Don't be surprised if, on your First Thursday walk this week, downtown Boise has a distinctly Far-Eastern flair. Thanks to a collaboration between the Downtown Boise Association and the Idaho Department of Commerce, this Thursday will see Boise's first Idaho Japan Festival: A Celebration of Japanese Culture and Heritage.
Festival organizer Aaron Davis works for the International Business Division of Idaho Commerce, the "diplomatic arm" of the state government that oversees collaborations between Idaho and foreign governments. Davis says Japan's consulate general out of Portland, Oregon, proposed an event in Boise to celebrate Japanese culture and heritage. Seeing an opportunity, the DOC "piggybacked with the DBA in order to do that," says Davis, "since people already come out for First Thursday." The thinking was that they could use the guaranteed turnout to present an event that people would likewise enjoy.
With sponsorship from the Consulate, the DBA, the Flicks and Brown's Gallery, the DOC will be able to bring this evening of Japanese art and culture to Boise's First Thursday goers. Says Davis, they also expect many people from the Ontario, Oregon, Japanese community to attend.
At 5:30 p.m., there will be an open house at Brown's Gallery (1022 Main St.,), with an exhibit of traditional Japanese dolls and kites on loan from the consulate general of Japan in Portland, as well as a koto (Japanese harp) performance. The consul general himself, Akio Egawa, will be in attendance from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to visit with visitors to the gallery.
After the open house at Brown's Gallery, Davis will escort Egawa to various First Thursday locations, to greet those putting on the festival, as well as people in attendance.
Other festival events include an origami workshop and Japanese cultural displays at the Idaho State Historical Museum (610 N. Julia Davis Dr.), a 7:30 p.m. screening of the 1950 Akira Kurosawa classic, Rashomon, at the Flicks (646 Fulton St.), and a Japanese taiko drum group performance in Plaza 121 (in front of Tapas Estrella at 121 N. 9th St.).
Davis hopes that people will support and incorporate this unique cultural celebration into their First Thursday plans.