ORLANDO JAPAN FESTIVAL 2009

Do I have Japanese pride? Come on Pyra, you’re an Asian! You were born into Naruto and roleplay and making “V” signs with your fingers!

There’s so much more to Asian pride than that! Honestly, say the word “Japan” to a teenager and they will perk up with grand visions of anime characters. This is why I was glad to visit Orlando’s annual Japan Festival on Nov. 8 2009. Although small in size, the fair gave Japanese-newbies a glimpse into the culture that is only superficially anime-filled.

Did I mention small in size? There was about a dozen booths and half were for tempting my taste buds. The other booths ranged from selling knick knacks, molding soft candy onto sticks (awesome!), and games. But there were SO many people visiting. The Japan festival was held at a plaza’s center which allowed free entry and any curious passers-by to waltz in.

The obvious heart of the festival was at the center stage which showcased a variety of cultural performances. Ladies in kimonos played stringed instruments in harmony while my mind wandered to scenes from Kung Fu Hustle. (And the evil guys delicately pluck the stringed instruments– what’s their names?– then struck the with such force that daggers flew out) Another man demonstrated the use of a Japanese sword. (And I apologize for not calling any performance by its respected name) Perhaps the performance that stole the show were the drummers towards the festival’s end. Many young teens were partnered with those side-standing drums and struck it with perfect rhythmn. Man, those kids played as one!

I followed USF’s Japanese Club as they wandered throughout the fair. Although we wanted to leave early, good things came to us who waited. One of J-Club’s members won the coveted raffle prize– a place ticket to Japan. Although this was a small, slow-moving festival, I hope to return next year– and I’ll wear an Asian-costume too.

Click on my pictures to follow me through the festival. WARNING– half of my pictures follow the antics of my friends rather than on the festival itself.

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