July 24, 2017

Japanese MGIMO club at J-Fest 2017

Gorky Park hosted J-Fest, the Festival of Japanese Culture on 15th and 16th July. The International Chodiev Foundation was present as the general sponsor for this event. At the invitation of the Foundation, the event was visited by members of MGIMO’s Japanese club, students and tutors.

For the first time in its history, the festival was held in the open air. The idea of the organisers was that the event should be a variation of the Japanese Matsuri summer festival.

To recreate the atmosphere of Matsuri, many of those who participated turned up in the traditional dress of the Land of the Rising Sun – the kimono and the yukata. There was even a special competition for the best costume.

Visitors were also invited to participate in various workshops to get a taste of Japanese culture. There were opportunities to master the old skill of playing Go (or Igo) and Kendama (duce ball), make paper figures and try one’s hand at calligraphy.

Of particular interest were the popular workshops, open to anyone who wanted to take part. One such class was devoted to the Japanese Bon-Odori dance and both children and adults alike hugely enjoyed trying to imitate these energetic movements.

A truly vibrant and exciting experience awaited those who visited the evening show with the Aska-Gumi Japanese drummers. The musicians not only played their instruments with skill and imagination, but they moved about the stage with great artistry and at the end of the show they all climbed onto the drums!

Throughout the festival there was a trade fair on display exhibiting Japanese products, with figures of favourite animated characters on sale together with various souvenirs and ornaments and much more.

The food court was a pleasant surprise and many went back for a second helping of the exotic Asian dishes. Hungry visitors were offered not only the customary sushi and lapsha but also other delicacies much less common in Russia, such as taiyaki – fish-shaped waffle with a delicious filling.

Those who visited the festival left with a very many positive impressions. It was certainly one of the most colourful events of the summer and we now eagerly await the next J-Fest!


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