The Mie Prefecture Multicultural Society Education Project Implementation Committee held a multiculturalism event at the beginning of November at Ueno Gas’ “FLAMME” venue, located outside the Iga Ueno AEON store in Iga City. Taking place together with the 2012 Ueno Gas Exhibition, the event featured stage performances as well as booths for members of the public to enjoy.
Both children and adults were able to enjoy at the event. There was even the opportunity to interact with penguins and sea creatures at the Shima Marine Land booth.
Many booths at the event were giving out information and gifts to visitors. At the Mie Prefecture Multicultural Affairs Office booth, there was information on Mie’s international population as well as jigsaw puzzles and quizzes on different countries for children to enjoy. Through these activities the organizers hoped that they would be able to introduce what a multicultural society is, as well as introduce some of the many different cultures and countries which exist in the world to visitors.
Multicultural events like this are held each year and in different regions around Mie. Currently around 45,000 non-Japanese residents live in Mie Prefecture, including residents from Brazil, China, the Philippines, Peru and many more. Many of these residents live in Yokkaichi, Suzuka and Tsu. One of the aims of these events is for local people learn about multiculturalism and to build a multicultural society.
There was also a booth where visitors could try on clothes from around the world to get a taste of another culture.
Even the President of Ueno Gas, the organizers of the Gas Exhibition, tried on a traditional robe from Tajikistan as he toured the booths. The opportunity to try on clothes born of different cultures meant that people who were in attendance were able to feel multiculturalism with their own hands.
Also in attendance to introduce their services supporting foreign residents in Mie was the NPO group Iga no Tsutamaru, the Iga Japanese Society, JICA Mie Desk, the Mie International Exchange Foundation, the Iga International Exchange Association and Iga City staff.
The staff of Ueno Gas also cooked Indonesian yakisoba ‘migoren’ while Ms. Wada of Iga no Tsutamaru, who has lived in Indonesia, introduced the country and the dish to the watching audience. It was very popular with those who tasted it!
Participants were also able learn how to make Argentinean alfajor and Brazilian pastel sweets during a cooking class at the event. .
Later there was a quiz on stage where Mie Prefecture’s four Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) from Brazil, United States, Britain and China introduced the culture and customs of their home countries to the audience.
There were several performances over the three days and many visitors took the time to stand and watch the action. The Peruvian dance performance introduced two dances.
There was also a performance of traditional Indonesian dancing.
Then there were dance performances by young Japanese people to European and American music.
The traditional Japanese dance performance was also well received. Famous ninja characters from anime also came on stage; Iga City is famous for being the birthplace of the ninja.
The final performance on the Sunday was of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Members of the audience were also able to try out Capoeira, instructed by the Capoeira group – a team which is made up of both Japanese and Brazilian members.
This event was educational but also fun for those who came along, and visitors were able to learn about the cultures of many different countries. Japanese residents in attendance were able to learn about the cultures of the foreign residents living in their towns and neighborhoods.