Japanese Class Trip

The Spirit of Budô: The History of Japan's Martial Arts is an exhibition

By Mico Ombao Year 13

Rest and relaxation. That is the prime motivation for students coming out of a full-on first term and into a well deserved two-week break. However I, along with the senior Japanese students of Liston College, had something a little more interesting to go to on that first Saturday off school.

The Budo Japanese Arts and Culture Festival awaited us, eager students. It was a day filled with new experiences for us students, learning more about the rich culture and arts that our own Auckland Japanese community had to showcase.

Firstly, Us students got to view various historic items that told the stories of various periods in Japanese history. from the detailed and intimidating Kabuto helmets and armor that Samurai wore into battle to the beautiful and intricate cups and vases, many of which had outrageous price tags which made me greatly appreciate its timeless value as well as minding my steps around them.

The most interesting part of the day for me, however, was the various musical performances and martial art showcases that happened outside.

It was my first time ever seeing a real Kendo match, a form of Japanese fencing with bamboo swords that mirrors that combat of the Samurai. I even got take a picture from the Master swordsman himself. From the passionate yelling of the Karate kids to the loud thuds of takedowns from the Judo professionals, the bustling and lively Japanese community really left a fist-shaped impact on me.

However, the loudest and more perhaps more melodic noises came from the Tako Drum and Shamisen (Japanese three-stringed instrument) performances. The intense drummers impressed me with just how precise and coordinated the rhythms are with Tako Drums. It was really interesting to see how the drummers would constantly be standing and moving their bodies, even switching drums mid performances on many occasions. The Shamisen performance was not lacking in amazingness either. I never knew so much melody could from essentially a three stringed guitar. The stellar performance of the Shamisen quartet accompanied with what looked like a bamboo flute was definitely a sight to behold, and a sound to enjoy.

As a fan of Japanese culture and a one-time exchange student in Japan, I was definitely impressed by the showcase of the abundant Japanese culture that we have in this city. Without a doubt, I'll be looking forward to attending more events like the Budo arts festival.


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