A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I think I have mentioned in a former blog post how I got to know a lot about Japan since I am in Leiden and met lots of friends doing Japanese Studies. But it seems that not only the University, also the city as such has a good connection to Japan. Last week when I walked around town, I stumbled upon many Japanese women in beautiful kimonos, and noticed that on the big city bridge, performances of a variety of Japanese art, dance and music took place. I was so happy I coincidentally came by and could watch them.
Unfortunately, the performances were interrupted by the preparations for the market the next day. What must be, must be. But it turned out this was only ‘advertisement’ for the actual performances which would take place on the next day in the Hooglandse Kerk.
Similar to the Cultural Festival a few weeks ago, the beautiful church was full of little stalls and stages, but this time it was all about Japan. The Japanese people who came here for a short cultural exchange gave little demonstrations of their different skills – and they were amazing. There wasn’t any anime stuff around, but instead many other things you might not see so often: brilliant embroided pictures that looked like paintings, colourful hand-made paper and lamps, self-made chopstick holder (hashi oka), origami, … and much more. And the best was: you could try it all out yourself – expect for the embroidery, I guess that takes a little more time…
Everyone was so exceptional friendly, so that the language barrier wasn’t a problem at all. I tried my best ‘arigato’ after this wonderful lady taught me how to make ‘hashi oka’.
The performances on the stage were also great, with dance and music. The best, however, was a presentation of self-made and designed Kimonos by students. There had all kind of different themes and elaborated patterns (fireworks, cranes, flowers, bride and groom, …) and were performed with little stories. So beautiful!
Unfortunately, I was too late for the food, but that meant I could try my new ‘hashi oka’ at home… What a wonderful little surprise this was, I hope the Japanese visitors had a great time in Leiden!!