On November 22nd, St. Thomas University hosted the Japan Food Festival in collaboration with the US-Japan Council. Speakers at the opening ceremony were University of St. Thomas President, Dr. Robert Ivany; Center for International Studies Director, Dr. Hans Stockton; U.S.-Japan Council Executive Vice President, Suzanne Basalla; and Deputy Consul-General of Japan in Houston, Atsushi Iwasaki. University of St. Thomas President, Dr. Robert Ivany, expressed his desire to strengthen St. Thomas’ relationship with Japan through the University’s Japan Studies program and stated that the festival was held for the first time for this occasion. Deputy Consul-General Iwasaki noted that Japanese food was registered as UNESCO intangible world heritage in 2013 and expressed his hope that the festival will become an opportunity for Houstonians to understand Japanese culture through Japanese cuisine.
The Japan Food Festival attracted nearly 1,000 Houstonians who enjoyed a wide-variety of Japanese food including gyudon, a beef and rice bowl; katsu-curry, friend pork with curry and rice; takoyaki, a popular fried snack made of dough and minced octopus; oden, vegetables and fish dumplings cooked in hot soy soup; sweet red-bean soup etc. Attendees snacked on traditional Japanese fair while also enjoying a costume contest, dance performances and drumming from the taiko group on the stage.