Enjoy sushi, watch Japanese dancers shimmy to Tamma Tamma Again at this festival in Mumbai

Updated: Nov 22, 2017, 12:04 IST | Shraddha Uchil

Try sushi, learn a martial art, and watch Japanese dancers shimmy to Tamma Tamma Again at a festival that celebrates the Land of the Rising Sun and its connection to India

This weekend, a Lower Parel mall will play host to the sixth edition of the Cool Japan Festival, bringing with it plenty of delights from the Far East. "The aim of the festival is to familiarise Indians with Japan and its culture, which we have been doing by bringing in Japanese entertain-ers, products and food every year," says Anuj Jodhani of Maido India, the co-organisers of the festival.

Members of Saheliya will travel all the way from Japan to impress crowds with their dance moves
Members of Saheliya will travel all the way from Japan to impress crowds with their dance moves

Expect musical acts, a martial arts demo, and an anime-themed cosplay fashion show. Priyanka Yoshikawa, Miss World Japan 2016, will also be at the event. Here are some of the highlights:

Groove to Bollywood tunes
If you spot a group of women dressed in colourful Indian garb dancing to Bollywood songs at the festival, don't be surprised. Look closer, and you will notice that the ladies lighting the stage on fire with their rendition of Dard-e-Disco are, in fact, Japanese! Sahelia, a dance group based in Tokyo, has been around since 2008, and travels to Mumbai every year to learn Bollywood dance styles from professional choreographers.

Mumbai-based Bollywood dance group Spice Madams
Mumbai-based Bollywood dance group Spice Madams

Yet another dance group, Spice Madams, comprises nine Japanese expatriates living in Mumbai. One of the members, Yuri Huele, says, "We will be dancing to six songs, including Gajanana [from Bajirao Mastani], Zingat [from Sairat], and Tamma Tamma Again [from Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya]." She adds that they have been rehearsing for this performance since April.

Tuck into sushi and more
The event wouldn't be considered complete without delicious Japanese food to dig into. Over the weekend, a number of stalls will hawk authentic fare from the Land of the Rising Sun at the Japanese Food Corner.

"You can pick from a light and healthy miso soup, dorayaki [pancakes with azuki red bean paste filling], cream puffs by Japan-based Beard Papa, yakitori [Japanese-style grilled chicken] and, of course, different types of sushi," says Jodhani.

Watch martial arts magic
Catch members of the Mumbai Kendo Club as they duel at the festival. A modern martial art, Kendo descended from kenjutsu (swordsmanship) around the 18th century.

"Instead of actual swords, we use bamboo swords called shinai and put on a metal armour called bogu to protect our heads and bodies," says Hirohisa Tsubowa, a Japanese consultant and member of the three-year-old club.

Say hello to a J-Pop star
Born and raised in Osaka, Yayoi Daimon first came into the spotlight when she auditioned on a Tokyo-based dance reality show. Since then, she has gone on to don many hats. Now based in Tokyo, she is not only a dancer and choreographer, but also a DJ who sings for and produces her own tracks.

Her music draws inspiration from contemporary R&B, and at the festival, she will spin her hit tunes, including Best Friend ft Dizzle, which hit No 5 on the iTunes R&B chart after its release in December 2015. Although she has performed several shows in Japan and Taiwan, this will be her first visit to India.

On: November 25 and 26, 12 pm onwards
At: High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.

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