Adding to the hustle and bustle of the start of a new semester, the Japanese Cultural Festival 2013 occurred over the span of the third week in school. Organized by the Japanese Studies Society, the Japanese Cultural Festival comprises of two components, the Festival Bazaar and the Concert Night; this year’s theme for both of them was 祭り(Festival). Both events were held in the FASS compound; the first in Central Forum and the latter in LT13. Together, the two sister events brought various components of Japanese culture to the FASS community and the school population as a whole, and provided everyone with a more all-rounded perspective of Japanese culture.
JAPANESE CULTURAL FESTIVAL (BAZAAR)
Held from 28th to 30th January at the Central Forum, the festival bazaar was an unprecedented first attempt by the Japanese Studies Society to merge a focus on exposure to Japanese culture to the concept of a bazaar. For that purpose, the bazaar vendors included Japanese vendors such as BonJapan, one of the largest Japanese snacks and toys importer, and
Kerria Japanese Restaurant, as well as many other vendors selling clothes and other interesting merchandise. The festival bazaar has more than just merchandise available. In line with the theme for the year, free games booth were also included for students to try their hands at winning attractive prizes, just like the ones in a matsuri in Japan.
Visitors to the bazaar could also try on character costumes such as Rilakkuma and Doraemon (generously sponsored by BonJapan), as well as traditional Japanese costumes, and have their photos taken for free and posted on the JSS Facebook page.
Japanese martial arts groups in NUS, Aikido and Karate, were also invited to set up booths at the bazaar. Sado, JSS’ very own sub-club also held tea ceremony demonstrations right in the middle of central Forum, making the elegant traditional art accessible to everyone. Last but not least, Popular Japanese DJ, DJ toMU from Show Ning DJ Lab was also invited to the bazaar to showcase the art of disc-jockey.
JAPANESE CULTURAL NIGHT (CONCERT)
Following the festival bazaar, the concert acts as a finale to the festival and serves as a platform to showcase a variety of Japanese performance arts to the audience. It was held on 1st February at LT13 of AS3.
The first segment of the night consisted of upbeat pieces by Singapore Polytechnic’s Taiko team, melodious tunes by NUS’ very own Koto club, three dance items (including an original choreography) by NUS Buyo, and demonstrations by martial arts teams NUS Aikido and NUS Karate.
The first segment of traditional performances was followed by the modern segment of J-rock performances after intermission, delivered by bands Bikkuri★! and Syrius Falls. The J-rock performances were separated by a lively performance of Wotagei, a set of dance movements with light sticks performed by fans of Japanese idol singers, showcasing yet another aspect of Japan’s unique pop culture. As the night drew to a close, the festival officially ended with great success, having spread the love for Japanese culture along with much joy and laughter.