Matsuri Kaua‘i showcases Japanese cultural experience

Some of the familiar terminology of today has its roots in Japanese culture.

“The double scoop rice in plate lunches came from the old days when you were told, ‘You can eat all the rice you want, but there’s only one Vienna sausage,’” said Sandi Kato-Klutke, one of the volunteers at the Matsuri Kaua‘i event yesterday.

Kato-Klutke was volunteering at the Samurai Sushi booth for the Lihu‘e Kendo Club, one of the participants at the event hosted by the Kaua‘i Japanese Cultural Society and co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and the County of Kaua‘i, Office of Economic Development.

With interactive activities spread throughout the lobby and overflowing onto the Hardy Street side of the convention hall, the free event offered a showcase of Japanese culture that attendees could take with them after participating in the many activities.

For those who prefer to just soak it in, a variety of vendors offered items with an Oriental flair that tied in with the Japanese culture.

All of this was peppered with a day-long entertainment program showcasing the talents of the various dance and other community groups like the kendo club.

Pearl Shimizu, president of the Kaua‘i Japanese Society, said, “Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s presence and warmth will be missed this year at our activities and festival. He has been an integral part and support of our festival each year.”

Film Commissioner Art Umezu said a delegation of visitors from Iwaki City in Japan made it a point to visit this year’s Matsuri to pay respects to the former mayor, and already have plans to have an even bigger delegation be a part of next year’s celebration — the 25th anniversary of Matsuri Kaua‘i.

Two weeks ago, an Iwaki City delegation of performers visited Kaua‘i to take in the hula competition phase of the Kaua‘i Mokihana Festival, and during that visit, the group performed its Jangara dance in tribute to Baptiste as well as to welcome Mayor Bill “Kaipo” Asing to office.

During the Matsuri Kaua‘i, performers offered up a number featuring the koto, a large Japanese stringed instrument, and shakuhachi, a large Japanese flute created out of bamboo.

Representatives from Iwaki City also distributed information about their city as well as samples of takuwan, a pickled radish which is usually enjoyed with a bowl of hot rice.

This takuwan sample was what Kato-Kluke alluded to when she said you can have all the rice you want, but there’s only one takuwan slice.

Some of this year’s Matsuri participants included Kaua‘i Kado (ikebana display), the Kaua‘i Bonsai Club and its demonstrations on bonsai, the MOA Kohrinka with its Flower Circle, the Okada Purifying Therapy offering Jorei, Wayne Miyata and Takeshi Fujita leading discussions and demonstrations in ceramics and oshibana, respectively. Warren Takabayashi had a nihon shishu, or silk embroidery setup, and the Japanese Cultural Society offered up a hachimaki, or Japanese headband station.

Jean Sakihara dressed up young children in either male or female Japanese formal attire, and the Urasenke Tanko Kai Kaua‘i Kyokai conducted a continuous series of Chado, or tea ceremony demonstrations.

The Kaua‘i Senior Centers, Hanayagi Mitsusumi Dance Studio from O‘ahu, the Kinsen Ryu Kaua‘i Shibu and East Kaua‘i Karaoke Club, Miyashiro Minbu Kai, Kapa‘a Karaoke Aiko Kai, East Minyo Dance Club and Tsubaki Karaoka, Kaua‘i Shin Buyo Kai and West Kaua‘i Karaoke, the Lihu‘e Senior Ukulele Group, Kaua‘i Taiko, the Hanapepe Judo Club and Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko were part of the entertainment lineup.

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