Lots of fun films as Japan celebrates

The annual Japanese film festival will be bigger and better this year.

The 16th annual Japanese film festival will take place from February 26 to March 21 at Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank and various other places. The screenings will be free of charge.

Films to be screened include Linda Linda Linda, Kikujiro, Ping Pong Bath Station, Floating Weeds, Life and Turn Over.

The films will be screened in Brooklyn, Pretoria, from February 26 to 28; the Gateway, Durban, on March 6 and 7; the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on March 13 and 14. Rosebank will screen the films from March 18 to 21.

Keiko Sawada of the Japanese embassy says: "We chose these movies so that South African people can get a glimpse into Japanese history and society, which is not known to South Africans in general.

"If you see the movies you will discover the cultural differences and similarities between South Africa and Japan."

Sawada says since the Japanese embassy is celebrating 100 years of official relations with South Africa this year, they are having various cultural events.

Apart form the film festival there will be a Kabuki (Japanese traditional theatre) DVD lecture at the University of Pretoria on February 24 at 7pm.

There will be another lecture at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town on February 26. Rhodes University's Eden Grove Red Hall will host the lecture on March 1. On March 4 the lecture will be at Howard College in KwaZulu-Natal. Admission is free.

A collaborative philharmonic concert featuring Japanese conductor Yasuo Shinozaki, Noriko Ogawa, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra will take place at the Linder Auditorium at the Wits University campus on March 10 and 11.

Soloist Julian Lloyd Webber will perform at the Durban City Hall on February 25 at 7pm.

Noriko Ogawa will perform at the Durban City Hall on March 4.

There will also be an Ikebana (flower arrangement). On April 17 the embassy will have a Martial Arts Day.