Enriching and entertaining

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  • Thursday, 21 Jul 2016

Members of a Japanese performance group delighting the audience with a lively number during the Cultural Exchange Programme at SMJK Phor Tay in Sungai Dua, Penang.

STUDENTS of SMJK Phor Tay had a field time dancing together with members of different performance groups from Japan during a Cultural Exchange Programme at the school in Sungai Dua, Penang.

The Samurai Maeda Toshiie Ondo Mai, which is a group of 18 dancers from Nagoya, had roped in several students to join them as they performed the energetic and lively modern Yosakoi dance.

The remaining students in the audience clapped and cheered to the loud energetic music and enthusiastic dance, encouraging their peers to showcase their dance moves.

The Cultural Exchange Programme between Japan and SMJK Phor Tay also saw performances by the Kasurino-Kai, which performed the traditional Japanese folk dance.

The audience was also awed by a Shamisen (Japanese guitar) performance which followed.

The event on Friday opened with a Chinese orchestra performance bystudents of SMJK Phor Tay, while an impressive 24 festive drums performance by the school’s students marked the end of the 90-minute event.

An amazing diabolo performance by the school’s students also garnered huge applause several times from the audience.

School principal Chan Be Chuwelcomed the guests who comprised of representatives from the Consulate-General of Japan and officials with members of the performance groups from Japan, who were in Malaysia in conjunction with the annual Penang Bon Odori Festival 2016.

“On behalf of the school, we are delighted to have all of you here in SMJK Phor Tay to showcase one of the most famous traditional dances in Japan, the Bon dance, which is called ‘Bon Odori’ in Japanese.

“We, teachers and students of the school are honoured to be given the privilege to view the three performances. In return, we also hope that our guests will enjoy the three performances by our students.

“This cultural exchange event would certainly enable the people of our two nations, especially the young ones to better appreciate the beauty of our cultural differences particularly the performing arts. Therefore, I sincerely hope that your visit to our school will not only promote but also enhance the continuous cultural exchange efforts between our two nations,” she said in her earlier speech.

On Saturday, the Penang Bon Odori Festival 2016 was a rain-drenched affair but it did not dampen the spirit of those who attended the event at the Esplanade field.

Some 20,000 people thronged the field to enjoy the vibrant stage performances and the variety of dishes on sale at the food stalls.

Carrying umbrellas and wearing raincoats, the people braved the rain to join in the gyrating music and dance performances on stage.

The festival was held here for the 20th time.

Teenagers and younger children also had a great time taking selfies with performers.

The two new mascots at the celebration this year – Mikyan, a costumed mascot from the Ehime Prefecture and Rilakkuma (Relax bear), a fictional character by the Japanese company San-X, were a major hit with children.

More than 50 booths displayed an array of Japanese, local and western food, souvenirs, Yukata, T-shirts, bags and games.

There were also performances by the Penang Japanese Association and students of SMK Sultan Abdul Halim from Kedah.

While some took part in the various games associated with the festival, others could be seen trying out the Japanese traditional costumes andtaking photos with cosplayers.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who launched the festival, said that for 20 years the festival has showcased some of the finest traditional performers from Japan and promoted cross-culture relationship between the people of Penang and Japan.

Also present at the event were state Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law, Japan consul- general Kiyoshi Ito, Thailand consul- general Ekajit Kraivichin, Indonesia consul-general Bapak Taufik Rodhi, Denmark honorary consul Lio Chee Yeong and France honorary consul Datuk Poh Kim Seng.

The festival culminated with adisplay of fireworks at 10pm.

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