Autumn harvest season is prime time for festivals in both the UK and Japan. In Japan, people all over the country, from the smallest towns to the largest cities, gear up for their local festival, or 'matsuri'.

This September, you can get the full Japanese 'matsuri' experience without traveling across the globe with the second 'Japan Matsuri' taking place at Spitalfields market in East London. This year's matsuri promises to be even bigger and better than last!

In Gillingham, a second matsuri will be taking place this month, to celebrate the life of local boy William Adams, perhaps better known as Miura Anjin.

It's also going to be a busy month at The Embassy of Japan this September with a number of events taking place. Some of the finest sakes will be showcased in a tasting event on the 8th, while our film screenings continue on the 15th with Shinobu Yaguchi's 2004 comedy 'Swing Girls'. For garden lovers, we have a presentation entitled 'Constructing Paradise: Secrets of the Japanese Garden' to complement our current exhibition on Japanese gardens in the UK. From the 29th we will host the photographic exhibition 'Exposures - Lives Lived in the Shadows and Light of an Epidemic' which will bring into focus some of the human faces and powerful stories behind often alarming HIV statistics

Continuing that theme, we look at Japan's contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set up by the United Nations in 2000 ahead of the MDG summit in New York this month.

Also featured are accounts from Helena and William, who have just returned from the Japanese Government run Japan-EU Mutual Understanding Scholarship Programme. Find out how they got on during their five week visit to Japan. You can also find out more about the UK-Japan Young Scientist Workshop which took place in Cambridge for the first time this year.

Finally, as the second article on the UK's regional Japan Societies, we visit the Birmingham Japan Society in the West Midlands.

International Wine Challenge (IWC) Award winning Sake Tasting

8 September, 15:30 - 17:30
The Embassy of Japan

For your chance to sample some of the world's best sake, click here.

From Gillingham to Japan: A tale of Miura Anjin
The William Adams Festival

11 September 2010
Gillingham Park, Kent

Williams Adams is famous for being the first Englishman in Japan but did you know he was born in Gillingham? Each year, Medway council hold a festival to commemorate his life. Find out more about the man, and the festival, here.

Films at the Embassy: Swing Girls

15 September 2010

This month's free film screening at The Embassy of Japan will feature Swing Girls (Shinobu Yaguchi / 2004), a heart warming comedy that won 7 prizes at the 2005 Japanese Academy Awards.

The Way of Tea - Special Event at The British Museum

17 September 2010

Chado (the way of tea) is recognised around the world as being representative of Japanese traditional culture. Urasenke are holding a special Chado presentation and illustrated talk at The British Museum. Free to the public, click here for more details.

2010 Japan Matsuri

18 September 2010
Spitalfields Market, London

Japan Matsuri returns to Spitalfields on 18th September. Using both new and old markets, this year's festival has much more space and offers even more for the whole family to enjoy...more

Constructing Paradise: Secrets of the Japanese Garden

27 September 2010
The Embassy of Japan

A must for any garden lover, don't miss your chance to attend this presentation at The Embassy of Japan. For more details, click here.

Exposures - Lives Lived in the Shadows and Light of an Epidemic
A Decade of Progress by the IPPF Japan Trust Fund for HIV and AIDS

29 September - 12 October 2010
The Embassy of Japan

The photo exhibition eExposuresf brings into focus some of the human faces and powerful stories behind the often alarming HIV statistics..more


Japan's Contribution Towards the Acheivement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the comprehensive and specific development goals, adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015. On 20-22 September this year, a MDG Summit will take place at UN Headquarters in New York to accelerate the progress.

Find out about Japan's contribution towards the achievement of MDGs here

The Japan-EU Mutual Understanding Scholarship Programme

The Japan-EU Mutual Understanding Scholarship Programme aims to encourage young people from Europe to have a deeper understanding of Japan and its culture. This year, 2 students participated from the UK, Helena Laughton and William Markiewicz. Read accounts of their visits below.
Helena's Report
William's Report

2010 UK-Japan Young Scientist Workshop - A Cambridge First

This summer, the UK-Japan Young Scientist Workshop was held in Cambridge for the first time. Most recently held in Kyoto, these Workshops have been running since 2001 and bring together senior high school/sixth form students from schools across Britain and Japan. Click here for more.

Focus On: Birmingham Japan Society

In the second in our series on the UK's regional Japan Societies, we visit Birmingham. Click here for more.

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