11th Annual Maui Matsuri
By Kristin Hashimoto
Last year, nine thousand people enjoyed this Japanese festival. This year, the University of Hawaii, Maui College, will host Maui’s largest Japanese cultural event from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on May 14. There will be Obon dancing, a kodomo (childrens) craft corner, Hanafuda (card game) contest, saimin eating and natto (fermented soybean) eating contests, and a myriad of demonstrations, exhibits and activities for adults.
Imagine people in elaborate costumes (cosplay), competing for top honors, while those with artistic flair, drawing skills, and a sense for storytelling vie for recognition in the manga contest. Food and craft booths will be spread out on the grounds of UHMC. Festival maps of demonstrations, exhibits, and live entertainment can be found online at www.mauimatsuri.com.
Entertainment will include: Taiko drumming, Okinawan dancing, Obon Dancing, shamisen (3-stringed musical instrument) playing, singing, and appearances by the Kikaider Brothers (Japanese superheroes), and much more.
This event is organized by pure volunteer power. Major sponsors include: the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui, Maui Taiko, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, and County of Maui. Private donors also support the event.
Admission is free. Contact 283-9999 for event information, or visit www.mauimatsuri.com. If you’re free Friday night on the 13th and feel like going to a movie, stop by the UHMC Pilina Building for Japanese movie night featuring: “Great Grandfather’s Drum” and “Memories of Tomorrow.” Showtime is at 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.