Ennichisai 2016 Coverage

This is one of the backlog post piling up in my draft folder. (シ_ _)シ Gomen! Gomen!

Ennichisai, an event that aims to simulate festival in Japan for Indonesian crowd, was held again this year in Blok M, a place touted as Jakarta’s Little Tokyo. This festival displays a wide range of cultural products: culinary, traditional dance, portable shrine parade, taiko and shamisen performance, pop song concert, handicraft, etc. Beside those, you can expect to meet a lot of native Japanese not only as visitors but also as stall clerks. Oh, do not forget about festival games! They are so much fun. Always try for the games every time you go to Japanese festival.

Let me share my experience!

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I came early enough in the morning (around 10 AM, probably) and was able to witness the ramen eating competition. There were only a little crowd in front of the stage, the slot for competition was opened for five persons, no registration needed, no fee required to enter, and you only had to raise your hand to join. I did not expect that. Had I known about it beforehand, I would have prepared myself and join. I did not even have to win, it was a free breakfast.

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As the day went by, the crowd got multiplied. To get the mood “Japan Festival”-ish, we rented a pair of Yukata (a casual version of kimono) from a local Yukata enthusiast community (I cannot remember the name of their booth >.<). It was around IDR 50,000 for two hours, but the clerks were so nice they did not keep tab on the time and we practically could wear them as long as we wanted.

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Yosakoi performance by Indonesian students. Yosakoi is a choreographed dances from Japan performed by large group of people. When I say large, I really mean it. They occupied almost the whole road all the way from the entrance area to the stage. In case you wonder, the orange instrument held by these students are called naruko, or bird rattle, and it…rattles (how else should I describe it).

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That is a Danjiri, are large wooden carts in the shape of a shrine or temple with taiko (traditional Japanese war drum) and other instruments on board. It was followed by Mikoshi (a portable shrine) and there were multitudes of them, marching in rhyme with the drums.

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A glimpse of a Mikoshi. It was quite hard to take photos in the crowd.

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The pop culture stage! A small stage with various performers each day. Too bad each one of them only performed one or two songs. I was only able to watch Faint Star (in the photo) and only some minute before they finished .·´¯`(>_<)´¯`·. Why? The main reason was because the distance between the main cultural stage (and pretty much all the stalls and attractions) was quite far from the pop culture stage, plus the population density ensured traffic congestion even for pedestrians. So whenever I enjoyed something around the main stage, I would not be able to relocate quick enough to attend the performance at the pop stage (have not finished my teleportation training). Thus, my planned itinerary for that day was thrown into chaos.

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The performers in this picture showcased a kind of martial dance. My guess is they are Kajimaai, an Eisa (traditional Okinawan dance) group who also combines Kobudo (traditional Okinawan martial art using various weapon, including staff) in their performance.

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After some hours, I was really tired with all the walking and standing. I am not a strong traveler as far as I know. So I went over to my friend’s restaurant called Sate (a Yakitori stall, actually) at Blok M, not in the Ennichisai venue, but close by. It was my first experience visiting his stall and I love his food. His Yakitori is made with love and passion; he wastes no expense to serve the best he can. Don’t believe me? Drop by at his stall at Food Fighters and take a bite!

Now, loot exhibition!

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Top: Furoshiki and Sushi fridge magnet I bought from a Japanese. Middle left: water ballon or water yo yo I won from a traditional festival game called Yo Yo Tsuri, where player has to get the yo-yo balloons set floating in a tub of water using a hook which has tissue or paper handle. All key-chains: bought from multiple stalls. Lawson Ponta card and Biskies were given free by Ponta stall.

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Ponta fan, Ennichisai fan, UHA candy: freebies from stalls. Ennichisai shirt: bought from information booth for IDR 80,000. MametchiHello Kitty festival mask: I won it at a shooting game. Sanada Yukimura festival mask (red mask with antler): a festival mask I bought from a group of Japanese who touted that this is a Japan product made with great quality material, but after I purchased it, I knew it is an overpriced (IDR 200K) cheap plastic (PVC) masks made in China by looking at the backside.

I guess that is all my story.

By the way, my Japanese friend told me that it is odd that they named it Ennichisai, not Matsuri or Bunkasai. Ennichisai has a more religious tone, an event where people go to the shrine or temple to ask for fortune from the deity because that day is important for the deity, while Matsuri and Bunkasai are a lot closer in meaning to Japanese cultural festival.

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