TsukuBlog

A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Tsukuba International Festival- for International Food, Friendship (new and re-newed), and Fun for the Kids! (This year on May 13th and 14th at Tsukuba Center)

 

Children at play at the Tsukuba Imternational Festival held in and around the Tsukuba Center Complex (Designed by  renowned architect Isozaki Arata)

Children at play at the Tsukuba Imternational Festival held in and around the Tsukuba Center Complex (Designed by renowned architect Isozaki Arata)

By Avi Landau

It`s hardly publicized at all, but somehow everyone in and around Tsukuba seems to remember that the second week of each May is the time for the International Festival at Tsukuba Center, a complex of hotel, concert hall, parks and promenade, designed by world renowned Japanese architect Isozaki Arata (completed in 1983).

An Argentine Food Stand - one of the many types of cuisine available at the Tsukuba International Festival ( on the second weekend of each May)

An Argentine Food Stand – one of the many types of cuisine available at the Tsukuba International Festival ( on the second weekend of each May) as this event brings out the entrepreneurial spirit in the community

A tourist who passes through the Tsukuka Science City on a regular day might not realize that there is  a relatively high percentage of foreigners ( of dozens of nationalities) among the people who live here – and even for those who live here, its possible to  go for days without running into a fellow Non-Japanese.

A Tsukuba landmark- the Tsukuba Center Complex - if you examine it closely you can identify features of a dozen or so great styles of architecture

A Tsukuba landmark- the Tsukuba Center Complex – if you examine it closely you can identify features of a dozen or so great styles of architecture

On this weekend, however, everyone seems to come out of the woodwork,students, researchers, language teachers, and others from around the world who have come to live in Tsukuba- whether it be for a few months, years, or forever.

Flemenco dancers- one of the many acts performing at the Tsukuba International Festival ( this year on May 10th and 11th)

Flemenco dancers- one of the many acts performing at the Tsukuba International Festival ( this year on May 9th and 10th)

They come to the festival, along with plenty of Japanese Tsukubans, to enjoy the FOODS OF THE WORLD, some music and dance, the spring weather, and best of all: the people watching- Tsukuba Center might even remind you of New York on the festival days!

A student from Mongolia with a MOIN KHOOR hore-headed fiddle

A student from Mongolia with a MOIN KHOOR horse-headed fiddle

If you`ve lived here for a long time, your`e bound to run into an old friend or two, and there`s always the chance of starting up some fresh acquaintance!

One problem with the event, is typical of most special events in Japan- the wallet thins while the belly thickens- make sure to bring plenty of cash- and don`t eat breakfast if you plan on going!

If you don`t have little kids to keep an eye on, the most challenging part of your day will be pacing yourself so that you`ll be able to sample as much of the food available s possible.

You`ll find find booths featuring the cuisine of Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, India, Korea, Iran, etc, as well as all the usual Japanese festival food. Many of the booths offer handicrafts as well as food.

For bibliophiles like myself, the Tsukuba International School`s  booth is the place for you! Not only will you be able to learn all about the school and meet its teachers, but their also having a book sale! Check it out, though I will try to beat you out in snatching up the good ones!

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A booth selling Brazillian fare

The smell of the spices of a dozen lands wafts through the air- here is some Tandoori barbeque being whipped up

The smell of the spices of a dozen lands wafts through the air- here is some Tandoori barbeque being whipped up

In all the years I`ve lived in Tsukuba, it seems to have rained on at least one of the festivals days each year – and it happened again on the first day of the event this year. Tomorrow should be fine though…..

Things will get underway at around 11 AM and carry on through the evening.

No matter how good the food or entertainment its impossible to tear little kids away from Tsukuba Centers artificial stream- they can enjoy fooling around in the water for hours!

No matter how good the food or entertainment its impossible to tear little kids away from Tsukuba Centers artificial stream- they can enjoy fooling around in the water for hours!

 

Rapt audiences enjoying a performance at the Tsukuba Center amphitheater- May 11, 2014

Rapt audiences enjoying a performance at the Tsukuba Center amphitheater

Running into old friend- I was taking this random shot of the crowd at the Tsukuba International Festival and right there at the bottom right - one of ther elder statesmen of the foreign community- Mehdi, originally from Afghanistan



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