Mention Japan to the youth and the immediate thing that would probably pop in their minds are the popular animated films or series based on Manga (Japanese comics) that continue to amaze young people (and even adults) from the different parts of the world. But there’s actually more to the country than that.

I myself am guilty about being an anime fan but somehow through this I have learned a lot about the Japanese culture. I had in fact been craving ramen after seeing Naruto, a famous anime character, voraciously eating the Japanese noodle soup. Many Japanese traits, culture, and tradition are very clearly reflected and ingrained on these films and these are only proofs that arts and culture are indeed inseparable things. Some of the best animated movies also showcased the country’s history, like for example, Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies. Also worth noting is the work of famous Japanese Film Director Akira Kurosawa whose works like the Seven Samurai has always been among the most referenced movies by filmmakers and movie enthusiasts across the globe.

In the Philippines, the country where I came from, the Manga or Anime wave is so great that you will get surprised hearing a classmate suddenly speaks to you in Japanese – that was the case when I still had my undergraduate studies and is still the case when I graduated from my university.

However, watching something is totally different from experiencing it firsthand that is why I was glad that I was able to attend the 8th Japan Fair on Sunday, February 25, which was held at the Ngarachamayong Cultural Center in Koror, Palau. The event, which was hosted by the Japan Embassy in Palau, was conducted for free and was in fact open to all people.

The event was good as audiences were not only passive participants because it was designed in a way that sparked audience interactions.

Palauans including foreigners and other guests had witnessed different Japanese cultural presentations ranging from Rakugo, a comical storytelling performance, folk songs and dance presentations, Judo exhibitions and art exhibition by Japanese artist Tomoya Uemura.

Aside from that, different workshops were also conducted and participants, kids and adults, even had the chance to try wearing Yukata, a light, cotton Japanese Kimono.  There were booths for painting workshop and exhibit too including booths for calligraphy, traditional Japanese face painting, origami, and free tasting of fresh Japanese Matcha Tea.

Although some of the performances were in Japanese, still the understanding, respect, and friendship among people with different cultures were very clear that audiences could not help but clap and nod their heads along with the rhythm of the song presentations during the event. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)