JUST one year on from the terrible tsunami that struck Japan, Japanese families and friends living here are holding a special festival this Saturday to celebrate Japanese culture and raise awareness of the effects of the disaster.
The ‘Japanese Spring Festival’ will feature music, songs, dance and food from Japan. There will be demonstrations of the famous ‘Tea Ceremony’, examples of ‘Ikebana’ (flower arranging) and ‘Origami’ (paper folding) as well as calligraphy in ‘Kanji’ characters.
Visitors to the festival with get the chance to try on a ‘Kimono’ and there will be a demonstration of different Kimono styles. Other cultural highlights include a Japanese dancer, a Lyre player and ‘Taiko’ drumming. Japanese hot and cold food will be available for people wanting an authentic tasty treat.
The Festival will be held in two venues - the Council Chamber in the Town Hall and also the central court of the Diamond Centre. There will be an opening address by the Mayor, Alderman Maurice Bradley at 11.15 in the Council Chamber, followed by a full programme of demonstrations, talks, videos and displays; there will also be a specially written ‘Puppet Show’ dealing with one of the effects of the tsunami.
Reporting on Japan after a visit, Yoriko Marshall, who is from the disaster area but now living in Norther Ireland, will tell visitors about what happened in her city and to members of her family, and what the situation is at present. The Council Chamber will also have a number of stalls where visitors can purchase craft work, find out more about the situation in north-east Japan, learn about ‘Fairtrade’ and ‘Friendship Force’, as well as sign a petition encouraging the Japanese Government to evacuate the area around the Fukushima nuclear power station.
Christine Turner, festival organiser, said: “There will be the showcasing of some exciting Japanese drumming from the ‘Ibuki Taiko’ group and a ‘Karate’ display, as well music and dance, along with the Hezlett School singing . There will be a Japanese creative sketch artist and children get the opportunity to colour some ‘Manga’ cartoon style posters. The Fukushima petition will be available for visitors to sign, and a special ‘Traybake’ stall will be selling something nice to take home.There is something for everyone.”
Ballyhackett and Hezlett Primary Schools, along with the North Coast Integrated College, are taking part in the Festival.
Children from Hezlett Primary School will be along to the event in both the Diamond and Council Chamber singing some Japanese songs and displaying their school work. North Coast Integrated College with be giving a presentation in the Council Chamber, in addition to having baked Japanese Green Tea cookies to have with coffee.
The children at Ballyhackett are holding a special ‘Fairtrade Coffee Morning’ (again with Green Tea cookies) on 8th March to raise funds for tsunami victims.
The Japanese Spring Festival is a free event and everyone is welcome.