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Ennichisai festival haven for Japanese culture enthusiasts

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, May 15, 2016 | 12:36 pm
Ennichisai festival haven for Japanese culture enthusiasts

Ennichisai attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year. (-/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Going to Ennichisai is like visiting a shopping district in Japan. The sound of sellers hawking their products, the mouthwatering smell of okonomiyaki cooked on a griddle and cosplayers walking around in colorful costumes welcome people when they attend the Japanese art and culture festival, held until Sunday in the capital city.

Located in Blok M, also known as Jakarta’s Little Tokyo, the seventh Ennichisai festival is themed "Miracle: The Power of Love" and invites visitors to write down their wishes on a heart-shaped piece of paper and attach it to one of the three giant love boards spread throughout the venue. And for Rp 10,000 (75 US cents), one can buy a souvenir bracelet, some of the proceeds of which will be donated to earthquake victims in Kumamoto, Japan.

Cosplayers enliven Ennichisai 2016 with their amazing costumes and encourage people to snap a photo with them.(-/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Guests can be entertainment by Japanese culture performed on two stages. Situated next to Blok M Square shopping mall, the Pop Culture stage presents performances by Japanese artists such as SAGA, the Loverin Tamburin band and jazz pianist Rei Narita.

(Read also: A touch of Japan at Blok M)

“Today we’ll perform four songs,” Aya, the vocalist of Loverin Tamburin, told a media conference on Saturday. She added that the band would enliven the Pop Culture stage with nine songs on Sunday.

Meanwhile, authentic Japanese culture can be marvel at on the Traditional stage. Located in a corner of the venue, the stage will be graced by Japanese musician Hiroaki Kato and other street performers. One of the most awaited attractions is the mikoshi (Shinto shrine palanquin) parade, which will be staged several times during the festival.

Japanese merchandise available at Ennichisai 2016.(-/Ni Nyoman Wira)

More than 200 booths can be visited at the event, some of which sell Japanese-related merchandise loved by Japanese culture lovers, such as anime-themed T-shirts, cute accessories and posters.

Visitors can also sample a vast array of authentic Japanese food with a starting price of Rp 10,000. Choices include widely popular ramen, the crunchy and slightly sweet okonomiyaki (savory pancakes with vegetables and meat), the delicate taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with red beans) and refreshing kakigoori shaved ice dessert. Beverages available include a wide range of beers and sake.

(Read also: Jakarta fashion festival features stories, philosophy)

“It’s refreshing for your taste buds, especially if you’re a foodie,” says Firman, 22, a newcomer at Ennichisai 2016. “The booths are also neat and well-organized.”

The festival, entry to which is free, reportedly attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year.

Ennichisai attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year.(-/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Despite an issue with the 2014 Ennichisai, in which committee head Daisei Takeya complained on his Facebook page about officials demanding money so that a permit would be issued to enable the event to proceed, the event continues to run annually.

[Read also: Ahok calls on businessman to report extortion]

In his opening speech, South Jakarta Deputy Mayor Irmansyah said the city administration would continue to support the annual festival. 

“As an event that South Jakarta is proud of, Ennichisai has been included as part of Jakarta’s anniversary," he said. (kes)

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