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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Disappointed at Sunday's Japantown Lantern Festival

On Sunday, August 29th, Japantown hosted the Lantern Festival which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Japanese ship the Kanrin Maru to San Francisco Bay.

This event may have been a substitute for the neighborhood's annual Fall Festival where the Peace Plaza was used to for Obon line dancing and programs, however in previous years, the annual event was held in October.

I was excited to visit the place I call "home" to meet all my friends, but I was very disappointed with the event when I arrived to watch the last few hours.

There was several problems with the event that disappointed me and many other people from the community, including one of my friends who is an editor for the Nichi Bei Weekly (formerly known as Nichi Bei Times):
  • Lack of advertising of event.
  • Lack of planning and preparation for event.
  • Lack of participation.
  • Master of ceremonies was a terrible public speaker. Did not give clear instructions to the Obon dancers.
  • Lantern parade was an embarrassment to our honored guests from Japan.
  • Huge gaps in the Obon line dancing. People did not spread-out evenly and refused to follow the chalk lines to make it look orderly.
If the Japantown community wants to host another similar festival like this, keep it at the Peace Plaza. It's more intimate in a smaller venue than literally using an entire city block.

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