christmas Card (November 22, 2013)

Oshaberi Salon: Let’s make “Nihongo Christmas Card” (November 22, 2013)

It has been a memorable year for JFM with all the new projects and collaborations.  Looking forward to more exciting events in 2014.

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The Power of Art

“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing” ~Pablo Picasso

It was a little after 9:00 am when the kids started to arrive at the museum.  The kids were Grade 4 students from two Manila public elementary schools chosen by Museo Pambata for the workshop.  They entered the hall in a straight line; one group came dressed in their school uniforms while the other group in jeans and t-shirts.  There was an air of excitement and anticipation as each participant was given an apron to wear.

As the facilitators from the Philippine Association of Printmakers (PAP) started explaining the printmaking workshop to the kids, I could already feel the room start to buzz with energy and a little apprehension.  I have a feeling this was probably their first art workshop.

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Mr. Angelo Magno of PAP helping the kids in their first exercise.

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Ms. Ambie Abano of PAP showing the kids the finished artwork.

The first project started a little slow.  It took awhile for some of the kids to make their design. I guess they were a little afraid to make mistakes or were afraid that their designs were not good enough.  But once they saw their design inked, transferred to paper and water colored, there was no stopping the kids from producing artwork after artwork.  All the kids were so focused on their work that the only time they leave their table was when they needed more paper.

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The kids at work.

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Putting water color on their prints.

By the time the workshop finished at 12:30 pm, we had 4 walls full of artworks made by the kids.

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Our first wall of artworks.

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Wall of artworks.

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It has been 2 weeks since the workshop and it still makes me smile whenever I remember the look on their faces once they finished their works; how their eyes lighted up when their design was transferred from the acrylic sheet to the paper.  I hope one or two of these kids be given the opportunity to pursue arts in the future.  I hope I am still around to see their works displayed in galleries and museums.  I hope that will continue to have art in their lives.

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John Paul showing off one of his works.

The Printmaking Workshop by the PAP is the educational component of the exhibition, Ukiyo: Art and Tradition held last July 17 to August 4, 2013 at the Karapatan Hall of the Museo Pambata.  The exhibition was presented by the Japan Foundation, Manila in cooperation with Museo Pambata, Philippine Association of Printmakers and the Embassy of Japan.   The exhibition and workshop was part of the celebration of the Philippines – Japan Friendship Month and the 40th Year of ASEAN – Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

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The organizers, facilitators and participants of the Printmaking Workshop.

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Quick lessons in J-Rock and Uchusentai

My knowledge of J-Rock is close to zero.  And even though the JF Manila Library has quite a selection of J-Rock and J-Pop music, my exposure to Japanese music is mostly to traditional music or contemporary music using traditional instruments (i.e. taiko, shamisen and koto).  When news came about that our office will going J-Rock this Nihongo Fiesta, I knew I had a lot of catching up to do (I didn’t know J-Rock and I clearly have no idea who Uchusentai: NOIZ was or what visual kei rock group looks like).  Nihongo Fiesta (fiesta is a Spanish word for feast or party) is one of JF Manila’s yearly events that attract thousands of Filipinos of all ages to celebrate and participate in a weekend of Japanese language and art through activities such as speech contests, quiz bees and concerts. Since the 2013 Nihongo Fiesta was going to highlight the concert of Uchusentai, our office secretary was kind enough to email me the link to the group’s video “Narda” to educate me with the group’s music and over-all look.

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Lesson 1:  The Look

At first glance, the group reminded me of the American rock band KISS because of the make-up and the flamboyant outfits.  Apparently this is what the Japanese movement “visual kei” is:  the use of make-up, elaborate hairstyles  and flamboyant costumes.  And  Uchusentai is one the popular visual kei bands of Japan.

 Lesson 2:  The Music

The first video of NOIZ that I saw was their video the Filipino rock song “Narda”.  I was surprised, their version was pretty good.  No wonder it became a big hit with the Filipinos.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lde76arEmGA.  Their music style is not what I expected; I thought I would hear be a lot of screaming/noise (in Japanese of course) but  their music is rather pleasant.  Not the sound I was imaging based on their look.

With only a few days to go before the Uchusentai: NOIZ concert, our office is finalizing all the logistical requirements for the event.  I am have been updating my checklist little by little at the same time listening to their music and watching their videos from last year’s “Best of Anime” to better prepare myself for the concert.   Now that I have an idea on what they look like and what they sound, I think I am ready for the concert.  The only thing I need to do now is prepare for the big crowd… that I think will be Lesson 3: The Crowd.

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2013 Nihongo Fiesta goes J-Rock with Uchusentai: NOIZ!

Gear up this February as the 2013 Nihongo Fiesta goes rock with the Japanese band Uchusentai: NOIZ.   Nihongo Fiesta is the yearly event of the Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) that showcases Japanese language, arts and culture through events like the speech contest, quiz bee and musical concerts.

This year, the fiesta presents three (3) events that will surely excite the otakus and the general public alike:  the 40th Nihongo Speech Contest, 5th Quiz Bee – Nihongo for High School Students and the much awaited rock concert of Uchusentai: NOIZ.

 Uchusentai: NOIZ is a visual kei rock band from Japan. Formed in 1999, the group is composed of Angel Taka, Masato, Kyo, Kotaro and Yamato.  They are known for their energetic music, wild cosplay-like outfits and live shows full of energy and on stage antics.  The free concert will be held on February 23 (Saturday), 7:00 pm at the SM City North EDSA Skydome.

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The 40th Nihongo Speech Contest gathers Filipino students and professionals from all over the country to prove their excellence in the Japanese language through speech.  An all-expense paid week-long study tour in Japan awaits the Champion and the Outstanding Performance Awardee.  It will be on February 23 (Saturday) at 10:00 am.  The 5th Quiz Bee – Nihongo for High School Students brings together high schools from Metro Manila as well as other regions to best each other in a game of knowledge of Japanese language and culture.  The quiz bee will be held on the same day from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  Both events will be held at The Block Cinema 1 at the SM City North EDSA in Quezon City. 

The 2013 Nihongo Fiesta is part of the celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.  All events are open to the public. For more details and inquiries, please contact the Japan Foundation, Manila at (02) 811-6155 to 58; email@jfmo.org.ph  or visit www.jfmo.org.ph . The 2013 Nihongo Fiesta is made possible with the support of the SM City North EDSA, the Embassy of Japan, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, Inc. (JCCIPI), The Japanese Association Manila (JAMI), Japan Overseas Enterprises Association (JOEA), Association of Filipino Nihongo Teachers (AFINITE), Animax, Japan Airlines, UNIQLO, Canon Marketing (Philippines) and Yoshinoya.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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The Friendship Month

July is probably one of our busiest months in JFM.  Besides the day to day activities, the office was also busy with the events for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month.  One of the most anticipated events during July is the Eiga Sai (Japanese Film Festival). This year’s opening film was “Akunin” (Villain).  Choosing the opening film for this year’s film festival became a big challenge for the office; “Departures” last year was such a huge success that we knew we had to have an equally powerful film to open the festival.  And we weren’t wrong; the film was well applauded and was the perfect opening for the month-long celebration.

The next event in our Friendship Month calendar was the traveling exhibit, Sharaku Interpreted by Japan’s Contemporary Artists. The exhibit was a fascinating mixture of Sharaku inspired original works from the Japanese contemporary artists and the Sharaku reproductions by the Adachi Institute of Woodcut Prints. The audience was not only treated to works that have fascinated a lot of people from other countries but they also got the chance to do some art through Tsuyoshi Ozawa’s “Sharaku Work”.  The audience was provided with postcards with drawings made by the audience from other countries and a blank postcard; they were then asked to draw the face of their favorite person.  These postcards were then placed inside envelops which will be brought to the next country that the exhibit will visit.  It was quite amusing to see the guests concentrate on doing their drawings and seeing the look of joy (or is it misery) at their finished masterpieces.

H.E. Amb. Urabe and other guests during the Sharaku Exhibit Opening at the Ayala Museum (9 July)

Guests drawing their favorite persons

Another event that we had last July was the Aki & Kuniko Concerts and Workshops.  We were very lucky to have the acoustic duo back in Manila not just to perform and wow the Filipino audience with their exquisite music but to also share their craft, experience and love for music through their workshops.  The duo was able to give the students a peek at how they were able to combine koto and guitar to create music that is distinctively Aki & Kuniko.  After 3 cities, 5 concerts, 2 workshops and endless hours of traveling (and waiting in airports), the project was indeed exhausting but like all events, the welcome and applause given to our artists, the interest that the students showed during the workshops and the feedback that we received after and makes all the work (and traveling) worth it.

Students of the UP College of Music during the Aki & Kuniko Workshop (13 July)

Kuniko san with koto students Marvin and Lian

Aki & Kuniko Concert in Conspiracy Garden Cafe (14 July)

Workshop at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City (17 July)

Aki & Kuniko Concert in Jazz n’ bluz, Cebu City (20 July)

 

 

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A Celebration of Japanese Films, Art, Music and Friendship

The Japan Foundation, Manila together with the Embassy of Japan invites everyone this July to a month-long feast of Japanese art and culture as it celebrates the 2012 Philippines-Japan Friendship Month.

To jump-start the celebration is the highly-anticipated Japanese film festival, Eiga Sai 2012 which officially opens on July 5 at the Shang Cineplex, Shangri-La Plaza Mall inMandaluyongCity with the critically acclaimed film “Villain”.  Eiga Sai will be held at the Shangri-La Plaza Mall from July 5 to 15;   Gaisano South Citi Mall in Davao City from July 20 to 22; Cinema 4, Ayala Center Cebu from August 7 to 12 and at the Cine Adarna of the UP Film Institute in Quezon City from August 15 to 21, 2012.

The traveling exhibit Sharaku Interpreted by Japan’s Contemporary Artists, takes as its theme Toshusai Sharaku, known throughout Japan and the world for his bust portraits of kabuki actors, and presents posters, paintings and three dimensional works by today’s artists as they freely interpret this foremost master of the ukiyo-e print.  The exhibition will feature 28 reproductions of Sharaku bust portraits, 28 posters by graphic artists and 23 paintings, sculptures, ceramic and woodblock prints by contemporary artists and will be on view from July 10 to September 16, 2012 at the Ground Floor of the Ayala Museum in Makati City.

The friendship month also welcomes the return of the Japanese acoustic duo, Aki & Kuniko for a series of concerts.  The concerts will be held on 13 July (Friday), 6:30 p.m. at the Abelardo Hall at the UP College of Music, Diliman, Quezon City; 14 July (Saturday), 7:00 p.m. at the Conspiracy Garden Café in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City; 16 July (Thursday), 6:00 p.m. at the University of the Cordilleras Theater in Baguio City; 20 July (Friday), 8:45 p.m. at the Jazz n’ bluz Bar and Restaurant in Cebu City; and, on 21 July (Saturday), 4:00 p.m. at the Activity Center, Ayala Center in Cebu.

Other events for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month are:  the 2012 JPOP Anime Singing Contest and Mini-Cosplay Contest, Le Velvets Concert and the Anime Film Showing which will all be held at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) on July 21-22, 2012.   All events are open to the public free of charge.  For inquiries and details, please contact the JFM through telephone numbers (+632) 811-6155 to 58 or visit the website at www.jfmo.org.ph

Philippines-Japan Friendship Month 2012

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July 4, 2012 · 8:24 am

Another night of exquisite music with Aki & Kuniko

The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM), in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan, UP College of Music, University of the Cordilleras, Jazz n’ bluz Bar and Restaurant and Ayala Center Cebu is pleased to announce the return of one of Japan’s best guitar and koto duo, Aki & Kuniko this July for a series of shows to celebrate the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month.

Formed in 2002, Aki & Kuniko has come to be known for its originality and musical sophistication. The music produced by Hiroaki Sasaki and Kuniko Obina has had unmatched impact, bringing the listener into an extraordinary world.  The two string instruments play against each other furiously in one moment, and change to delicate heartrending murmurs in the next.  Their melody reminds us of what modern man has begun to forget.

The Aki & Kuniko concerts will be held on 13 July (Friday), 6:30 p.m. at the Abelardo Hall at the UP College of Music, Diliman, Quezon City; 14 July (Saturday), 9:00 p.m. at the Conspiracy Garden Café in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City; 16 July (Thursday), 6:00 p.m. at the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City; 20 July (Friday), 8:45 p.m. at the Jazz n’ bluz Bar and Restaurant in Cebu City; and, on 21 July (Saturday), 4:00 p.m. at the Ayala Center in Cebu.

Other events for the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month are:  2012 Eiga Sai, Japanese Film Festival which will be held from July 5 until August 21 in Manila, Davao and Cebu; the exhibit Sharaku Interpreted by Japan’s Contemporary Artist, a traveling exhibit featuring works of contemporary artists inspired by Toshusai Sharaku, the foremost master of ukiyo-e prints and reproductions of Sharaku bust portraits which will be on view at the Ground Floor of the Ayala Museum in Makati from July 10 to September 9, 2012; the 2012 JPOP Anime Singing Contest and Mini-Cosplay Contest, Le Velvets Concert and the Anime Film Showing which will all be held at the SM Mall of Asia on July 21-22, 2012.   All events are open to the public free of charge.  For inquiries and details, please contact the JFM through telephone numbers (+632) 811-6155 to 58 or visit the website at www.jfmo.org.ph .

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