4th Annual Tanabata Festival

A band featuring the Japanese Consul General, the sun setting over the Hudson, a beautifully clear sky, views of the moon, Jupiter, Vega and Altair, all made up our 4th Annual Tanabata Festival on Saturday, July 13. The traditional Japanese star gazing festival brought together the AAA and our partner groups: Japanese American Association of New York (JAA), Japanese Americans and Japanese in America (JAJA), Origami Therapy Association,  Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), Japanese Medical Society of America, Hoshuko Alumni Association, JETAANY and NY Japanese American Lions Club.

Leading off was the band “@K4” with Japanese Consul General Kanji Yamanouchi on guitar, Tokyo TV anchorwoman Kyoko Komatsuzawa on keyboards, and top executives from Japanese companies in New York. Susan Onuma spoke on behalf of JAA and other groups. AAA’s Tom Haeberle described what we would see in the sky and Masanari Taniai, the cultural attache for the Japanese Consulate in New York, presented the “kamishibai” or story presentation of the Tanabata fable. The Origami Therapy Association helped people make origami and tanzaku, or wishes written on paper, to be hung from bamboo branches.

Thanks to the AAA observers who brought out telescopes, we had at least 8 scopes for viewing by the over 100 people attending. A power outage in midtown Manhattan wasn’t noticed by the festival until people read news alerts later in the evening. Jason Tang recalled thinking the sky looked darker to the south and a few more stars were visible.

And thanks to Yuki Kaneshige from the Consulate, Suki Terada Ports from JAA and John Herrold of the Riverside Park Conservancy for all their help in making the festival possible.

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