Lecture celebrates Matsura, culture

Fish-shaped wind socks offered for Okanogan Days

— A free Lawn Chair History Lecture, fish-shaped wind socks and a fall workshop celebrating the city’s successes are planned, all with a Frank Matsura theme.

The lecture is planned at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 18, on the lawn of City Hall, 120 N. Third Ave.

Participants will be able to do block printing of large posters of Sakae “Frank” Matsura’s name in Japanese Kanji calligraphy, organizer Doug Woodrow said.

The posters will be about 48 inches tall and will decorate store windows of downtown Okanogan. People can bring old sheets to try printing them for more durable banners.

“Such a show of Japanese calligraphy will be sure to welcome Tatsuo and Satchi Kurihara, who will be the grand marshals of the June 1 Okanogan Days Parade,” Woodrow said.

Tatsuo has visited Okanogan 15-20 times since about 1972 while chasing the story of frontier photographer Frank S. Matsura for the Japanese press. Tatsuo published his book of collected photos of Okanogan last year and many local people are featured in that book, Woodrow said.

“Tatsuo has tried to emulate Matsura’s candid way of capturing people in his photos,” he said.

Matsura, who was born in Japan, died in Okanogan in 1913. He photographed the people, places and events of Okanogan County for 10 years.

After the block printing, the group will go into the library to view the glass, hand painted, backlit Matsura photos.

The photos were donated by newspaper publisher O. H. Woody “and have been a treasured backdrop in the Okanogan Library for many, many years,” Woodrow said.

A PowerPoint presentation on Tatsuo’s Okanogan book will be shown.

“This will be an introduction of our town’s most ardent, yet unknown boosters,” Woodrow said. “I want people to feel Tatsuo’s passion for our town’s history and the way he has promoted the story in Japan.”

Woodrow will read a short passage from John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” to illustrate the dreams of early civic boosters and their brimming optimism for the future.

Hot dogs and drinks will be provided during the Lawn Chair History Lecture.

The Okanogan Matsura Centennial Committee is organizing activities for the celebration during Okanogan Days.

The group is selling carp-shaped windsocks for people to hang from porches and awnings of downtown businesses. The carp are symbols of a May 5 Japanese celebration called Children’s Day.

The celebration, called Koinobori, honors children with the hope that they will grow up vigorous and fearless.

It honors a spirited carp that jumped so high it became a dragon and flew all the way to the sun, Woodrow said.

Windsocks are available by contacting Carolyn Clayton or Denise Varner.

Clayton, a former Okanogan mayor, said the group encourages businesses to fly the wind socks in much the same manner red, white and blue bunting was displayed during the city’s centennial in 2007.

Okanogan High School English teacher Dennis O’Connor’s senior class project this year will create a Zen raked gravel garden at the Arboretum Park on Burton Street.

The projects lead up to the Initiative for Rural Innovation and Sustainability symposium in November at Okanogan Middle School. It is expected to draw 150-200 people to celebrate the community’s projects and successes.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school, 244 S. Fifth Ave.

“We’re thrilled to work with the city of Okanogan to host the summit this year,” Coordinator Nancy Warner said. “Over time we want to showcase and pass on a collection of success stories that can help the next generation thrive.”

Okanogan Middle School students will join others in presenting brief videos about the successes in their communities. They will participate in the presentations and discussions.

IRIS is working with an advisory committee to plan other elements of the summit that will include a Slow Food Okanogan lunch of locally produced foods, special outreach events and the announcement of the host community for next year’s summit.

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