Tuesday 1 March 2016

Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival 2016

Melbourne is a highly culturally diverse city. There is hardly ever a dull moment with plenty of vibrant cultural events queuing up throughout the year.

The Melbourne Japanese Summer Festival 2016 was held on Sunday, 28 February 2016. It was a great success, no doubt, with a marvelous (and frighteningly huge) turnout.

Below are some of the highlights at the Japanese Summer Festival:

1.              Japanese Food

Attendees were spoilt with choices, ranging from piping hot Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake), Taiyaki (sweet red bean filling wrapped in a a fish-shaped waffle), Yakitori (chicken skewered grilled over an iron hot- charcoal), and soft-shell crab burger.  

The queues leading to the amazing foods were, however, horrendous and a little confusing. Since the Japanese Festival has proven its popularity amongst the eager Melbournians, a better crowd management and a greater array of food stalls should probably be arranged next year to cater for the vast multitude of hungry visitors.

2.              Traditional Kimono

It was an enormous fun (and a somewhat surreal experience) seeing so many Melbournians dressing in beautiful vintage-style kimono, and walking around the city with such gentle pace in their newly purchased Geta footwear. 

There was even a best-dressed competition for the Kimono/ Yukata and Cosplay categories.

The only complaint, again, was associated with the large masses of crowds. With such huge multitude of spectators, it was really difficult to catch a glimpse of the impressive fashion show showcasing on the stage. Probably a real-time projection of the show at the large screen above the main stage and a better sound system would have solved the problem.

3.              Performances

There was a great line-up of singing and dance performances throughout the day, as well as a must-see energetic drumming performance (Taiko).  To participate in the joy, you could even join the crowd of Bon-Odori dancers around the Yagura (a high wooden scaffold) and try to muster the dance steps of this delightful, rhythmic movement!

4.              Games, Activities and Other Stalls

There was an origami booth with friendly helpers teaching the excited crowds the techniques of folding adorable things from just simple pieces of paper. Kids could also enjoy a yo-yo fishing game and stand a chance to fish out a prize floating in a shallow, cute little pool.  Apart from these, there were plenty of stalls selling dainty Japanese designed products and hand-made items. Hence, if you are a fan of the Japanese’s Zakka culture, this is an event not to be missed.

5.              Raffle Price

What could be more excited than to stand a chance to win prizes with just a $2 token? There were two Jetstar business class return tickets to Tokyo, a portable keyboard, sewing machines, restaurant vouchers, a watch, and heaps of gift cards from different department stores to be won.

Unfortunately, the Raffles tickets sold out way before the supposedly “last-chance-to-grab” of 4 p.m. Hence, tip for your next visit: please do come early and grab the tickets before they are all sold out!

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