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Japanese culture shines at Matsuri

October 16, 2016 GMT

LIHUE — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. had to make a quick departure from the Matsuri Saturday morning at the Kauai Veterans Center.

“We’re going bicycle riding,” Carvalho said. “I’m meeting with several of the leaders of Iwaki City, and with George Costa, Wally Rezentes and Kaleo Carvalho, we’re going to ride Ke Ala Hele Makalae. The Japanese leaders are looking forward to this. It’s different from just visiting scenic spots.”

Matsuri, which means “festival,” was hosted by the Japanese Cultural Society of Kauai, as a showcase of Japanese culture, said Pearl Shimizu of the society.

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“We invite our sister cities from Japan to join us,” she said. “And they do.”

Hundreds of people flowed through the Kauai Veterans Center which was brimming with activities, including taiko performances, Japanese dance, bonsai demonstrations and other cultural stations including shodo, or Japanese calligraphy, and origami, or Japanese paper folding.

“This is so appropriate because mayor just returned from a visit to Japan,” said Kaui Tanaka of the mayor’s office who coordinated the visit of the Japanese delegation. “Representatives from the different sister cities, including several leaders, come here and actively participate in the Matsuri. They also go out to visit scenic spots and shop. Events like Matsuri is an opportunity for everyone to explore and discuss the arts, culture and, more recently, sports. We also engage in the ongoing interest in hula, and Mayor Carvalho has other ideas, especially involving the younger generation and sports.”

Crafters and vendors of Kauai-made goods filled the outdoor area along with another stage and keiki activities, including the popular fish pond, and the more vigorous outdoor events such as mochi-making.

Kauai Kookie Kompany anchored the food offering of Japanese bento lunches, hekka and stew, along with selections of finger foods like Spam musubi.

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