Meet Momoka Nakagawa, a young Japanese ballerina in New York City

In the first of a new series with mini-interviews with Japanese people living in New York City, we talk to the young ballerina Momoka Nakagawa.

Where in Japan are you from and where did you study ballet?

I’m from the Hyougo prefecture in Japan and learned ballet at a place called Yasuda Ballet School for about ten years.


How did you end up in New York City and what are you doing there now?

I’ve always wanted to dance abroad and someone I know helped me to get an audition for the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classic Ballet in Brooklyn, where I am dancing now.

We like to talk about food: do you have a favourite restaurant in New York and what is your favourite food to cook (and eat)?

Food is my life! I love to eat and to cook! I have a lot of recipes for chicken. Because white meat chicken is low in fat and high in protein it is good for making great muscles. Good for dancers! There are too many good places in New York, but I can mention one favourite. It’s called Pause Cafe, and they have salads, sandwiches, pastries and I especially love their acai bowl! A lot of fresh fruits on it. The staff is super welcoming and nice. One of my favourites in NYC. Recently, I discovered the Great Northern Food Hall, where we took some photos of me that you can see here.



Can you name three places in New York that you personally would recommend people to visit?

Yes! Take the L Train to Bedford Ave. in Williamsburg. I usually wander around in this area every weekend. My favourite yoga place, cafes and vintage clothing shops are all there. Second one is a tourist hot spot. It’s called DUMBO. I love the view from Brooklyn Bridge at night. A timeless bridge with inspiring views of Manhattan and Brooklyn! Incredible architecture and symbolism for a better life. Go check it, please! Last one I want to mention is one of my favourite churches. It’s called Riverside Church and is located in Morningside Heights, Upper Manhattan. This church is very impressive with its massive architectural facade designs, that looks like a skyscraper. It always cleans my mind and my feelings to go there.


Do you have a dream for yourself or for the future in general that you would like to share with us?

My big dream is really simple actually. I wish I’ll keep dancing on the stage around the world as much as possible and I want to support anyone who is interested in dancing in foreign countries like me. To making use of my experience as dancer abroad. For now, I am trying to find new adventures anywhere. I think the only true failure is when you didn’t try. Just keep working hard!

Thanks for talking to us, Momo-chan!

NYC Ballet’s Family Saturdays

Awaken your child’s love for dance with Family Saturdays, a one-hour onstage presentation designed for families with children ages 5+.

Director & Illustrator: Thyra Heder
Animator: Stephanie Swart
Music & Sound design: Mark Phillips

Grand Central Terminal’s Hidden Secrets

750,000 people pass through New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal each day, but a majority of the 49-acre Beaux-Arts style building remains off limits to the general public. Bloomberg Pursuits got an inside look at the spaces and secrets of the century old landmark.

Nagasaki: Memories of My Son introduction by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Introduction of Nagasaki: Memories of My Son by composer Ryuichi Sakamoto at the 10th anniversary of Japan Cuts Festival of New Japanese Film.

August 9, 1948. Nagasaki, Japan. An aging midwife named Nobuko (Sayuri Yoshinaga) is visited by the ghost of her son Koji (Kazuya Ninomiya), whom she lost to the atomic bomb. From then on Koji visits his mother frequently to reminisce and catch up on lost time. Their biggest topic of conversation is Koji’s kind-hearted fiancée Machiko (Haru Kuroki), who regularly visited Nobuko over the three years since Koji’s death. Machiko and Koji both seem unable to fully accept Koji’s death, but Nobuko slowly encourages them to move on. Yoji Yamada’s moving, star-studded film is a complementary response to playwright Hisashi Inoue’s seminal work The Face of Jizo, about a father-daughter relationship in the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing, and the master director’s self-proclaimed attempt at making “the most important film in his life.”

Japan Cuts 2016 – Festival of New Japanese Film

North America’s largest festival of new Japanese film returns for its 10th anniversary edition, offering eleven days of impossible-to-see-anywhere-else screenings of the best new movies made in and around Japan with special guest filmmakers and stars, post-screening Q&As, parties, giveaways and much more. Featuring an expansive and eclectic slate of cinematic offerings that includes crowd-pleasing blockbusters, peerless independents, arthouse gems, influential classics, radical documentaries and avant-garde animations, JAPAN CUTS 2016 promises thrilling new discoveries for film fans of all stripes.

Music: So What’s the Story?

Music: So What’s the Story? Part I

February 17, 2016 at 7:30pm
Avenues: The World School
259 10th Ave, New York, NY

Gil Morgenstern, violinist and artistic director

February 17, 2016 marks the inaugural concert of Reflections Series International’s exciting new programming initiative, Music: So What’s the Story, exploring music as narrative and spanning the next several seasons.

Part I of the series will feature works that, while not strictly programmatic, are reflective of each composer’s personal narrative.

Leos Janacek’s Sonata for Violin and Piano is a composition whose catalyst was the agitation and passionate emotions of World War I. Edvard Grieg’s lighthearted Wedding Day at Troldhaugen depicts the “congratulations and best wishes” that are given by guests to newlyweds. Bedřich Smetana’s Piano Trio in g minor, Op. 15, is an autobiographical work that was motivated by the death of his eldest daughter.

Joining Morgenstern will be cellist Ole Akahoshi and pianist Rieko Aizawa.

Buy Tickets.

Toshiki Okada: God Bless Baseball



What does the sport of baseball mean to you? Visionary playwright/director Toshiki Okada (chelfitsch theater company) explores this iconic American symbol in his newest play God Bless Baseball. Incorporating Okada’s distinctive style of hyper-colloquial speech and exaggerated commonplace gestures, the play positions the U.S. as parent and Japan and Korea — where baseball is deeply rooted in popular culture – as brothers heavily influenced by the parents. Featuring a cast of Japanese and Korean actors, and a stage set by acclaimed visual artist Tadasu Takamine, this baseball culture triple-play is sure to be a home run. With English titles.

Thursday, January 14, 8 PM
Friday, January 15, 7:30 PM
Saturday, January 16, 7:30 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2:30 PM

Tickets: $35/$28 Japan Society members

The Thursday, January 14 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception.

Part of The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival.

Partner organizations for the God Bless Baseball U.S. tour are: FringeArts, Philadelphia, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland and Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.

Meet Mami Hariyama, director of a Japanese ballet school in New York City

By Ayako Yuse


We recently interviewed Mami Hariyama from Japan, who is the director of the ballet school “HARIYAMA BALLET” in New York City. The ballet school opened in 2010.


Where in Japan are you from? How did you end up in New York City?


I’m from Suita-city, Osaka. I didn’t have a great reason to come here. I was suffering very much because of the big feeling of frustration and loss and I chose New York City as a new place to restart my life. I came here in 2004.


We love to follow your ballet school on SNS (social media). How did you get the idea for opening a ballet school?


Because I like ballet. I wanted to keep putting myself in ballet. Then I wondered if I could teach ballet and opened the ballet class. First I had only one class for adult a week, but step by step I got more students and I opened the class for kids, too.


You have so many wonderful experiences with the ballet kids. Please share one of your favorite moments with us.


I have a lot of memories! The first day to open the ballet class. The first ballet recital. A lot of yearly performance. Making original ballet. The first ballet recital of my students. The growth of my students. The meeting the students, who went back to Japan. The day when my students wear toe shoes for the first time. The first participating in a contest with my students. The summer intensive of every year. Each letter and messages from my students. I get so much power, when my kids students come to hug me and tell me “I like you a lot!”.


Ballet dancers need food for strength. What is your favorite food and do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant in New York City?


I love any food! There are many delicious cheese cakes, which is my favorite, in New York. And fortunately there are also a lot of restaurants and we can enjoy dishes from all countries here! These days, sushi and ramen are very popular in New York, too. When I went to the ramen restaurant “Tabata”, I ran into Mikhail Baryshnikov! I was surprised!

View this post on Instagram

Party time!!!

A post shared by Hariyama Ballet New York (@hariyama_ballet) on

Q: ニューヨークの好きな場所を3つ教えてください。

Where are your favorite three places in New York City?


First, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where we can see American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. Second, I like around Bryant Park. It’s close from HARIYAMA BALLET and a good place to rest. Also there is a useful Japanese shop. Third is Brooklyn Bridge and around that, which is good for taking a walk in sunny day.

You can see cute little ballerinas photos here!




Nobuhiko Obayashi: a retrospective


November 20–December 6, 2015

This fall, Japan Society is proud to invite Japanese filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi to the largest retrospective of his work ever organized in the U.S. With 10 feature films and a short ranging from 1964 to 2014, in addition to an in-depth conversation with the director covering his entire career, Nobuhiko Obayashi: A Retrospective offers a thorough (re)introduction to this endlessly innovative, singular film artist who burst into the consciousness of many American film fans with his cult hit House. This series is guest curated by Dr. Aaron Gerow, Professor of Film Studies and East Asian Languages and Literatures at Yale University.

Thanks to filmmaker/curator Denis Cordier for bringing the idea of a Nobuhiko Obayashi retrospective to Japan Society.

Tickets: $12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors & students
EXCEPT screening of HOUSE: $15/$12 Japan Society members, seniors & students

Special Offer: Purchase tickets for at least three films/events in the same transaction and receive $2 off each ticket! Offer available only at Japan Society Box Office or by telephone at (212) 715-1258. Offer not available online.


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