(English text to follow)
by Jada Davis (senior Journalism major and Study-Abroad student from Temple Main Campus)
The Minato Citizen’s Festival was held on October 7 under a light rain. Ten volunteers from TUJ took taxis to Tokyo Tower. Our main duty was handing out flyers to visitors at the festival. We were assigned to different locations and rotated positions every hour. Language barriers made distribution of the flyers difficult, but I found that an enthusiastic “Hello” or “Konnichiwa” helped. The flyers were advertising our section, the International Friendship Square. Booths lined the square, each for a different country: Georgia, Germany, Nigeria, Lesotho, the Philippines, the Maldives, Bolivia, Singapore, and Brazil. Each booth featured food and souvenirs — German sausages and beer, Nigerian folk crafts, special pork jerky from Singapore.
The first performance in the Friendship Square was a German folk performance. Songs were performed by a yodeling singer and a young musician playing the German longhorn. The singer enraptured the crowd with her distinct style of singing and dancing. Her act was a great start to the day. An acrobatic show came next. An elderly man spun various objects on top of his parasol. He also skillfully cut through various objects with a sword. Loud drums announced the next performance — a Ghanaian dance troupe. They commanded the attention of everyone. During their dance, they pulled in several members of the audience, including me, to dance along. It was a lot of fun.
Now it was time for lunch. I was able to get to know my fellow volunteers. I learned that one of the volunteers, James, was an American veteran attending TUJ on the GI Bill. I met his Japanese wife and three-month-old daughter during our lunch break. They were a beautiful family and represented the meaning festival — the coming together of different cultures. After lunch there were three more performances. And we were allowed to roam around other parts of the festival. It was beautiful to see how Japanese people show their appreciation for different cultures. This experience was very gratifying, I was thankful to be able to experience the internationality of Japan.