We learned via various WhatsApp groups that the Japan Habba was happening. We have never been to one before so decided to venture out and see what it was all about. It was held at the atrium of the central college campus of Bangalore University. We had no idea where it was but Google Maps did so we arrived nice and early at 10:30am before the crowds streamed in. We were greeted by people in traditional Japanese attire and asked to register whereupon we were given a guide book.
This is the 12th such festival and it aims to promote the culture of both nations and encourage dignity and respect for each nation. This year the theme was “Chochin” with the tag line “guiding light”. A Chochin is a unique Japanese paper lantern covered with expandable structure paper on the frame supported by bamboos having a hole in the top portion to exhaust the smoke. A candle stands on the bottom and the light is protected from the wind via the paper. Now light bulbs are used instead of candles. “Tei” means the lamp can be carried or hung up. There were plenty on display at various locations.
Displays and Demonstrations
There was a display of Japanese flower arranging called Ikebana. Minimalist is probably how I would describe it.
There was Yukata trial dressing ie dress up in the traditional dress and have a photo with it on. This was very busy all day- people really seemed to enjoy it.
The Japanese school of Bangalore was teaching calligraphy throughout the day. There was a calligraphy trial where you could learn to draw Kanjis. Zahra had a go and managed the word flowers.
There was a Japanese book sale, a toy corner (Zahra had a go at a version of cup and ball), ‘Discovery Japan’ with DVD screenings of festivals and cultures in Japan, origami and a full program of entertainment on the main stage.
There was a food court selling various foods including handmade chocolates and sushi. We saw one expat family come only to purchase a lot of sushi to take away- it was a popular stall!
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The highlight for us though was watching a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. The ritual involved was fascinating. For the cha-no-yu a special powdered green tea is used called matcha. Hot water from the pot (“Kama”) is poured into the bowl (“chawan”) using a long handled ladle (“hishaku”). This is then stirred with something that looks like a shaving brush (“chasen”). To receive the tea one must bow and receive the chawan with the right hand and place it on the palm of the left hand. Then the chawan must be rotated clockwise twice with the right hand. After drinking the tea the drinker wipes the part of the chawan which the lips touched with the right hand, and rotates the chawan counterclockwise then returns it to the host.
It was a lot to remember for first timers and we saw a lot of people forgetting which way to turn the bowls. The tea was also very strong green tea which looked more like a paste than liquid. We were happy to watch others enjoy the experience.
It was an enjoyable morning out (and noticeably clean and tidy for Bangalore).