NORWALK – The Southeast Japanese School and Community Center in Norwalk will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its community festival July 27-28. The festival is open to the public and features the best of Japanese culture, including dramatic Taiko demonstrations (traditional synchronized swimming), martial arts demonstrations (including Kendo – a form of Japanese fencing – judo and karate), karaoke, and ondu (folk dancing).
Minyo fusion singer Marisa Kosugi is also scheduled to perform. Minyo fusion music is a unique combination of traditional Japanese folk music infused with Western rock, R&B and jazz traditions.
In addition, guest performers U Mele Hana will perform the hula and on ukulele.
On Sunday, the Hawaiian Delites, Na Wahine ‘Okawena and Kamaki Keawe Maka’I Jammers will perform, transporting audience members to the balmy south sea Isles of Hawaii. Kamaki has performed at numerous Southern California venues including the Ukulele Festival, A Night in Fullerton, and the Fall Festival at the Nixon Library.
The festival also features numerous games, including pachinko (Japanese pinball). Authentic Japanese-American food will be available, in addition to dango (Okinawan donuts), shaved ice, teriyaki and more.
New to the festival this year will be Tanabata Kazari, which are large flower balls with colorful streamers. The streamers celebrate the Japanese version of Romeo and Juliet – it is said that the two star-crossed lovers meet but once a year across the Milky Way but if there are clouds, they cannot see each other and do not meet until the following year.
The festival is from 3-10 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, and from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, July 28. The Japanese center is at 14615 Gridley Road in Norwalk.
Published: July 3, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 12