Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Matsuri on Mobara - Festa Time in Adelaide, Part 1

24th October, 2010 - Welcome everyone to the blog of our life in Adelaide... and today I thought I'd start things off with a very Japanese experience. "Matsuri on Mobara"... where Matsuri is Japanese for festival! This is an annual festival that is held in Mobara Park in Mawson Lakes - a relatively new suburb in Adelaide's north. This was held last sunday - so it's pretty fresh. The suburb of Mawson Lakes is part of the Salisbury city council area, which has a sister city partnership with Mobara... from the Chiba prefecture (not far from Tokyo).

Now Adelaide doesn't have a very large Japanese community - so these sorts of events tend to be quite popular amongst the Japanese families. There were about 3,000 people attending throughout the day - but the majority were curious Australians looking for some colour and excitement. The day started around 11am and went till about 4, with the program featuring a number of different cultural events and food experiences. I'll try an give you a bit of a taste of things that happened on the day...

A word of warning... I'm not only playing with my new camera (an entry-level Canon Kiss X3 DSLR), but also starting to play with some editing software. Like a kid in a candy store.

The day started off with some beautiful Shamisen playing by Noriko Tadano who actually lives in Melbourne. She played the largest of the three types of shamisen, the futozao. The Shamisen is a three stringed instrument - that not only doesn't have any frets (and hence is played by ear), but also is unique in that it uses a simultaneous percussive hitting of the soundbox to generate a very unique sound. Exquisite.

Our son, L-kun has mixed feelings for these sorts of events. He has fun, but he'd much rather be doing something (like playing) rather than sitting down watching things. Even perched up on Daddy's shoulders which has to be his #1 place to enjoy the world.

Of course, matsuri is also a time to get dressed up - and have some fun.

There was a demonstration of Iaidō...the Japanese martial art of sword drawing that dates from around the 16th century - but harks back to the more practical skills of Japanese samurai of even earlier times.

An important part of this, and one of the most dramatic, is the practice of the cutting with the drawn blade in smooth, precise movements. This was dramatically demonstrated below with sodden rolled up bamboo mats and bamboo stalks. Now that's Ginsu sharp!

 Festa are of course a time to catch up with friends... L-kun was comparing notes with his friend K-kun about a bike that had been parked nearby. They were in deep discussion - perhaps about the colour, or perhaps just because they couldn't understand what a bike was doing here all by itself.

K-kun was sporting his Ampanman toy, a must-have accompaniment to any outfit.


  1. Hi Ben,

    Looks like a fun festival.

    Melbourne has some Japanese festivals as well, but I've never got around to seeing any of them.

    Have fun,

  2. That slice looks cool! ^_^ The L-kun and K-kun discussion is adorable

  3. Sorry for the late reply - yeah, the blades were sharp. Very sharp. Thankfully the odds of being attacked by a wet tatami mat have been steadily declining these days... however... you never know when there might be one lurking in a dark alley somewhere.