DUBAI: As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the UAE, the Japanese Association hosted the Japan Festival in Dubai on Dec. 11, with support from the Consulate-General of Japan in Dubai.
The all-day event that took in place beach side at Jumeirah Beach Road featured several activities including Japanese Omatsuri- style stalls, Bon-dance, Japanese Drums, Wadaiko and Akaido performances as well tuna cutting show and many food offerings by Dubai-based restaurants.
A representative of the Japanese consulate in Dubai said exclusively to Arab News Japan about the Japan Festival: “We were deeply involved in this project for the past several months, and very much delighted to witness the beautiful gathering where the Japanese residents, Emiratis, and foreign expatriates come together to appreciate the Japanese culture in Dubai, a truly global city. We believe that this festival served as an opportunity to get to know the excellence of Japan and encourage the visitors to consider a visit to Japan in the future.”
“Given that we have gained this momentum on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the UAE, we will definitely continue to plan cultural events and projects in 2023 as well,” he added.
Ueyama Keisuke from the Japanese Association told Arab News Japan about the challenges for organizing the Japanese Cultural day event in Dubai: “It was our first attempt, but instead of asking an event company to plan and execute, we set up an executive committee made up of volunteers and built it from scratch by hand.”
“We had to grope around for the selection of the venue, requests for sponsors, planning, procurement, and attracting customers, but we are relieved that we have been able to hold meetings until late every week since August,” he added.
About the feedback and response from the people who attended the Japanese Cultural day event, Keisuke said: “I felt like Japan in Dubai. In particular, even if they are Japanese, there are cases in which small children do not know Japanese culture, and they were grateful. I was surprised that there were so many Japanese people in Dubai.”
“I’m pleased for being able to communicate with non-Japanese people through Japanese culture,” he added.
Other activities included games stands featuring games like a baseball toss, tire bowling, ring toss and origami making. Japanese restaurants in the UAE like Fujiya, Yamanote, Yui, Ikigai-cha, Gourmet-ya, Momiji, Suzumo, Wokyo and Summit Trading had food stalls for visitors where they enjoyed authentic Asian cuisine.
Speaking to Arab News Japan, Wokyo Noodle Bar’s operations manager Zak Alaalam said about their participation at Japan Festival: “We were very pleased and honored to be part of Japan Festival in Dubai and join the Japanese community in this wonderful event and we had been in UAE for 10 years and this occasion was coinciding with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between UAE and Japan.”
“So, we wanted to give something special to the visitors at Japan festival by selling our popular noodles at special prices to them to get warm and notorious meals and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at Japan festival,” he added.
Bon Odori was performed at the Japan Festival and it is one of the traditional Japanese dances that has developed in different regions across Japan.
UNESCO decided that “Furyu Odori” such as Bon Odori in various places is registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Six songs were played for the Bon Odori performance including: Dai Tokyo Ondo, Tanko Bushi, Doraemon Ondo, Kawachi Ondo, Zundoko Bushi and Tokyo Ondo.
For more information, those interested can follow @Japanfesindubai on Twitter or scan the QR code for Instagram.