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Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden opens for year with kites and sumo wrestling planned

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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens opens for the season, Friday, May 3 with a lot of fun activities planned for the year including everything from Sumo Wrestling to kite flying and yoga.The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden has opened for the season. Photo by Richard Amery
“Because it’s a federal and municipal park, we can’t make any physical changes, but what we have done is increased our programming and creative, collaborative, cultural experiences,” summarized executive director Michelle Day.

 There are many regular events including  the Yoga experience, Yukata Shimatsu on weekends, reflexology, Nodate open tea services, a special board game night Go Fridays,where participants play the popular Japanese game Go, Okinawa Doughnuts, Sunset Sake and specialty tours.

The first big event is this weekend, May 4 and 5. “Let’s Go Fly A Kite,” coincides with the popular Japanese Children’s day holiday.
 Participants will learn how to build their own kites and fly them.

 Local taiko drummers will open the day at 1 p.m. while kite expert Dan Guick shows off his kite collection and gives a flying demonstration.
 Locally made Okinawa donuts will be available in the visitors centre. And  after getting your fill, build and fly your own kite beginning at 2 p.m.
Next weekend, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden  features a a special Mother’s Day Tea, May 16.

Something really special begins May 19 as the first of Sumo Sundays happens. There will be professional sumo wrestling matches on a big screen TV featuring the highlights of the week, during the Sumo season. So Sumo will be featured May 19 and 26, July 12 and 19 and Sept. 15 and 22.
 if you have a hankering to try Sumo, sumo suits will be available to try on and test your best moves.


The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden has opened for the season. Photo by Richard Amery
“We couldn’t have professional  sumo wrestlers come because of the cost and they are like rock stars in Japan,” said executive director  Michelle Day.
“ But it will be timely,” she said adding they will be getting the footage from  Japanese TV featuring the week’s highlights and some of the best matches.

“ It’s going to be something unique for Lethbridge,” she said , adding Sumo Sundays are  a part of the Nikka Yuko’s expanded programming.
She noted the season  is also  a celebration  of a new era in Japanese  history as the country has a new emperor Naruhito who replaced his father Akihito, who abdicated, which is unusual for an emperor to do.
““This year’s focus is tailored to providing guests with not only an authentic Japanese experience, but also ensuring they have the opportunity to learn the story of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden,” said Michelle Day.

“ The season is a celebration of  Japanese customs and traditions,∏ she said.
 They are also collaborating with the Lethbridge Blues and Jazz Festival again this year to bring in Kaley Kinjo and the Hypocrites, June 7, who will be playing the City Hall foyer, at 7 p.m. There will also be  Okinawa Donuts, Japanese appetizers,special Coulee brew Green Tea Pilsner and Nikka Yuko’s signature sake. Tickets are $50.

 — By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Friday, 03 May 2019 16:27 )  
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