DES MOINES- A kimono fashion show, sushi-making workshops, martial arts demonstrations, traditional drumming circles, contemporary dance performances, and origami craft art: these might sound like things one would expect to experience on a week-long visit to Japan, but Iowans can see all of this and more next weekend in downtown Des Moines.
The public is invited to interact with Japanese culture firsthand on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 1:30-4:00 pm at the Downtown Des Moines Central Library during the Japan America Society of Iowa 25th Anniversary Celebration. The event is FREE and open to the public. Japanese snacks and sushi samples will be served, along with other refreshments.
Japan America Society of Iowa (JASI) is a volunteer-based community organization that promotes opportunities for Iowans to engage with Japanese culture, language, and the arts. Every year, JASI hosts monthly meetings and special evens to explore unique aspects of Japanese traditional and contemporary culture. Some of the organization’s signature annual events include a New Year bell tolling ceremony at the Iowa-Yamanashi peace bell, a large village presence in the IAA CelebrAsian festival at the Iowa State Capitol grounds, a summer star festival Tanabata celebration at Gray’s Lake, and the Anime DeMoii convention in the autumn, which has become a popular attraction for young people across the state and from around the Midwest region.
“This year, JASI is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. We are proud of the impact our organization continues to have on the community,” says Hiromi Umeda, JASI President. “We enjoy nothing more than sharing Japanese culture with our friends and neighbors. The celebration for our anniversary will highlight the special place our organization has in central Iowa, honor some of our elderly members who have been with the organization since its inception, and encourage Iowans to learn more about Japan and Japanese people while having a good time with their neighbors.”
In addition to performances on the stage and workshop activities that will run throughout the afternoon on Sept. 28, other Japan-related organizations will have display booths at the open house where Iowans can learn about other ways to connect with Japan in their local community. Confirmed booths include:
- Iowa Sister States
- Yamanashi Prefecture
- The Consulate General of Japan in Chicago
- Iowa Asian Alliance
- Des Moines Public Schools
- West Des Moines Public Schools
- Iowa Bonsai Association
- Des Moines Tea House Restoration Committee
In addition to other VIPS, the Deputy Consul-General of Japan will be in attendance from Chicago. The Governor of Iowa and the Mayor of Des Moines have also been invited.