The ‘Experience Japan’ event is exactly what it sounds like; assembled in the Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall Southern Foyer were representatives from all different areas of Japan to show attendees the best tourism, products and activities that can be found in their area.
All photos are courtesy of Shuhei Kosugi
The event kicked off with a press conference from all four of the members of the hit Japanese TV show ‘Iron Chef’, as the event was being held in conjunction with the ‘Iron Chef All Stars 2017’ Dinner Show event that same night.
Celebrity chefs Chef Rokusaburo Michiba, Chef Hiroyuki Sakai, Chef Kenichi Chen and Chef Masahiko Kobe were present along with Chef Kentaro Chen of two Michelin Star restaurant, Schezuan Restaurant in Japan, and the much-loved Singaporean Pastry Chef Janice Wong. With such a huge all-star cast attending, it was sure to be a night to remember!
They took a number of questions from the press, before having their photo taken and making their way around the event to get an exclusive look at all there was to see before the public.
Once they had finished their tour, they received a gift bag full of various information and goods from Japan. You can see a video of the tour on the official Iron Chef All Stars Facebook Page, along with other behind the scenes footage, so make sure you check it out!
At the entrance, guests were greeted by the Asian Inspirations team who would give guests a little booklet providing information on the 5 different prefecture booths that they could get stamps at, if you collected all the stamps and brought it back to the Asian Inspirations team, they would give you a gift bag!
The next booth along the suggested path was Ehime Prefecture, which was bright and colourful! They had a few different citrus juices and dried fruits up for tasting and a wide variety of tourism information, if you were especially lucky, you could also meet their adorable mascot Mican!!
Situated right next to Ehime, was the Okinawa booth! Okinawa had a number of their famous produce and products on display, including Shikuwasa. If you have never heard of it, it’s a small citrus fruit similar to a lime, but much sourer! It’s said to be one of the keys to the longevity of the Okinawan people and makes a great addition to juices, cooking and more! The Okinawa booth also had their famous Ryukyu glasses out on display, as well as an abundance of tourist information. They also had little performances now and again to showcase their traditional music and dance.
Also present, was Tokushima Prefecture with their booth attendants dressed in traditional Awa-odori costume, ready to perform the dance at any time. They also had sudachi, another type of citrus fruit and a number of tourism pamphlets on display. Their performances were truly a highlight, bringing a fun atmosphere to the opera house hall. They also had a Tokushima-based sake up for tasting, all ingredients are sourced from Tokushima and we have covered them on a number of occasions, you can find more information about Kamikatsu here:
Of the other prefectural booths, Nagano and Niigata prefectures was also represented, bringing along with them tourism guidebooks as well as some wine for tasting. Their beautiful green and white happi coats really stood out. They had a number of pamphlets showcasing Nagano’s ski culture and natural tourism and their wine was delicious!
But it wasn’t all just tourism and prefectures! There were also various booths in place represented by media, and food and beverage companies such as KIRIN, a major sponsor of the event. KIRIN had a bar running throughout the event serving KIRIN ICHIBAN. Also available around the bar was Japanese sake and sparkling sake from Dassai, another major sponsor of the event.
The Sydney-based news and travel site G’day Japan was also represented, sat right in between Nagano and Niigata prefecture’s booth and the Okinawa booth. The had brought along their latest edition of G’day Japan to inform attendees of the latest travel information on Japan.
Superstar bartender Fumi from Horse Bazaar in Melbourne, also ran a cocktail bar next to the coffee station, where Japanese barista Nobu Shimoyama worked his latte magic, crafting beautiful coffees for guests. Set up next to him, was another coffee station, specialising in delicious, carefully brewed drip coffee.
Stationed next to the cocktail and coffee station was Japanese condiments company, Shoda Shoyu, all set up with an array of their products on display and representatives to talk to guests about their products and where to find them in Australia. Next to the Shoda Shoyu was Calligraphy artist Junko Azukawa, performing her beautiful artistry for guests. She offered to write out guests’ favourite Japanese words and present it to them to take home.
Another artist present was Japanese Sweets master, Junichi Mitsubori. Situated next to the Tokushima booth, his performance was a unique display of crafting Japanese wagashi in front of attendees. Each sweet was uniquely beautiful, almost too much so to ever want to eat!
Finally, another highlight of the event was its support towards the charity Opportunity International Australia, who provide small loans to families in need to help them set themselves up to run their own businesses and get themselves and their families financially back up on their feet. You can find out more about this charity and how you can support them via their website, here.
Overall, the event was a whole bundle of fun for not only adults, but also families and couples as well. It was the sort of event that had something for everyone if you have an interest in Japan. There was so much to see, do and experience!