Saturday, October 10, 2009

Japanese Matsuri festival to boost Indo-Japan ties

The city administration and the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta are preparing the first-ever Jak-Japan Matsuri festival here in October in an effort to maintain relations between Indonesia and Japan.

The festival, to take place in several places in the city from Oct. 3 to Oct. 11, will feature various Japanese cultural performances, as well as exhibitions, seminars and contests.

Head of the organizing committee, Kuroda Kenichi, said the festival was held to gather the efforts of stakeholders who had frequently hold forums here to maintain the two countries' relations.

"At this festival, we will gather the Indonesian and the Japanese communities through a series of events that will allow them to interact.

"We hope the festival will become an annual event in Jakarta and can be expanded to other cities in Indonesia in the future."

The festival is supported by Jakarta-based groups, including the Jakarta Japan Club, Jakarta Shimbun daily and Jakarta Matsuri Noai.

Governor Fauzi Bowo said the administration and the organizing committee had started discussing the idea to hold Jak-Japan Matsuri since early this year, adding he was glad they were able to proceed with the plan despite the capital's recent hotel bombings.

"Through this festival, we will assure the Japanese that Jakarta is as safe as other international metropolitan cities. Threats linger, but we always try to limit the movements of those trying to disturb security."

The festival will be opened by a Japanese Education Exhibition at the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan, and will be closed by some cultural performances at the National Monument (Monas) park.

At least 30 universities in Japan will participate, and are set to give presentations to Indonesian students about studying in Japan.

The festival will feature a Japanese-language musical show by Indonesian university students in Jakarta Art Building (GKJ) in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta, in Oct. 3.

There will be another event, Jakarta Sakura Matsuri, at Nikko Hotel from Oct. 3 to Oct. 11, where various Japanese traditions will be shared.

Other events include a sushi-making contest, sports, seminars and a Kelompok Orkestra Nusantara-Tokyo Philharmony Orchestra concert.

The organizing committee is inviting anyone willing to participate in the festival to contact Mamiko at 021-31924308 or emailing to jw-jakarta@hotmail.co.jp.

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