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Year-Long Festival Highlights Contemporary Germany (January 6, 2006)

The "United Buddy Bears" event at Roppongi Hills (Jiji)
Over 1,000 events are being held throughout Japan between April 2005 and spring 2006 as part of Deutschland in Japan 2005/2006. As a prelude to the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany, the primary aim of this extravaganza is to highlight contemporary Germany in such diverse areas as culture, arts, economy, science, and academia.

D-House Highlights Today's Germany
Deutschland in Japan kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Tokyo National Museum on April 4, 2005, and this has been followed by a diverse lineup of events that will continue through spring 2006. An art event in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills titled "United Buddy Bears" (April 4-May 8) featured 127 bears, rendered in a rich array of colors representing the nations of the world, joining hands in a call for world peace. Other highlights included performances by a Hamburg brass band (April 4-7) and the Youth Jazz Orchestra of Hessen (April 5-7), a German Style Lounge (April 8-10), which gave attendees an opportunity to enjoy beer and sausages while listening to Bavarian music, and a light-based visual art installation.

One of the feature events, held near the German Embassy in Hiroo, Tokyo for two months through the end of November, was the Interactive Square DEUTSCHES HAUS (D-House). Visitors to this venue were able to experience directly works by Germany's hot contemporary artists, musicians, and architects, as well as German fashion and industrial products. German beer, food, and wine were also served.

The goal of D-House, an official event endorsed by the German government, was to provide a glimpse of Germany as it is today. Announcing the D-House event at a press conference, Henrik Schmiegelow, Germany's Ambassador to Japan, said, "Because Japan has since the Meiji period drawn from Germany's arts and education, even today many people see Germany as stiff and formal, but I want people to discover the Germany that is cheerful, fun, and stylish. True Germans are full of wit, love football, and enjoy free time and volunteer work."

The venue featured a beer hall, a cafe in which patrons were able to enjoy coffee and tea sipped from valuable Meissen porcelain, and an exhibit of fashion items available for sale. Especially popular in the beer hall was a stock-market-like pricing scheme in which the prices of 11 varieties of beer fluctuated based on the quantity of orders.

World Cup Symbol Unveiled
On October 3, at the plaza in front of the D-House venue, the Football Globe Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup symbol created by the German government to promote the holding of the World Cup in Germany was unveiled to the public. The design features a soccer ball six meters in diameter atop a nine-meter-high pedestal modeled after a DNA double helix. When it gets dark, images of space and the earth are projected onto the ball's surface. In June 2006, this symbol will be moved to Berlin, site of the World Cup final.

The events of Deutschland in Japan 2005/2006 are helping to strengthen relations between the peoples of Japan and Germany.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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