Monday, 23 March 2015

Erika had new experiences about Japanese culture here in Sheffield!

It’s Erika, the Japanese ambassador for the University of Sheffield's International Office.  You can find out more about me on my web page.

I would like to share some Japanese culture today.

When I got to the Octagon Centre in the afternoon last Saturday, there were already many people enjoying traditional toys such as kendama and origami and showing their calligraphy each other. Some girls wore Yukata, which is a casual summer kimono and took some photos. I saw my classmates, friends and I found that they know Japanese culture more than I do. I followed them and visited a Maid café (kind of pop Japanese culture) for the first time in my life.

 This event also had performances of Japanese swords, chorus, and Aikido at the main stage. People usually cannot see what Japanese martial art is if they do not take trainings courses. I had never seen Aikido before. The final performance was playing the Japanese drums. I was surprised many people gathered toward the main stage sat on the floor. The awe-inspiring sound of drums blew away the audience.

 The most impressive thing for me was a small performance of Okinawan songs at the corner of the entrance. They sang Shimauta, which is for Okinawan survivors during World War II. It sounds calm but sorrowful if we know its lines. My friend asked me if I can understand the meaning of lines and I nodded but did not explain it. The song reminded some people of something important and made others happy and calm. I realized that I should cherish this moment when people from different countries were able to listen to one song together peacefully in this small place.

By Erika Uchiyama

 International Office Ambassador for Japan

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