Summer Festival in Izumisano

Izumisano Summer Festival in Izumisano
August 20, 2016
Suehiro Park

Local gathering in Izumisano – the plan was to break the world record of 3,000 people dancing to the traditional song of Izumisano, Sano Kudoki, while wearing traditional yukata. It wasn’t broken this time however. This year the number of participants came to about 500.

Totaling sixteen people and representing nine countries, Japanese language learners from ica and members of Kansai International Center, participated in the event. People from various countries gathered and like good friends, enjoyed informal and carefree conversation.


Speaking true words, the song goes, “The dancers are fools. The watchers are fools. Both are fools…” While the dance appears slow moving and simple, it can be difficult. By observing others and paying attention to the timing of the hand claps, the routine can be learned. Everyone works up a good sweat.



●(On the left) Mei, a Philippine native with her two children. She’s been in Japan for seven years but this is the first time she’s worn a yukata. When she finished dancing she was interviewed by NHK (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation). The interview was a great experience.

●(On the right) Nagamu, a Syrian native, selling her handmade work at the ica booth this year. Nishimura, who learned the craft in Turkey, introduced Nagamu to the craft. Now Nagamu uses the technique to make cute handmade earrings and accessories.

●Ratna, who was wearing a beautiful green national costume of Bangladesh also enjoyed wearing a yukata.

●Through ica, Yureka from Sri Lanka and Kuwan from Taiwan, recently became very good friends. On the day of the event they met at the bus stop in front of Izumisano Station and then arrived at the event together. Japanese, the language they both just started learning, is their lingua franca. Chamu, Yureka’s husband, is fluent in Japanese. He entertained people with his funny jokes and engaging conversation topics.

It was a good experience!

It was a very good experience. I was surprised that so many people danced wearing yukata to break the world record. Is Bon Odori related to Buddhism? There are thousands of dances in India too. The way of dancing is different in various ways… It was interesting to meet a lot Japanese people today. I also went fishing for goldfish. Is this a traditional type of game? I caught 25 fish with two paper fishnets. The trick is to use the edge and scoop up quickly. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the fish home so I had to return them.
Gautam, India

Bon Odori in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2008

When I was a Japanese teacher in Malaysia in 2008 the Japanese Association in Malaysia asked my school to join in the Bon Odori event. With volunteer students and teachers, I participated in the event.

We practiced at the Japanese Association building at night. Then, on the day of the dance I made a mistake and wore a white pair of shoes instead of a black pair. Despite my teacher status, I had made a mistake and the other ladies pointed it out. Luckily, I was able to borrow some black shoes and eventually we danced in front of more than fifty audience members, including some VIPs.
(Kadodera / Japanese teacher)

It’s Japanese Presentation Time

The 10th Annual ICA Japanese Class Presentations were held on Sunday, May 6, 2016. This year there were 16 presenters. Presentations included a variety of content and formats. Some presenters introduced their home countries, others talked about life in Japan, or their experiences learning Japanese. Others recited passages, sang music, or performed rakugo. After the presentations there was a chance for the 33 audience members to share words with the presenters.

The Program

An Impressive Moment ● Ogi – / Mongolia
Self-introduction ● MoMie / China
My Candy Can(s) ● Wang Nan / China
Morning of the Relay ● Grace / Philippines
Rakugo ● Emilio / Italy
Home Country Introduction and Mission ● Taranga / Sri Lanka
My Family and Japan ● Nirumini / Sri Lanka
(song) “Promise of Sunflowers” ● Aiko Mizuno / Japan
(song) “500 Miles” ● Mari Mizuno / Japan
Home Country Introduction● Mizuno Fefuranshia / Philippines
New Year’s in Japan and Sri Lanka ● Nadika / Sri Lanka
The Differences between Sri Lankan and Japanese Life and Culture ● Himari / Sri Lanka
Life in Japan ● Jan’natu / Bangladesh
My life in Japan ● Huang Shin / China
(recital) “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” ● Song Yingjie / China
(song) “Jida” ● Chieri Hasegawa / Thailand



The moderator for the first half was Fefuranshia (Philippines). “It was a good experience, however, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to moderate well because I had just finished working the night before.” The moderator for the second half was Chieri Hasegawa (Thailand). “It was fun!”


After the Show Meet and Greet

Reflections from the presenters

A presentation such as this, made me nervous but also made me more confident. (Ogi / Mongolia)

I was so nervous but It was a good experience. (Jannatu / Bangladesh)

I was happy to hear, “Your song was great!”, from the audience.(Aiko Mizuno)

I was happy to attend the presentation. I regret that my speech was too short. I will try again next year.(Huang / China)

Impressions from the audience

The rakugo performance was very interesting and the plot was good. I think it could have been better if the story was a bit longer. (A)

The Osaka dialect was very good. (I)

I was impressed with the way they presented various ideas. For example they used computers. I could see that they had worked hard when I saw them doing their best.(M)

The presentations had variety and were interesting. Those who are good at Japanese and those who have just started studying, were both trying hard. They must have inspired each other. (M)

Arpa Performance and Talk

Sachiyo Uenoyama held a global awareness session at Ebuno Izuminomori Hall. Drawing upon her experiences teaching Japanese in Paraguay, she gave a lecture and played the arpa, a Paraguayan harp.  Alongside her gentle yet powerful harp playing, were her own paintings. The colorful paintings visually captured the expressive mood of the music. Many of the attendees were touched by the performance.

アルパ演奏_3292sUenoyama played the harp wearing the national costume of Paraguay. The costume, a very colorful display of delicately stitched lace and patterns was meant to resemble earth with its rich diversity of people.

Listening to the Arpa Performance and Talk

by Makoto Otsuya

Uenoyama is sometimes a school counselor, sometimes she’s an actress, and at other times she’s an oil painter. However, I truly feel that Uenoyama is a warrior of love.

I listen to my ipod every day and after listening to Uenoyama’s live music, I felt comfort surrounded by the real sound of the harp. She produced smooth gentle tones, intense sounds, and occasionally struck my heart by the sounds she produced. A couple times she tapped the base turning the arpa into a drum.

The talk was as unique as Osaka and easy to understand even though it was a difficult topic. I was surprised and laughed suddenly when she performed a little skit.

At the beginning she was wearing a costume of Paraguay. She represented the earth in all it’s color and diversity. Then suddenly she put on her beret and became a painter.

While explaining her artwork, such as the Constellation, I came to realize Uenoyama’s wide breadth of abilities, from painter to arpa player.  “I’m the same age”, I thought.  “I need to start trying harder.”

Words from the Audience


I felt very fortunate to hear the story of about the colorful costumes.They had been knitted, not by one person, but by various people.

Again, I’m reminded of the meaning of life.

I’m glad I brought the family.

Time for Japanese Cuisine

Sunday, March 27 at the Izumisano Community Center Kitchen

On this menu, were commonly found dishes in Japanese cuisine: nikujaga, namasu, tamagoyaki and miso soup. Everyone enjoyed talking about food and culture from various countries. Japanese participants introduced the concept of “one soup, three greens” and commonly used Japanese ingredients like dried bonito, seaweed, and konjac. For this event, religious practices of participants were considered. Therefore recipes didn’t include pork or alcohol so that people from Islamic countries could participate.

Are you having a hard time shaping that onigiri?


Words from the participants


I ate a lot! I love Japanese food. I made some new friends.
(William / Haiti)

My father told me to learn how to make Japanese food because it’s healthy.
(Kati / Nicaragua)

My stepmother showed me how to make tamagoyaki (Japanese egg rolls).
(Hana / China)

We also use sesame seeds in Syria, but we don’t have mortars and pestles like the ones here in Japan. How should we use sesame seeds without mortar and pestles?
(Nagamu / Syria)

Today’s curry style dish, nikujaga,  was made with various ingredients. In contrast, Sri Lankan curries do not contain multiple ingredients. Potato curry is  made with potatoes and carrot curry is made with carrots.
(Sri Lanka / Taranga)

The meat and potato dish was delicious. I will also try to make it at home.
(Park / South Korea)

It was fun because I was able to cook, talk, and learn about various cultures.