Tomorrow is the first day of Japan Fair! The theme for Japan Fair is Tanabata. Today, July 7th, is Tanabata!
So what is Tanabata? It's celebrated on July 7th and many festivals happen all around Japan. According to the story, Orihime, a princess, and Hikoboshi fell in love and got married. However, they are on either side of the river (Milky Way) keeping them from meeting each other. A bridge appears every year on the 7th day of the 7th month, allowing them to be together.
As Japan Fair, we would like to celebrate the visitors, exhibitors, and communities coming together once a year like Orihime and Hikoboshi.
A very common tradition of Tanabata in Japan is to write your wishes on strips of colorful paper called tanzaku and tie them to bamboo. That way, your wishes will be granted.
There will be bamboo and tanzaku at Japan Fair 2017, so come write your wish to have it granted!
Before the event actually starts, we want to make sure we appreciate Hokubei Hochi Foundation. Why? Because Japan Fair 2017 is operated under Hokubei Hochi Foundation. Without them taking us up, we wouldn't have been running the event as well as we are this year. Thank you!
The Hokubei Hochi Foundation (HHF) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity established in September 2011, in Seattle, Washington. Located in Seattle’s Chinatown/International District, the Foundation’s mission is to promote and preserve the culture of the Nikkei and Japanese community through educational and cultural projects and activities in the Pacific Northwest.
You might be thinking, 2011 isn't too long ago so they are a newer organization. But what if I told you that Hokubei Hochi (The North American Post) has been around since 1902? They are the oldest Japanese Newspaper in the Pacific Northwest. Not so new, are they?
First off, there is no pre-sale of food this year. All food items can be purchased at the venue when you feel like eating.
This year, there will be a Food Market along with the hot foods similar to last year. Just like last year, there will be:
Gyu-don (beef bowl)
Chef's Grilled Chicken Salad
Kara-age & Croquet
We know last year the food wasn't the best aspect of Japan Fair. That's why this year, a Japanese chef will partner with the kitchen to make sure the food tastes like it was made by a Japanese housewife.
In addition to the food made on site, there will be a "Food Market" which will feature several products from Japanese eateries. This year, we will have:
A part of the main exhibit hall will be dedicated to a Kid's Area. There will be many activities for the kids!
Near the entrance of the main exhibit hall, the Kid's Area will have origami activities, calligraphy writing, water balloon yo-yo fishing, Guinness World Record attempt origami fish fishing, and masks will be on sale.
Folding paper may sound not sound amusing at first. But imagine folding various animals with a single piece of paper. In the Kid's Area, you will be able to fold many different kinds of animals and objects. Instructions and paper will be provided!
Using a brush is very different from writing with a pencil. By using a brush, there are many different accents and textures you can create that aren't possible by a pencil. While looking at an example, you can have a try at writing a kanji of your choice. Can't find a kanji you want to write? You can ask one of the volunteers there to write you one on the spot!
One of the staples of a Japanese matsuri (festival) is yo-yo fishing. You must hook one of the water filled yo-yos to get your own. But here's the catch. The line is made out of paper, so it can rip easily! Test your patience and skill by fishing for water balloon yo-yos.
Back in February, the students of Bellevue Children's Academy and Willows Preparatory School folded origami fish to display at the Seattle Boat Show. While a display of 1,500 origami fish would earn them the Guinness World Record, a total of 8121 fish were folded to be displayed! Right now, the record is in the process of review. In the Kid's Area, you will be able to see just some of the fish (8000 fish is just way too much to display).
Another staple of Japanese matsuri are masks! The colorful masks are something everyone wants as a kid when they go to a festival. They're meant to be for kids, but who says adults can't get them too?
Come to Japan Fair 2017 and enjoy all of the Kid's Area activities with your children and grandchildren!
In this post, we want to appreciate all the community leaders who have supported and kept Japan Fair going. Our community leaders include the Consul General of Japan, Yoichiro Yamada, former Consul General of Japan, Masahiro Omura, Committee Chair, Yuka Shimizu, Chairman of the Board of Uwajimaya Inc., Tomio Moriguchi, Nisei Veterans Committee, Allen Nakamoto, Partner of Sushi Kashiba, Susumu (Sam) Takahashi, Founder of Five Senses Foundation, Akemi Sagawa, and CEO of Keiro Northwest, Jefferey Hattori.
We are very grateful for all the support they have offered to Japan Fair. Thank you very much.
********************************************************************** Mr. Masahiro Omura
- Consul General of Japan
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those working hard to produce Japan Fair in Bellevue this July. I am sure that everyone is looking forward with great anticipation to celebrating Japanese culture, society and business at Japan Fair 2017. The Consulate-General of Japan appreciates the efforts made towards such large-scale Japanese cultural festivals like Japan Fair and intends to provide as much support as possible. www.seattle.us.emb-japan.go.jp
Mr. Tomio Moriguchi
- Chairman of the Board of Uwajimaya Inc.
Although The USA is land of immigrants of varying generations, it is very important to have knowledge and if possible to have experiences related to our heritage family culture. These unique cultural education and experiences made available at the Aki Matsui provides enduring strength for both our ethnic minority community and a better understanding for the larger whole community. Thank you - Tomio www.uwajimaya.com
Mr. Allen Nakamoto
- Japan Fair 2016 Co-chair / Nisei Veterans Committee
I am honored to have served as a co-chair with Yuka Shimizu for the Japan Fair 2016. The success of the Japan Fair and the concept of sharing many aspects of Japanese culture with other diverse community of Bellevue is, foremost in my mind, to honor and to revere the Japanese immigrant experience. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to show case the Japanese culture in order to let new generation taste the past and to contemplate the future.
As many community groups, volunteers, exhibitors and visitors came to share in the excitement of the fair, we were all grateful for the opportunity to be part of the moment. www.nvcfoundation.org
Mr. Susumu (Sam) Takahashi
- Partner, Sushi Kashiba at Pike Place Market
It is my great pleasure to do volunteer work for our community particularly to do with Japan-America friendship and respecting each other through better understanding of different cultures and backgrounds. I am New Issei came to Seattle in 1970 and have worked for hospitality business all my life in the United States and in Japan. After once retired, I worked volunteer at Bellevue Senior Center in the kitchen and many charity events for fundraising. Where I stand here today is because of our ancestors taught us the importance of human values and legacy. I appreciate it for this opportunity.
Ms. Akemi Sagawa
- Founder, Five Senses Foundation
I used to look forward to Aki Matsuri every fall. The event, with special guests from Japan, always gave me an opportunity to learn about new aspects of Japan's culture. I also enjoyed the comfort food as well as finding bargain books at flea market. Many thanks to Mr. Tom Brooke for his years of dedication for Aki Matsuri, and to Ms Yuka Shimizu for taking over the long tradition and taking it further as Japan Fair. www.fivesensesfoundation.org
Mr. Jefferey Hattori
- CEO of Keiro Northwest
On behalf of Keiro Northwest, we extend our appreciation for the annual Aki Matsuri Festival. Over the years, it has become a well-recognized event with a wonderful array of booths, entertainment, food and activities that promotes Japanese/Japanese American culture. We are excited to support the next evolution…now known as Japan Fair, which will continue to honor the tradition of Aki Matsuri while enhancing and diversifying the attendees experience! www.keironorthwest.org