Bon Odori Summer Nihon Cultural Festival 2009

It’s my first Odori, after missing last year’s one because I was still
hospitalised! :^
This is the 33rd Bon Odori Festival in Malaysia, held at Panasonic
Sports Complex last week. It’s a cultural festival originally to
honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one’s ancestors in Japan but
in Malaysia it’s celebrated at smaller scale and less religious.

The free shuttle bus service is good, the buses are there the moment
you step down from the KTM. However, consider getting on the train
earlier before 5pm because it’s totally sardine in there! Or just
drive to the KTM, park there and hop on the shuttle bus! Yay! I was
(almost!) the last person to leave and the kind bus driver still
dropped me off at KTM safely!

At the entrance, you will get a fan (which I had dropped :( somewhere)
for the Bon Dance. Come late and they will run out of fan! First thing
you notice is the stage and the red lanterns. After a welcome speech,
the dance started with a lot of clapping and waving. It was so much
fun waving and fanning here and there. The catchy music and beating of
the drums makes you wanna tap your feet and sway gracefully in an
addictive trance. I joined few dances and you really need a fan to
enjoy it! You can join in the dancing crowd anytime. Don’t shy shy!
They have breaks between the dances and during one of the breaks,
interesting local dances are performed.

The crowd gets larger and larger by minute and it’s harder to navigate
the ground with so many people walking, picnicking, dancing, taking
group pictures and basically having fun! It’s a good mixture of the
Japanese and Malaysians. It’s awesome to see Malaysians dressed up in
yukatas and the Japanese wanted to take pictures with them too!

Japanese children are the stars of the night. They are standing
patiently posing with locals who wanted to take pictures of them with
their ice creams slowly melting in their hands! And the children are
independent lot, toddlers walk by themselves, no ‘Mom I wanna carry’
or baby pram! Awesome!

I like their cute yukatas and the way they slit the fan
between the ‘obi’ to keep the fan from losing (like mine sob..). I
like their lovely elaborate hair ornament, their cute ‘geta’ sandals
and those colorful flowery stringdrawn handbags pouches!! Everything!

I didn’t stop anyone to request for photos to be taken to give them a
chance to enjoy the evening without being under the limelight all the
time. But I did sneak in to take pictures of them being photographed!
Hehe. I just got blended in the photographers’ crowd. And always say
thanks okay!

Japanese food! Trot to those tents by following the smoke signal!
There are stalls by Jusco, Sushi King, Beard Papa, Isetan, Yakult,
Nagomi and many more.

Jusco’s stall is a creating a lot of smokyness by selling yakitori
(grilled meat on sticks!) RM3, onigiri, packed sushi RM5, chicken
karaage RM 3, Japanese Curry Rice RM5, Japanese curry fishballs RM3
for 4, Chocolate covered banana RM 1 and many more! Among all the
stalls, Jusco’s price tags are among the cheapest!

The shaved ice counter has the longest line! RM 4 for a bowl of
colored shaved ice! Some shaved flavored ice creams are very popular
too.

Sushi King even brought their kaiten belt where you can stand there
and enjoy your sushi! RM 4 per plate. If you do not want to eat while
standing up, you can buy a pack of takeaway sushi at same price!

Livita is selling their drink at RM1 only, the cheapest drink on the
ground. I had a can to boost my energy (but at night I had to take
pain killers for the toothache!). Thumbs up for the cheap drinks!

My friend would be thrilled to see Pop Pops ice! RM 1 per stick of
that fantastic colorful Pop Pop.

Assorted Japanese snacks RM 10 for three items. Choose any three, the
vendor yelled.

Yakult is giving out a bottle of Yakult for those who willing to
finish a survey about the health of your poop. XD And they are selling
a pack of Yakult at RM 3! Yakult Yakult!

There are more than 5 stalls selling different types of ice creams,
everywhere I look, someone is eating a ice cream bar or holding a bowl
of shaved ice. Summer Sweetness!

One more thing that I love about Odori it is NON Smoking Event!
Smokers are giving a place to smoke near the portable loos (a lot of
them, no queues). Not a whiff of cigarette smoke in my hair whole
night but many greasy BBQ smoke! Their trash management is good too. A
lot of cardboards bins with ‘Sime Darby’ name printed on it provided
with cleaners emptying trash. But when I left, I can still see trash
on the field, why?

Tips of Survival for your future Odori:
1. Can be quite dusty. Bring a mask if you are not so dust tolerant.
2. Bring a mat to picnic and toss trash into bins. No littering ya!
3. Carry wet tissues. Eat sushi with your hands are the best, but make
sure your hands are clean!
4. Empty your bladder before going, portable loos are not cool!
5. No Cosplay or Lolitas, not cool! (when worn in Bon Odori fest)
6. Ask politely if you want to take photos with Japanese children or
adults and always say Thanks! Be understanding if they refuse, you
might be the 500th person who had asked!
7. Enjoy and dance!

Bon Odori 2010 will be held on July 17 from 6 – 9pm at: Panasonic Sports Complex, Shah Alam.

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