What started as a way to help local Japanese children connect with their homeland’s culture has grown into one of Guam’s biggest annual events.
The Japan Club of Guam’s annual fall festival celebrates its 36th anniversary this month. On November 21, thousands of Guamanians will descend on Governor Joseph Flores Beach Park for an evening of gastronomic, fun and cultural immersion.
âThe event was getting bigger and bigger, and even the locals liked it,â says Maho Quinene, who is in charge of public relations for the Japan Club. âIt got so big, it became the biggest event in Guam. I think there were 30,000 people last year.
The event has become a favorite activity for thousands of Guam families. Traditional practices such as bringing shrines and playing the taiko, or Japanese drum, are just a few facets of the annual event.
Members of the Japan Club will perform traditional dances and demonstrate the ancient martial art of Aikido. Students from the Japanese school in Mangilao will also sing songs, says Quinene.
For children there will be lots of Japanese toys and games, and goldfish fishing with paper nets. For adults, there is Japanese sake.
âAs our event grew, we started to think about ways to show our appreciation to the community of Guam, as they have accepted Japanese society as well,â she says. “It’s a lot of work and everyone has a job to do, but we’re going to show our culture and show our appreciation to the community.”
The growth of the event has made it a staple for dozens of vendors, who will sell food for around three to five coupons. A coupon costs $ 1.
And a Japanese chef will carve sashimi from a whole tuna, says Quinene.
Proceeds from the event will be used to help the Japanese school, which teaches about 80 students on weekdays and about 100 students in Saturday classes.
The event runs from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The club organized a shuttle service from Guam Greyhound Park. Shuttles will run every 10 to 15 minutes, starting at 2:30 p.m. The last bus leaves Ypao at 9:45 p.m.
This article originally appeared on Pacific Daily News: Celebrating Japanese Culture