The world of Japan opens to the suburbs this weekend, as Japan Fest 2013 returns to a new location. The festival will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 8 and 9, at Elk Grove High School, 500 W. Elk Grove Blvd.
Admission is free. Two entertainment stages will showcase traditional Japanese dance, minyo (folk dance), Taiko (Japanese drums), Koto (Japanese harp) and various martial arts.
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Guests can meet Konishiki Yasokichi, the first non-Japanese-born wrestler to reach Ozeki, the second highest rank in Sumo. Yasokichi, or Saleva'a Fuauli Atisano'e, is a Hawaiian-born Japanese-Samoan former sumo wrestler. He won the top division championship on three occasions and came close to becoming the first foreign-born grand champion, or yokozuna.
The fest will include activities, such as cosplay, or "costume play," a kids corner, raffle, and a series of exhibits and demonstrations, including "Discover Sumo," Japanese flower arrangements, Japanese arts and crafts, Katana (Japanese swords) and the tea ceremony. Authentic Japanese food will be available to purchase.
NASCAR Driver Akinori Ogata and a therapeutic robot named Paro also will be present at the fest.
The Japan Festival 2013 is presented by the Mid America Japanese Club, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Chicago, and the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago, all in partnership with District 214 Community Education.