Japan, once the “sagot sa kahirapan” (solution to poverty) for many Filipino migrant workers, is now a haven for tourists looking to experience its unique culture and bring home its high-quality products. While the steady increase in Filipino tourists to Japan in the past few years has helped revitalize its struggling economy, not everyone has the time and money to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

But if you can’t go to Japan, one company now aims to bring Japan to you.


Hallo Hallo Alliance hopes to showcase the best of Japanese culture, lifestyle and technology through Cool Japan Festival 2015 happening this weekend, November 7 and 8 at the TriNoma Activity Center in Quezon City.

What exactly should you expect in this much-awaited event which, by the way, is free admission? Here’s our Pre-Show feature to the Cool Japan Festival 2015 to help!


Uniquely Japanese attractions

Cool Japan Festival 2015 - Team Lab

The event will feature various booths and attractions, each promoting an aspect of Japan that many Filipinos will personally encounter for the first time. There’s The Real Sushi Nigiri Experience Show, an open workshop where a sushi chef will demonstrate the fine art of making sushi. If sushi’s not your thing, you can also go to the food stalls and have a taste of authentic Japanese street food.

You should also try out the amazing interactive art installations by teamLab like the teamLab Sketch Aquarium where kids can draw their own fish and watch it swim in a large LED-display “aquarium.” You can also have your picture taken at teamLab Camera and have it edited with various filters and graphics in real time.

For women who want to look their best, there’s the Makeup Workshop featuring the latest in Japanese cosmetics that’ll give you the distinctive kawaii look. Sanrio is also bringing its iconic Hello Kitty brand to Cool Japan Festival where you can get original Hello Kitty merchandise straight from Japan.

Cool Japan Festival 2015 - Hello Kitty


Cool Japan Shop

Cool Japan Festival 2015 - Cool Japan Shop

But perhaps the booth you shouldn’t miss is the pop-up version of Cool Japan Shop, a store chain owned and operated by Hallo Hallo Alliance that aims to bring authentic, high-quality Japanese products to Filipinos. Its inaugural branch has just opened two weeks ago at Festival Supermall in Alabang, Muntinlupa, and the company aims to open more than 120 branches of Cool Japan Shop all around Metro Manila within the next few years.

The store currently offers a variety of Japanese-made household items, beauty products, stationery, clothing, accessories, and food. You can even find some unique items that you may have read about in news website and blogs, like this hygienic self-resting chopstick. The pop-up store set up in the event will also give out brochures, distribute survey forms and offer free membership to the Hallo Hallo Alliance rewards program.

But all of this is simply a leadup to what will be Hallo Hallo‘s biggest project, the Cool Japan Mall. Set to open in 2017, this nine-storey shopping mall is poised to become a one-stop shop for all things Japanese. It will also house a Pixiv art museum, a teamLab interactive art installation, and a performance theater for the exclusive use of MNL48, the upcoming sister group to Japan’s mega-idol group AKB48.


Must-see stage performances

Speaking of AKB48, they’re coming to the Philippines for the first time to perform in Cool Japan Festival! Well, not the whole 120-strong group, of course. Rather, 12 members of its newly-formed unit Team 8 will perform their hit songs to the Filipino audience. Better get your lightsticks ready (which, by the way, is also sold at Cool Japan Shop).

TV5‘s own idol group Kawaii5 is also set to perform on stage to promote the network’s local airing of Amachan. First aired in 2013 by NHK as part of their asadora (morning drama) lineup, Amachan tells the story of Aki Amano, a 16-year old Tokyo schoolgirl who became fascinated with the ama, women who dive for sea urchins and shellfish, and decides to become one. You catch Amachan every weekday at 11:00am with a repeat at 10:00pm on TV5.

If you’re more into the traditional form of Japanese entertainment, there’s also the stage performance by the taiko drum band Tokoro Taiko. Popular Filipino cosplayer Alodia Gosengfiao is also set to perform a cosplay show with the up and coming Japanese idol group Akishibu Project.

All of these stage performances will be done twice each day throughout the two-day event at 01:00pm and 04:30pm, so there’s no excuse to miss out on these stage shows!


Bringing Japan to you

Whether you are an ardent Japanophile or a shopper who wants to buy the best bang for the buck, the Cool Japan Festival is your one stop for everything that is Japan.

With all the stage activities in store, plus the Cool Japan Shop and other attractions in store this coming weekend, you will feel the vibe of the Land of the Rising Sun right in the heart of Quezon City.


Cool Japan Festival 2015 - Banner


Cool Japan Festival 2015 is happening on November 7 and 8 at the TriNoma Activity Center at TriNoma Mall in Quezon City. Admission is FREE.

For more details regarding the event, please visit the event website at cooljapanfestival.hallohallo.com/en or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cooljapanfestival2015. Organized by the Hallo Hallo Alliance.

Subject to change without prior notice.


SOURCE: Cool Japan Festival, Cool Japan Mall (Japanese), Asahi Shimbun