Red Lantern City Night Market - July 22
JASSTL was proud to sponsor and participate in the Red Lantern City Night Market on Saturday, July 22.
Part carnival, part bazaar, part party, the market returned for its 3rd year in St. Louis, and 1st year at Saigon Cafe in the CWE. This FREE vibrant cultural festival offered attendees the chance to come together and build relationships through food, drinks, art, and fun!
Most of the market was outside on Euclid Ave. the block north of Laclede, but inside Saigon Cafe, visitors could get a lesson in preparing matcha tea and purchase tea and sweets, commission a calligraphy piece, and spend some time hearing their fortune from a traditional street diviner known as an uranaishi (fortune-teller).
Outside, vendors selling everything from bags to jewelry to Japanese anime toys lined the street, and local restaurants offered traditional food and drinks. JAS sold drafts of Urban Chestnut's Konomi, bottles of Kirin Ichiban, several varieties of Tozai sake, and the ever-popular Kyuuri Mist sake cocktail. Live cultural performances included traditional lion dancing and taiko drumming!
The Red Lantern City Night Market 2023 was such a success, organizers have already set the date of July 20, 2024 for the next one - bigger and better than ever!
UCPL Big Book Summer Reading Challenge
This summer, JAS partnered with the University City Public Library (UCPL) on their annual Big Book Challenge, a summer reading program that involves monthly book discussions and other related activities. The novels chosen this year were The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon and The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, a classic Japanese novel written over 1,000 years ago.
There were monthly meetings to discuss The Tale of Genji among all readers, and the library organized several in-person Japanese cultural events to help give context of the world and time period that The Tale of Genji takes place in. These included a trio of events in partnership with JASSTL:
Sake Cocktail Competition - April 3
JAS held its first ever Sake Cocktail Competition at Platypus down in St. Louis. Eight expert cocktail makers were challenged to create their own recipe for a drink that contained at least one sake from Tozai Sake and one spirit from Holladay Distillery, then make it for judges to taste in front of a live audience. The top three got to take home their share from a $600 prize pool!
We would like to give a special thanks to Platypus for hosting us, and to all who competed in our competition. For more information about the event and to see a full list of all the cocktails and recipes, click here.
Kado: The Way of Flowers - March 11
JAS partnered with Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis during their hosting of "Narcissus Garden", an installation artwork created by famous Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, to offer various programs aimed to engage attendees with various aspects of Japanese culture.
On March 11th, Dr. Chikako Usui gave the first presentation, “Kado, The Way of Flowers”, to a packed room of audience. Her lecture explored the historical development of ikebana, philosophical foundations and aesthetic principles of ikebana. Following her captivating lecture, she gave a demonstration of shoka styles of ikebana.
She then invited her students, Anne Brown and Mary Patterson, to make additional demonstrations of classical and more contemporary styles of ikebana. The audience enjoyed learning about ikebana, respect for life and life processes of plants, appreciation of natural beauty, and the demonstration of different styles of ikebana.
Geostrategies Webinar - February 9
JAS collaborated with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation host a webinar that discussed the implications for Japan and the US of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Dr. Phillip Lipscy and Dr. Kayo Takuma led the discussion and former US Senator Jim Talent moderated.
After some brief introductions, Dr. Lipscy began with a brief history of Japan's role in global institutions and the world based order and how their role has and continues to shift in recent times. Dr. Kayo Takuma followed with an overview of health governance on a global scale, how it has been affected by the pandemic, and issues with the current system. Afterwards, both Dr. Takuma and Dr. Lipscy answered questions submitted by attendees.
2023 Shinnenkai - Year of the Rabbit
To open our new year celebration, guest speaker Anna Crosslin, former lead of the International Institute of St. Louis, gave a brief speech about Asian heritage, followed by a few words from Consul General Tajima from the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago. Mrs. Crosslin and Hiro Sato of Prime Home Property Management performed the kagami biraki to start the festivities.
Sushi Sen served a wonderful meal, which included an assortment of sushi with tempura, and provided delicious sake throughout the afternoon. Attendees also had the chance to win some lucky gifts for the new year in our fukubukuro raffle, thank you to all who all who participated!
We were glad to celebrate the opening of this new year with you and we hope to see you at our future events!