A Japanese summer tradition
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
If you watched last Saturday’s episode of Nikkei TV on Omni, you might have seen me doing a traditional Japanese dance at a Japanese cultural festival. The second annual Nikkei Matsuri took place on August 30 and 31 in the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby.
The Nikkei Matsuri is a Japanese cultural festival that celebrates Japanese culture, and it teaches people about Japanese traditions and values. It involves a Matsuri, which is a festival that happens in Japan every summer. It has a variety of performances, traditional Japanese games, vendor booths, workshops, and a good selection of Japanese food.
Most of the performances in the festival happened in the special events hall of the cultural centre, which contained various things that you could see in a theatre or a school gym in Japan. Performances included this year’s headlining act, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, doing a Shamisen concert with special guests. There was also a group called the Nariya Koto Ensemble who played Japanese stringed instruments, and a group called Wailele Waiwai doing various hula dance; traditional Japanese dances also took place in the garden in front of the cultural centre. Everyone took part in this outdoor dance, called Bon Odori, which is a dance that welcomes the spirits of the dead to the festival.
There was also a talent show aspect of the festival, called “Nikkei’s Got Talent.” Some of the acts that performed in the talent show this year included a jumprope group called Double Ropes Caravan. There was also a belly dancer, a magician, and various dancers and singers. The act that won the grand prize of $500 was a dancer named Ac Bonifacio; she put in a lot of practice time to perfect her fast and skillful moves, which was time well-spent.
The Nikkei Matsuri festival also had a games area featuring various traditional Japanese games, including a game called Yo-yo Tsuri, where you try to remove a balloon from a pool without breaking the string that is attached to the balloon. One of the most popular parts of the festival was the Japanese food, including a tonkatsu sandwich and chicken karaage in the Mogu booth, gyoza and a type of Japanese pancake called dorayaki at the Gyoza King booth, Japanese-style crepes in the Crepes Sasuke booth, and of course Japanese-style hot dogs from Japadog.
The Nikkei Matsuri was a great event; I got to learn a lot about a summer festival that happens in Japan every year, I saw some amazing performances, I tried Japanese games, and I sampled some delicious Japanese food like Japan’s version of a Sno-Cone, shaved ice. It was a fantastic, culturally informative time, with plenty to do, see, and eat!