This time of year, Japan House is usually gearing up for Matsuri, its epic annual festival. For obvious reasons, the festival will not be taking place this year. In its place, Japan House will be hosting Ganbaru on August 29th. The 12 hour (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) virtual event is ultimately a fundraiser; an opportunity for the community to support Japan House so that they will have the resources they need to continue offering their rich programming in the future. 

Ganbaru is translated as "doing one's best", but with an undercurrent of "working with perserverance" and "toughing it out"; an apt description of what we are all doing as we find our way through this pandemic.

From Japan House:

Japan House decided to embrace the statement, “Ganbaru!” as a theme for not only today, but for each day moving forward. Rather than commiserating about what we once had and could do, we are exploring new ways to remain safely connected and to provide moments of joy and happiness into our lives.

There is no doubt that we have been confronted with an overwhelming, complex and difficult time in our lives. The challenges we face right now ask each of us daily to make choices that does not only affect us, but it can affect the greater whole. This is a time in which we have to think beyond ourselves and to strive to be as selfless as possible. It is a time in which we need to practice social distancing, but not disconnect socially. This is a time in which we need to keep positive, hold on to hope and practice kindness and respect for the communities in which we live and interact. We need to be reminded that we are all interconnected and that this begs us to act with selflessness. It is not a time to dwell on the negative. It is not a time to wallow due to what you can’t do or don’t have. It is not a time to lose hope. We have worked so hard together, and we must continue these efforts for the well-being and safety of our community and beyond. Normal is relative. We must not long for the past, but focus on how we move forward.

Ganbaru will include:

  • Blessing and Goma Fire Ritual by Hannyaji Temple (Hirao, Japan) Bishop Kosho Fukushima
  • Tea ceremonies throughout the day
  • Calligrapher / artist Seiran Chiba executing large scale calligraphy (2x)
  • Ho Etsu Taiko (drumming group) performance
  • Duo Yumeno (cello and koto duet) performance
  • Michiyoshi Sato and Kotobuki band performance

Michael's Catering will be developing a special Ganbaru meal, and Triptych is once again developing a special Japan House beer. A percentage of those purchases will be given to Japan House. There will also be prize drawings throughout the day. 

If Japan House is special to you, consider submitting a short (less than 60 seconds) video with well wishes to japanhouse@illinois.edu. Make it creative! These are due August 24th.

Stay tuned to the Japan House Facebook page for more information about the event, and how you can get involved. 

Photo by Anna Longworth.