Japan Festival: Experiencing Every Inch of Japanese Culture
• The Japan Festival took place at the Forest View Educational
Center in Arlington Heights on June 7 and 8, and attracted about 9,300
visitors. This year, The Chicago Japanese Club (CJC) and the Japanese
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCC) co-hosted the event for the first
• In his remarks, Consul General Masaharu Yoshida said that the Japan Festival was co-hosted by CJC and JCCC and became an important milestone in the Midwest. He also said that the visitors would experience aspects of Japanese culture such as ikebana, origami, kendo, judo, and a J-pop concert by two performers from Japan.
• Mayor Thomas W. Hayes welcomed the Japanese community saying that the partnership between the two great countries and the two great communities was really educational. “I hope that all those different cultures and different nations work together toward a festival. I’m looking forward to learning more about Japanese culture, lifestyles, and other areas through the festival,” the mayor said.
• On the festival stage, 21 groups performed Japanese taiko drumming, classical dance, judo, kendo, karate, archery, koto music, piano and clarinet, chorus, and more. Ten Japanese companies introduced their products and services on the main floor. Tea ceremony, ikebana, and violin making were demonstrated. Documentary film “Tohoku Tomo” and anime films were screened, and a cosplay competition was held on the second day. More than 40 vendors offered craftworks, arts, folkcrafts, character goods, and games.
• Zachary Sebek’s T-shirt read “Tohoku Tomo.” He watched
the documentary film and said, “I enjoyed it and learned more about the
earthquake and recovery efforts. He came to the festival with his twin
brother Jason and friend Isabelle Alonzo. They were the students of Whitney
Young Magnet High School and have been taking Japanese courses at the
• One of the most popular events was trying on kimono dresses and a suit of Japanese armor. The visitors picked their favorite color of kimono, and professional dressers dressed them quickly.
• Yuki was happily smiling with a kimono and said that she has studied Japanese in high school and college. She also studied it by herself. She said that wearing kimono was comfortable because her back was straightened.
• Christopher Wogniczka was walking around in a men’s kimono and said, “It’s my first time and is very interesting. I like it.” He took Japanese courses for two semesters in high school, and has many opportunities in recent years to work with Japanese sales people and engineers in his job.
• Jessica and Katie were each in a beautiful kimono. Jessica said that she was interested in wearing kimono and has been studying Japanese. They have enjoyed cosplay since last year and attended Anime Central last month.
• In the courtyard, four different flavors of ramen noodles
were served, and the visitors flocked to taste some of them. They had
a few complaints for long lines.
• On the Saturday evening, more than 1,200 visitors were excited to attend J-pop concert performed by beat boxer Daichi and anime-song singer Ayane.
• Daichi can make more than 50 different sounds using his voice, playing the rhythm beat, and singing a melody at the same time. He won the “Remix Round” of the Apollo Theater in New York in 2012. He became the champion two weeks in a row and got third place in the final championship. He posted his beatbox video on YouTube five years ago and has gained more than 23 million views from all over the world.
• Ayane made her debut with a single Kizuna, and it was selected as the opening theme song for TV anime “W Wish.” Her 5th single “Nageki no Mori” was chosen as the opening theme to PlayStation 2. She has built her status as anime/game singer. In 2008, her song “Lunatic Tears” won her the Golden Award for Theme Song Award of Bishoujo Game Awards. To celebrate her 10th anniversary, she has released the 4th album “Luminous Flux”.
• Q: How can you make 50 different sounds from your mouth?
• Q: Your and Daichi’s collaboration is available at
http://daichibeat.jp. How did you make it?
The full story is available in the Chicago Shimpo’s 2014, June 27th issue.
|Daichi and Ayane perform at Japan Festival||
Violin maker Tetsuo Matsuda
Corporate exhibit, Ark Technologies and Altak
Corporate exhibit, ANA
Corporate exhibit, Sunstar Americas
Corporate exhibit, United
Daichi in an interview
Ayane speaks about her childhood.at an interview.
Jessica(R) and Katie in kimono dresses
A visitor tries on samurai armore suites.
Tea ceremony demonstration
Zachary Sebek (R), Isabelle Alonzo, and Jason Sebek
The visitors flock around ramen booths.
The visitors enjoy shopping at vender booths.
Christopher Wogniczka enjoys wearing men’s kimono.