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

Oh, yeah, “that” festival!

Am I the only one who’s annoyed with the name of an upcoming festival, or no one really cares?

Tsukuba Festival” or better known to us as the “Tsukuba International Exchange Fair(国際交流フェア),” or Tsukuba International Festival for short, will be held during the second weekend of May. The science festival, kid’s zone (festival), and local produce fair will also be held at the same time, so this isn’t just an international event.

OK, I understand that part…., but why on earth did the city name the event “つくばフェスティバル(Tsukuba Festival)” when there’s already a bigger, more famous and popular event called “まつりつくば(Matsuri Tsukuba)” in late summer which is often…, or more like almost always, translated as “Tsukuba Festival”? It just makes me wonder why the city didn’t come up with a better or less confusing name to promote this less known event next month.

When I talk to my friends and other people, Japanese or non-Japanese, about the festival that’s coming up, I often get responses like
“wasn’t there a festival like that recently
(or isn’t that festival already over)?,”
“I didn’t know the city holds that festival twice a year!,”
“uh, which one? Oh, yeah, the one in spring!”
I often end up explaining that the “Tsukuba Festival” and “Matsuri Tsukuba” are completely different events.

Matsuri Tsukuba is a distinctive name, and the festival has many features like Nebuta parade, concerts by big name artists, street performances, and bazaars. A lot of people, young and old, are looking forward to this event. Tsukuba Festival next month, however, hasn’t received that kind of attention. I’ve met so many Tsukuba residents who have never even heard of or been to the international exchange fair!

The first day of the festival last year was nightmarish because so few people showed up at the festival due to the cold and rainy weather, so some vendors left even before the lunch time. I hope more people will become interested in this international event, and visit the festival this year, rain or shine.

I hope the city will promote this event more in the future because there isn’t even a decent website for this event! How are people supposed to find out about the festival when the city hasn’t even updated the festival’s official website since last year? I really hope that Tsukuba Festival, a.k.a., Tsukuba International Exchange Fair won’t forever remain as “the other festival.”

Tsukuba Festival (International Exchange Fair) 2007
May 12(sat) 12pm to 6pm
May 13(sun) 10am to 5pm


  • Cornelia says:

    Amen about the “web site” for the International Exchange Festival. Utter garbage.
    In fact, even the main Tsukuba city web site hasn’t got a link on the “front page” to the English language pages (or maybe it is really well hidden?). Functionality zero.
    Does anyone have a good digital photo of the International Exchange festival when there was a nice sunny day, in their archive. I need some decent pictures for a page I’m putting up at:
    (I may change the address to include international or exchange or something in order to keep it apart from “the other festival”. ;-)

  • Cornelia says:

    To support my negative comment above, I guess I’d best provide the link for the “Official site”: http://www.kanko-tkb.net/hp/festival/index.html

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