The annual JapanFest Weekend is to feature Japanese cuisine during its Sept. 29-30 celebration in a new location at the Convention Center at Gwinnett Center.

Organized by the Japan-America Society of Georgia and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and supported by the Consulate General of Japan, JapanFest is part of a month-long series of events to promote understanding between Japanese and Americans in the Southeast.

The festival was held for 10 years at Stone Mountain Park, but it is moving to Gwinnett Center’s indoor performing arts center, which has air conditioning and free parking, as well as the “ability to simulate a nighttime Japanese festival and the guarantee of a rain free festival,” said Sachi Koto, general manager for this year’s JapanFest.

Focusing on Japanese cuisine, the event will feature nutritionist Sachiko Okada of Okayama, Japan, who will lecture on healthy eating and discuss her research on hatomugi, or pearl barley, a plant related to corn.

Cooking demonstrations by former chef and owner of Satsuki Restaurant in Atlanta Kuniaki Yoshimura, tea ceremony demonstrations, a green tea house and workshops on tea culture will be held during JapanFest. Also on display will be plastic food replicas developed by Japanese restaurant owners in the early 20th century.

Other events at JapanFest are to include performances by Matsuriza taiko drummers from Epcot Center, Japanese street performer and candy artist Masaji Terasawa, Japanese-American pianist, singer and songwriter Lisa Furukawa Ray, Japanese blues singer Tomi Isobe and the Ludwig Symphony Orchestra featuring a Japanese soloist.

Workshops on styling bonsai trees and the art of ikebana flower arranging, as well as stories about netsuke miniature carvings and lessons on haiku Japanese poetry in English will also be available at the festival.

The Japan-America Society will be selling t-shirts and temporary tattoos, while the Japanese Chamber will host a shopping market named after Ginza-dori, a Tokyo shopping district. The Georgia Japanese Language School will host a bazaar for Japanese household items and books.

The first 2,000 children to visit JapanFest will receive a free Japanese toy.

JapanFest weekend attracted some 17,500 visitors last year.

Delta Air Lines Inc., Coca-Cola Co., Elesys North America, Georgia Power Co. and Komatsu America Corp. are this year’s sponsors.

Tickets are $8, and children age 6 or younger are admitted for free.
Story Contacts, Links and Related Stories
JapanFest – (404) 842-0736