Tomodachi Works slated for this weekend

Booths selling handicrafts and used American items line the Akara Gallery parking lot this weekend.

The 5th Tomodachi Works international friendship exchange event takes place Saturday and Sunday on the Akara Gallery parking lot at the Depot Island shopping complex.

The event starts at noon and runs until 9 p.m., with the main concept being “Sharing Hinamatsuri, the Japanese Doll Festival.” The program includes live stage performances and music, games, and kimono dressing. Many booths offer hand made items, as well as special and unique gifts at the venue. Organizers invite everyone to join the event for culture and friendship exchanges.

There are live performances on-stage on both days of the event.

One of the companies backing the Tomodachi Works is JANOSZ, a dining bar located in the AKARA Gallery building. Bokunen Naka, one of Okinawa’s best-known artists is the owner of the gallery and the unique gallery building itself was designed by Yasuo Takara who now works as the manager of dining bar JANOSZ. The gallery building with its waving red tile roof is one of the landmarks at the Depot Island complex that in itself is the heart of Mihama area.

Habu Box, a shop within the Akara Gallery that sells unique T-shirts, purses, lithographs and other items created by Naka and other designers who work at the gallery will be participating. The minds behind Tomodachi Works, Ayumi Jourden and Yoshiko Takahashi, approached Takara with a proposal to collaborate, with their idea being to create an international friendship exchange event venue at such a special building. Takara agreed and they came up with the idea of using the parking lot of the Akara Gallery. Takara says he was especially impressed by the energy and passion of Jourden and Takahashi showed for their Tomodachi Works.

Takara is also an artist on his own right, and the food menu of JANOSZ are one of his creations. JANOSZ and Akara Gallery are well worth of a visit any time if you are at the neighborhood.  Their website is at http://janosz.akara.asia