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Japan House to host Gallery Days starting Thursday

The+Japan+House+is+celebrating+the+20th+anniversary+at+its+permanent+location+with+live+performances+and+a+Japanese+temple+festival.+
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Japan House to host Gallery Days starting Thursday

The Japan House is celebrating the 20th anniversary at its permanent location with live performances and a Japanese temple festival.

The Japan House is celebrating the 20th anniversary at its permanent location with live performances and a Japanese temple festival.

THE DAILY ILLINI FILE PHOTO

The Japan House is celebrating the 20th anniversary at its permanent location with live performances and a Japanese temple festival.

THE DAILY ILLINI FILE PHOTO

THE DAILY ILLINI FILE PHOTO

The Japan House is celebrating the 20th anniversary at its permanent location with live performances and a Japanese temple festival.

The Japan House in Urbana will begin hosting its Gallery Days beginning May 3, featuring free demonstrations and presentations each afternoon.

Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony as well as view the house’s unique collections of tea equipment, kimonos, armor and calligraphy works.

Admission to Gallery Days is free, but attendees are required to pay if they would like to participate in tea activities.

Michael Darin, education and experience coordinator at the Japan House, said the tea ceremony costs between $8 and $10. The house will also be selling matcha tea and wagashi, a sweet made at the Japan House, for $5 throughout the day.

Gallery Days will begin Thursday at 11 a.m. with the house open for visitors to view the collection. Then, at 2 p.m. there will be a demonstration of katagami, paper stencils used for dyeing textiles, by this year’s Japan Illini Club Scholarship recipient Shunto Nambu.

Activities on Friday will feature a presentation of the Japanese Dry Garden as well as a discussion and Q&A with Japan House Gardens designer Jim Bier.

Darin said Gallery Days is a good way for people to experience the Japan House since it is not open very often.

“Our open houses happen just twice a year and other than that people can’t really come inside,” Darin said. “One of the reasons we try to do (Gallery Days) … at the end of the year is maybe students wanted to come in throughout the year (and) just haven’t had the opportunity.”

Darin said the main reason the house holds Gallery Days is to focus on things people don’t normally get a chance to see.

Events will continue on Saturday, which is Kodomo No Hi, or Children’s Day and will feature children’s activities such as balloon yo-yo scooping; daruma, or hollow doll, coloring; calligraphy and carp streamer crafting.

Activities on Saturday will also feature a puppet show by Anne Newman of Puppetfolk Productions and Mike O’Brien of Clothespin Puppets.

The final day of festivities, May 6, will feature a live painting demonstration and exhibition by Professor and former Japan House Director Shozo Sato.

Darin said Sato has played a major part in keeping the Japan House open and alive for many years.

“(Sato) started the original Japan House in 1964, and although he is no longer our director, he is back doing live paintings,” he said. “(Sato) is 85 years old and a fountain of knowledge.”

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