Not everyone can go to Japan this winter break (but in case you can, see our many, exciting destination guides). Fear not, though. There are plenty of slices of Japan here in Singapore in the coming weeks and months, from film screenings to Murakami extravaganzas to cuteness overloads. Here’s the run-down.
1. Hello Kitty Go Around
Your cute loving friends would probably appreciate the Hello Kitty Go Around, a temporary theme park on Sentosa featuring an incredibly pink (don’t say we didn’t warn you) merry go round, a ferris wheel and a place to shop for tons of memorabilia. Until Nov 10
2. Kafka on the Shore
Someone had the brilliant idea of taking Japan’s most famous’s authors most beloved novel and turning it into a stage play with an all-Japanese cast. Hooray! If you don’t know what the plot is about, the dream-like adventrues involves a 15-year old boy running away from home with his imaginary friend, while an old man travels to find a magic stone. Oct 30-Nov 1
3. Chill with Japanese writers at the SWF
There are some pretty cool writers to check out at SWF‘s New Japan Rising: Voices from the Edge event; writers Mieko Kawakami and Mina Ishikawa talk about The Japaneseness of Things in a very esoteric-sounding talk. Oh and Murakami’s translators and critics will also do a panel discussion called Unravelling Haruki Murakami. Oct 31 and Nov 1, $20 or with a Festival Pass
4. Drool all over the Oishii Japan showcast
Now in its fouth edition, ASEAN’s largest dedicated Japanese F&B showcase has almost 500 products and 300 exhibitors. Stuff your face with seasonal produce and check out some of the techn that helps make some of your favorite foods. Oct 22-24
5. Watch Japanese films at the SGIFF
The line-up at SGIFF has been announced, and there are Japanese titles like Happy Hour, which explores how people deal with their mid-life crises, and Ark in the Mirage, in which gangsters kidnap people to extort their money. Dec 3 and Nov 28 respectively
6. Drink Japanese whiskey
The Auld Alliance, La Maison du Whisky and Bincho are some of the go-to places for Japanese whisky. Ask the staff to pick out select bottles at The Auld Alliance, while the second option has brands like Nikka and Suntory (as well as tipple from distilleries like Karuizawa and Chichibu, too). The last option probably has the widest selection, so knock yourself out.
7. Eat at omakase restaurants
Apart from flying to Japan to eat, there’s Aoki by the Les Amis group, Shinzo, whose chef, Lawrence Chia, trained under Yoshio Nogawa. There are only 15 seats at the former, while the chef from Shinzo gets fresh fish from the famed Tsujiki Fish Market. There’s also Yoyogi, but like Aoki, you have to reserve at least two days in advance for seats.
8. Go to Anime Festival Asia 2015
The yearly anime festival has lots of cosplay, merch and fun activities. The main event, though, is the Anisong concert that features singers who will belt out the soundtracks of popular animes. Some names include Yumiri Hanamori and Maaya Uchia. Nov 27-29, $13 for entry