Students seeking to expand their horizons need not look any further than the Frontier Café, where the Japan America Society of Maine will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a week-long festival of Japanese art, film and food.
From Sunday, November 4 until Saturday, November 10, the Frontier will hold a different event each day, with festivities ranging from Oscar-winning movies to traditional Japanese song and dance.
The week will begin with a concert by Maine Thunder Spirits. Run by Professor Frank Ricardo, this group of Maine kids, ages nine to 17, is one of the most promising new Taiko groups in New England. Synchronized Taiko involves simultaneous playing of Japanese Taiko drums, which were originally designed to rally troops before battle. The Taiko performance will take place on November 4 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
On Monday, November 5, the Frontier will be screening Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away," which won the 2001 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film tells the tale of a young girl named Chihiro who finds herself in a world of spirits and strange creatures after she and her parents take a wrong turn on their way home. When her parents are magically transformed into pigs, Chihiro, along with the help of her friend Haku, must find a way to save them and find her way home. Screenings will take place at 2:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Tuesday will feature a traditional Japanese dinner and Sake tasting at 7 p.m.
The Café will charge $40 for dinner, which may seem a little steep for the average Bowdoin student-but worth it for those who crave authentic Japanese cuisine.
On Wednesday, there will be a second movie screening. The "Cats of Mirikitani" is a documentary about Japanese-born, California-raised painter Jimmy Mirikitani who was living on the street in New York when his neighborhood was destroyed by the terrorist attacks of September 11th. After Mirikitani moves in with film editor Linda Hattendorf, she explores his life and inspirations. Screening will be shown at 2:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Students seeking tips on cultivating a fledgling bonsai tree should attend the seminar on Creating Japanese-Inspired Gardens in Maine on November 8. The Frontier will welcome Master Gardener Lee Schneller, an expert of Asian History and Chinese Language and Literature. Ms. Schneller has overseen the design of over 150 year-round Japanese gardens in Maine.
Two local musicians, who specialize in playing traditional Shakuhachi, Koto and Shamisen, will perform on Friday.
Finally, on Saturday, there will be a Kimono Fashion show and screening of Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles. A film about an estranged father and son, "Riding Alone" chronicles a man's search for meaning and acceptance by his dying child.
Festival tickets costs $36 each (dinner not included). More information is available on the Frontier Café's Web site at http://www.explorefrontier.com/.