Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Matsuri on Mobara - Festa Time In Adelaide Part 2

One of the demonstrations was of a traditional Harvest Festival Dance... by a group of volunteer enthusiasts around Adelaide. I have to say that I really respect the effort that people put into their hobbies - especially when it comes to preserving some of their own heritage so far from home. Also, there were several Australian members of the group - making the performance that bit more special.

There's something very nice about seeing people brought together... from different cultural and age backgrounds - to enjoy experiences with people from different parts of the world. Of course - the people that  come to these sorts of events are of course naturally pre-disposed to being open to new things. I wonder of the 3,000 people... how many of them already had ties to Japan? And how many were experiencing some of these cultural experiences for the first time.

It was a fine day in Adelaide... Spring has been coming along strongly (and I might throw up some other posts about Spring in Adelaide shortly).  Sunday morning was quite bright, but with a cool breeze to start - so much so that L-kun was a bit cold without a jacket. It was however perfect weather for koinobori... these flags made in the shape of carp are a Japanese tradition related to the annual boys festival (known as Children's Day) that takes place on 5th May.

And the other thing the weather was good for was kite-flying... and there were some very large traditional Japanese kites up in the air. Not sure however that the kites were such a great idea when one of the big ones came down... and almost took T-chan's head off. Phew... abunai!

 As the morning turned into afternoon, our thoughts turned to lunch. Festivals are always a little iffy when it comes to food. They don't normally have the facilities to cope with large crowds, and the food is always a little bit questionable (at least from the perspective of someone that eats a lot of Japanese food). On the menu today was yakitori (grilled chicken), gyuu-don (cooked beef on rice), okonomiyaki (cabbage-based pancake often referred to as the Japanese pizza) and various other bits and pieces.

It was a red-letter day today for L-kun...  We had bought some pretty so-so (interestingly translated as ma-ma) gyuu-don for lunch - but I had also bought some strawberry flavoured Ramune... which is a traditional Japanese soft-drink. It has an interesting cap-system which has a round ball vacuum sealed against the bottle opening. To drink you need to break the vacuum by pushing the ball into the bottle (with the aid of a plastic tool provided). It's a bit of an old-fashioned way of storage, but fun...  and Ramune is one of those Japanese institutions that should be tried.

Now - we have to admit something here. We're not big on exposing L-kun to lots of junk foods - though we're not food-nazi's by any stretch of the imagination. As an example of our overall parenting style, we haven't let L-kun have fizzy drinks before. Before today that is. Daddy's Strawberry (ichigo) Ramune was going to be his very first carbonated drink... let's see how it went...

So far so good... he seems pretty into it (after seeing Daddy enjoying)...

Ummm... (face expression changes)...  oishikunai! Yucky!  To be honest, we were hoping for a reaction, but we hadn't quite anticipated such a "ewwwwrrrrgghhh" reaction. That most probably is a good thing. But I hope it hasn't traumatized him too much - otherwise Mr Coca Cola might miss out in the future.

We're not sure that reaction will last long however. It doesn't take L-kun very long at all before he's got his cheeky expression back again. I wonder how he will react to his second fizzy drink?...

In between eating there were still demonstrations and displays occurring at the main stage.

One such was a demonstration from the Japan Karate Association Australia (JKAA)...In fact, we're seriously considering enrolling L-kun in a martial arts school... just not quite yet. Of course, there's a lot more to Japan than martial arts. However - it makes for an interesting demonstration nonetheless. This particular group emphasizes the fact that  children to practice with adults to get them to be more confident with older people in conflict situations. I'm not entirely convinced by this argument however... still anything that builds self-confidence is good in my book.


  1. Don't worry Ben, L-kun will get his taste for the fizzy drinks soon enough. My 9 year old just started drinking coke a couple years ago - he's a rootbeer FREAK now. But my 7 year old still prefers 100% orange juice. I'll take it while it lasts ; )

  2. Something to look forward to. Actually, we've been getting much more relaxed these days about what he eats. Perhaps as he's generally a pretty non-fussy eater.