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Sunday, September 15 News

Celebration of Japanese culture at Fall Festival

WESTPORT — The colorful culture from the Land of the Rising Sun brought music, dance and spirited celebration to Jesup Green Saturday afternoon when the Japan Society of Fairfield County held its annual Japanese Fall Festival.

Bon odori dances, taiko drumming, and martial arts demonstrations were among the featured activities, with origami and chiyogami crafts, water yo-yo and other items enjoyed by visitors throughout the afternoon.

“The town of Westport has been very kind to let us use this space,” said Yoko Kawai, a JSFC board member.

She noted that the celebration, which is roughly held in tandem with Obon — the festival and season that celebrates the spirits of ancestors who have passed on — is a chance to celebrate the historic culture for Japanese Americans, and also share it with everyone.

“I think it’s a great way to celebrate,” said Junko Burns of Westport, who works with the New York Taiko Aikokai, which performed at Jesup Green.

“Obon holds special meaning as a homecoming for family members, much like Thanksgiving here,” said Masanari Tamiai, a member of the Japanese Consulate in New York City.

“We couldn’t have a more perfect day for this, and the crowd looks bigger than ever,” said First Selectman Jim Marpe.

“I know this is an important festival not only for Westport, but for the entire Fairfield County and Westchester County area,” he said.

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