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BEHIND THE SCENES: Hundreds enjoy Japan Festival in Bell Park reporter Jenny Lamothe takes us behind the scenes

Hundreds of Sudburians gathered at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park on July 22 for the Japan Festival, where the mesmerizing sound of Taiko drums filled the air. The event offered a delightful mix of vendors, delectable food choices, and valuable insights into Japanese culture and traditions. At the center of it all was Takako Shoji Boyle, the woman who initiated the festival.

Originally from Tokyo and one of the few individuals of Japanese descent in Sudbury, Boyle's passion for Japanese culture led her to create the first festival in 2019. Despite funding the event from her own pocket and organizing it entirely herself, the pandemic temporarily disrupted her plans for an annual festival. However, Boyle's determination knows no bounds, and with word-of-mouth promotion, the festival's popularity has grown significantly.

Visitors from near and far, including Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa, were drawn to witness the captivating Taiko drum performances, a highlight of the festival. Boyle's Japanese restaurant, Kako's Kitchen, was also present at the event, drawing crowds to savor its authentic cuisine. Looking ahead, Boyle expressed her excitement for next year's now-annual festival, eager to continue sharing the beauty of Japanese culture with the community.

Video Summary:

Hundreds of people gathered at Sudbury's Bell Park for a Japan Festival organized by Takako Shoji Boyle, one of the few individuals of Japanese descent in Sudbury. Despite facing initial challenges, Boyle's passion for Japanese culture drove her to create the festival in 2019, funding it herself. The event offers a mix of cultural elements, including Taiko drumming, traditional dances, and authentic Japanese cuisine from Boyle's restaurant, Kako's Kitchen.

As the festival gains popularity, Boyle envisions expanding its scope in the future. Despite the pandemic's impact, people from larger cities are now visiting to experience Japanese culture in Sudbury. Boyle plans to make the festival an annual event and hopes to include more performances and diverse vendors in the future.

Boyle's dedication to sharing Japanese traditions and customs has influenced Sudbury's community, offering an incredible experience for attendees. Through Taiko drumming, dance performances, and the introduction of Kako's Kitchen, the first Japanese restaurant in Sudbury, she has sparked a growing appreciation for Japanese culture among the locals.

For attendees, highlights of the festival included the joy and surprise on the faces of developmentally disabled individuals experiencing the cultural performances and the opportunity for children to embrace and learn about Japanese culture from a young age. The festival's success and impact have made Sudbury fall in love with Japan, thanks to Boyle and the small community of individuals of Japanese descent in the city.

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