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Let’s Talk Mini Matsuri

Louise Akuzawa, Chair, Nikkei Matsuri organizing committee talks about Mini Matsuri

This story is a translation from the original Japanese article in Fraser go Local, August 15, 2021

Q: While Online events are still happening, what is the reason for an in-person event?
A:  We know we are still in Pandemic and many people worry about infection.  However, we think it is important to feel togetherness at the Nikkei Centre and wanted to deliver the lively Matsuri Spirit.

Q: You value the presence of Nikkei Centre
A. Yes, our Japanese Canadian predecessors worked hard to build Nikkei Centre to share Japanese culture and to preserve history.  I would like to see the vibrant Centre be pass on to the next generation.  I also wanted to maintain Nikkei Matsuri spirit.

Q: I understand that this is your 6th year as Matsuri Chair?
A:  Yes, Nikkei Matsuri inaugurated in 2013 by Nikkei Place Foundation.  The following year Akiko Gomyo took on the leadership as the organizing committee Chair.  Aid by her husband Akira Ebisawa, she established the current format which features Food, Beer Garden, games, entertainment and other activities.  My husband and I joined the organizing committee as volunteers at that time.  Akiko passed the “Matsuri Baton” to me in 2016. I am honoured to have this opportunity to work with the NNMCC staff and volunteers and intend to continue for some time.

Q: What are your favourite Nikkei Matsuri memories?
A:  In 2018 we had a real Ninja from Japan with support from the office of the Consul General of Japan Vancouver.  Our event hall was packed by excited kids to see the Ninja presentation.  The following year we were honoured to welcome Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado to the opening ceremony.  That was a special moment.

Q: Nikkei Matsuri has been growing and in a non-covid year you had more than 14,000 visitors over 2 event days. 
A: We are pleased that it has became an end of summer tradition. We like to deliver authentic Matsuri festival to the community, including children.

Q: What COVID precautions are being implemented this year?
A:  We have introduced advanced timed-entry tickets as a way to manage attendance and performances will primarily be held outdoor. 
Please come and enjoy our Taiko drums, Japanese traditional dance and instruments, and much more.  Our food vendors are back and as is our Japanese SAKE at Beer Garden.  We also have children’s games and lots of seating in the event hall.

The Organizing Committee members is working hard to prepare for Matsuri weekend.  This is a family friendly event with things to do and see for all ages.  We hope to see you this Labour Day weekend.
(Interview article written by Kaori Hirano)

Louise Akuzawa:  Originally from Tokyo.  Former Senior Reporter of Vancouver Shinpo Japanese Canadian newspaper.  Chair, Nikkei Matsuri organizing committee since 2016.  Joined Board of Directors, Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre in 2020.