Japan Day: Omocha Matsuri

Can you Kendama? If you were at Japan Day, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Omocha Matsuri is the Japanese Festival of Toys, and so throughout the day, there was plenty of Kendama (cup and ball)-playing, as well as Daruma Otoshi (a wood stacking and striking game), and Ayatori (Cat’s Cradle).

In addition, kids painted clay Daruma (Japanese wishing dolls), built a downhill derby with personalized wiggle-bots, and an origami station where kids folded paper into crane, heart, and kabuki helmet shapes. Volunteers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency gave visitors the chance to build colorful rockets to launch at their “moon.”  Eleven-year-old Camille looked around and said, “I like getting to experience different cultures and meet new people.”

The organization Table for Two led Onigiri (rice balls) making, and the Japan Information and Culture Center presented a Kamishibai story. One of the representatives, David Baasch, said of the event, “This is a great way to experience the life of children in Japan through their activities. Common games, along with new ones, show that cultures can be alike and different at the same time. It’s a way of having a cultural exchange in a fun way.”

Maya Chessen & Dya Ishak