13th Annual Houston Japan Festival

13th Annual Houston Japan Festival
Festival Offers Glimpse of Japanese Culture in Hermann Park

HOUSTON (February 27, 2006)—Observe the rich cultural heritage of Japan by celebrating Japanese traditions at the 13th Annual Houston Japan Festival on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9, 2006. Presented by the Japan-America Society of Houston and the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Japan Festival will be held at the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is free to the public. The theme this year is “Anime,” a type of animation developed in Japan characterized by stylized colorful art.

The Japan Festival commemorates the heritage of Japan with activities that represent traditional entertainment, sport, food and art. The area in and around the Japanese Garden at Hermann Park will be transformed into a genuine Japanese village with colorful flags, windsocks, cherry blossoms, and paper lanterns. Two entertainment stages will continuously provide Japanese music, dance and martial arts performances. Guests will be able to witness Guinness World Record holder Yusuke Ito perform Kendama stunts and watch Kite Master Seikou Nakamura from Nagasaki, Japan fly his Rendako, which is a large dragon kite stretching over 300 feet. Area restaurants and caterers will serve authentic Japanese cuisine and regional businesses, organization and artists will feature a variety of products reflecting the Japanese culture. Also, the popular and entertaining Karaoke Gong Show will be open to everyone.

“The Japan Festival showcases a slice of the Japanese culture. We bring Japan to Houston, so Houston doesn't have to go to Japan. I hope all visitors will be able to take a piece of Japanese culture with them at the end the festival experience,” said Japan Festival Chairman, Keiji Asakura.

Festival guests will enjoy a range of unique cultural activities including:

* Anime
* Taiko Drummers
* Kite making
* Kendama, which is a Japanese version of the traditional English 'Cup and Ball'
* Bonsai displays and Ikebana flower arranging
* Martial arts demonstrations
* Traditional tea ceremonies
* Games for children of all ages including: origami, tug of war and Yo-Yo Fishing

Houston has one of the largest populations of Japanese citizens in the United States, with approximately 100 Japanese-related companies and 2,500 Japanese residents. The goal of the festival is to increase public awareness and appreciation for the Japanese culture, as well as exhibit the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park. The garden represents serenity and harmony and is an escape from everyday metropolitan life. Guests are able to stroll through the shaded paths, enjoy the beauty of the flowers and take in the allure and simplicity of Japan.

The Japan-America Society of Houston strongly encourages all guests to take METRO to the Japan Festival. The Japanese Garden at Hermann Park is conveniently located near the Hermann/Rice U METRORail stop. For more information about METRORail, please visit www.ridemetro.org or call 713-635-4000.

The Japan Festival is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County. For more information, please contact the Japan-America Society of Houston at: 713-963-0121 or visit www.jashouston.org.

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