Japan Day 2013 – Language Tent and General Information

Welcome and thanks for your interest in Japan Day! Japan Day is a unique event in NYC that draws about 50,000 people to come and learn more about the Japanese culture and language. There are multiple activity tents, and food tents have also been added to the Japan Day 2013 line up.

Hills Learning was fortunate enough to be selected to teach Japanese at Japan Day in 2013! Here’s more information about the language tent, activities in general, location, and timeframe for Japan Day 2013.

The Language Tent and Description of the Activity

hillslearning karuta

Karuta being played at Hills Learning

The language tent at Japan Day will be manned by Hills Learning, a language school in New York City that teaches Japanese to all ages and offers group as well as private classes. The activity for the day will be Karuta, a fun interactive card game that will teach the Japan Day 2013 vocabulary. The activity actually encompasses all levels, beginners learn the basic vocabulary where as intermediates and advanced students can form sentences with the vocabulary or also be challenged by flashcards and other resources the teachers have brought for the event.

language location at Japan Day - with arrowThe language tent is located towards the entrance of Japan Day on 72nd street. The tent is located where the red arrow is pointing. It will be in the same tent as the Hello Kitty activity being held at Japan Day 2013. The Hello Kitty Activity is also quite a popular tent, so please don’t forget to visit that along with the language tent.

The Location and Time for Japan Day

Address – http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl – Here is a link to where Japan Day is according to Google Maps. Please note, to get to Japan Day you can enter either from the West or East side of Central Park and keep walking along 72nd Street. The bandshell area is where the main stage is located.

The Japan Day website also lists 69th street and 5th avenue as the main entrance. So you can enter from that location and go north, or just follow our suggestion of coming in on 72nd street and then head south.

Time – 10:30am to 4:30pm is the official timeframe for Japan Day. This is when the activity tents and the stage performers will be working. However, many activity tents will be there and setting up from 9am or so. Please note, the food tents are only from 11:30am to 2:00pm and are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Other Stalls and Activities

This year is the first year Japan Day is planning on offering food and beverages along with their usual line up of fun activities and stage performers. Here’s a basic description of what will be offered at Japan Day 2013:




Gyoza – Gyoza are Japanese dumplings, either fried or boiled, usually filled with pork and / or vegetables. They’re boiled on one side and crispy on the other side, definitely a recommendation!

Miso Soup – The classic Japanese soup, Miso is a great protein and a delicious middle of the day snack. Usual ingredients in the soup are seaweed and tofu.



Okonomiyaki – (Make your own pancake) – Although they’re Japanese style pancakes, they’re not the typical western breakfast food. In fact, they’re eaten for lunch or dinner, and contain cabbage, meats and other vegetables. Highly recommended for someone that hasn’t tried one previously.

Ramen – Ramen is a classic offering of Japanese food and please keep in mind this isn’t the typical grocery store style “ramen” noodles. Rather, it’s a full bowl of ramen with vegetables and meat included. Highly recommended!


Calligraphy – An opportunity to learn about brush strokes and how to write characters, the calligraphy tent is a traditional arts tent and a very popular attraction.

Hello Kitty + Language (Sharing a tent) – Learn Japanese at Japan Day! Hills Learning teaches Japanese through a fun and interactive karuta game. Hello Kitty is in the second half of the tent, which is a very famous Japanese children’s icon.

Kabuki Face Painting – This is the only activity tent in the bandshell area with the performers. Very popular tent with the kids!

Origami – Another classic Japanese art, people enjoy learning how to do various origami shapes and they also get a take home prize.

Yo yo Fishing – Quite a popular activity, this is run by the JET Organization and the Japan Society. Get ready for fun with balloons!

Yukata Try On – A Yukata is traditional Japanese dress, basically a version of the “kimono” but can also be worn easily in summertime. The yukatas are also in general less elaborate and less expensive than the Kimono.

For any further information on Japan Day please visit their website at http://www.japandaynyc.org/

Japan Day – A great opportunity to learn Japanese in New York

Thanks for coming to our website and your interest in learning Japanese! This past weekend was Japan Day, an event that celebrates Japanese language and culture in New York. We’d like to talk more about this, and think it’s one of the best opportunities to experience Japanese culture and language in New York City. The event numbers around 50,000 people. Please mark “Japan Day” on your calendar for next year!

Japan Day used to be just about Japanese culture and Japanese performances, such as cultural icons of Calligraphy and Hello-Kitty. Only recently though  Japan Day decided to offer a Japanese language tent along with their cultural exhibitions and demonstrations.

Each year, the Japan Day staff, along with Hills Learning and other involved language schools, come up with a list of key vocabulary phrases for Japan Day. This year was no different, our theme was Ganbare Japan, or “Japan, You can do it!” We taught language through a traditional Japanese card game called “Karuta.”

Many of the participants not only loved learning the language for a bit, but also really liked the cultural exposure. You can stop in and get tattoos, pictures with Hello Kitty, calligraphy cranes, and of course watch the performers. The performers range from cultural icons such as Karate clubs, to famous Jazz Singers and musical groups.

For reference, here is the Japan Day vocabulary we learned this year:

がんばれ – ganbare – You can do it!

ありがとう – arigato – Thank you!

おはよう – ohayo – good morning

こんにちは – konnichiwa – hello

大丈夫 – daijyobu – It’s okay

せんばづる – senbazuru – 1,000 origami cranes

友達 – tomodachi – friend

愛 – ai – love

希望 – kibo – hope

おうえん – o-en – support

すごい – sugoi – wonderful, great

元気 – genki – healthy, how are you?

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you next year learning Japanese at Japan Day!

WIT Life #88: j-cation at Japan Society

WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

This weekend Japan Society hosted the inaugural 12-hour extravaganza known as “j-cation”.  The line-up of events was kicked off by the movie Flavor of Happiness (幸せの香り or Shiawase no kaori), the story of a father-daughter relationship between an aging Chinese chef and his young female apprentice.  A bit long and sappy, but the food images were to die for!  In various corners of Japan Society several workshops were simultaneously taking place, such as furoshiki (wrapping cloth) folding, Japanese tea and sweets and calligraphy classes.  There was also an assortment of stands with Japanese products, such as this outpost of (Kumamoto-born!) Dainobu convenience store selling sweets.

However, the highlight of my afternoon was the “luscious lecture” called Table Talk that featured Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi.  This hot dog eating champ, whose record is 50 in 12 minutes and who won the Coney Island competition for six years straight from 2001-06, revealed some of his secrets and back stories.  The person who happened to be sitting in front of us for the talk was none other than Japan Society President Motoatsu Sakurai!  He chatted with us for a bit, lovely as always, and judging by his frequent laughter he seemed to enjoy Kobayashi’s talk as much as the rest of the audience.

32-year old Kobayashi shared that he got his start as a college student, when his friends noticed that he could put away an insane amount of food and contacted the local media.  Now competitive eating is his full-time career, and he participates in about 12 events a year.  His favorite contest foods are soft, easily digestible ones such as tofu and curry rice (the latter was the food at his very first competition!).  During the off season, his favorite foods to eat non-competitively are bagels, tofu and yogurt.

As pictured, Kobayashi was outfitted in a sleek black jacket and scarf, and this osshare image was quite different from the typical one of the Coney Island champion with blond hair and bandana.  In response to the question of what he would like to challenge archrival Joey Chestnut with should they ever meet at a contest in Japan, his answer was sushi or onigiri.  When asked about his weight fluctuation, he said he was currently 130 pounds but could go as high as 200!

But enough with the table talk, the audience wanted to see Kobayashi in action, demonstrating his famous hot dog halving and bun soaking technique (Fun fact: If he eats 60 hot dogs during a competition, they will be accompanied by two gallons of water!).  He took on the two hosts (on left) who never stood a chance.  He finished his hot dogs with time to spare and then helped them out with theirs.

In sports news, 18-year old Japanese female knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida has joined the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League.  According to Salon, “the 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida became Japan’s first female pro baseball player last year when she pitched for the Kobe Cruise 9 in the Kansai Independent League.”  Best of luck to her here in the States!

Japanese Events New York City – Nihongo Dake Dinner

The Nihongo Dake Dinner is one of the few regular Japanese events in New York City designed to bring both Japanese and non-native Japanese speakers together. Currently run by Jon Hills for JETAANY (http://jetaany.org/), he’s also the founder of Hills Learning (http://www.hillslearning.com), a language school based in Grand Central, New York City.

The event usually numbers around 20 people, and is designed to be half Japanese, half non-native Japanese speakers. The Japanese participants come from all industries and backgrounds, from JETRO and JLGC to Mitsui and Nomura. There are also Japanese who are artists, recruiters, volunteers and students.

Nihongo Dake Dinner - 02/23/10

The past event held at the Congee Restaurant in Chinatown was a mix of languages, intimacy and fun. As mentioned before, the typical attendance for the Nihongo Dake Dinners is about 20, quite a number for a Japanese language speaking event in New York. This past event only housed 7 people, pushing all participants to try their Japanese skills and get to know each other a little better. Also thanks to our Chinese American participant Ann, we had Chinese translation when ordering and handling the bill.

If you’re involved in the JET organization please be open to signing up for future Nihongo Dake Dinners. If you know someone from JET and would like to go as a friend of JET, it’s also possible to attend. Japanese people who would like to meet English native speakers who have an interest in Japanese are also encouraged to attend. As one of the best Japanese Events in New York City, it’s an event that can’t be missed!