[OFF-TRACK] Matsuri time, 2016 edition

It was that time of the year again. Past Saturday (20) and Sunday (21), Porto Alegre held the fifth edition of the Japan Festival RS, to celebrate what’s best in the Japanese culture and show a bit of history about the Japanese immigration in Brasil and especially in the Rio Grande do Sul state.

As traditional, the festival was held in the Military Police Academy grounds, and although the rain proved to be a drawback on Saturday, the sunny Sunday was a nice compensation. To make things better, a bus route especially to the Festival was created thanks to a partnership of the organization with one of the local bus companies. The entry wouldn’t be simpler: just donate a kilo of food, and judging by the crowd present, it was a good lot.

The food court had as always lots of variety in terms of Japanese food, from onigiri to a well made lamen, depending of what you would be willing to pay. Once you were stuffed and going into the Festival area, turning into the left would lead you into an exhibition about the Japanese immigration and how they settled here in the south of Brazil.

The variety of attractions was also pleasing, with karaoke singers, shodo (traditional caligraphy) and various dancing performances, like the Shinsei group from Porto Alegre. The martial arts were also there, with demonstrations of karate, kenjutsu, boujutsu, aikido, sumo and shorinji kenpo, with local school show the best of their abilities like the NITEN Institute, which teaches the Niten Ichiryu style used by the famous Miyamoto Musashi.

The ones that brought more excitement from the spectators on site were the taiko (traditional drum) performances, as the Kotaro group from Paraguay mixed dancing, flute and a powerful and animated drum act.

The ending of the festival was done with a combination of the Shinsei group with Kaito Shamidaiko from Taubaté, São Paulo, and like it was in 2015, they gave a proper spectacle to let the spectators say goodbye with big smiles in their faces, eventually inviting them to dance in the last song.

The estimated visitor numbers are around the 50.000 people mark.