GANBARU! Day of Giving

Ganbaru! Day of Giving took place on August 29, 2020 from 9AM - 9PM. For those who missed anything or would like to rewatch, please check this page next week for updates on how to view! Although Ganbaru is over, we continue to seek your support for Japan House and our future. If you have ever attended an event, a past Matsuri, a class, workshop, tea ceremony, and if you believe in and enjoy what we do and share, we ask that you please consider supporting us today. We are truly grateful for all of you and the kindness that you share with us. Click here to support Japan House.



Ganbaru calligraphy by Seiran Chiba (left) and Japan House Friends art by Maxx Gogski (right)

Every bit of support matters! Help us continue our mission by donating today.



  • Welcome and Blessing: A Blessing and Goma Fire Ritual by Bishop Kosho Fukushima of Hannyaji Temple (Hirao, Japan)
  • Message from Japan House Director Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud
  • Performance by DJ Van Paugam


  • Vendor/Donor Highlight at the Urbana Farmer’s Market
  • Introduction to Tea Ceremony by Kimiko Gunji
  • Tea Ceremony by Jeff Wallace


  • Messages from University of Illinois Representatives
  • Performance by Duo Yumeno
  • Japan House History Video
  • Matsuri Memories
  • Calligraphy by Seiran Chiba


  • Message from the Consul General of Japan in Chicago
  • Live Update at Michael’s Catering
  • Interview with Triptych Brewing
  • Tea Ceremony by Chu Chu


  • Visiting Yokohama with Michael and David
  • Sato Sensei Interview
  • Comments by Tangerine Mountain and Nick Offerman
  • In Memoriam: Alice Sato, Ben Enta


  • Vendor/Donor Highlight
  • Performance by Michiyoshi Sato and Kotobuki Band
  • Wagashi Cookbook/Kimiko Gunji Highlight
  • Performance by DJ Van Paugam


  • Garden Bamboo Video
  • Highlight Japan House Gardener Jim Bier
  • Japan House Garden Video
  • Tea Ceremony by Dario Aranguiz


  • Tangerine Mountain presents Modern Kimono
  • Performance by Michiyoshi Sato and Kotobuki Band
  • Japanese Traditional Arts Focus
  • A Year in Review


  • Live Update at Triptych
  • Tea Ceremony by Jeffrey Elem
  • Japan House Interns


  • Greetings from Around the World
  • Performance by DJ Van Paugam


  • Calligraphy by Seiran Chiba
  • Tea Ceremony by Kazumasa Shimada
  • Ogura-Sato Annex
  • Performance by DJ Van Paugam


  • Performance by Ho Etsu Taiko
  • Live Comments from Japan House
  • Performance by 5, 6, 7, 8's
  • Virtual Fireworks


What is Ganbaru! Day of Giving?

Ganbaru, also romanized as gambaru, is a ubiquitous Japanese word which roughly means to slog on tenaciously through tough times. The word Ganbaru is often translated to mean "doing one’s best", but in practice, it means doing more than one's best. The word emphasizes "working with perseverance" or "toughing it out."

We at Japan House believe that we are all doing this during these difficult times, and we are asking for your support to ensure that we can continue to offer cultural events, classes and experiences in the future.

Japan House’s Matsuri Festival has become a key and highly anticipated event for the campus and community to enjoy. Matsuri originated in 2015 as our small gesture of connecting with like-minded businesses, artists, and organizations who wanted to share and celebrate Asian culture in our community. With Facebook stating that 900 individuals were interested in this event, Japan House was thrilled! Unbeknownst to us for our first festival, we welcomed over 3000 people who delighted in an afternoon of performances and activities while supporting local businesses and artists. Each year since, this festival has grown dynamically — partnering with even more businesses, artists, and performers to honor Asian culture while enchanting thousands of students, staff, faculty, families and community members. We are honored that Matsuri has become a staple in our community — a true celebration of cultural diversity that welcomes all to engage with unique practices and customs outside of their everyday norms.

We are living through an unprecedented time — a worldwide pandemic which has asked each of us to make incredible sacrifices. The decision to cancel Matsuri 2020 was not an easy decision, and yet in obvious ways it was. The well-being and safety of our community and our campus is paramount to us. Japan House’s mission is to embrace the ideals of Chado, the Way of Tea — harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. Right now, we must respect the situation with pure minds and hearts, and by doing so, we showcase our reverence for humanity. We can look upon this time as a chance to reflect and to re-examine our lives. We have the space and time to reassess how we can and should contribute to humanity right now and as we move into the future, Consequently, in order to support and protect the well-being of our community, Japan House will sorrowfully close its doors for all events until we are assured that it is safe for all.

During this time, we seek your continued friendship, support and understanding. We will longingly await the day when we can reunite and celebrate together. We hope that time will be Matsuri 2021 - a festival of all festivals that will return with vibrancy, revelry and renewed hope for humanity.

How can I support Japan House during this time?

If you enjoyed our Ganbaru programming, please consider making a donation. Click here to show your support!

How was this all possible?

Ganbaru! Day of Giving was made possible through the efforts of many people. Japan House is all about the connections that tie our humanity together and Japan House wouldn’t exist without the support and efforts of everyone. We are thankful to our small but mighty staff for countless hours of planning, filming, editing, and beyond: Director Jennifer Gunji-Ballsrud, Education and Experience Coordinator Michael Darin, Education Associate Diana Liao, Office Manager Lisa Akins, and Senior Intern Jeffrey Elem. We send our deepest gratitude to all of our friends in Japan, our tea students, our volunteers, and friends of Japan House. We also thank many businesses for their support of GANBARU! —Michaels’ Catering, Triptych Brewery, Bodyworks Associates, Wright Soapery, Twisted Twig Bonsai, Jack Matsumoto, Tangerine Mountain Imports, Quilter’s Gallery, Flying Machine Avionics, Broadway Food Hall, Siam Terrace, Pipapo & Norden Design, Mark Hirsbrunner Origami, Common Ground, Maxx Gogski, Latea, Prairie Fruits Farm, and Green Onion.

And for those who participated today, Japan House thanks all of you for your support, continued friendship, and understanding. Arigatou gozaimashita.

Can I rewatch Ganbaru! Day of Giving?

Yes! Please revisit this page next week and we will upload each hour for your enjoyment! Thank you for supporting Ganbaru! Day of Giving. Please consider donating to Japan House if you enjoyed our programming today to continue to support us!