What’s happening in February?

Here we are in February 2021, in the last month of winter already! Typically, this month sees the Sapporo Snow Festival takes place as well as many other smaller winter festivals. Unfortunately, due to the the current situation many events have been cancelled this year, however, back at home many online events are taking place.

This is a roundup of a handful of events happening this month, but more are always being added. Keep up with this page and I will update it as more information is available. For now, here we go:


Time/date

03/02/2021 – 11:00am

Event details

Japan House London – Japanese drinks at home: Sake Pairings and Shōchū Cocktails.

This is the third and final instalment in a series about drinks in Japan. Presented by Japan House London and Japan Sake and Shōchū Makers Association; this online session aims to showcase how sake can be paired with food, and how to make cocktails at home. Guests will include sake sommelier and Museum of Sake founder Kikuya Natsuki, as well as award-winning bar owner and bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana.

Find out more from the Japan House London event page.

You can find video recordings of parts one and two here:

03/02/2021 – 6:30pm

Japan Society Film Club – The Mourning Forest directed by Naomi Kawase.

The Japan Society film club often holds informal discussion evenings on different Japanese films each month. This month they are looking at The Mourning Forest directed by Naomi Kawase. This is a great chance to have a relaxed discussion with other Japanese film lovers and potential experts in the industry.

Find more details about the event at the Japan Society Film Club event page.

08/02/2021 – 7:00pm

Japan Society Book Club – Secret Rendezvous by Kobo Abe.

Apart from hosting a film club every month, they also host a book club every month too. This month they are discussing Secret Rendezvous by Kobo Abe. Taking part in the book club is a great way to get together with other book lovers and get started learning about Japanese novelists.

Find more details about the event at the Japan Society Film Club event page.

13/02/2021 – 6:00pm

Hyper JapanValentine special “ROSE” Maki Sushi Rolls Online Cooking Workshop.

Presented by Hyper Japan and Sozai Cooking School; this event is the chance to make some themed Maki Sushi Rolls for valentines day. Over the course of two hours — apart from making Sushi — it could be a good chance to learn more about the history of Sushi altogether.

Find out more about the event at the Hyper Japan event page.

14/02/2021 – 2:00pm

Hyper Japan – Valentine’s Day special baking class: Japanese bread and icing decoration.

Hyper Japan seems to be going all-out on the valentines cooking this year. Now is your chance to make some Japanese bread and decorate them. This time with the help from Motoko from Happy Sky Bakery, a multi award winning Japanese Bakery in London and Yuta from IKIGAI Biscuit London, an artisan baker & cookie icing decoration master.

Find out more about the event at the Hyper Japan event page.

19/02/2021 until 10/03/2021

The Japan Foundation – Touring Film Programme.

The Japan foundation touring film programme is the largest UK festival dedicated to Japanese cinema. This year the event is going online and bringing the experience into your home. Every year the programme focuses on a theme and curates a list of Japanese movies based on that idea. This year the theme is This is My Place and there are 18 films dedicated to exploring this. This is a fantastic opportunity to watch some Japanese films which would normally be difficult to access all for free. Sign up starts from the 9th of Feb.

Find out more about the event at the JPF-Film website.

If you are interested in finding ways to watch more Japanese films see: Best ways of watching Japanese live-action films.

23/02/2021 – 11:00am

Japan House London – Mashiko: The New Generation of Contemporary Ceramic Artists.

Towards the end of the month, Japan House London is hosting the second instalment of its Mashiko pottery session. Mashiko is a town famous for its ceramics and this time around the online event is focusing on more modern developments of the Mashiko pottery craft, as well as the younger artists and potters at the heart of it. Guests will include Matsuzaki Yuko, curator at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Arts, and Takeshita Shikamaru, who established his own pottery kiln and ceramics studio in Mashiko.

Find out more from the Japan House London event page.

You can find video recordings of part one here.


Important dates in Japan

Date

03/02/2021

Event/Occasion

Setsubun

Setsubun is usually celebrated on the 3rd of February and is said to be the day before the beginning of Spring according to the old Japanese calendar. This year however it is falling on the 2nd of February for the first time in over 100 years. On this day, it is tradition to throw roasted soybeans out of the front door of your home whilst saying “Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi” which literally means devils outside, blessings inside.

It is seen in a similar way to the start of a new year, casting out demons or bad omens from the previous year and letting good fortunes inside the home. The second part to this ritual would be to eat the number of beans corresponding to your age. Alongside this similar rituals are held at shrines all throughout Japan.

11/02/2021

National Foundation Day

National Foundation Day is a national holiday and it celebrates the foundation of Japan and the ascension of the first emperor Jimmu. In legend, emperor Jimmu ascended the throne on the 11th of February 660BC. Although it is a national holiday, not as many events and festivals take place compared to other celebrated days of the year. Small scale events around Tokyo and the imperial palace seem common, but gatherings in Nara occur due to the supposed location of Jimmu’s tomb.

23/02/2021

Emperors Birthday

The emperors birthday is another national holiday in Japan. Emperor Naruhito is the current emperor of Japan after ascending the throne on the 1st of May 2019 and ushering in the Reiwa era.


This is not an exhaustive list of everything that is happening this month. It does however, only include events that are not sold out or have not reached a sign-up deadline.

There is definitely a cross-section of topics and things to participate in this month, and hopefully something on the list appeals.

Nathan