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Jazz, handicrafts, and food: The annual Akasaka Community Festival

Community festivals do not always turn out great, but if there’s jazz in the schedule, I’m definitely in. I’m not sure why, but many Japanese festivals are all about food and drinks. So, it is nice to listen to music or watch some dancing at the festival. Actually, Akasaka Civic Center usually has great jazz events, so if you have a chance to visit Akasaka Community Festival in November, do not hesitate!

As soon as I entered Akasaka Civic Center on the second day of the festival, a lot of documents and a can of green tea was handed over to me by a smiling old Japanese lady.

It was a sunny Sunday, and of course I didn’t arrive until early afternoon. That’s why I missed the performance of Jazz Crazy Orchestra and their version of “Georgia on my mind”. But the next performance was starting soon, so I sat back and enjoyed the music. Akasaka Swing Orchestra took me to the world of Ella Fitzgerald (“How high is the moon”), George Gershwin (“Summertime”), Duke Ellington (“Take the A train”), and even the Beatles (“Here, there, and everywhere”).Akasaka Community Festival

Among other big bands were: Minato Jazz 7th, Swing Bees Jazz Orchestra, Harbor Light Orchestra, Port Nine Jazz Orchestra, Minato Jazz Club, Bay Cruise Orchestra featuring Suzuyo Miyamoto, and Akasaka Joyful Choir. Akasaka Community Festival

At 4 pm a musical workshop was held. Between the performances at Akasaka Community Festival there was some time to explore the exhibitions and flee market. There were representatives from Togo (West Africa), Syria and Uzbekistan with some dishes, national drinks and snacks.Akasaka Community Festival

Syrian people were glad to tell foreigners and the Japanese about their country, and guys from Togo played some traditional music to attract customers to their food and ginger drink.Akasaka Community FestivalNaturally, many Japanese arts (tea ceremony, calligraphy) and crafts (wooden dolls, chopstick rests and so on) were represented in the best possible way.Akasaka Community Festival


Akasaka Community Festival (2015/11/14 – 11/15)

Address: 4-18-13 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Distance to Airport: 21 km from Haneda Airport
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
Tel: 03-5413-2711
Access 1: 10 min. walk from Akasaka-Mitsuke Station, Exit A
Access 2: 10 min. walk from Aoyama-Itchome Station, Exit 4
Official website (only in Japanese): http://www.akasaka-civiccenter.jp

Article by Olga Kaneda

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