Thursday, April 28, 2011

SMU to host ‘Celebrate Japan’ May 5 to raise money for Misato, Winona’s sister city

WINONA, Minn. — As part of a citywide effort to raise money for earthquake relief in Misato, Japan — Winona’s sister city — Saint Mary’s University will host “Celebrate Japan” Thursday, May 5.

The event, a cultural showcase of Japan’s rich culture and traditions, will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Toner Student Center. The showcase will begin with an announcement from Winona Mayor Jerry Miller.

Other events will include:
• Japanese woodblock printing demonstrations, “Moku Hanga,” by SMU’s Preston Lawing
• Origami with Sandy Wernimont from the Winona Middle School
• Japanese dance, provided by Winona State University students from Japan
• A Japanese martial arts demonstration by SMU’s Francis “Fritz” Speck and other members of Minnesota Genbu-Kai Karate
• Sushi (served by Chartwells Food Service) in limited quantities
• Japanese poetry readings by Winona Poet Laureate Ken McCullough of SMU and former Poet Laureate Jim Armstrong of WSU
• A reading from “Sadako and the 1,000 Paper Cranes”
• Reiki massage by Gerry Naal
• Live music with Patti Darbo
• A Skype message from Misato
• And more

Donations are encouraged. Misato bracelets and T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

Fifty homes in Misato were completely destroyed in the March earthquake. Three times that number of houses were damaged. Many businesses and roads are in need of repair. The Misato residents are in need of funds to buy essential supplies like food, water and clothing. For more information on citywide relief efforts, visit

When the week of fundraising events is completed, a check from the Winona Community Foundation will be given to the City of Winona to send directly to officials in Misato.

For more information about SMU’s “Celebrate Japan,” contact Chandu Valluri at (507) 457-1466 or For more information on the benefit week, contact Bead Kerr at, Joe Lepley at or Glenn Petersen at