Metropolis Recommends – May edition gives you the best gigs, festivals, exhibitions and other events going on in the capital this month.
For 28 years, the annual Midori Kanshasai (literally “give thanks for green things”), has celebrated Japan’s beautiful forests and rural areas. This two day environmental event in Hibiya Park offers 100 stalls with local delicacies and fun activities suitable for all of the family. Expect wood crafting, tree climbing, and even virtual reality flying simulations, as well as the appearance of famous mascots such as Kumamon and Gunma-chan.
May 12 11am–5pm, May 13 10am–4pm. Free entry. 1-6 Hibiya Park, Chiyoda-ku. Station: Hibiya, Kasumigaseki. midorinokanshasai.com
Thai Festival 2018
One of Yoyogi Park’s most popular annual events, the Thai Festival is back this year to satisfy your pad thai and green curry cravings. The Yoyogi Park Event Square venue is packed during this festive weekend with over 100 food stalls, traditional crafts, live music and dance acts and hungry Thai cuisine enthusiasts. Enjoy the best of Thailand on a warm spring day.
May 12–13. 10am – 8pm. Free. Yoyogi Park, Events Square. 2-3 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku. Nearest station: Harajuku/Yoyogi Koen. http://www.thaifestival.jp/jp/
Known for mixing classical instrumentation and electronic music, Nils Frahm is sure to delight Tokyo audiences with his unique soundscapes. Since his critically acclaimed Felt in 2011, the German born musician/composer/record producer won over a dedicated international fanbase. Early booking is essential and tickets aren’t cheap but, with Frahm’s global reputation for musical excellence and charm onstage, it will certainly be a night to remember.
May 23. Open 6:30. Start 7:30. ¥7,500. Liquid Room, 3-16-6 Higashi, Shibuya-ku. Station: Ebisu. liquidroom.net
Ilan Volkov + Jim O’Rourke + Samuel Dunscombe + Joe Talia, Syzygys
This cracking line-up is a must for fans of indie, experimental and crossover music. Volkov is a world renowned conductor and founder of famed Tectonics Festival. O’Rourke needs little introduction to the good folk of Tokyo. A popular and enigmatic character, he’s lived in Tokyo for years in addition to playing for rock pioneers Sonic Youth and producing Wilco’s Grammy award-winning album from 2004 A Ghost is Born. DJ: Chris SSG
May 22. Open 7pm. 3500yen (plus drink). Super Deluxe, B1F 3-1-25 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku. Station: Roppongi. http://www.super-deluxe.com
Art & Exhibitions
This group show at Harajuku’s cozy THE blank GALLERY has an impressive roster of painters, illustrators and photographers. The artist to look out for, however, is Canadian Rob Judges who says his final farewell to Tokyo after 18 years. Judges is a well-kent figure in the Tokyo arts scene known for pop art with a contemporary twist. Other notable artists include photographers Gui Martinez and Nico Perez, and illustrator Sayori Wada who has collaborated with brands such as Converse and Coach and has been featured in ELLE magazine.
April 27–May 13. 1pm–7pm (Weekends and Holidays 12pm–7pm, Closed Wednesdays). Free. THE blank GALLERY, 3-21-6-3F Jungumae, Shibuya. Station: Harajuku. http://www.the-blank-gallery.com/
Le Corbusier / Chandigarh Exhibition -– Creation and Context
Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian state of Punjab, was designed by renowned Swiss-French modernist architect and urban planner Le Corbusier. Today the city stands as a full realization of the intellectual’s urban philosophy. A retrospective on the architecture and design of Chandigarh will be housed in the ARCHI-DEPOT Museum, a rare space dedicated to exhibiting architectural models.
May 26–July 16. 11:00am–7:00pm. Tuesday–Sunday. General admission ¥3,000, university student ¥2,000, high school student ¥1,000. ARCHI-DEPOT Museum. 2-6-10 Higashi Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku. Station: Shinagawa. archi-depot.com/en/
Roppongi Art Night
Truly the stuff of fever dreams, May 26 is a not-to-miss date on the calendar of every art lover in Tokyo, when Roppongi’s galleries remain open until dawn. This year’s theme is “The City Dreams of Art” and the exhibitions of the Roppongi Art Triangle (Tokyo Midtown, The National Art Center Tokyo and Roppongi Hills) will use insomniac motifs with a focus on pop sensibilities. Don’t miss the chance to watch the sunrise over the city from the top of Mori Tower. Please note: entry by persons under 18 is prohibited between the hours of 11pm and 4am.
May 26, 10am–May 27, 6pm, Free entry (fees required for certain programmes). Roppongi Hills, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo Midtown,The National Art Center and other cooperating venues in Roppongi. Nearest stations: Roppongi, Nogizaka. roppongiartnight.com
Shizuoka Street Theatre Festival “Strange Seed”
Not too far from Tokyo, Shizuoka is known primarily for the tranquility of Mt. Fuji. This month, however, the city will turn into a theater. The streets will be transformed by dance, theater and performance and spectators can be sure of an eclectic variety of performers. The big name draw of the festival is dance troupe off-Nibroll which, for around 20 years, has been entertaining Tokyoites with spectacularly visual and daring performances. Other artists include mamagoto and Masako Yasumoto with indie music darlings Tenniscoats.
May 3–6. 11am-9pm. Free. Sumpu Castle Park and several locations in central Shizuoka City. 1-1 Sunpujokoen, Aoi Ward, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture. Nearest Station: Shizuoka. http://www.strangeseed.info/
Tokyo International Art Fair
Tokyo will play host to hundreds of talented artists from all around the world when it stages the fourth Tokyo International Art Fair by Global Art Agency (The GAA Ltd) on May 25-26 at BELLESALLE Roppongi. More than 150 exhibitors from over 40 countries will be filling the venue with an incredible display of art, with more pieces than ever before, gathered under one roof, for visitors to admire and to buy in the capital’s largest artist showcase of modern and contemporary art.
May 25: 6pm–9pm. ¥1,500 (pre-booking via site). May 26: 11am–7pm, free. BELLESALLE Roppongi 7−18−18, Roppongi, Minato-ku. Station: Roppongi. http://www.tokyoartfair.com/
Thom Browne Pop-Up Shop
Arguably America’s finest fashion designer, Thom Browne has a huge fan base in Japan. He brings his genius and “1950s American insurance man look” to Shinjuku for a week-long pop-up. On offer is a special Madras capsule collection for both men and women including leather handbags, tweed suits, cashmere knit polos, lunch boxes and checkered skateboards. Browne isn’t for everyone but he trailblazed the truncated trouser and super-fitted suit so he’s hero to many fashion-forward boys and girls around the country.
April 25–May 1. 10am–8pm. Shinjuku Isetan: 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Station: Shinjuku. www.thombrowne.com/