Chicago Shimpo
First Japanese Matsuri Held on Chicago’s Northside

• Chicago Japanese Matsuri was held for the first time on September 29 and 30 at NEWCITY Lincoln Park. The event was organized by Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and Japanese Culture Center.
• At the center stage, aikido, iaido, large scale sumi-e, large scale calligraphy, and shurikenjutsu were demonstrated. Cosplay contest, batsu Japanese gameshow, and Japanese Street fashion show were held. Toyoaki shamisen (three-string instrument) with Shubukai Japanese dance and Tsukasa Taiko were performed.

• A variety of Japanese food was served by Kizuki restaurant, and the visitors moved one food booth to another to enjoy hiyashi chukka (cold Chinese noodles), gyudon (beef rice bowl), chicken karaage, potato croquette, takoyaki, agedashi tofu, gyoza, to name a few. Japanese tea, beer, and sake were also served.

• There were also cultural booths exhibited by Anime Central, Lolita Fashion Group, a travel agency, Chicago-Osaka Sister City, Consulate General of Japan, Japanese American Service Committee, and others.

• Tabone of Chicago said, “I was just on an internet, just looking at what was happening by the end of year. I saw the Chicago Matsuri and decided to bring my friend, James. I found it really interesting to go. I love the culture.”
• What part of Japanese culture does he like?
• “Definitely because of anime, because of food, clothing stuff and everything,” he said.
• Tabone has found a place to study Japanese language and said, “Hopefully I can go there very soon.” “Hopefully I can go to Japan one day. I really want to be a part of it,” he said.

• Brian Pitt of Chicago lived in Japan for three years and taught English in Hiroshima.
• He said that his wife participated in JET program and was assigned to work in Hiroshima, so he accompanied his wife.
• Having a database-related job in a medical association, he said that he was interested in JET. “I’m actually planning it. This year I want to try again,” he said.

• Christy from Chicago studied Japanese when she was in college and said, “I found this event and wanted to reconnect to living in Japan for a while.”
• In her 20s, she attended Tokyo Gakugei University and lived in Kokubunji outside of Tokyo, then Kanuma City in Tochigi Prefecture. She studied for University and also taught English in Japan.
• “I really enjoyed my life in Japan. So I would like to keep in touch with the culture. Even here in Chicago, we have a matsuri, and it brings back my memory,” she said.

• Brian Masionis spoke fluent Japanese and answered all the Shimpo’s questions in Japanese. He also has kanji characters for his name.
• Masionis studied Japanese language at the University of Wisconsin for three years and still continues to study it. “I haven’t been to Japan yet, but I want to go there someday. Today, I had gyoza, gyudon, takoyaki, Sapporo beer, and sake. I love Japanese cuisine,” he said with a nice smile.

• Allen Castillo and his friends exhibited their cars decorated with anime characters.
• He said that the decoration was to express, “Just my love of anime and manga.”
• He is a member of a car club, “the Four Star Society.” The name represents four stars in the flag of the City of Chicago. According to him, there are about 45 members.
• Castillo said, “I’m a lover of Japanese cars, Toyota.” He collected car parts such as body kits and seats from Japan and installed them in his car. “Everything is Japanese,” he said.

A car desplayes by the Four Star Society


First Chicago Japanese Matsuri held in Chicago's Northside


Performance of the Tsukasa Taiko


Large scale calligraphy performed by Hekiun Oda


Takoyaki


Japanese kimono dresses sold by Ohio Kimono