On 26th April 2014 this year’s “Experience Japan” was held at Augustine United Church in Edinburgh.
Through this programme, WFWP Scotland introduces Japanese culture and also offers a platform for people to demonstrate Japanese arts and disciplines. After three months of continuous preparation, the final preparations were made in the main hall of the church by WFWP members, friends and volunteers on the day. The volunteers responsible for each stall knew exactly what was needed and finished the preparations rather quickly.
The first performers arrived early to set up on the stage. People started coming in already 20 minutes before the starting time. The event ran from 2 pm to 4 pm. When the first performers started their performance, the hall was filled with people. We had prepared a good number of chairs in the middle of the hall, but many more people ended up standing at the back. This year we had 6 different kinds of performances on the stage. The first performers, Taiko drummers, came from Perth. This year was their second participation in the event. The sound of the drums echoed powerfully through the hall. They concluded with a short but thrilling Karate demonstration, which involved breaking a piece of wood using the forehead and one hand. This was followed by the beautiful music of the Shamisen, a traditional instrument. Hiromi Moffat, who joins us every year, performed several songs together with her student, Catherine Kirk.
The third performance was Kyudo (Japanese Archery). The West of Scotland Kyudo Society explained about Kyudo and showed some forms. Also, they brought a video for people to see and learn about Kyudo. This year was the second participation for them. Next up were a Karate group from Fife. Bert Stewart brought a group of students, many of them children, the youngest just 6 years old. They showed some demonstrations on the stage. It was like watching a Karate class; many of the audience were smiling at the cute children’s demonstrations.
Report by Keiko Fraser-Harris