The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

We Came, We Saw, We Ate: Japan Fest; Festivals to Recapture the Expat Experience

The past weekend was Japan Fest in Atlanta. Atlanta has hosted Japan Fest since 1981 in different forms. Sponsored by the Japan-American Society of Georgia and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, it's one of the biggest Japanese festivals in the U.S. now, taking over an entire convention center for crowds exceeding 19,000. We've enjoyed Japan Fest for many years, but after returning from living in Japan with our children, we find it an important way for our children to reconnect with the culture that they miss.

Japan Fest Atlanta 2012
With Okinawaan exhibitor
If there are festivals like these in your area, be sure to visit. Like many countries, Japan has diverse cultural aspects that lends to a variety of fans. The festival has something for everyone. It's also a great way to find out what's going on in your area in relation to your host country.
Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo
Yamaha demonstration
Atlanta Bonsai Society
Anime enthusiasts

Booth with traditional festival food
Besides the wide spectrum of Japanese culture -- martial arts, crafts, sake and beer, tea, flower arranging, bonsai, taiko drumming, company demonstrations, anime -- there are food and traditional Japanese festival booths. That's what my family loves. Trying to recreate the festival experiences we miss. The children even want to wear their yukata, summer cotton kimonos that are still commonly worn to festivals in Japan.
Playing yoyo fishing game a common festival game
Yoyo balloons caught

traditional Japanese toys

And the food... We get to sample some of our favorite foods and drinks we miss.

The past two years, the festival has also been a great fund raiser for the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami relief.
From a poster at the festival:
A message from Japan to the US thanking our military
for helping after the earthquake
"You are the best friend ever!"
How about festivals in your area? Are there any you'd recommend? Share the dates and places!

No comments:

Post a Comment