From March 25 to 27, the central market of Rome will be overwhelmed with colors, scents and distant stories: three days dedicated to Japanese culture in all its nuances with the Japanese event of Akira Yoshida.
Konnichiwa, Mercato is the name of the event which, starting from food, aims to tell a story about a country that boasts a wide variety of traditions and unprecedented rituals: the three days will be an opportunity to discover Japanese culture in through its symbols, but also go beyond the surface, to discover curiosities and stories.
“My goal is to make Japan more authentic, in Italy and in Europe”, at declared Akira Yoshidapresent at the Central Market in Rome with the Il ramen ei gyōza shop, which strongly wanted to organize the event. “I like to think that I am a link between the culture of Bel Paese and that of the Rising Sun. – he added – and this event in synergy with Central Market is a great opportunity to show the history, the traditions, the thousand facets of modern Japan between gastronomy, crafts and color”.
The three days dedicated to Japanese culture will therefore be a market inside the Market, to discover the most authentic Japan through craft productions, exhibitions, workshops and many surprises for all Japan Lovers. Among the exhibitors will be illustrations and manga, lamps, Japanese ceramics, colorful kimonos and sake tastings. Kimonos will be a prized item in the market with the precious selection of Gloria Gobbi di Kimono, Haori, Obi, Yukata, Kinchaku all handcrafted garments, individually selected in Japan and characterized by an elegance and refinement that emanates from passing fashions but they are placed far beyond what is timeless.
Discovering Wagyū meat
At the market, it will be possible to taste Wagyū meat, a category of Japanese beef, which includes many types of meat, which in turn come from animals raised in different regions of the country. At the market, it will be possible to taste a menu based on Wagyū sushi, Gyūdon, Wagyū kakuni, Wagyū roll, dorayaki and daifuku, to be accompanied by Japanese tea or sake.
There is also room for sake, a must if we talk about Japanese culture. At the Marché, the undisputed protagonist of this sector will be Shibata-ya Italy, the Italian branch of the Tokyo-based company founded more than 80 years ago with the aim of promoting the best Japanese sake. At the Market on Saturday and Sunday, it will be possible to taste sake and Wagyū (cost €25) or discover it in a cocktail version at aperitif time, or combined with tea and sweets .
“Konnichiwa, market! This will be an opportunity to participate in a series of workshops to concretely approach Japanese culture. It will be possible to follow the one dedicated to Dorayaki (cost of €10), traditional sweets similar to pancakes and now also known in the West thanks to Doraemon. Japanese pastry chef Mariko will reveal all the secrets to preparing dorayaki to perfection. Among the most popular dishes in Japan is the ramen, symbol of the street food of the Rising Sun: if you want to learn how to prepare it in the most correct way and according to tradition, you will discover all the secrets of the preparation in a dedicated workshop (cost €25) in the company of a great teacher: who better than Akira Yoshida, artisan at the Il ramen ei gyōza shop, could reveal the secrets of a perfect ramen? There will also be room for the little ones, with in particular the children’s workshop dedicated to the preparation of onigiri (cost of 10€), the rice balls with nori seaweed outside, as well as very popular, are very popular with Japanese children and are often part of their menu during their lunch break at school. Akira Yoshida teaches young participants how to prepare onigiri and eat them Japanese style.
Besides food, one of the most popular elements of Japanese culture is ikebana, the art of arranging flowers in vases, creating surprising but above all never casual and meaningful compositions. Flowers, as well as other elements such as branches, mosses, stones and bark, can carry many meanings with them, as Professor Jey Ghevara explains in his workshop (cost €20) in which he will illustrate the simplest preparations to approach this practice.
Japanese art has a thousand facets and one of them is the hanami (literally “to admire the flowers”), an age-old tradition that will be told to you by the illustrator Eva Villa, with a journey between delicate colors, lines which touch on poetry, for a lesson focused on cherry trees and watercolors (cost €30).
Tea occupies an important place in the daily life of the Japanese, has a strong cultural connotation and is at the center of very important rituals, including the famous tea ceremony. This ritual follows precise rules and gestures to be made before tasting the drink, nothing is left to chance, not even the use of tools for the preparation and consumption of tea, to be discovered in a workshop (cost of 20€) to get closer to this significant practice.
The three days will also be an opportunity to tell about Japan and its culture through the direct accounts of those who have experienced it. The conference “I want to work in Japan” is the direct testimony of those who have realized the dream of going to live and work in Japan, with all the difficulties that this entails and some precious advice for those who want to undertake the same path. National Geographic photographers Davide Lena and Akira Yoshida wonder how Japan is seen through Western eyes. The conference will also include Italians living in Japan, ready to give their point of view. During the conference there will also be a screening of photos by Davide Lena, who in 2011 won the first edition of the National Geographic travel photography competition with a report on the city of Tokyo. Another meeting, still open to the public, will focus on contemporary Japanese philosophy with Daniela Travaglini, translator and author and representative of the Buddhist community in Rome. All interviews are free.
The other meetings between karaoke, martial arts and DIY
Karaoke boomed between the 60s and 70s but continues to be hugely popular today…even at the market. In Japan, a lot of importance is given to martial arts, such as karate. This method of combat has very precise regulations, it will be possible to attend an exhibition highlighting all the elegance of these techniques.
“Konnichiwa, market! » it will also be an opportunity to discover the taiko, the ancient and suggestive Japanese drums. Their history has very distant origins and is imbued with many meanings. Their success has endured over time, not only for the quality of the sound but also for the know-how and the fact that they are appreciated by musicians and percussionists all over the world.