To say that 2020 has been a difficult year is an obvious understatement. Even if the Coronavirus did not infect you or someone close to you, the impact of the pandemic has played havoc with all aspects of our lives. So for most of us the end of 2020 could not come soon enough. It is heartening that we now have a COVID-19 vaccine. Hopefully by the summer of 2021 we will be able to get back to a more normal life.
In the meantime, I wish everyone a joyous Holiday Season. May your Holiday be blessed with the love and warmth of family and friends even if its only via Zoom. Please continue to keep safe and healthy and hopefully we will see you at some VNCS event in the not to distant future.
Watch the Japanese Cultural Fair Virtual Edition right here on the VNCS website on Saturday, October 24th from 12:00pm to 3:00pm (Pacific Daylight Time). Below is the performance schedule line up. Please note that as this is a live broadcast event…times may not be exact.
Virtual Edition – Performance Line Up
Uminari Taiko (12:05)
The fair opens with Uminari Taiko and the thunder of Japanese drums. Vancouver Island’s only taiko drumming ensemble their name translates as “roaring sea” – the sound of the crashing waves and the silence in between – a tribute to the drums and our windswept island. uminaritaiko.com
Tea Ceremony (12:30)
Chado Urasenke Tankokai Victoria Association – Urasenke style traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, the Way of Tea, has been taught by Mrs. Mito since 1998. Her group will demonstrate the casual Chabako style, which has a box containing all the utensils and is suitable for outdoor gatherings where the guest can enjoy a bowl of tea outside. Urasenke Chado Tradition
Ikebana Demonstration (12:50)
Sensei Michiko Segeuv will demonstrate Sogetsu Ikebana flower arranging through four different arrangements with dried and fresh plant materials and Ikebana containers. Seguev is a certified Sogetsu Ikebana School teacher who trained in Tokyo and has been teaching for 20 years. Sogetsu Ikebana
Interview with special guest Jordan Stanger-Ross (1:10)
Jordan Stranger-Ross will talk about UVIC’s Landscapes of Injustice project, its successes, and its next steps highlighting the dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s. The project’s Director and an associate professor of history, he is the author of several award-winning publications. Dr. Jordan Stanger-Ross
Kimono and its Seasonal Differences (1:25)
Hitomi Harama, a specialist of Kimono and Japanese culture, will introduce the Kimono, its culture, and its 1,300-plus years of history. Though it ceased being daily wear for Japanese people around 1940, it is at the heart of Japanese culture and embedded with deep cultural matters. umesilkkimono.com
Sake Q&A with Shino (1:35)
Shino Yamashiro is from Okinawa and Sake sommelier and manager at Ené Raw Food + Sake Bar. She will answer viewer’s questions about sake and give us suggestions on paring sake with various food. Send in your questions to email@example.com for your chance to win 1 Sake Flight Free! nuboene.com
Enjoying Daikon (Japanese Radish) in your Kitchen and Garden (2:00)
Umi Nami Farm Learn about some tasty, fresh and healthy ways to enjoy daikon (Japanese radish) with Heather from Umi Nami Farms. Located in Metchosin since 1996, they specialize in year-round organic vegetable and fruit production, used by some restaurant chefs in town + have a box program. uminamifarm.com
Kamishibai Story Telling (2:10)
Yuri Pomeroy Kamishibai or “paper play” is a form of Japanese street theatre and storytelling popular during the Depression of the 1930s and the post-war period in Japan until the advent of TV. Yuri Pomeroy, the founder of JLC Victoria pre-school, will read two classic stories. Great for the kids! jlcvictoria.com
Interview with special guest Natsuki Abe (2:25)
Natsuki Abe will join the Virtual Fair to talk about the recently formed VNCS Heritage Community that she chairs and share its goals. She is a research assistant on UVIC’s Landscapes of Injustice project that focuses on the dispossession and forced sale of property owned by Japanese Canadians. Natsuki Abe
Making Maki (Rolled) Sushi (2:30)
Lynn Howard-Gibbon, a sushi chef at Sen Zushi since 2005, will demonstrate how to make popular sushi rolls such as Futomaki and California rolls easily at home. Lynn lived in Japan from 1994 to 1999 and is active in the Japanese community, including Urasenke Tankokai (tea ceremony). senzushi.com
Rina El-Nahas Rina and the Japanese Minyo Band is a traditional Japanese music band playing music called Tohoku Minyo from the northern area of Japan. Rina has been performing and playing this style of music since age of five and won numerous awards in Japanese traditional competitions in Japan.
Uminari Taiko Finale (3:00)
The roar of the Japanese drum will close out the virtual fair with a second, unique performance by Uminari Taiko. uminaritaiko.com
Victoria’s annual Japanese Cultural Fair & Auction go online with live-streaming this year.
The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society’s 21stAnnual Japanese Cultural Fair is going new places this year – online.
The Virtual Edition of the fair is being presented as a three-hour long live online show combining pre-taped vignettes and live performances, all highlighting Victoria’s Japanese community.
“For more than two decades the fair has been the main event on our society’s calendar, and it is our way of sharing our history and culture with everyone in Greater Victoria,” said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “We decided a few months ago that we would face the pandemic like so many people are facing it – we would adapt to it but we would not let it stop us.”
Viewers can expect performances of Taiko drumming, Koto playing, Ikebana flower arranging, the Japanese tea ceremony, Kyudo Japanese archery, Kimono dressing, and Kamishibai story telling, as well as a look at Japanese vegetables by Umi Nami Farms.
“We’re disappointed we can’t get together in person, and enjoy the fabulous food made by volunteers that’s always a delight, but we are looking at the positives,” Kurushima said. “We’re looking forward to having video presentations that will be able to provide a closer look than any stage performance ever could.”
The full schedule of events will be posted at VNCS.ca as soon as it is finalized.
Where and When:
What: 21st Annual Japanese Cultural Fair – Virtual Edition
Japanese community concerned with Victoria’s cherry tree removal
Victoria – The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society is worried the City of Victoria’s urban forest plan could threaten the future of the culturally and historically significant cherry trees lining many streets in Victoria and beloved by the entire community.
Victoria’s first blossoming cherry trees were purchased and donated by the Japanese community more than eight decades ago after their float won first place and $300 in prize money in the Victoria’s 75th anniversary parade in 1937.
“It’s disappointing that City Hall has failed to consult with Victoria’s Japanese community and the wider community about council’s plans that could uproot history,” said VNCS President Tsugio Kurushima. “It’s ironic that the history of Victoria’s cherry trees has been ignored at the same time VNCS is working with the Township of Esquimalt to right the historical wrong of the destruction of the Japanese tea house during the Second World War.”
Kurushima pointed out the cherry trees were selected by Victoria’s parks superintendent in the 1930s because native trees like firs and maples were buckling sidewalks. Cherry trees are also easier to maintain, require less watering, and prove hardier than many native trees.
“Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are a sign spring has arrived in Victoria and so many people love to celebrate the beauty they bring to our community,” Kurushima added. “For more than 80 years these trees have survived and thrived, and it’s clear that they can continue to spark joy for people many more decades.”
Kurushima noted that the points being made that climate change and drought resistance being the reasons to replace cherry trees has been debunked by University of Victoria forest biologist Dr. Patrick von Aderkas.
“Rather than climate change, it’s old age that is impacting the health of some of these 80-year-old trees. In fact, that time span is an incredible accomplishment for an ornamental tree,” Dr. von Aderkas said. “The reality of these cherry trees is the exact opposite of claims being made – they have an excellent adaptation in the face of climate change due to the superior water-seeking abilities of their roots. They are tough urban trees that are low on maintenance.”
Kurushima encouraged Victoria residents who share the Japanese community’s love of the cherry trees and their annual blossoming to share their concerns directly with the mayor and city councillors.
Media contact: Tsugio Kurushima, President, Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society (250) 384-2654
AGM – 9:45 am – 11:30 am (Reports, New Business, Election of Officers)
Break and Refreshments – 11:30 am – 11:45 am
Guest Speaker – 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
MEMBERS ONLY EVENT
(Memberships can be created/renewed at the AGM or online)
Please plan to attend our Society’s Annual General Meeting which will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Multi-purpose Room, 9:45 AM to 12:45 PM. Following the AGM our special guest speaker will be Ken Watai, VNCS Board Member and sake importer.
Ken Watai, President of BC Sake Association, Board member and Treasurer of the VNCS
The Story of Sake
Ken’s presentation will cover the history of sake, the sake making process, the types of sake. He will show a video of the sake making process.
Ken Watai has been a long time VNCS Board member and our Treasurer since 2010. After retirement over 20 years ago, he became an international marketing consultant for various mineral commodities for Canadian mining companies. From year 2000, he started his importing business of sake. He is the representative of 5 sake breweries and is responsible for providing sake to the Western Canada.