Japanese art, music and food blossom at Haru Matsuri spring festival April 17.
“It’s a showcase of our culture to share with the community,” said Rick Ogasawara, president of the Vernon Japanese Cultural Society.
There will be a variety of ongoing events, including traditional children’s games and activities, Sumie painting, Manga drawing, origami and calligraphy as well as the popular J-Dog hot dog available. Special demonstrations are a chance to see judo, karate, the Chidori-Kai Dancers and Koto (Japanese guitar) performance by Saki Suganuma.
The Yamabiko Taiko Drummers will be back and there will be sushi demonstrations and a chance to relax with a tea ceremony.
“The nice thing for us is that the cultural society is capable of putting this on people in the area and their talents and interests,” said Ogasawara, whose family comes from the Ogasawara Islands in Japan.
“It brings our community together and helps us share our culture, even with our own children. It’s important for our kids to realize their heritage and what it contributes to Canada. It’s good to know where you came from.”
Darrell Oshiro, who traces his family to Okinawa, is one of the Haru Matsuri organizers.
“The festival has something for everyone in the family. It’s everything that’s magic — the music, the food, the whole sense of an ancient culture. It’s something that’s attractive to many people who have no Japanese background but just appreciate it. The volunteers really take pleasure in doing this.”
“We like to share our heritage with the community but the volunteers are having a good time too as they put in a lot of time for this to happen,” he said.
People will also have a chance to have photos taken wearing Japanese yukata and to buy sushi from the demonstrations.
Haru Matsuri takes place April 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Vernon Japanese Cultural Centre, 4895 Bella Vista Rd. Admission is $10 for a family, $5 for an individual or $3 per child.