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Aki Matsuri, September 6–7, 2008

Every year, the Eastside Nihon Matsuri Association holds a Japanese fall festival, called Aki Matsuri, at Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, Washington. For 2008, in celebration of our 20th anniversary, Haiku Northwest participated in the festival for the first time. We had a reading of our “Music and Sound” haiku from the main stage with music by John and Elizabeth Falconer, a “Haiku Wall” for anyone to contribute their own haiku, a haiku table with a display of many of our haiku on the wall behind us, and two free workshops by Michael Dylan Welch that introduced haiku to the public.


The festival attracts some 10,000 people to a full weekend of exhibits, performances, and workshops in several buildings. Highlights are the taiko drummers and other musicians on the main stage, numerous martial arts demonstrations, many activities for children, extensive exhibits of bonsai, ikebana, and other Japanese arts, and much more. Other exhibitors included the Japanese Consulate, Kinokuniya Bookstore, and many arts and crafts vendors.


At our table, we handed out basic information about haiku, and asked people to “Test Your Haiku IQ.” This test had three simple questions: 1. Where did haiku come from? 2. Name a famous haiku poet. And 3. What’s a haiku anyway? This format helped us talk a bit more deeply about haiku, for which we could point to the examples on the wall behind us. We even gained a few new Haiku Northwest members as a result! Thanks to Bryson Nitta, Tanya McDonald, and Michael Dylan Welch for staffing the table.


All photos by Michael Dylan Welch.

Our haiku table at the 2008 Aki Matsuri event at Bellevue Community College in Bellevue, Washington.

Our haiku on exhibit behind our display table at Aki Matsuri.

A close-up view of Haiku Northwest member poems on display at Aki Matsuri.

The “Haiku Wall” at Aki Matsuri, before they’ve been covered with haiku (and a few nonhaiku!).

Another view of the “Haiku Wall” at Aki Matsuri.

Our performance of “Music and Sound” haiku at Aki Matsuri on Saturday, September 6, 2008. Left to right: Elizabeth Falconer (koto), John Falconer (shakuhachi), Michael Dylan Welch, Ida Freilinger, Curtis Manley, and Connie Hutchison.

Michael Dylan Welch at the Haiku Northwest table at Aki Matsuri.
The haiku table was a success. We’ll have to do it again next year!