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Japanese Church of Christ's Natsu Matsuri Festival celebrates culture.

Japanese Church of Christ’s Natsu Matsuri Festival celebrates culture.

Okinawa dancers Chieko Buckley, Katsuko Gose and Wakako Akamine at the Aki Matsuri Japanese Fall Festival on Aug. 29, 2015. The Japanese Church of Christ summer festival takes place this weekend.

Okinawa dancers Chieko Buckley, Katsuko Gose and Wakako Akamine at the Aki Matsuri Japanese Fall Festival on Aug. 29, 2015. The Japanese Church of Christ summer festival takes place this weekend. (Stacie Scott, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Japanese Church of Christ Celebrates Natsu Matsuri Festival

Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

The Japanese Church of Christ has been serving Japanese-speaking immigrants and preserving Japanese culture in Utah for over a century since its founding in 1918. And this weekend church members are inviting the community to immerse themselves in that culture.

Attendees of the church’s Natsu Matsuri festival can learn how to make onigiri (Japanese rice balls); observe origami, bonsai or ikebana exhibits; or taste a variety of Japanese cuisine ranging from teriyaki chicken and ribeye bento boxes to sushi and vegetable curry.

The festival will also feature cultural entertainment, including taiko drummers, judo and martial arts demonstrations, a traditional Japanese fashion show and choir performances.

The festival is Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the church, which is located at 268 W. 100 South. It aims to share Japanese cultural traditions while also raising funds for the Japanese Church of Christ.

“We are delighted to extend our warm invitation to the community, encouraging everyone to join us in celebrating Japanese culture and supporting our church,” church member and former state Sen. Jani Iwamoto said in a statement. “The word ‘Natsu,’ meaning ‘summer’ in Japanese, represents a season filled with vibrant festivals in Japan — a time of joyful connection and celebration.”

More information, including a schedule of events, is available on the Japanese Church of Christ’s website.

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Sydnee Gonzalez is a multicultural reporter for KSL.com covering the diversity of Utah’s people and communities. Se habla español. You can find Sydnee at @sydnee_gonzalez on Twitter.

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