What’s happening in March?
Welcome to the Japanese event round-up of March 2021! March is an especially important month in the Japanese calendar. Many events that take place herald and celebrate the arrival of spring, and none more so than the celebration of Hanami; the Cherry Blossom Viewing Season. The other major event is the arrival of the second Sumo tournament or Haru Basho (Spring wrestling tournament).
Back home, many more online events and webinars are taking place as we start to get fully into 2021. Here is a just a curated selection of what to look forward to in March; all happening and accessible in the UK. Lets take a look!
02/03/2021 – 6:00pm
Yakisoba cooking class – Sozai Cooking School
Want to learn some Japanese cooking without it always involving sushi? Sozai cooking school is hosting an hour-long online cooking course showing us how to make delicious Yakisoba.
This will include how to make a Yakisoba sauce, and how to cut and stir-fry the ingredients; all of which are fairly simple to acquire.
Check out the event page on Sozai Cooking School for more information.
13/03/2021 – 10:00am
Booking required by the 12th March!
Japanese ink painting workshop – Hyper Japan
Coinciding with the Hanami season, this Sumi-e or ink painting workshop will apparently see you create your own cherry blossom style pictures. While covering a varying amount of techniques, this workshop will get you started with this Japanese art form.
Check out the event page on Hyper Japan for more information
14/03/2021 – 28/03/2021
Haru Basho Sumo Grand Tournament
Sumo, being the national sport of Japan, is a huge event. Normally the Haru Basho (spring wrestling tournament) is held in Osaka; this year however, it’s being held again in Tokyo.
Full coverage in the UK is very hard to come by, however, NHK world Japan always has highlights where you can watch every bout that takes place (as they are usually pretty quick)
Mid/late march – early/mid April
Hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing)
Hanami is the quintessential representation of Spring, and one of the most iconic depictions of Japan to the international community. Sakura also known as cherry blossom trees, have been donated by Japan and cultivated in the UK for many years.
Cherry Blossoms can be seen in vast swathes of the UK including: London, Kent, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Devon, Derbyshire, as well as many of the gardens that I’ve listed near the bottom of my Deciphering Japanese Garden post.
20/03/2021 – 11:00am
Booking required by 3rd!
Katazome (stencil Dying) workshop – Japan Society
Along with The Japan Society’s usually film and book club, this month they have also organised a traditional printing and dying workshop.
This kind of process would often be used to produce fabric for Kimonos; even here, authentic Japanese materials are going to be used to create your own design.
Check out The Japan Society’s event page for more information.
Japan: water exhibition – Groundwork Gallery Kings Lynn
This event is designed to teach us the significance of water in Japan as well as modern and historical events that have had an impact upon it. All of this is shared through paintings, sculptures, photos and videos.
This exhibition has changed it’s originally opening day to the 24th of March for a virtual experience. The original date of the 5th of May is still in place but for a public opening.
Check out the event page at the Groundwork Gallery for more information.
28/03/2021 – 2:00pm
Booking required before the 16th of March!
Japanese Miso making workshop – Hyper Japan
Another cooking based event, but this time very different in the form of Miso Making from hyper Japan.
This is a free workshop that allows you make Japan’s most famous condiment paste that can be used to enhance the flavours of many other foods — Japanese or not. This could be a great introduction to new taste to use on a regular basis.
Check out the event page on Hyper Japan for more information.
31/03/2021 – 2:00pm
Women in Classical Japanese Literature webinar – Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
This last event in March is a more discussion based webinar but could prove to be a incredibly interesting.
It will take a look at the hand women had in Japanese Literature, including one of the most famous stories in Japan: The Tale of Genji, which was written over 1000 years ago.
Check out the event page on the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation site for more information.
Important occasions and dates in Japan
1/03/2021 – 14/03/2021
Omizutori is a Buddhist festival that heralds the arrival of Spring.
It entails a number of torches that are spread around Nigatsudo Hall in Nara. Throughout the month, each night a number of torches are lit, with the number increasing towards the end of the month. Burning embers that float down to the crowd from their position up high, is said to bestow them with a safe year.
Hina Matsuri (Dolls festival)
Hina Matsuri is a celebration for girls in Japan. It involves displaying expensive dolls — mainly in the home — on a tiered platform, and represents members of an imperial court all the way to the top to an empress or emperor.
The idea of the day focuses around wishing good health and happiness to daughters and girls in general. The dolls themselves are said to be able to carry off bad luck and sin, and some are often sent down a river to achieve that.
Held exactly one month after Valentines Day, in Japan White Day is it’s counterpart.
Typically speaking, on Valentines Day women give gifts (mostly chocolate) to the men, and on White Day men reciprocate the gift giving back to the women. The day originated in Japan but has now spread to other Asian countries.
This is once again 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.
I encourage you to follow me on twitter where I try and get hold and share the latest events and activities as they come available.