Tuesday, June 28, 2011

39th Universal Festival Of Chiba University


The poster of the Universal Festival (which has been recycled for many many years lol!), in front of the Keyaki Hall.

The 39th Universal Festival was held recently at the Keyaki Hall in the Nishi-chiba campus of Chiba University. It is a biannual event, usually held in July and December and organised by the Centre of International Research and Study in Chiba University (千葉大学国際教育センター). First introduced in 1995 as the centre's main event of the year, with the cooperation of the international students and Chiba University International Student Group (CISG) (千葉大学国際学生会), this is where international students of Chiba University introduce their country and culture to everyone, especially to the Japanese community.

Countries that participate in the festival are different on each edition. The international students who put up their cultural presentation will use different kinds of style to introduce their beautiful country and their rich culture, such as through dances, playing musical instruments, songs, slide shows, movies, traditional clothes. These foreign cultures are things we don't get to find easily in text books, and just like the saying "seeing is believing", this festival provides a good opportunity for people to experience these foreign cultures.


The pamphlet of the Universal Festival, containing some interesting facts on the four countries.


Wakahara Yuko and Komiyama Eri, both from the Literature Department, the MC for the evening.

This time, there were four countries who participated in the Universal Festival - Syria, USA, China, and Indonesia. First to go up the stage was Ragado from Syria, who majors in Japanese language and has studied Japanese for four years in her homeland before coming to Japan in October last year. She wrapped up her presentation by performing a popular Arabian folk dance dance known as Dabke.  

Dabke in Arabic is literally translates "stamping of the feet". It is a line dance, widely performed at weddings and joyous occasions. The leader of the dabke heads the line, alternating between facing the audience and the other dancers.


The dabke leader is supposed to be like a tree, with arms in the air, a proud and upright trunk, and feet that stomp the ground in rhythm.


Several Japanese students from CISG joined her in the dance too.

A special presenter represented USA next. Miura Nana was born and raised in Japan until she was eight, when she moved to the States with her parents due to work commitment. She studies in Stony Brook State University of New York, but currently is taking a short-term abroad study in Chiba University. How ironic it is, to have a Japanese as an international student in Japan!

Her presentation was mainly about Thanksgiving Day, a celebration to give thanks to God for a good harvest, to rejoice together after much hard work with the rest of the community.

Miura Nana, who somehow doesn't look like a typical Japanese girl.


She has been living in New Jersey since she was eight.


A short chronology of the history of Thanksgiving, celebrated on the forth Thursday of November every year.

The third presentation was from China. A very interesting and effective presentation indeed, as he interacted very well. Instead of using the typical technique of presenting from slides show, he began his presentation by going down the stage and asked the audiences what comes to their mind when "China" is mentioned. Different answers was given, such as "panda", "dragon", "Great Wall of China", and etc.

His fluency in Japanese was an added bonus and the audiences, mainly Japanese, enjoyed his presentation very much.


A typical panda measures one-and-a-half meter long and weighs 135 kilograms.

The forth and final presenter was Rian Ade Putra from Indonesia, who is also on a short-semester abroad study in Chiba University, in the Literature Department. Just like the Chinese presenter, his Japanese was surprisingly fluent despite learning the language not very long ago.

He began his slides presentation by showing a couple of slides from a famous place in Indonesia.


A country which is comprises of 17,508 islands, including Banyak Islands (translates "many islands") in Aceh haha!


The magnificent Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, an inspiring place of worship that appears to rise out of waters of Lake Bratan.


Some images related to the diverse and sophisticated culture of the mystical island of Bali.


Some basic facts about Indonesia, which is the forth most populous country in the world, after China, India, and USA.


The National Monument in the middle of the Merdeka Square in central Jakarta, symbolising the fight for Indonesia's independence.


The ethnic composition in Indonesia, where almost half comprises of Javanese.


The different kinds of architecture of the traditional houses in Sumatra (top) and Java (bottom).


It was written "sate kambing" (mutton satay) but the picture showed "sate ayam" (chicken satay). Good thing the Japanese do not know the difference 
between "ayam" and "kambing" haha!


Ade performing an Indonesian patriotic song - "Indonesia Pusaka", normally played on Indonesian Independence Day celebration. 
The interesting part is that he translated the song into Japanese as well!


The presentation was wrapped up with a traditional dance from West Sumatra, called the Indang dance.

At present, there are 1,025 international students in Chiba University, and more than half of them came from China (620). Malaysia and Indonesia are tied in the third place, with 37 students each from each country. However, the number is not a true reflective of how active the Malaysian students are when it comes to involving themselves in these kind of events.

Malaysia used to have representative in the Universal Festivals in the yesteryear; one of them was a reproduction of a traditional Malay wedding, which caught the eyes of many people. They also set up a bazaar and the profit from the sales was donated to the Malaysian Red Crescent.

Some of the international students gave really "interesting comments" haha!

I digress.

After the presentation by the four countries, there was a special segment where a video was played. Several international students were interviewed to have their thoughts about the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster and their messages towards the victims.

The Universal Festival was wrapped up with a culture-exchange party in the presentation hall on the third floor of Keyaki Hall. Unlike the previous occasion, there were not much traditional cuisine prepared by the international students. However, we were treated to some wonderful futomaki-matsuri-zushi (太巻き祭り寿司), the regional cuisine that represent Chiba prefecture was prepared by some elderly volunteers from UNESCO.


Visual presentation is part of Japanese way of presenting their food - simple food like rice are crafted into such attractive shapes such as hibiscus.


Angklung, a musical instrument made of bamboo and played by the Sundanese since ancient times.


Oga, currently a research student in my lab, who is from Nigeria, with his wife and son, Dani.

Looking forward to the next Universal Festival at the end of this year. Wondering which country will be featured; it would be great if Malaysia is one of them.


kyo_9 said...

very nice english, easy to read and understand..
yeah, Malaysians do find themselves shy to do something in front of the crowd~ I do agree on that though.. huhu~

calvin said...

@ kyo_9:
hi there, thanks for the compliment.
yup, and i guess this group of malaysians should put aside their shyness to appear in public, come out from the nest and show the world how rich and diverse we are! =)