Friday, April 12, 2013

Ken-Bun-Ki "American Festa"

 Note: "Russell's Ken-Bun-Ki" is a series of articles I wrote for my Japanese City Hall newsletter back in 1996-97. They were articles about life in America or life in Japan as experienced by an American. This one is from May 1, 1997. 

May 25 will see The Aya American Festa come to Aya. The site will be the open filed in front of the Health Center. The event will run from 10 AM until 3 PM.

The festival will include traditional American games and culture, interaction, and food. There will be American Football, basketball, horse-shoe tossing, and darts among the seven games of chance in the carnival corner. Also there will be special games for elementary, middle, and high school students such as sack races and a cake walk that everyone of all ages can enjoy. The prizes are great, too! All of them are "made in USA" that have been imported to japan or that we got from US companies in Japan. At lunchtime you can enjoy the flavor of a true US barbecue lunch. And by barbecue I do not mean Japanese "yaki-niku." Our menu will be a US hot dog, a drink, and potato chips for a true "in America" feeling. Please lok forward to it!

This event is a continuation of Kunitomi's Southern Festa from two year's ago and last year's USA Carnival in Amagajo in Takaoka. Kunitomi Co-Ordinator of International Relations (CIR) Ben Brown and Takaoka's CIR Michael Hatch are just two of the foreigners from all over the prefecture who are scheduled to appear. This will be a fun international experience, so be sure to bring your family and friends!

Tickets are on-sale now for five hundred yen. Ticket price includes the meal ticket, a drink ticket, game tickets, and a lottery ticket. Quantities are limited. Please talk to the Education Office for more details.

See you there!

This was basically an advertisement for our huge international event, The American Festa. Aya is the name of the town where I worked for 14 years; Takaoka and Kunitomi were the two towns next to Aya. We each had our own CIRs, and for these four years we were all Americans. Ben, Mike, and I worked together for various events such as speech contests and cooking classes. In his first year Ben in Kunitomi was told he had budget money for a larger event for his town, and he came up with the idea of pooling our resources to have a HUGE event. My town and Mike's town agreed to cooperate if we would agree to take the show on the road. That first year we also had Beth in Saito City (on the other side of Kunitomi) help out as well. We did Ben's town first, then Mike's, and then mine. Mine was the last, because the summer of 1997 saw Ben and Mike leave Japan (Beth had left in 1996). The group was broken up, and I went back to being a solo act, haha.

We had a large group of friends who were happy to attend, not only to hang out with each other (and speak in English) but to play football and darts and to have American hot dogs for lunch. We all spoke Japanese and had contacts to get things imported, so we did a heck of a good job planning these things. It was a success.

Here are some photos from Ben's American Festa in Kunitomi. It would have been in 1995. And there is one photo of this particular event that was printed in the Aya Newsletter a week after the event occurred.

 Vegetarian Chili and dozens of hot dog rolls (the bbq is off camera)

The lottery for US made this case, a t-shirt from Atlanta.
That's Mike in the vest, Beth on the podium, and Ben on the right. 
And me in my Russell Athletic sweat-shirt

In this shot you can see the Basketball Free-Throw game in the foreground
as well s one of the Football players standing around in the center. 
They were from the local university and put on an exhibition game
for us. It was a lot of fun. 

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