Have you heard about 'Tanabata'? It is the Japanese star festival on 7 July which celebrates the meeting of a pair of lovers, the Weaver (Vega) and the Cowherd (Altair). Legend has it that they fell in love and neglected their work, leading the god of the sky to separate them by placing them either side of the Milky Way. He later relented, and allowed them to meet once a year, on 7 July. Thus, nowadays, as 7 July gets closer, people prepare bamboo stems, from which they hang strips of coloured paper on which they write their wishes.

Talk of stars brings us to the Japanese asteroid explorer 'Hayabusa', which returned to Earth on 13 June, after a challenging seven-year voyage. Its mission was to bring back samples from the asteroid Itokawa and to investigate the mysteries surrounding the birth of the solar system.

Of course, mystery is not only associated with space. Mr Keiichi Hayashi, Minister Plenipotentiary, visited the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich to find out more about the mysteries of dogu at the Centrefs 'unearthed' Exhibition.

The Embassy will host a videogame event, 'The Videogame Playground' on 13 July that will be exploring the role of video games in Japanese and UK culture. A number of places have been allocated for webmagazine subscribers so book your seat early!

The Museum of Fulham Palace celebrates the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition with a photographic exhibition, opening on the 17th July. Another important anniversary was celebrated with a reception at the Embassy by the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation who has turned 25 this year.

June was a particularly busy month for the Embassy as we also hosted a talk by architect Sou Fujimoto in conjunction with our ongoing Architecture Exhibition as well as a rare afternoon workshop that focused on the ancient art of Kabuki and the importance of ' onnagata' (female impersonators).

Also this month, find out more about UK pupilsf passion for Japanese and the results of this yearfs webpage competition and Nihongo Cup Speech Contest.

For those who want to be actively involved with Japanese Culture, read on to find details of the 2010 Manga Jiman Competition, this year with the theme enamif (wave) and how to volunteer for this yearfs Japan Matsuri.

Video Game Event at The Embassy

13 July 2010, 18:30

Take advantage of this great opportunity for webmagazine subscribers to apply for places at the videogame event 'The Videogame Playground'. Find out how here

The 100th Anniversary of the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition

Fulham Palace
17 July - 17 September 2010

In 1910, exactly 100 years ago, The Japan-British Exhibition was held at White City in West London and was visited by over 8 million people. It was an occasion to celebrate the on-going Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which was signed in 1902, and lasted for twenty years... more

Manga Jiman Competition 2010

The Embassy of Japan is pleased to announce the opening of its major manga-writing competion, Manga Jiman 2010. This year, the theme is 'nami' (wave) and the competition is open to anyone over the age of 14 who is resident in the UK. Get your entry in by 1 November 2010.

For details of rules, prizes and, most importantly, how to enter, click here

For news of more events taking place in the UK visit the Japan-UK Events Calendar. This month - Free film screening at the Embassy of Japan, The Maeda Gakuen Japanese Summer Festival, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and lots more!!

The Asteroid Explorer 'Hayabusa'

Launched in May 2003 to collect samples from the asteroid 'Itokawa', the asteroid explorer 'Hayabusa' returned to Earth, landing in Australia's Woomera Desert in June 2010. Find out more about the mission here


Minister Keiichi Hayashi Officially Opens the 'unearthed' Exhibition

21 June 2010
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich
Minister Keiichi Hayashi officially opened the 'unearthed' exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich...more

UK Pupils' Passion for Japan: Japan Webpage Contest for Schools and Nihongo Cup Speech Contest in 2010

Japanese language and culture is thriving in UK schools, with over 270 schools teaching the language, and many more running Japanese activities such as manga clubs, taiko drumming, or exchanges with partner schools...more

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Celebrating 25 years of cultural relations between the UK and Japan

Set up in 1985 as a purely grant giving organisation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation has given over £12 million in grants to support activities which contribute to enhancing mutual knowledge and understanding between Japan and the UK...more

A Behind the Scenes Look at Kabuki
The Embassy of Japan
11 June 2010

Members of the cast of Shochiku's June production of the kabuki theatre classic 'Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees' at Sadler's Wells took time out during their busy performance schedule to give a unique presentation and insight into the secrets of kabuki...more

Architecture at the Embassy of Japan

On 15 June, the Embassy of Japan celebrated its participation in this year's London Festival of Architecture with a private view of the Embassy's exhibition IEHOME and a lecture by celebrated Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto...more

Take Part in the Japan Matsuri 2010!
18 September 2010, 10:00 - 20:00, Spitalfields Market
all enquiries to: contact@japanmatsuri.com

The Japan Matsuri organisers are looking for volunteers to help both before the event and on the day. Volunteers are needed for: designing & building site decorations; setting up and clearing; stewarding; leading family activities etc.

Japan Matsuri will once again feature Nodojiman. If you can sing a Japanese song in Japanese and would like to enter, please let the organisers know.

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