Each year, the Japan-America Society of Washington DC takes part in hundreds of programs. While many of those are created and hosted by us, we also take part in and contribute to several programs led by other organizations in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. Some of these organizations are of a national scope – like the National Park Service – and others are very local – such as the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, Virginia, which holds an annual Obon Festival that we’ve been attending for several years.

Here’s just a few examples of where we’ve been lately. We typically go to these events every year, so if you didn’t catch us this time, there’s always the next!

Tidal Basin Cleanup with the National Park Service (March) ­– Every March, the Society gathers its staff and volunteers to help the National Park Service rangers tidy and prepare the area where the cherry blossom trees sit and grow on the Tidal Basin. Whether that means raking leaves, picking up trash, spreading mulch, or pulling weeds, we’ve been helping the sakura trees bloom for years.

Cherry Blossom Celebration with the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) (March) – This year was the first Cherry Blossom Celebration at SAAM, and the Society was invited to set up a table with Japanese cultural activities like origami and yukata demonstrations to encourage visitors to learn more about the culture behind the National Cherry Blossom Festival. About a thousand people attended the event and visited our booth.

Japanese Culture Day with the Library of Congress (March) – Similar to the SAAM celebration, Japanese Culture Day at the Library of Congress uses the Japan-in-a-Suitcase educational outreach program to teach American children about Japan. We spend the whole day giving presentations about Japanese school life and daily customs. This is a tradition we’ve been upholding for several years now.

Obon Festival at the Ekoji Buddhist Temple (July) – Although Obon is a traditional holiday held in August, the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station holds their Obon festival in July. The event, which is free and open to the public, is attended every year by locals in the surrounding area, which means we get to reach out to people who don’t necessarily come to our DC events – and we love it! We also see a lot of our program regulars enjoying the food, taiko drumming, bon odori dancing, and everything the temple’s festival has to offer.

The Society is committed to being a visible part of the local community. While we may not always be in your backyard, we try to spread our information wherever we can. We hope that you enjoy seeing us on the weekends as much as we enjoy seeing you!

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