Our Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition sponsored our 6th annual New Year’s Tucson Japanese Festival on Jan. 20, 2019 at the a new location, the lovely Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, 1288 W. River  Rd. We seemed to have outgrown PCC Downtown where we hosted the 3rd, 4th and 5th festivals.

The highlight again was the mochi pounding (from rice), making and sampling.


This festival was a huge success with about 2000 people attending, and several dance/music performances, martial arts group demos, exhibitors (including Southern Arizona Koi Assn.), tea ceremonies, the art of kimono, children’s games (Go, kendama, fukuwarai), and of course, delicious Japanese food for sale and sample. As publicity chair, I was astounded at the # of attendees, considering that most information went out via FB or online, and not in print.

Photos below taken by M. Fumie Craig, founder of Tucson Origami Club and MC Louis Rivera, except for one by volunteer Teena Werley, which are all captioned.

Mochi display for New Year’s, courtesy M Fumie Craig

Volunteers serving mochi samples with kinako, courtesy M Fumie Craig

SAJCC Director Yuki Ibuki welcoming the audience, courtesy of Louis Rivera

koi on display by Southern Arizona Koi Association, courtesy of M  Fumie Craig

Tucson Japanese Language School display, courtesy M  Fumie Craig

Students from Tucson Japanese Language School singing on stage, courtesy of Louis Rivera

Jennifer Shioya making musubi  (rice balls) for Japanese Language School, photo courtesy of Teena Werley

Patricia Deridder, executive director of Yume Japanese Gardens with ikebana display, photo courtesy of Yume gardens

Odaiko Sonora performing taiko drumming, courtesy of Louis Rivera. Founder Karen Falkenstrom in front.

Suzuyuki Kai dance troupe, with founder Mari Kaneta third from left, courtesy of M Fumie Craig

Suzuyuki Kai dancers performing on the stage, courtesy Louis Rivera

Takoyaki (octopus balls)and ramen booth, always very popular, courtesy of M Fumie Craig

Owner Tomomi Katz serving takoyaki at her food truck, courtesy of M Fumie  Craig

Attorney Paul Gattone with his Tucson Kendo Kai group, courtesy of M Fumie Craig

Creative and colorful origami cranes & butterflies, courtesy of M Fumie Craig

Volunteers from Tucson Origami Club folding for the festival. L-R back row: Rebecca Howey, Carolyn Classen (yours truly), Nobuko Blair. Front row: Nancy ?, courtesy of M Fumie Craig



Happy New Year of the Pig. Thanks to our many  Council members, volunteers, co-sponsors (Odaiko Sonora, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center), donors, friends for supporting our SAJCC and this annual fundraiser.

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