When my good friends, Pam Dunnett and Reiko Iwanaga of At Your Request Event Planners asked me to help them with this year's Spirit of Japantown Festival it was an automatic. I mean what's not to love about several city blocks of food, fun and entertainment that celebrates 120 years of Japantown San Jose.
This event featured three stages (Spirit, Hawaii, Kids) as well as all day Martial Arts demonstrations in the Buddhist Church Annex. I donated my sound system for the main Spirit Stage and enjoyed sharing the Master of Ceremonies duties with Robert Handa of KTVU Fox2.
Mother Nature cooperated beautifully with perfect Northern California fall weather.
The President of the Japantown Community Congress, Tamon Norimoto, chats with Robert Handa before the awards presentation and sake ceremony.
Tamon accepts a commendation from Congresswoman Zoe Logren honoring the 120 year history of Japantown San Jose.
The sake ceremony included the traditional breaking of the wooden drum (Kagami-wari) which holds the Japanese wine.
The entertainment bill was an eclectic mix of old and new. The award winning San Jose Taiko group got everyone's blood pumping early with their exciting drum sounds.
And in beautiful contrast were the subtle acoustic strings of the Marimo Kai Koto Ensemble.
We wrapped up the event with a raffle drawing and rousing performance of alternative pop by the Communiste Kayte Band. At the end of the day it was a great celebration of the heritage and spirit of San Jose's Japantown. I was thankful for the opportunity to be involved.