Saturday afternoon, Bell Park hosted the first, of what is likely to become an annual Japanese Festival Matsuri celebration of art, religion and culture in Sudbury.
This inaugural event was organized by local Takako Shoji Boyle, who originally from Tokyo, said she is one of 20 individuals living in Sudbury whose first language is Japanese. She said she was inspired to begin this annual tradition for the sake of her bi-cultural and bi-lingual family, as well as the community's growing interest in Japanese culture.
This is a good opportunity to share Japanese style and culture with my family, she said. "It's hard to go back to Japan every year, especially with small children...but it's important to share."
Boyle moved to Sudbury six years ago, where she met her husband Adam and welcomed Kate, Sophia and Yamato Boyle into the world. While Boyle said she has not seen a significant increase in the Japanese population since moving to Sudbury, it is important to establish a community so that recent immigrants have a way to feel connected to Japan and get the support of those facing similar challenges.
Especially for those with children, she said, so that they can carry on Japanese traditions.
Through partnerships with friends in Sudbury and the greater Toronto area, Boyle's inaugural Japenese Festival Matsuri featured Japanese dessert, noodles, origami, high-quality tea, a display of kimonos, as well as a variety of products and children's activities.
The day included a special presentation of Kamishibai, which is a form of Japanese theatre that combines the use of hand-drawn visuals with the narration of a live presenter. This not only made for great children's entertainment said Megumi Overton, who helped arrange the performance, but gave adults like herself the opportunity to relive their childhoods.
The Japanese Festival Matsuri also included a demonstration of Goju Ryu Karate by Sudbury MMA, who follow the Ryusyokai style based out of Okinawa Japan. Instructor Charles Marson led members of his team and festival-goers through a series of drills, which demonstrate the katas of self-defence, or basic, structured movements as he said.
Boyle said she did not select a beneficiary this year as it was a free event, but looks forward to working with partners moving forward, as she expands and improves upon this year's festivities.