London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and proof of this is the people from many different countries and ethnicities that have settled or are staying as expats in London. It could be described as a melange of ethnicities, cultures and languages. With more than 300 languages spoken in London its amazing diversity can be seen in the many festivals, music and art forms of the city.
This September if you are in London at the end of the month, you could enjoy the celebrations of one of the most popular festivals of Japanese tradition and culture – The Matsuri Festival. If you are staying at the London Premier Kensington Hogarth Road Hotel it is just short of four miles from the main celebrations at Trafalgar Square on 25 September. The festival is in its eight year and has become a prominent event in the city’s social calendar. It is a vibrant and colourful event that brings people from all walks of life that come to celebrate and partake in the festivities, along with great Japanese food, dance, arts and music among plenty more. It’s very popular with families and is a big draw with young people and especially kids. And the good news is that it is free!
The event is a charitable event that is organised by volunteers who are members of the Japan Association UK, The Nippon Club, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the UK and the Japan Society. It also receives generous assistance from the Japan Foundation, the Japanese Embassy in the UK and of course the Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London..
This year’s celebrations will feature a bevy of prominent Japanese performers, with quite many of them making their debut for the first time in London. One of the prominent fixtures this year is the ethereal Aozasa Shishi Odori (deer dancers), who will be seen for the first time in the country thanks to the efforts of the Japan Foundation. Some of the other events scheduled to be performed include the thunder-drum which will have Joji Hirota and his magical team of London Taiko drummers, ace Japanese magician Taiju Fujiyama who will put on an incredible display of traditional Japanese magic, the very popular Radio Taiso musical exercise team that will have the crowds moving in unison at Trafalgar Square among a slew of other events lined up.
Things begin early at 10 am and the action will be non-stop right till 8pm in the evening. The venue will feature two stages, the first being the main stage (where all the primary events will take place). The second stage will feature incredible displays of Japanese martial arts. There even is a very popular Nodojiman karaoke singing contest for those who want to test their vocal skills. So if you are in London on the 25th of September, drop in at Trafalgar Square and join in the revelry!