If you are in anyway shape or form like us then you love being able to experience the culture you are most in love with; case-in-point Japanese Culture. So what better way to do that than to be able to experience a locally hosted Japanese Fall Festival hosted in your hometown with guests and performances by artists and everyday folk from a sister city located in Japan; The town of Isesaki to be exact. Experiencing something like this is rare for most as many cities don’t have a sister city to lean on or a particularly big and local Japanese population. For those that do they grant the local population a chance to experience something more from a land far away, the land of the rising sun.
This was my first year attending the Mizumoto Stroll Garden Japanese Fall Festival that is held every September 9th-11th. Much like how Naka-Kon impresses me this festival was able to leave the same amount of an impression. It is a beautiful garden that I feel upset for never going to on a weekly basis as it is such a relaxing garden to simply stroll through. This year’s festival seemed to be on par with past years with general improvements from what I could gather from asking attendees who had a much longer track record with attending this sort of event. I can say that for my first time and attending the last day of the event I had a most wonderful time; slightly sun-burned but equal parts wonderful. I got to watch the talented and hilarious Samurai Sword Soul group perform for roughly a half hours time and it was brilliantly funny and clever! For those wondering Samurai Sword Soul is a performing arts group founded by Yoshi Amao & Yoshishisa Kuwayama in 2003. They frequently perform in the New York metro area and have garnered national coverage and have performed at various other venues and festivals.
We also got to witness the Saint Louis Osuwa Taiko group perform for everyone in the closing hours of the festival. I’ve always had an enjoyment for the traditional sounds of Japanese music and these Taiko drums do so much justice to the feeling of classical Japanese music. This particular group has been around since 1986 when Grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi paid the sister-city to Suwa (Saint Louis) a visit, bringing with him drums (Which he donated a year later) and the knowledge of Taiko to found the Osuwa Taiko group.
Beyond the performances I did get a chance to dabble with a few local cosplayers from Springfield Cosplay which is a group I hope to get in-touch with soon for a feature in the creators we love section! Beyond this I will hopefully have a few videos that will accompany this post as well as the pictures I took of the surrounding stroll garden as it is most beautiful. I wished that I had attended this event for all three days so I am hoping to be able to rectify that within the next year; hopefully with a sort of live stream based coverage so you can all join in! Beyond that I hope to see this cultural festival grow and expand into bigger and better things! After all it is the local festivals that matter the most in spreading culture and awareness. I gotta hand it to the Springfield based Sister Cities initiative and their motto of “Peace through People”. This is a theme and idea that anyone can get behind and share a chance at being able to mingle with others from a wonderful country.
Have you attended a local Japanese festival? Did you have an enjoyable experience at yours? Maybe you where at this one! Feel free to let us know down in the comment section down below! Also feel free to read a little bit about the Mizumoto Stroll Garden!
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