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24 May 2007

Festival, Part I

Every year, the Japanese celebrate the moon with a festival called the "Moon Viewing Festival." Over the next couple of days, I'll post a couple of my photos from that festival.

It begins late in the evening when people gather for the Ma Cha, the tea making and drinking ceremony. In the meantime, all kinds of performances are held for the picnicking audience.

When I was in Japan for the fourth time (to open the second exhibition in Nara), I was invited to the festival and asked to tell the audience about my involvement with EU-Japan Fest and my experiences with it. Being invited for the opening also meant I had to do publicity for the organization, like giving lectures and leading workshops.

It also meant attending the actual opening ceremony, which was also something memorable: the whole ceremony is rehearsed with the entire crew the day before, to ensure that everything goes as planned. As one of the five or six opening ceremony celebrities, you get a big red and white flower made of ribbon, white gloves that are always much too small, and a pair of too-small golden scissors. Then, on the ceremony-master’s signal, we all cut our part of the ceremony’s ribbon at exactly the same time. I did this twice and it is a great privilege but also great fun.

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