201811251The 27th Abiko International Festival was held on Nov. 25th to enhance understanding between Abiko citizens and foreigners living in this city with a main theme of “Soaring High Together”. (No.18-15)
  Date & Time :   November 25th  (Sun.),2018
                 11:00 ~ 16:00  ( 10:30~ some events)
  Venue:  Abiko Civic Plaza (The 3rd floor of Abiko Shopping Plaza)
Prior to the opening of the festival, the students of Tsukuba University played “folklore music”, a folk music of the South American Indians, at the “garden court” on the first floor of the shopping mall.  At the same time, a foreign student of Chuo Gakuin University, wore the Mascot character of Abiko to let shoppers know this event.
  At the Civic Plaza, the tea ceremony and the session of the “Kimono Dressing experience” started at around 10:00.  The festival fully opened at 11:00 and the place was full of people who bought to taste food, beverages and bought folkcrafts from other countries. 
The followings are the summary of the events.
The Main Hall:  
A picture-card storytelling  show for children “The Mixed-Up Chameleon Board Book” was recited in two languages by a Filipino student(in English) and a Chinese student( in Japanese).  Then, the show started at around 13:00.   Mr. Mitsuru Hayasaka and a Vietnamese student acted as MCs.
The show started with welcome remarks by AIRA President, Mr. Hesaki, saying that ” Our organization would like to serve as a bridge between Japanese and non-Japanese in this city.”  Then, Mr. Hoshino, Mayor of Abiko city said, “ This special event will be helpful for foreign residents to understand differences in lifestyle, which could avoid troubles coming from the differences.”
Children took part in the show: in the Hip Hop Dance by Kappa Dance Kids, the kids showed quick and rhythmical dance. The boys and girls of  Abiko fourth elementary school sang in chorus beautiful songs . They got applause from the floor.  The Attendees of AIRA different language classes sang in chorus in different languages, including French, Korean and Chinese.  Two group guests were invited to the show.  One was the students of Tsukuba University as mentioned above, who played “Folklor”, using musical instruments: a quena (flute), a zampona (bamboo pipes), a charango (stringed instrument similar to mandolin), a bombo(dram), and a classical guitar.  The other was a professional chanson singer, Ms. Wakako Fuma who sang some popular songs with piano by Ms. Yuko Suzuki.  The audiences gave them generous applause.  Recitation drama was played by the Tuesday Japanese class students.
The Salon, the Japanese Room, the Flower Arrangement
At the salon, a tea ceremony started at around 10:00 by Noriko Kitayama, tea instructor and her students.  Her calm and quiet explanation made the guests relaxed enough to make them enjoy a bowl of green tea.
At the Japanese room, Kimono Dressing instructor, Keiko Taguchi and other instructors dressed 15 foreigners in Kimono.  This is one of the most popular events among foreigners taking the Japanese classes and international university students.  After dressing, they went straight to the entrance of the gallery where magnificent flower arrangement was prepared by Mr. Haruyuki Iwai.  Their pictures were taken together with or in front of the flowers.  Then they walked around the hall or became venders at the Chinese stand.  They enjoyed this experience to their heart’s content. 
 The Gallery
Six countries booths ( S.Korea, Peru, Germany, France, UK,China) and a AIRA booth by the foreigners studying Japanese in the classes were set up to introduce and sell food ,beverages and folkcrafts of their countries.  At the entrance of the gallery, AIRA sold albatross manju to make a donation to Yamashina Institute for Ornithology.  All the boxes of the manju were sold out this year, too.  At the kids’ corner, three women college students played with kids with coloring and Origami .
The Lottery
After finishing all events and  closing remarks by the festival manager Mr. Nakamura, a lottery was held.  The prizes were donated by the booths and some supporting members.  Whenever the number was called, flickers of excitement were heard.   The festival ended with a great success! 
   (Translated by Ms.Hitomi Koyama)