Get a taste of Japanese culture at the Japan Festival: The Way of Japan. Though modest in scale, it’s a weekend filled with art, music, food and cosplay. The festival features a rare treat, Rakugo artist Katsura Sunshine. Born in Toronto, he is one of only two Westerners ever to master the art, a mix of storytelling and stand-up comedy. Alone on a simple stage with only a fan and a small cloth to use as props, Sunshine tells a long, comedic story in which he plays all the characters through subtle shifts in tone of voice and posture. Houston’s own J-Pop sensation Sugar Joiko is also on the schedule. She was studying music in New Orleans when Hur-ricane Katrina hit; she was displaced to Houston and has become a popular fixture on YouTube with her high-energy dance tunes. Kyoto’s Aya Uchida will also be here. Teamed with producer and guitar player Jo Yamanaka, Uchida is a perfect example of the J-Country scene, putting out amazing Taylor Swift-esque compositions that mix the best of East and West.
There’s also a cosplay contest enabling the crafty to pit their video game and anime costumes against one another. The compe-tition is expected to be fierce, because the winner gets a trip to Japan.
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Hermann Park, 6000 Fannin. For information, call 713‑963‑0121 or visit japan-fest.info. Free.
Sat., April 12, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., April 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2014