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Natsu Matsuri: Singapore Edition

Think yukata! Think bon-odori (that’s kinda like a mass dance)! Think food stalls! Think games! That’s the summer festival in a nutshell for you.

Natsu Matsuri is held in Singapore at the Japanese Primary School (Changi) every year in August and draws massive crowds every year!

Don't worry - English translations are on the other side~^^
 Start off, with pre-ordering the tickets to beat the queue, although you may need some insider help from someone affiliated to the Japanese Association in Singapore, it’s worth the trouble! (I got mine early from the Japanese club in my school.) Go early as well, to take a walk around the school campus and soak in the atmosphere.


 Next! Getting them yukatas! They have yukata rentals and wearing services at the event itself, problem is, supply is limited. Very limited. All the yukatas are gone within the first half hour, so advice is, to get your own! Grab a few friends, and ship them together from taobao if you’re on a budget. Since no matsuri experience is complete without the proper wear.

Ah haha...awkward bowl of curry rice ><
 Now we come to the food~ Ah…two words…crowded but delicious! You can feel the atmosphere fully with people mushing against you, while you barely find the space to shuffle around the food stalls. One advice, start queuing early. Go in a group and split up and queue at different stalls! Order everything, lay out a picnic mat on the field, and then split the bill! There was curry rice, ice cream, takoyaki, ramen, popcorn, candyfloss, and all that great wholesome Japanese street food. 

Beer~ with frozen foam~
Oh! One more thing, there’s beer. What’s a festival without some alcohol? Ah haha…make sure you’re of age first, of course… There was Asahi, Suntory and Kirin beer all from the tap, so take your pick. I had Kirin with frozen foam on top~^^” Ah haha~

There were game stalls, like mini quizzes where if you guessed a number of questions correctly, you’d be entitled to a lucky draw and win great prizes, other games include some shooting games, and tikam-tikam games.

Dancing~Dancing~ all the people in sync~

 Once night fell, that was the start of the Taiko (large drums) performance by the Japanese Association, as well as the much anticipated bon-odori or the Japanese folk dance. It’s actually, pretty cool watching everyone go down to the field and participate in the dance around the central stage, and since the dance steps were simple enough, everyone could learn on the spot and follow along. Dancing to familiar tunes like Chan-mali-chan and the theme song of the famous movie Ponyo. We just couldn’t get enough of it! You’d think dancing in yukatas in Singapore weather would be a terrible idea, but it was a very enjoyable yet strange bonding moment with friends and strangers.

After the dancing, was the end of the festival, but since the stage was now free! Everyone jumped up for a shot on the stage wearing their yukatas, and what better way to end the day, by eating some awesome Japanese soft serve ice cream! I had a double scoop of milk flavour!

Natsu Matsuri, was indeed a very Japanese affair (there were a lot of Japanese people! So you can practice speaking your Japanese there! Especially when ordering the food!) But it also had a touch of Singapore in it! Bon-odori even had a Singapore song that they crafted! Truly, truly it was a great amalgamation of the diversity we have here on our little red dot.

Come join us! At the next Natsu Matsuri!

Written by Neko

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