The fifth annual celebration of Japanese culture will feature music, dancing, karate, food, a Japanese tea ceremony, and much more on Saturday in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square.

A Cosplay contest is part of the Japan Summer Festival in West Hartford. 2017 Japan Summer Festival. Courtesy photo

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The fifth annual Japan Summer Festival is a free, one-day celebration of Japanese culture that will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018, in Blue Back Square, from noon-5:30 p.m. (The rain date is Sunday, June 17, 2018, noon-5:30 p.m.)

The main event is at 4:30 p.m., featuring the powerful drumming performance by UConn’s Taiko. Shishimai, traditional lion dancing, will open the festival at noon, followed by a greeting from the Consulate General of Japan from Boston at 12:30 p.m.

Outside at Webster Walk in Blue Back Square, the Japan Summer Festival will have a Chowa Ondo Tanko Bushi Dance, Jyonetsu Tairiku musical performance, Kendo, Heart Catch dance, a Kids Corner with hands-on activities, a karate demonstration, and a Yukata experience where you can try on a traditional Japanese summer robe.

The Cosplay Contest is at 3 p.m. Sign up by 2 p.m. to participate. Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. For a $5 entry fee, contestants will show off their hand-made costumes. After the promenade of contestants, cash prizes will be given for craftsmanship, originality and best of show.  

Inside at 65 Memorial Rd. (former Lucy’s store), there will be a traditional tea ceremony from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Japanese tea ceremonies are a spiritual ritual to bring balance to a hectic daily life. Each aspect of the ceremony is symbolic. The demonstration is free.

Then, from 2-3 p.m., a Sumi-e calligraphy demonstration will be given. Sumi-e is the Japanese word for Black Ink Painting. Sumi-e is an East Asian painting and writing technique developed together in ancient China that places emphasis on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush. From 3-4 p.m., there will be hands on children activities at 65 Memorial Rd.

A free origami workshop will be held at Barnes & Noble from noon to 4 p.m. Learn how to create different items by folding colorful, printed paper.

Japanese food will be available for sale by Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli, O Gawa Shou Bed & Breakfast of Granby, and Haruki Restaurant. Ongoing activities and information tables include the Japan Society of Greater Hartford, IACE Travel of Boston, Hello! West Hartford, and massage therapy by Dr. Hashimoto’s Sotaiho and Kooma.

For more information, contact Masamichi  Hongoh of the Japan Society of Greater Hartford at 860-796-1637 or Renee McCue, public relations specialist, Town of West Hartford, 860-561-7521.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Outdoor Activities (Webster Walk at Blue Back Square)

noon -12:30 p.m. – Shishimai Lion Dance
12:30-1 p.m. – Chowa Ondo Tanko Bushi Dance
1:30-2 p.m. – Jyonetsu Tairiku musical performance
2 p.m. – Sign-up for Cosplay Contest
2-2:30 p.m. – Kendo
2:30-3 p.m. – Karate
3-4 p.m. – Cosplay Contest
4-4:30 p.m. – Heart Catch Dance
4:30-5:30 p.m. – UConn Taiko drum performance 

Indoor Activities

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
noon-4 p.m. – Origami workshop

65 Memorial Rd. (Former Lucy’s store)
12:30-1:30 p.m. – Tea Ceremony
2-3 p.m. – Sumie/Calligraphy
3-4 p.m. – Kids Crafts/Games 

Ongoing Activities and Information Booths (noon-5:30 p.m.)

Yukata
Kooma Massage Therapy
Water balloons
IACE Travel
Japan Society of Greater Hartford
Sotaiho
Hello! West Harford

Food Vendors (noon-5:30 p.m.)

Maruichi
O Gawa Shou B&B
Haruki
Cotton Candy & Popcorn

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