An expression of culture and friendship

Annual Japanese festival returns to WHS April 25

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Attendees at the 2014 Japanese Cultural Festival peruse some of the displays in the commons at Washougal High School. This year's festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

Every April, the commons area at Washougal High School is transformed into a celebration of Japanese culture.

This year, the popular festival returns with music, dancing, displays and traditional Japanese food from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

The theme is “Friends.” A first-year Japanese student designed a logo, according to teacher Shoko Parker.

“Her classmates loved the design,” she said. “In fact, that’s why we decided to use ‘friends’ as our festival theme this year.”

During the festival, a highlight is always the cultural performance at Washburn Performing Arts Center Auditorium between 1 and 2:30 p.m., according to Parker.

“This year, we are inviting professional performers to share Taiko drums, Okoto string instruments and traditional dance on the stage,” she said. “The Taiko drummers are elementary school students from Portland, Oregon. They came to perform last year and they are coming back this year as well. Their performance is inspiring for anyone to see because it vividly shows that they practice rigorously.”

New to the festival will be Kimono demonstrators, who will show their Kimono dresses and explain why and how they are wearing them.

“This should be very interesting because a set of Kimono dresses is very expensive and it is rare to see and hear the Japanese women reveal why and how on the stage,” Parker said.

At the commons, there will be displays and demonstrations including flower arranging and calligraphy, Kendo swordsmanship and Origami paper crafts.

Food offerings include curry and rice, Udon noodle soup, green tea ice cream, Ramune drinks and snacks.

Raffle tickets will also be sold and include a gift certificate from Uwajimaya (a Japanese grocery store,) with a location in Beaverton. Japanese products and other items are being donated by local Japanese companies.

Everything, including the concert tickets, raffle tickets and food items are $5 or less.