Meeting Sakura, strengthening friendship

Meeting Sakura, strengthening friendship

It all began when my wife received a surprise email.  It read: “I will be in Singapore for three days with the Japanese team to perform in the Singapore-Japan Friendship event. I missed you and Uncle and I hope we can meet if you and Uncle can come to Ngee Ann City.  I will be performing in a Japanese dance there.”

The writer of the email to my wife is a Japanese girl named after the famous national flower of Japan – Sakura.

Ms Sakura Tsutsumi is a university student who was with us (with another of her course friend, Ms Kaho Matsushita) for two nights earlier this year under the JENESYS homestay programme. To read more these two girls go to my article in this blog: https://readnreap.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/general-interest-an-educational-treat-for-japanese-students-relishing-the-sights-sounds-and-tastes-of-vibrant-singapore/

I also wrote about them in the Malay newspaper, Berita Harian. The actual article is available online at:  http://www.beritaharian.sg/setempat/sakura-jepun-segar-nikmati-homestay-di-singapura

Shaik Kadir’s article in Berita Harian relating Sakura’s and Kaho’s homestay experiences in Singapore in January 2016, and a computer screen-shot of the article in the Berita Harian website.

Shaik Kadir’s article in Berita Harian relating Sakura’s and Kaho’s homestay experiences in Singapore in January 2016, and a computer screen-shot of the article in the Berita Harian website.

My wife, Khairon Mastan, and I seized the opportunity of meeting Sakura and headed for Ngee Ann City, reaching there 10 minutes before 10 in the morning when the first item of the first day of the 2-day Japanese Tradition stage performance began.  The stage performance is part of a 2-day programme to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties between Singapore and Japan.  Called “50 years of Singapore-Japan Friendship” and referred to as “SJ50 Matsuri” (SJ50 Festival), the event was held on 29 and 30 October 2016.

Odori (festival dance) was the main attraction. The numerous performances for the two days include the ever-popular Awa Odori dance, Japanese Taiko drum, shamisen (three-stringed Japanese musical instrument), traditional Japanese songs and the Singapore-Japan Friendship Parade on Orchard Road (upon road closure) at 8 pm.

Some of my friends joined the parade for an evening of fun in celebrating the friendship event.  Many Singaporeans joined the 200 Japanese dancers on the traffic-free Orchard Road as they danced away with top Awa Odori dancers from Japan, using the road from Lucky Plaza to Paragon.

A section of the audience watching the stage show. Bottom photo shows some of my friends, including Mr Agus (sporting a neat beard), happy to take part in the the SJ50 Friendship Parade on Orchard Road, Singapore’s “Ginza” which is a popular shopping area of Tokyo.

A section of the audience watching the stage show. Bottom photo shows some of my friends, including Mr Agus (sporting a neat beard), happy to take part in the the SJ50 Friendship Parade on Orchard Road, Singapore’s Ginza which is a popular shopping area of Tokyo.

The first item was the well-known Awa Odori, a traditional dance item with the sound of Japanese drums and shamisen piercing into the air while the energetic presentation by both male and female dancers entranced the audience. Awa Odori (Awa dancing) is held across Japan along roads in mid-August.

“Awa” is the old feudal administration name of the Tokushima region. “Odori” means dance. Though the exuberant dance originated a few centuries ago, the term "Awa Odori" was used only since the 20th century.

“Awa” is the old feudal administration name of the Tokushima region (prefecture). “Odori” means dance. Though the exuberant dance originated some 400 years ago, the term “Awa Odori” was used only since the 20th century.

Awa Odori is a well-known festival dance in Japan, and is as famous as Bon Odori (summer festival dance) in which the writer of this blog had had the privilege to take part in 1974 when he was studying (engineering) in Tokyo for a year.

Awa Odori is a well-known festival dance in Japan, and is as famous as Bon Odori (summer festival dance) in which the writer of this blog had the privilege to take part in 1974 when he was studying (engineering) in Tokyo for a year.

Sakura appeared with a troupe of dancers in the third item at 11:30 am. The troupe performed another vigorous and lively dance item.

Ms Sakura Tsutsumi (front, middle) in a highly-spirited dance item.

Ms Sakura Tsutsumi (front, middle) in a highly-spirited dance item.

Sakura exhibiting exuberance and cheerfulness.

Sakura exhibiting exuberance and cheerfulness.

I was able to meet Sakura before her performance for a few minutes, and after her performance my wife and I had the opportunity to meet Sakura for another five minutes to talk and take some pictures.

With Sakura after her performance.

With Sakura after her performance.

We parted company soon, and we do not know if we would ever meet again. But, friendship remains, both between nations (Singapore and Japan) and between us and Sakura.

Shaik Kadir

30 October 2016

Advertisements
This entry was posted in General interest (Wide-ranging) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meeting Sakura, strengthening friendship

  1. Pingback: Iffah with her Japanese “kakaks” | Read & Reap

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s