Months of hard work and planning by Japan House LA staff culminated in a grand opening celebration Friday August 24, 2018, that witnessed actor George Takei as master of ceremonies with musician and celebrity Yoshiki performing on the occasion and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti addressing the gathering.
The high profile event was hosted in the heart of Hollywood at the Ray Dolby Ballroom inside the famed Hollywood&Highland mall. The new Japan House campus now adds an event space, library and restaurant area to the existing offices and exhibitions space/gift store already inaugurated last year. The evening’s festivities included a sake and shochu tasting and a preview of the library. Guests visited all the spaces that now comprise the Japan House campus in its entirety, with the restaurant named Inn Ann slated to open in sometime September, offering visitors an umami experience par excellence.
At the seated dinner organized for the evening, local and visiting dignitaries, including Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, joined in felicitating LA and the staff of Japan House for a job well done. President of Japan House LA Yuko Kaifu rightly observed that their work has only now begun. The opening performance for the evening was a scintillating dance and light production titled Phosphere by Rhizomatiks Research and elevenplay. Japan’s beloved musician Yoshiki performed a congratulatory piece on piano accompanied by a string quartet. Pepper the robot made an appearance as well.
Dinner for the evening catered by Wolfgang Puck included a first course trio featuring tuna sashimi, crispy rice, avocado, soy lime ginger ponzu with Japanese cucumber salad and charred shishito peppers/bonito flakes. The main course starred miso glazed butterfish in white soy ginger on buckwheat soba noodles and hibachi grilled New York steak on sautéed garlic spinach with tempura nori. The desert course concluded the evening with a yuzu ricotta cheesecake with ginger passion fruit curd, almond crunch and mango gelee.
Japan House LA offers programming aplenty at its Hollywood premises to enable cultural understanding and promotion of friendly ties between Japan and USA. Upcoming classes include ikebana floral arrangements, tea ceremonies, design talks and much more. Visit their website for details and to sign up for their event updates.