Sake tasting, Liverpool Street

Sushi has a firm foothold in Western food and drink culture, but sake has been a slow burner. Nevertheless, with as many varieties of sake as there are wine, it’s certainly worth our appreciation. Here, you can try five different types, matched with Japanese dishes. You’ll also learn  drinking etiquette and production techniques from sake sommelier Shinya Maeji.

Wed, Mar 7. 6.30pm-8.30pm
Moshi Moshi, Unit 24, Liverpool Street Station, EC2M 7Q
Tube: Liverpool Street

Sumo wrestling, Various

Get a pair of guests to slip on a fat suit and have it out in a ring, and you’ve got yourself the perfect way to ramp up a party. You suggest a location and this company supplies the suits, a mat, a smoke machine, an umpire, and even a Japanese soundtrack. Put on the fake pounds and find a friend who is ready to rumble.

Various locations

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Harajuku and cosplay meet-up, Westbourne Park

If a one-off opportunity to partake in cosplay at Hyper Japan isn’t enough, this informal group of Harajuku and cosplay afficionados will be just the trick. They meet regularly at fun Japanese-themed events and usually dance their cute little socks off. The most common meeting place is at west London haunt, Retro, which plays a Japanese film once
a month, and tends to attract disciples of J-culture

Sun, Mar 11. 7pm
Retro, 50 Bosworth Road, WC2N 6HH
Tube: Westbourne Park

Lucky Voice karaoke, Islington

You haven’t truly made like a Japanese person until you’ve lost yourself in a ballad, mic in hand, while contained in
a box. When you’re visiting karaoke haunts in your lunch break, then you’ve really got the idea. Loosen your collar after work, have a drink at the bar, then dive into one of the booths. There are even costumes, so you can look the part. It’s the most fun you’ll have with your clothes on. Also in Soho.

Daily. Times vary.
73 Upper Street, N1 1RG
Tube: Highbury & Islington

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Martial arts, Kensington

Learn the traditional  Japanese disciplines of judo, shotokan karate, Aikido and ju-jitsu at
a school that has trained Olympic competitors for decades. The venue has, and continues to, attract high profile teachers, so you
are learning from the best.

4 Gilston Road, SW10 9SL
Tube: South Kensington 

Benihana, Piccadilly

There’s no kitchen in this restaurant. Instead, you sit around a teppanyaki grill and watch the chef cook your meal, then toss it over on to your plate. It’s great food theatre.

Daily. Times vary
37 Sackville Street, W1S 3DQ
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Learn Japanese, Oxford Circus

Take your Japanese language skills beyond ‘konichiwa’ over nibblies. This informal group  meets regularly, and also holds social dinner nights, karaoke events and hanami (flower-viewing) picnics.

First Tuesday each month. 6.30pm
Old Explorer pub, 23 Great Castle Street, W1G 0JA
Tube: Oxford Circus

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Origami, South Bank

Start with a crane, and with any luck, plus a little help from some practiced paper-folders, you’ll be making a meal of your morning newspaper
on the Tube. Join origamists – experts and amateurs alike – as they congregate for their love of the traditional Japanese art. Attend regularly and you’ll be on your way to true origami mastery. Remember, though, glue is unforgivable.

Second Sat each month. 2pm-5pm
First floor foyer, The Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
Tube: Waterloo

Scramble, Online

The clothes at this online store feature logos that draw from the bright colours and deft brushstrokes of Japanese fashion, some of which can evoke a swaying tree or a rippling lake. Plus, there are a few select lines straight from Japan.

Online store

Click for more events celebrating Japanese culture…

Sushi-making, Various

Tsuru sushi has been shortlisted in this year’s sushi-maker of the year competition, to be announced at Hyper Japan.Where better, then, to learn the art of preparing a great nori roll? You’ll have the best dinner parties in town.

Restaurants in Mansion House, Bishopsgate and Bankside

The Japan Centre, Piccadilly Circus

It’s fair to say that for all things Japanese in London, if you can’t get it here, you’ll struggle to find it anywhere. Starting life as a suitcase full of Japanese books, the Japan Centre now includes a supermarket, bakery, deli, restaurant, homeware department, bookshop and even an online shop.

Mon-Fri 9.30am to 5.30pm
4-16 Regent Street, SW1Y 4PH
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Manga drawings, Holborn

This is a rare opportunity to view original drawings of one of Japan’s most famous Manga characters, Professor Munakata, from the British Museum Adventure series. Millions of readers eagerly followed the professor’s adventures in the fortnightly magazine, Big Comic, dreamed up after illustrator Hoshino Yukinobu visited the museum in 2009. To celebrate the series being turned into an English book, Yukinobu has lent his finished drawings and sketches to the museum. A genuine boon for fans of all things Manga.

Daily. Until Apr 8. Times Vary 
The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Yuki’s Kitchen cooking classes, Various

Noodles, tofu, miso, sushi, bento, or dumplings: whichever element of Japanese cuisine gets your juices going, you’ll gain a newfound appreciation if you learn how to whip it up yourself. Yuki, raised near Mt Fuji with a fanatical cook for a mother, worked in restaurants in the US and here in the UK, where she now teaches scheduled and bespoke one-off workshops and courses.

Yuki’s home in Crystal Palace or client’s home

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Japan underground, Southwark

’Insane’ just about sums up this J-rock event, especially when you consider the last show had a Japanese Queen tribute band – with Freddie in just his pants – rocking out on stage. It’s always a sell-out.

Check website for next event

Tsunami Appeal, Golders Green

Hear sobering accounts from those caught in the devastation of last year’s tsunami and earthquake in Japan at this event, run by Seven Beach Aid. There’ll be a concert and other activities, tba, too.

Sun, Mar 11. 2pm
Golders Green Parish Church, West Heath Drive, NW11 7QG
Tube: Golders Green

Dinner and karaoke, Stoke Newington

Take advantage of a daily half-price sushi happy hour (5pm-7.30pm), and if an Ozeki saké puts you in the mood, karaoke awaits.

Sat, Apr 30. 11.45pm
Oishiii Japanese Eatery, 67 Stoke Newington Church Street,  N16 0AR
Tube: Stoke Newington

Anime all-nighter, Piccadilly Circus

A night of back-to-back anime films will prove how deep the obsession runs for some, even 21 years after Manga began to distribute Japanese animation in the UK. Organisers have confirmed Bleach 3 among the five flicks to be shown, as part
of the Sci-fi London Film Festival. DJ tunes in the bar will precede the screenings.

Sat, May 5, 11pm-8am
Apollo Cinemas, 9 Lower Regent Street, SW1Y 4LR
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

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Over the Parched Field, Baker Street

When their relatives die, some Japanese people visit the volcanic region of Osorezan, or ‘fear mountain’, in Aomori, to talk to the dead through a medium. Since being raised to follow this practice, the line between life and death has been blurred for London-based Japanese photographer, Akiko Takizawa. Her perspective and understanding of Osorezan is eerily depicted in this exhibition, and her choice of motifs adds an intriguing element.

Until Mar 1
Daiwa Foundation Japan House, 13/14 Cornwall Terrace, NW1 4QP
Tube: Baker Street