Association for Promotion of International Cooperation
Meitetsu Fudosan Bldg. 7F, 3-15 Kanda Nishikicho,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0054 Japan
  • HOME
  • ABOUT APIC
  • EVENTS
  • PROJECTS

4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival


4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival

On October 13th, 2018, APIC joined with Japanese company NID and Sophia University along with Sawara town in the city of Katori, Chiba Prefecture to carry out the 4th international ‘Sawara Experience’ project. This time the group was mostly Sophia University students with seventeen students from fourteen countries and nine Japanese students partaking in the event.

4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival
This year’s project was launched with the aim of exposing exchange students to Japanese traditional culture by seeing, experiencing, and interacting with local residents; the Sawara Fall Festival is designated as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage. The students had a fun-filled day taking part in Japanese traditional culture, such as watching the floats, talking with Sawara high school students, visiting the historical section of town by boat through the canals, experiencing hand-pulled floats and ‘kushiyaki’.

4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival
The students were surprised to see that while the town on the day of the festival was bustling with people, there were men and women wearing the traditional festival happi coats, as well as views of majestic floats being pulled down the main street. The students actively asked the Japanese students about their culture when seeing floats with traditional wood carvings, floats decorated with giant historical Japanese dolls and other sights.

In the afternoon the students had the chance to actually pull one of the floats in the festival. At first they were unsure of how to go about pulling the float, but once they put on their happi coats and with the encouragement of locals shouting “wasshoi, wasshoi!” they got it going and had a good time. After dinner the students had a chance to view the flipping of the floats called ‘no no ji mawashi’ and ‘hand dancing’; shouts and cheering could be heard from the group while they partook in the magical-like atmosphere of the Japanese festival.

After the program, the exchange students gave many positive comments such as “it was a great day”; “if possible I’d like to have stayed another day”; and “it was a great opportunity to connect with traditional local Japanese culture”. The organizers of the event and everyone who participated in the tour noted the communication between the exchange students and Japanese students, talking about and comparing their cultures, and were moved by the warm reception of the locals in Sawara.

A video was taken and uploaded of the Sawara Fall Festival:





Below are the thoughts of a participant in this year’s program:

Student Voices

Temple University Japan Campus
Sophomore, International Relations
Yoriko Nampei


 Together with Sophia University and Nippon Information Development Co., Ltd. (NID), the second trip to the Omatsuri Festival of Sawara City, Chiba was hugely a success. Eighteen international students from Sophia university participated in this event, along with staff of APIC, NID and volunteers of Tsuda University. This historical event allowed students to experience a rich taste of Japanese culture and tradition that is desperately seeked in one’s journey to the land of the rising sun.

 We arrived to Sawara City midday and started with a bento lunch. During this time, students and volunteers had the chance to come together and get to know more about each other. A time of fellowship, shared among people from all across the world to embark on this wonderful adventure. We were also explained to about the significance of the Omatsuri festival and even the town itself. The grand nostalgia of it all made the excitement in me grow more and more, knowing that I’ll be able to experience the same traditions carried on from 300 years ago.

 After the lunch, we then moved on to the streets of the city. The famous, large floats of past warriors and heroes could be spotted from a distance away. These floats were incredibly crafted and stood about 13 ft tall and made almost entirely of wood! Many people filled the city in beautiful, traditional clothing, and a spirit strong enough to bring back the time of olden days. It was especially exciting to watch people, old and young work together to push and pull the heavy floats. Rhythmic drumming, precise coordination and a strong chant of “wasshoi” is what was called to encourage the movement. The excitement was escalated as the whole group of us were able to participate in the action. Locals of the area, and all walks of Japan had welcomed us foreigners warmly. Their encouragement and willingness to let us also help pull the large float was incredibly touching.

 After much of the fun, the group and I took a relaxing boat ride down the very same canal that had been used in the past to transport goods. We took advantage of this time to recharge ourselves, and again fellowship with the new friends we were making! Some other activities we were able to partake in was cooking our own Yakitori! A simple and yet satisfying act of grilling our little sticks of chicken to perfection, and finishing it with our topping of choice. A few of us were also able to experience a some specialties of Sawara City, such as their Shoyu flavored ice cream! A delectable flavor that one would hardly think would be so good.

 The night was still young, and our bellies were running on empty. We delighted in a wonderful Chinese oriented dinner. Delicious food and good company allowed us all to feel prepared for the evening activities. The great float parade began again as the sun went down on the city. The massive floats appeared with the same greatness as if it were the first time. The magesticeness of the lights, and music had escalated the entire festival to higher level. This time the floats would come to an intersection at the road and spin a few times before moving on. This job is more than just a simple twirl-around. Massive and entirely made of wood, the strongest men of the city work together to lift and push with all their might. I was especially a fan of the many members in the crowd cheering them on as if it was a battle to be beat. This then left perfect, wood dusk circles on the ground, marking it’s accomplishment and moving on. Truly a great sight to see. Before it was time to head back home.

 Our trip to Sawara City to attend the festival had provided me with the opportunity to experience something I never imagined I could. The beauty of it all lies in the strength and bond of the community. One another working together maneuvering the floats, the coordination of swift and graceful hand movements of the dancers in the parade and even the happy food vendors ready to serve. The respect for this nostalgic event had many of us, including myself, in pure awe and amazement. Thank you to all who made this special trip possible for us, and I look forward to allowing many other international students experience the same.


4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival
(Yoriko (front right))

WHAT'S NEW

-2019.5.22 UPDATE
PROJECTS "Interview: Tsuda University President Dr. Yuko Takahashi"

-2019.5.22 UPDATE
PROJECTS "Interview: Kansai Gaidai University Professor Dr. Osamu Kataoka"

-2019.5.22 UPDATE
PROJECTS "Interview: APIC Director Isako Funaki (Chairwoman and Executive Director of Yacmo Co. Ltd.)

-2019.5.16 UPDATE
EVENTS “The 358th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2019.5.10 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific Environmental Seminar Held in Samoa"

-2019.5.10 UPDATE
PROJECTS "Fall Semester 2018 Sophia University Short-term Internship Program"

-2019.5.10 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific and Caribbean Student Invitation Program 2019"

-2019.5.10 UPDATE
EVENTS "“Island Sustainability Symposium” held at Sophia University"

-2019.4.22 UPDATE
EVENTS “The 357th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2019.4.4 UPDATE
EVENTS “The 356th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2019.2.28 UPDATE
EVENTS "Summer 2018 APIC Student Internship"

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “College of Micronesia Student Invitation Program 2018: Sophia & Reitaku Universities Accept Short-term Students”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “‘Pacific Light’ Photo Exhibit at Toyo University”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “Photo Exhibit at 30th Anniversary of Japan & Micronesia Diplomatic Ties Ceremony”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “Pacific and Caribbean Journalists Program 2018”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “4th Sawara Experience: Sawara Fall Festival”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “Environmental Seminar held in Trinidad & Tobago”

-2019.2.21 UPDATE
EVENTS “Pacific Leaders Invitation Program: Federated States of Micronesia Chuuk State Young Leader Invitation Program II”

-2019.2.4 UPDATE
EVENTS “The 354th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues”

-2019.1.8 UPDATE
EVENTS “The 353rd Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues”

-2018.11.27 UPDATE
EVENTS "352nd Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.11.20 UPDATE
ABOUT "Public Information Added"

-2018.11.15 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 2018 Pacific and Caribbean Journalists Program"

-2018.10.18 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 351st Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.10.18 UPDATE
EVENTS "First Xavier Exchange Student’s Graduation Celebration Dinner"

-2018.10.18 UPDATE
EVENTS "Sophia University’s “Micronesia Exposure Tour 2018”"

-2018.9.28 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 8: Haiti’s Cultural Features (part 3)"

-2018.9.21 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 350th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.9.11 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific Leaders Invitation Program: Federated States of Micronesia Chuuk State Young Leader Invitation Program 1"

-2018.9.6 UPDATE
EVENTS "PM Gonsalves of St. Vincent & the Grenadines Visit to Japan"

-2018.8.27 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 7: Haiti’s Socio-economic Condition (part 2)"

-2018.8.6 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 3rd Japan Experience Project 'SAWARA Experience'"

-2018.7.26 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 6: Haiti’s Socio-economic Condition (part 1)"

-2018.7.23 UPDATE
EVENTS "The Voice of the Ambassador to Micronesia"

-2018.7.19 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 349th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.6.25 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 5: Haiti’s Cultural Features (part 2)"

-2018.6.25 UPDATE
PROJECTS "5th APIC Short-term Internship"

-2018.6.22 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific Leaders Invitation Program: Senator Urusemal, former President of FSM"

-2018.6.22 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific Islands and Caribbean Student Invitation Program 2018"

-2018.6.22 UPDATE
EVENTS "Xavier Exchange Students Participate in ‘All Sophian Christmas 2017’"

-2018.6.22 UPDATE
EVENTS "JICA Global Plaza Micronesia Photo Exhibit ‘Pacific Light’"

-2018.6.21 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 348th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.5.28 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 4: Haiti’s Current Political Situation"

-2018.5.17 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 347th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.5.11 UPDATE
EVENTS "Japan Achieved Successes In Micronesia Unlike Any Nation Before or Since, Says Noted Historian Francis X. Hezel, SJ"

-2018.4.26 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 3: Haiti’s Cultural Aspects part 1"

-2018.4.26 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific Islands Leader Invitation Program: Samoan Minister of Information and Communication Technology"

-2018.4.26 UPDATE
EVENTS "University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus: Principal Invitation Program"

-2018.4.19 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 346th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.4.5 UPDATE
EVENTS "Assistance to Commemorate 25th Founding Anniversary of COM-FSM"

-2018.4.5 UPDATE
EVENTS "APIC President Peter Sato’s Visit to Micronesia"

-2018.4.5 UPDATE
EVENTS "APIC Pacific Islands Leaders Invitation Program: Mr. Yogesh Karan"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "APIC-Reitaku University Student Exchange Project: Short-term Micronesia Study Abroad Program"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "COM-FSM Student Invitation Program: Students to Study Abroad at Reitaku University & Sophia Junior College"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "Pacific and Caribbean Journalist Invitation Program 2017"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "Xavier Exchange Students Participate in Sawara Festival"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "Xavier Exchange Students Participate in Oktoberfest"

-2018.3.29 UPDATE
EVENTS "Sophia University “Micronesia Exposure Tour”"

-2018.3.26 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 2: About the Republic of Haiti"

-2018.3.26 UPDATE
EVENTS "Assistance to Commemorate 25th Founding Anniversary of COM-FSM"

-2018.3.15 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 345th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.2.26 UPDATE
PROJECTS "News from Haiti Vol. 1: About the Republic of Haiti"

-2018.2.15 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 344th Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2018.2.13 UPDATE
EVENTS "10th International Co-operation Discussion Gathering"

-2018.1.18 UPDATE
EVENTS "The 343rd Lecture Meeting Regarding Global Issues"

-2014.12.15 Update
Website renewal

All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2008-2019, The Association for Promotion of International Cooperation.