Volgograd residents took a peek into the “Japanese Cupboard”

On September 23, 2018 the State-Funded Cultural Institution “Volgograd Regional Universal Scientific Library named after M. Gorky” became the platform for the 6th school alternative festival of the Japanese language and culture, abbreviatedly titled “Japanese Cupboard”.

The event in question was organized by the “Volgograd-Hiroshima” Friendship Society, the Volgograd Regional Library named after M. Gorky and members of numerous youth clubs of Volgograd and the region. Valuable support was provided by the International and regional relations directorate of Volgograd administration and the Center for People’s Diplomacy of Volgograd State University.

Held within the frame of the Year of Japanese Language and Culture in Russia, the festival was at the same time educative and entertaining, and organized in the format of Japanese school festivals: visitors were invited to many separate rooms, each of which hid inside some sort of thematic fun.

The event gathered a record number of participants: in the first hour only, more than 450 people attended the festival.

Immediately at the entrance, the guests would run into a reference to Hiroshima, the Japanese sister-city of Volgograd: the first floor displayed information posters about the terrible atomic bombing and its consequences, as well as about the “Mayors for Peace” international organization, whose goal is to promote global disarmament and peace initiatives.

In honor of the new festival location, many entertainments were dedicated to books and everything about them. Two participating clubs organized quests based on their favorite literary works (the Harry Potter universe and the World of Echo), and the list of rooms featured a reading hall, where one could take a break from festive with a book or a volume of manga in hand. It’s also worth mentioning the uta-karutu game, where the goal was to quickly complete the poem after hearing its initial lines. Even in one of the beloved “Mafia” sessions, the guests played under the pseudonyms of the 20th century Japanese writers.

Amidst the interactive sites that gave the event its Oriental flare, there were an exhibition of traditional Japanese clothes and masks of the No theater, where you could try on all the exhibits; a table with hanafuda flower cards, where you could challenge a grandmaster to the game of koi-koi; an master class on origami; an introductory course of the Japanese language and calligraphy, as well as a “Samurai Spirits Zero Special” video game tournament. A huge popularity was enjoyed by the room where you could take part in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and taste several types of Japanese tea.

The other side of the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun was not forgotten either: the festival's program featured lectures on comics and the basics of anime dubbing, and the corridors were decorated with information stands dedicated to the “Pokemon” franchise and Hayao Miyazaki films.

The concert part also made a comeback in 2018, featuring intricate dance numbers, aikido and iaido techniques demonstrations, as well as stage performances by cosplayers. The Best Costume and the Best Sketch competitions were held, too.

In the Best Room competition, the real confrontation took place between the “Yellow Flag” Bar, where the visitors were served by the characters of the “Black Lagoon” animated series, and the “Freak Show” Tavern full of fear-inducing waitresses and waiters. The first prize was taken by the last one’s organizers – a school team.

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