The Japanese connection | Daily News

The Japanese connection

Highlights of the Bon Odori Festival 2022.
Highlights of the Bon Odori Festival 2022.

Japan has an embassy in Colombo. Sri Lanka has an embassy in Tokyo. An embassy represents a diplomatic mission established by one country in the capital city or another major city of another country. It is a place where the country's ambassador and other office staff can work and live while they represent their country's interests in the host country. The existence of an embassy signifies that the two countries have official diplomatic relations and that they are willing to engage in bilateral exchanges and cooperation. An embassy also serves as a link between the two countries. It can facilitate communication and cooperation on a wide range of issues, including political, economic, cultural, and consular matters.

Japan and Sri Lanka have some cultural similarities due to their shared history as Buddhist countries. Both countries have strong traditions of Buddhism, which has influenced their cultures and societies in various ways. For example, both countries have temples and monasteries that serve as prominent centres for Buddhist practices and rituals. Both countries also have festivals and celebrations that are based on Buddhist beliefs and traditions.

There are also some similarities between the arts and crafts of Japan and Sri Lanka. Both countries have a long tradition of producing beautiful and intricate works of art, such as textiles, pottery, and woodcarvings. Both countries also have a strong tradition of performing arts, including dance and music.

In terms of social customs and manners, both Japan and Sri Lanka place a strong emphasis on politeness and respect for others. Both countries also value family and community ties and have strong traditions of hospitality towards guests.

Overall, while there may be certain cultural differences between Japan and Sri Lanka, there are also some significant similarities due to their shared Buddhist heritage.

Bon Odori is a traditional Japanese dance festival that is held annually during the Bon season, which falls in mid-August. Bon Odori literally means "Bon Dance" and is a part of the Obon festival, which is a Buddhist holiday that is observed to honour the spirits of one's ancestors.

During Bon Odori, people gather at local temples or community centres to dance and celebrate together. The Bon Odori dance is a circular dance that is performed to the accompaniment of music played on traditional instruments such as taiko drums, shamisen, and flutes. Participants typically wear traditional Japanese summer festival attire such as yukata and often carry small paper lanterns or fans as they dance.

Bon Odori is a popular summer festival in Japan and is enjoyed by people of all ages. It is a time for people to come together to celebrate and pay respect to their ancestors and to also enjoy the summer weather and festivities with friends and family.

Lanka Nippon Biztech Institute together with the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka, the Japanese Solidarity Association and the National Youth Service Council Centre has organised the Bon Odori Festival 2022 recently to showcase the mesmerising Japanese cultural experience. The venue was the National Youth Service Council Centre. The festival also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the friendship between Japan and Sri Lanka.

The rain disrupted the performance on the roofless stage but did not discourage the gathered assembly in the least. For a while, I wondered aloud why this outdoor stage was roofless. Of course, roofless stages are foreign to us, Sri Lankans. But not for our friends.

There are a few reasons why outdoor performance stages in Japan are often roofless.

One reason is that many traditional Japanese outdoor performance stages are designed to be used during the summer months when the weather is typically warm and dry. Roofs would obstruct the view of the performers and also block natural light, making it difficult for the audience to see the performance.

Another reason is that many traditional Japanese outdoor performance stages are designed to be temporary structures, and adding a roof would increase the complexity and cost of the stage. Roofless outdoor performance stages are easier and more economical to construct, and they can be easily disassembled and stored after the performance is over.

In addition, many outdoor performance stages in Japan are used for traditional Japanese performing arts such as Noh, Kyogen, and Kabuki, which are often performed outdoors in the summer months. These traditional performing arts have a long history in Japan and are closely associated with the natural environment, and performing them on an open-air stage without a roof enhances the sense of connection to nature.

The performance was interesting on several grounds. One salient feature is that it was interactive. The audience was very much a part of the performance. The audience included Youth Affairs Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, Ministry Secretary Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki and other officials too joined the procession of dance.

Listening to Japanese folk singer Maki Namioka was also an unforgettable experience.

Of all the cuisine available, my attention was drawn to Sushi and Japanese pizza. Now, Sushi and Japanese pizza are two completely different dishes that have no relation to each other.

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of vinegared rice served with a variety of ingredients such as raw fish, vegetables, and eggs. It is often rolled up in seaweed and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sushi originated in Japan and has become a popular dish around the world.

Japanese pizza, on the other hand, is a dish that is inspired by Western-style pizza but with some Japanese ingredients and flavourings. It typically consists of a wheat flour dough base topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings such as seafood, vegetables, and meats. Japanese pizza is not a traditional Japanese dish and is not as widely popular in Japan as Western-style pizza. It is more of a fusion dish that combines elements of Japanese and Western cuisine.

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