By Marge Tsuji
The streets of San Jose Japantown rang with laughter, shouts and music. The 2019 Immersive event was themed: “bringing out the inner artist”. To that aim, the Japantown community put on free events at which the general public could learn a little Japanese culture and join others in releasing some of their creative energy.
At one store you could try on a kimono, learn about how to properly dress yourself and get a photo of yourself in your new fashions. At another you could make an LED uchiwa or fan. Shamisen lessons were offered on the street. A flash mob dance scene featured a new dance depicting the local men who voluntarily come out to sweep the streets of JTown clean. Everyone was encouraged to learn a taiko beat or sing karaoke at San Jose Jazz’s Mobile BoomBox. You could participate in a public mural painting or learn Japanese tie-dye.
The San Jose JACL went along with their civil rights mandate by hanging dozens of “creative” protest posters and helping like-minded activists create posters that were eye-catching as well as succinct. Children were encouraged to craft paper megaphones, hats and banners and decorate them with slogans and their own creativity.
The streets were comfortably crowded as the family-friendly participants enjoyed a warm Spring evening in the “Friendliest Japantown in the USA”.