2023 Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival in Torrance
By Kelly Lui

On April 15th and 16th, Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai was again honored to participate in the annual Bunka-Sai Japanese Cultural Festival in Torrance. The festival highlights and educates on several Japanese art forms and funds raised during the festival support the Torrance Sister City Association (TSCA) and their student exchange program.

Attendees had a wonderful time experiencing the many Japanese arts that were displayed and performed.  The most noticeable were the taiko drums that marked the start and end of the festival.  One could feel the sound reverberating in your heart during the performances!  The other art forms shared there were just as impressive and entertaining.  There were hands-on workshops for calligraphy, origami, and flowering arranging and live demonstrations of ikenobo (flowering arranging), oshie (3-D picture making), tea ceremony, music, folk dancing, kamishibai (storytelling), kimono dressing, martial arts (judo, karate & kendo), and candy making.  Jason tried to get the famous candy maker to create a bonsai shaped candy for the club but he was only making animal shapes this time due to the long lines.  Maybe next time!

There was also good food and crafts for sale at the festival.  It seemed like our booth had a never-ending supply of dango, sweet Japanese dumplings.

Now onto our favorite Japanese art form, bonsai!  Dai Ichi Bonsai Kai had an impressive bonsai display of five trees each with their own accent plants.  Doyle Saito displayed a pyracantha, Japanese maple, and Japanese black pine.  Jason Saito displayed a 70-pound juniper saikei balanced on two rocks, which made it look like it was floating weightless on air.  And Kelly Lui got to display a small prostrata juniper that she won at a club raffle.  There were also three live bonsai demonstrations across the two-day festival.  The demonstrations were done by Jason, Louis Carrillo, and Mel Ikeda with Kelly.  Our booth was visited by old friends of the club and many people interested in the art of bonsai.  We even had a few people from that we met at the festival show up at our most recent club meeting.

All-in-all, it was a great cause that our club supported and we got to share our love of bonsai with a lot of people.

Thank you to Doyle, Jason, Dan, Kevin, Louis, Mel and Kelly for helping setup and manage our booth.