Japanese décor is known for its Zen-like tranquility and simplicity. Reinvent this timeless beauty at your next party with decorations that are common in Japan, such as paper lanterns and Noren curtains. You can find these adornments at gardening stores or Asian furniture stores. A Japanese party theme is suitable for birthdays, dinner parties, children's parties or even weddings.
Paper lanterns immediately add to the ambiance of a Japanese theme and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor parties. For an indoor party, hang lanterns from the ceilings, along the walls or above the dining table. For an outdoor party, hang them from gazebos, patio awnings or trees. You can find paper lanterns at gardening or party-supply stores, or online at Cherry Blossom Gardens (see Resources), a retailer of Japanese items. Red and white lanterns match the Japanese flag, or select lanterns decorated with auspicious Japanese symbols, such as the symbols for "peace" and "prosperity."
Wall fans are artistic pieces that can be arranged on the walls to enliven the room. When purchasing wall fans, make sure that the characters written on them are Japanese, as other cultures, such as Chinese and Korean, also decorate with wall fans. You can find wall fans at Asian furniture and home-décor stores. If you live in or near Los Angeles, you can visit the Little Tokyo section of the city, which has many Japanese specialty stores that carry beautiful fans.
Create your own Japanese decorations by folding origami pieces. Websites such as Origami-Instructions.com offer instructions on how to make origami figures and an email newsletter with origami tips. Choose origami designs by the symbols they represent. For example, a Japanese folk tale says that if you make 1,000 paper cranes, your wish will be granted. Arrange origami pieces on serving tables as subtle decorations or place an origami decoration at each guest's table setting as a party favor.
Noren Curtains or Hangings
Traditionally, Noren curtains or hangings are used to decorate Japanese businesses. They are designed with regard to feng shui philosophies to bring luck and prosperity. Decorate the party with Noren pieces to create a Japanese atmosphere. Place Noren curtains at the entrance so that guests will have to part the curtains to enter the party. Add to the atmosphere by draping Noren hangings on the venue's walls.
In "Introduction to Japanese Culture," Daniel Sosnoski says that "the cherry blossom has been completely assimilated into the life of the Japanese people." Place sprigs of cherry blossoms in vases on the serving tables or arrange the blossoms in a bouquet for a centerpiece. If cherry blossoms are not in bloom, substitute with artificial cherry blossoms.
- Introduction to Japanese Culture; Daniel Sosnoski; 1996
- Japanese Culture; H. Paul Varley; 2000