Highlights from the 2013 Calgary Omatsuri

The 2013 Calgary Japanese Festival - the Calgary Omatsuri - has come and gone. It was a splendid event, with a wide range of programming, entertainment and demonstrations to give attendees of a taste of Japanese culture, history and traditions. We could not have asked for a better day. It was sunny (most of the time) and it was hot on August 17, 2013.

As I mentioned in my last post, Omatsuri Entertainment Director, Kathleen "Irulanne" Boucher asked me to document the Japanese Festival and to interview as many performers as I could. It made for a long day, but I had a blast! たのしかった です。

I did a bit of an experiment with the recording. My gear for the day comprised of my GoPro Hero2 camera, my keitai (used as a wi-fi remote/viewing screen) and my Zoom H2 portable recorder (used as an external microphone). The fish eye effect was rather neat with the GoPro. I even managed to film while dancing the Tanko Bushi, although I got motion sickness from just watching the clip when I started moving the camera as a shovel. Not to worry, I didn't include that part in my vlog.

The interviews were great. I managed to interview Martial Simard (shakuhachi), Dave Rathnow, Roku-Dan Iaido practitioner and instructor at Shin Ken Kai Nobara, Midnight Taiko Kai, Mizue Asai-Kaufmann and Kaori Akiyama (koto players), Anything Goes, the Kotobuki Senior Group, two musicians from the Jpop and Anime Talent Show and finally, the Minyo Dancers from Lethbridge, They will form the next few posts.

I was quite sad to hear that the the sword making demonstration was cancelled. In hindsight, it would have been very difficult for me to cover that session AND all the programming outside.

The children's games, such as this one pictured below, sold out quickly:

Inside, there were several booths, showcasing Japanese handcrafts, tea, snacks and the Calgary Japanese Community Association's history project: Okage Sama De ("I Am Because of You"). Some of the events that took place inside included an ikebana demonstration as well as a green tea presentation.

Making its debut at the Calgary Omatsuri was the Shogun Grill Food Truck, run by the family that owns Foster's Bakery. The takoyaki was so flavourful and tender:

Gomen! I forgot to take a food porn shot of my okonomiyaki and my mochi balls.

All right, without further ado, here's my first vlog of Calgary Omatsuri highlights on my new otaku/geek awesomeness channel on YouTube, ChibiSamuraiTV: