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On October 26, 2019, the residents of Greater Victoria had a chance to experience, taste, and celebrate Japan and its culture at the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 20th annual Japanese Cultural Fair held at the Esquimalt Recreation Centre. Close to 1,000 attendees took in over 35 different cultural acts and consumed large amounts of delicious Japanese cuisine.

In addition to the favourite cultural acts such as the taiko performance, Tea Ceremony, ikebana show and martial arts demonstrations, several new cultural acts were added. New sessions this year included:

  • Sake 101 – E:Ne raw food + sake bar shared the history of this important Japanese drink and its pairing with cuisine and culture. Sake sampling was a part of this presentation.
  • Manga Artist Atsushi Sugawara displayed his art and demonstrated its creation all day long.
  • Dillon Takata, a descendant of the family who once owned and operated the Gorge Park Tea Garden house, discussed its creation, eventual destruction, and the ongoing efforts to rebuild this piece of Japanese-Canadian history.
  • In her first visit to Canada, Japanese Opera singer Yuria Wakai performed a number of Japanese folk songs.
  • Zandra MacNeill presented Lace Escape: Alternative Fashion and Kawaii Culture in Japan—a look at the beautiful lolita fashion subculture pioneered by Japanese women in the 1980s.

No Japanese festival can be complete without delicious treats to savour. This year’s menu included sushi, bento boxes, poke, onigiri rice balls, YYJ dogs, several varieties of manju (a Japanese pastry) and new this year, Japanese curried rice—a classic Japanese comfort food. Very little food was left over at the end of the day.

“For 20 years we have been sharing our culture with all of Greater Victoria and this year’s Japanese Cultral Fair turned out to be the best ever” —VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima.

PHOTOS BY JOHN-EVAN SNOW

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