Tsukuba International Festival- for International Food, Friendship (new and re-newed), and Fun for the Kids! (This year on May 11th and 12th at Tsukuba Center)
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.