What is the Japan Cultural Expo?

The Japan Cultural Expo in South Africa takes place in a mall’s shopping courts and walkways. The expo sets up displays of traditional things from Japan. As well as offering displays of traditional Japanese activities like Kendo, Ikebana and Bonsai.

  • Where: Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria, South Africa
  • When: Friday 6th / Saturday 7th / Sunday 8th March 2020
  • Cost: Free! (unless you count parking)

I first went to the expo last year and had a good time overall. Like last year the Embassy of Japan (the hosts of the expo) have put together a full schedule to keep you busy the whole weekend.

Japanese Cultural Expo 2020 schedule

Quick terminology:

  • Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
  • Judo, a martial art
  • Kendo a traditional Japanese martial art using bamboo swords and protective armour.
  • Kyūdō is the Japanese martial art of archery. 
  • Karate, martial arts under the influence of Chinese Kung Fu
  • Koto is a Japanese stringed musical instrument
  • Odori dance is a Japanese traditional dance to the music played live on a Koto.  
  • Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan teaches traditional weapons martial arts.
  • Nakamura Ryu battodo is a form of Japanese sword martial arts

All of the displays can easily be seen and enjoyed in a few hours on a single day.

The demonstrations, however, do not really repeat over multiple days. Saturday offers the most with demonstration variety. Yet each day offers its own unique demonstration which makes going to the mall each day worthwhile.

Friday offers Haiku, Saturday a full array of demonstrations and Sunday the focus on weapons and swords.

Unlike last year, there is only one movie being screened, which while somewhat sad, I fully support the move. Trying to see all of the movies that were on offer last year really cuts away from the time to spend watching and in some cases interacting with the live demos. This year they are screening Ride your Wave.

What will I be doing at the  Japan Cultural Expo?

I am looking forward to seeing what is different in comparison to last year although I know I will probably only be able to make one of the three days.

I am a tad annoyed that since I wish to attend the movie screening of Ride Your Wave, I will probably either be missing the Cosplay demonstration or the Odori Dance. Both of which I really want to see. However, I know that there is no way I shall be missing the movie screening. From previous experience and my passion regarding anime, I know that it simply can not be missed. I am hoping that like last year, the screening will be free.

I am also looking forward to the cosplayers that will be attending, knowing that most of them will be characters from anime or Japanese games. I am really excited and can’t wait to grab my tripod and take it with me to its first event. I want to take photos of every exhibit, the cosplayers and grab as much footage of the demonstrations that I can.

I am also hoping to do quick cosplay interviews and maybe interview one of the organisers. Overall, like last year, I plan to revel in the experience.

Have you ever gone to a cultural expo?


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