SJ50 Matsuri

For the first time, there was a considerably extensive matsuri (loosely translated as festival) celebrations in Singapore so of course, we had to attend. Even if it meant forsaking our cosy bed on a Sunday morning.

The “SJ50 Matsuri” was a 2-day event to celebrate 50 years of Singapore-Japan friendship. Besides Japanese food and drinks, the event showcased some of the fine cultures and innovative technologies of Japan. Many performances and activities were scheduled throughout the day.

We were there at 10.20 am to catch the first performance, Awa Odori. “Awa” is the former name of Tokushima Prefecture, the place of origin of the dance while “odori” simply means dance. The dance aims to welcome the souls of ancestors as they return home during the Obon Festival (we call it Festival of the Hungry Ghosts/中元节 here).

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Video of Awa Odori by the Awa Odori Promotion Association.

Following which, there were various groups singing J-pop.

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The performance up next proved to be an eye opener for us. It was a Shinkyokushin karate demonstration by the World Karate Organization Shinkyokushinkai Singapore. Its members comprises of both the young and old.


Breaking of two baseball bats simultaneously, with the shin.


Video of the Master breaking concrete slabs with bare hands.

We were kept engaged with the programmes on the stage so much so that we didn’t realise an hour has passed by! Time to get the numbed feet moving around the exhibition booths.

Finally, what better way to end the Matsuri experience than a cold beer in the summer heat?