Latest 7 talks to Nicholas Röhl of Moshi Moshi about Brighton Japan 2012
It’s hard to escape the sensation that the Brighton Japan Festival is so…well, so very Moshi Moshi. In a time when businesses are desperately tightening their purse strings, Brighton’s best-known Japanese restaurant is busily working so that we can all have a bit of fun by putting on a festival that spans a full ten days.
And by the looks of things, it is going to be a lot of fun. Moshi Moshi is constructing a bespoke ‘pop up’ extension to the side of the restaurant where an impressive line-up is billed for each night of the festival.
“We’re calling it HōMU (modern Japanese for ‘home’) because the space is going to be very intimate,” says Nicholas Röhl, festival director and co-owner of Moshi Moshi. “It will have the capacity of only 70 people, and guests will have the option of being regaled by a three course festival menu before each performance.”
The way Nicholas describes HōMU, it is going to be the perfect setting for the events taking place here. Launching the festival on Friday 22 is the Paper Cinema. Described as “a puppet show, a cinema show, side show, magic show – a show-off,” their performances have been attracting rave reviews in the national press: to have landed the Paper Cinema at this venue is something of a coup.
The Japanese version of the seminal horror film Ring by Hideo Nakata gets a welcome outing on Saturday 23, followed by a Japanese whisky tasting evening with the redoubtable Dave Broom on Monday 25. It is fair to say that Broom is the best person on the planet from whom to learn about Japanese whisky: he’s immensely knowledgeable (having consulted for the Japanese whisky industry over decades) and also extremely entertaining. It is Broom’s messianic belief that if you say you don’t like whisky, it’s because you haven’t tried the one out there that is right for you: he’s the man to find you the whisky you’ll love.
HōMU is also the home (you see – it’s catching!) to a Japanese edition of the wonderful Catalyst Club (Thursday 28), and a Japanese inspired CanTina Supper Club with entertainment on Friday 29. For those of you who haven’t heard, CanTina is quietly causing a culinary sensation in Brighton, so you’d be unwise to miss this.
Of course, Moshi Moshi being Moshi Moshi, the love has been spread generously around town, with events taking place at Marwood’s Café, Hotel du Vin, and Duke of York’s. What’s great to see is that other local businesses are now joining the festival, with Quality Solicitors Howlett Clarke coming on board as sponsors.
Brighton Japan would be nothing without the two rambunctious street festivals, Moshi Matsuri and Asahi Anime Festival, which take their usual place over the two weekends of the festival in Bartholomew Square, with the addition this time of Tokyo Sounds, a massive open-air concert of Japanese rock on Saturday 30.
Moshi Moshi, Bartholomew Square, Brighton,
East Sussex, BN1 1JS, 01273 719195, www.brightonjapan.com