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Marion County Japanese Cultural Day is March 30

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By The Staff

Ever wanted to learn how to use chopsticks? At the eighth annual Marion County Japanese Cultural Day, visitors can do that and more.

See sword fights, sample traditional Japanese food and listen to the thundering rhythms of chudaiko and odaiko drums.

This year's festival is Sunday at the Centre Square Convention Center in historic downtown Lebanon. The event is from 1 to 4 p.m. Parking and admission is free.

Marion County Japanese Cultural Day is hosted each year to educate residents about the traditions and customs of the Japanese people. Several successful Japanese companies have located in central Kentucky in the past few years and provided jobs for area residents and improved local economies.

Throughout the afternoon, visitors can sample traditional Japanese food, have their name written in Japanese calligraphy, learn about origami and see the Minyo Dancers perform in kimonos and accessories tailored to match historically correct samples.

There will be demonstrations of ikebana (living flowers), the Japanese art of floral arrangement and visitors can compete for prizes in traditional Japanese games and competitions such as chopsticks and fukuwarai.

The Cincinnati-Dayton Taiko Group demonstrates Japanese-style taiko drumming and Japanese martial arts will also be demonstrated, including kendo, which translates as "The Way of the Sword," karate, judo, jujitsu and breaking techniques.

There are also numerous exhibits with activities, traditional Japanese toys, dolls, books, photos and more.

One exhibit open throughout the day will be traditional Japanese items such as toys, dolls, photos, books, fashions, tea ceremony sets and more.

A schedule of events follows:

- 1 p.m. - Show opens to the public.

- 1:15 p.m. - Kendo demonstration.

- 1:50 p.m. - Koto (traditional music).

- 2:10 p.m. - S_Ran Bushi (dance).

- 2:30 p.m. - Indianapolis Minyo Dancers performance.

- 3 p.m. - Cincinnati-Dayton Taiko Group (Japanese drumming).

- 3:30 p.m. - Karate demonstration (youth and adult).

- 4 p.m. - Drawing for prizes (must be present to win).

For more information, call (877) 692-6002 or (270) 692-6002, e-mail mlbrock@marioncountyky.com or visit www.visitlebanonky.com.

Marion County Japanese Cultural Day is a production of the Marion County Industrial Foundation and Lebanon Main Street/Renaissance Committee and is sponsored by the Lebanon Tourist & Convention Commission and a host of other local businesses.