Institute of Texan Cultures Asian Festival: Asian culture thrives in San Antonio
The Institute of Texan Cultures Asian Festival this weekend will offer a sampling of what the local Asian community has to offer along with a glimpse of Asian culture as a whole.
Mike Nishimuta, a member of Japan-America Society of San Antonio (JASSA), said it isn’t too difficult to find an authentic taste of Asian culture in San Antonio, especially during Asian Festival time.
The Asian Festival started as a family reunion 23 years ago and has evolved into one of the Institute of Texan Cultures' most anticipated events.
This year the festival celebrates the Year of the Tiger with a plethora of festivities, including a performance from the San Antonio Lion Dance Association along with native dance and music of China, Japan, Korea, and the Asian cultures of the Indian sub-continent and the Pacific Ocean.
Nishimuta said JASSA has participated each year in the Asian Festival. At this year’s festival, the group will have a booth selling various type of Japanese food. The group has enlisted the assistance of college students who are studying Japanese to help in the food booth, which will include delicacies such as yakisoba (noodles), chicken teriyaki, a Japanese style beef curry, rice balls (onigiri) and cucumbers with Japanese sweet vinegar.
“The Asian Festival is one location to see the diversity and size of the Asian communities in the area,” Nishimuta said. “Many people are surprised to see how many different Asian communities there are.”
According to the U.S. Census, 1.7 percent of San Antonio's population described themselves as Asian in 2000. Nishimuta credits local universities that have established exchange programs with Chinese students. He also recognized San Antonio District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan, for bringing the Asian American Chamber of Commerce “back to being a very strong and vibrant organization.”
The Asian Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb . 20 at the Institute of Texan Cultures. For more information, visit www.texancultures.com.