Photo by Sandra Li.

The Annual Japanese Culture Festival is a two-day celebration that has been held every year since 2012 at Boston Common in the month of April. This year, a total of about 72,000 people attended, giving the attendees an opportunity to acknowledge and engage in the Japanese culture through various booths that are set up at the event such as cuisines, workshops, stage performances, etc.

The festival was held on the 27th and 28th of April, attracting crowds of people each day with their festivities. In addition, the culture festival was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the friendship between Kyoto and Boston and so, they commemorated it by having workshops dedicated to the Japanese city.

The festival is organized with the help of many volunteers and the support of sponsors and donations from contributors, allowing for each year to be even more remarkable.

Of the many festivities, a major attraction that tends to draw more crowds to the event is the festival’s sales and food booths. The sales booths that were arranged sold authentic, kawaii goods such as plushies, hand-crafted items, or anime merchandise. The food booths had many long lines that were a result of the authentic, appetizing Japanese dishes.

Those who donated more than $20 to the festival’s GoFundMe page were able to receive a quick food pass. There was a wide variety of dishes that the food stalls sold, ranging from takoyaki to okonomiyaki, tonkotsu ramen, ultimately having many enjoyable dishes for the attendees to try.

Malden High School freshman Ina Liu attended the event and stated that “it was [her] first time attending the festival.” She explains that, upon arriving “[her] first impression was that [the event] was crowded and loud, but very entertaining and pleasurable.”

Liu also mentioned that “[she] saw many people in cosplay and as well as a lot of plushies and keychains with other small accessories at the booths.”

Along with the impressive lineup of events, the festival also showcased numerous performances throughout the day, letting attendees enjoy their experience by witnessing the energetic production.

Freshman Katrina Chang also took part in the festival, expressing that “the performances on stage stood out the most as you are able to hear the drums and traditional music from far away.”

Chang further explained that “[she] specifically enjoyed the drum performance because it reminded [her] of MHS’ percussion in band which made [her] feel reminiscent while watching the show.”

Essentially, the festival’s mission is “pass on [their] traditions to the next generation” and “give every person a chance to experience authentic Japanese culture without having to travel to Japan,” according to the Japan Festival Boston.

Liu shared how culture festivals are of importance since “we are able to learn about other cultures in order to be more knowledgeable and show appreciation for them.” She added that “it’s good that people are being exposed to different cultures so they can then expand their horizons and be more open-minded.”

Adding on to that, Chang expressed that “[she] would like to see more hosted events from other Asian communities rather than just focusing on one particular culture so that as a city, we can know more about what is in the Malden community.”

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