Japanfest took place this past weekend at Gwinnett Center in Duluth. It was a two-day festival of Japanese culture. We went yesterday, because it was a very appropriate way to celebrate my Japanese-American husband's birthday with his mother,sisters, brother-in-laws and a couple of nephews and a niece.
Japanfest has been going on annually since 1997. It is a chance for Japanese and non-Japanese Americans to experience traditional and modified Japanese cultural events. Traditional events include Japanese puppetry, dance, martial arts, and flower arranging. Modified cultural events this year included a Shimisen and Banjo musical performance and tap dancing. There was also an anime viewing room sponsored by MomoCon.
For our family at least, the food is a huge attraction. Inside, local restaurants offered traditional Japanese favorites like sushi, rice curry, udon and much more. Japanese sodas, beer, and plum wine were also available.
After we all had our main meal, we visited the puppet show, which was so much fun. Then we saw some amazing martial arts and acrobatics performed by kids age 7-15. We wandered through the exhibits and the bazaar being tempted by all the arts and crafts and Japanese toys, as well as the lovely kimonos and other traditional clothing items.
Then we discovered the outside food tents. Never mind the rest of the culture exhibits. We had young people with us. There was ramen and yakitori on a stick and ..anyway, we spent the rest of our time at the festival socializing outside!
Japanfest is a wonderful way to experience real Japanese culture here in the Southeast. Be sure to plan to attend next year!