On September 29 and 30, GPB's Irasshai enjoyed its presence at the annual JapanFest held this year at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. This year marked the 21st anniversary of this exciting event, organized by The Japan-America Society of Georgia, and The Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, and supported by the Consulate General of Japan. The festival had historically been held at Stone Mountain, where Irasshai has been an active participant since the event was moved there in 1996.
JapanFest attendees made their way through the convention hall to watch and sometimes take part in demonstrations, performances, and various workshops including bonsai, ikebana, and kimono-wearing. In addition, there were many Japanese companies who are based in Georgia displaying their products in the Made in Georgia exhibition. More serious shoppers browsed the vast array of Japanese household goods, books, masks, toys, ceramics, traditional clothing and more.
The Irasshai booth was center of the popular trivia bowl, where participants challenged three rounds of Japanese language and culture related questions. Everyone walked away a winner, with the top prize being the highly-treasured Irasshai T-shirt for the more than 40 participants who were able to answer all three questions correctly.
The event was also an opportunity for Irasshai students to meet their A.I. (telephone) teachers, and to practice their Japanese. Host and TV teacher, Tim Cook, was also on site for a photo opportunity with Irasshai students. Program facilitators from Georgia high schools who were also able to attend got the chance to meet and chat with the Irasshaistaff. JapanFest was once again an excellent opportunity for people to experience first-hand the many wonderful aspects of Japanese culture.
Irasshai will be present at the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) conference in San Antonio, TX on November 16-18, 2007!