Summer festival is here!30 August, 2011 by bhemfine
Natsu Matsuri (夏まつり, Summer Festival) is a yearly festival celebrated by Japanese during the summer season. Thus every time this year, Changi Primary School, a Japanese based school, along with JCS (Japan Cultural Society) organizes this Natsu Matsuri event in Singapore.
A free shuttle bus service is provided from the Singapore Expo, so if you do not know how to get there, a good idea is to travel there.
If you are thinking of wearing a yukata to the festival go ahead! There’s a yukata renting service at the fair itself as well, for around 3 dollars, you get to rent a yukata for the whole event (Yukata, $2. Obi, $1). You will only need to return them in 15 minutes after the event ends.
Upon entering, one would easily be bought over by the festive atmosphere. People wearing yukata can be seen everywhere. It’s like stepping into another world.
Here we saw a strangely dressed man. It turned out that he was providing a caricature service. You could get your face rendered all cartoon-like, for a fee of course.
It was pretty well done and a nice souvenir to bring home and hang it round your house.
We were pretty thirsty and wanted to get some drinks from the shops. There were various things up for sale here, first-timers might be surprised by the things sold here.
Beside this shop there were mobile phone straps, NTT DoCoMo service and anime goods for sale. Well, in a sense they are Japanese related.
Well the main highlight of the shops are definitely the food (though the prices are a little crazy). If you’re intending to try every single thing, be sure to bring a lot of extra cash as they don’t accept NETS here.
Though trying everything out might sound like a good idea, but not all the food sold are decent. Some like this yakisoba cost 3 dollars but barely had three mouthfuls and tasted really bland. Buy at own risk.
However, do take note of some of the other foods like the Takoyaki, Keisuke Ramen and Candy Apples. These were some of the few that were so popular that we couldn’t even take a photo.They sold out pretty quickly.
Back to getting our drinks. We ended up with some ocha and beer. Why did we choose them? Well, they were sold in huge quantities. Basically they were everywhere. Compared to the other drinks which sold out at around 8pm, these were the few drinks that wouldn’t sell out no matter what.
The ocha was very bitter and had no added flavors, unlike the green tea that you’d normally find locally, which is sweet. The beer on the other hand tasted like other normal beers just that it’s more gassy.
What attracts so many people and probably the beauty of this event is the chance for everyone to bond together with family and friends. You might even become friends with the strangers sitting beside you the very next day! The school set up tons of seats and mats everywhere for people to sit down, enjoy their food and drinks they brought while slowly soak up the atomsphere.
When first entering the grounds, we had noticed that there were already activity going on at the stage. There were several performance, mostly organised by JCS and the organizations affiliated to them.
Looks like students from Nanyang Polytechnic’s “Sakuran Club” were invited this year. They danced to several AKB48, as well as K-Pop songs that they had strung together.
Lastly, the main highlight of this event, is the Bon Odori. Bon Odori is one of the most famous and common traditional dances in Japan and is held at every summer festival
What’s great is that you get to mix in with the crowd and dance together with everyone. Yet another part of the event where bonding is promoted.
But this being Singapore, everyone danced to several other lighthearted Japanese songs including the “Doraemon” theme. They even danced to “Chan Mali Chan”, a renowned Malay song that is taught to every child in Singapore.
With the event at a close, if you were wondering how to get back, or have only managed to come to this remote part of Singapore through the free shuttle bus provided, worry not, as the free shuttle bus continues after to bring you back to Expo as well. However do note, that if you do not leave the place early, there will be a huge queue waiting for you.
Well, the Singapore Natsu Matsuri is really an eye opener for people visiting the first time. Especially people who love Japanese culture. However after multiple visits, you might find the event it repetitive as every year will always be the same. Even the different Bon Odori dance songs didn’t change much. Though that’s the most fun part of the event, especially for people who have visited several times.