Explore Japanese Culture at the 2013 Calgary Japanese Festival

It always looks like the characters are having so much fun at Japanese festivals in anime shows - the lanterns, the takoyaki, the yakisoba, the games, the neat marriage of old and new. If only we have something like it here...

As of the summer of 2011, we can say that we have our own Japanese festival. Now in its third year, the Calgary Japanese Festival Omatsuri offers frugal family- friendly activities to do in Calgary worth checking out.

The Omatsuri offers plenty to do in Calgary next weekend, including music, dance, food, games, cultural displays and merchandise. This year's celebration is slated for Saturday, August 17 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Bridgeland Riverside Community Centre & Park. 

After the opening ceremonies, there will be an Omikoshi parade (portable shrine). There is also a yukata contest open to anyone who is dressed in this traditional festival outfit.

The Kotokuki Senior Group will be treating attendees to several performances, including the Sumida-gawa play, the Tankou Bushi dance and  Aowa dancing. Having volunteered with many of the Kotokuki seniors at the Calgary Japanese Community Association's 2011 tsunami and earthquake relief efforts, I can tell you that this is one energetic group!

Other performances include my Calgary Japanese Language School classmate Martial Simard on shakuhachi, Midnight Taiko Drums, the Minyo Dancers of Lethbridge and a koto performance featuring Mizue Asai-Kaufmann and Kaori Akiyama. Closing this diverse cultural and entertainment program will be the anime and cosplay band Anything Goes.

There will also be a couple of Japanese martial arts demonstrations. Seiichi Yamashiro-sensei and Frank Prystupa-sensei from the Karate Alberta Association will do a demonstration, while Dave Rathnow-sensei of Shin Ken Kai Nobara dojo will do an Iaido demonstration. 

This is the first year that there will be a J-pop and Anime Talent Show. This will feature singers from throughout Alberta.

My role has varied with the Calgary Omatsuri. The first year, I went as a normal attendee. Last year, I was on the entertainment committee, helping with the sound set-up and conscripting recruiting volunteers. This year, the entertainment chair, Kathleen Irulanne Boucher-san has asked me to interview the entertainers, collecting audio/visual footage of the Calgary Omasuri. 私は楽しみにしています! Stay tuned for interviews and my review of this Calgary cultural festival here! じゃあまたね!