Japan fisherman dance depicts the hardship of a young fisherman’s life. The performance is part of All Over The Map dance series, a summer festival of multicultural arts and culture at Vancouver’s Granville Island in July & August, 2010.
For more than 30 years, the Powell Street Festival has always been in the Japantown area of Oppenheimer Park on Powell Street near downtown Vancouver. Because of renovation plans at Oppenheimer last year, the event was relocated to Woodland Park, not quite the same neighborhood but nearby. This year the 34th annual Powell Street Festival, one of the oldest community arts festival in Vancouver, is back and calling it a homecoming return to Oppenheimer Park.
Without the Powell Street Festival, many tourists or even long-time Vancouver residents wouldn’t think of or realize that there was a Japantown in Vancouver. That’s because Vancouver’s Japanese community has seen its decline since the Japanese internment during WWII (an injustice done to the Japanese Canadians) and the post-war boom of the Japanese economy which has also lured many Japanese Canadians back to their home country.
Now that the Powell Street Festival is back and shall continue its tradition of celebrating the arts and culture of Japanese Canadians which like many multicultural groups in Canada is undergoing some major changes the longer they have set foot in Canada or for many of the newer generations are actually born in this country. From this year’s programmes and schedules, a large majority of the performances are a mix of different cultures. Even their names and descriptions indicate a melting of some sort is going on. Paris in Tokyo, Shout!WhiteDragon and Haagen & Ryuzen. Others such as Coração Boêmio, a Portuguese-Japanese act, Katari Taiko with Mario Zetina, ancient Asia drumming act with a Latin influence etc. all feature a mating of opposite polarities of different forces at work to achieve a yin-yang harmony.
The Powell Street Festival is actually too large and diverse to be contained in one single-block long public park. There are ticketed theatre acts, night performances, walking tours, museum exhibits, movie screenings, community and special events etc. happening in different venues around town. For sustainability, the Powell Street Festival has introduced the Zero Waste Challenge and Free Bike Valet service for the last three years. The idea is to encourage recycling, ride the bike, use public transportation to come to the festival and other green initiatives.
Something old and something new. There are plenty of traditions to appreciate though. For example, Sa-do (Tea Way or Tea Service) will be presented by Urasenke Foundation of Vancouver. Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arranging, Bonsai, the art of miniature trees growing, Origami, Sumo, Karate, Aikido demos etc. are all things Japan. Last but not least will be the Omikoshi which is an ancient traditional ceremonial ritual of carrying a portable shrine by a group of carriers who are believed to be possessed by a divine spirit. They will rock the omikoshi, make noises to bring good fortune to those who happen to be nearby. Don’t miss it.
Oppenheimer Park, 400 Powell Street, Vancouver BC
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