Here in Tsukuba, there is always something to look forward to right after the Golden Week. It’s what keeps Pinoy scholars and students, better known as FAST (Association of Filipino Scholars in Tsukuba) busy as bees even during the holidays when everyone else is having fun. But for a good reason. For all the seven years that I’ve stayed here in Tsukuba, FAST has always been an active participant in the Tsukuba Festival, or Tsukuba International Exchange Fair. Traditionally, the festival is held on the weekend after the Golden Week. Now on its 20th year, it has always been a highly attended affair, giving foreigners like us an opportunity to showcase our culture to the Japanese community.
What makes it amazing, for me at least, is that whereas the association goes through a lot of changes every year, what with the addition of new scholars and the inevitable graduating of old ones, FAST has never ceased to uphold the tradition of participating in the festival. Most of them are students, mind you, not professional dancers. But give them a few days (or weeks?) of practice, and they could master Tinikling as if they have been doing it for a long time. They’re not professional cooks, but their adobo and pancit will sell like hotcakes at the Pinoy booth.
How do they learn the dances? By learning from those who have danced them before. By watching the videos of sempais (seniors) and memorizing the dance movements based on what they’ve seen. So I have the utmost respect for them. Dancing is never my forte, which is probably why I’d been relegated to introducing the dances instead, lol.
This year was favored with good weather, unlike in some recent years where it rained, spoiling the shows. But the Pinoys were always there, cheering the performers and flocking to the Filipino booth to buy goodies. Halu-halo is a bestseller, even in the coolest spring weather. Adobo always seems to be on the menu, and it is always the first one to be sold out.
Here are a few photos taken during the presentation by FAST members this year. For more pictures, just visit the FAST website.
And oh yeah, you can also view the YouTube videos below:
Maglalatik and Malong-malong Dance
And the ever-famous, well-applaused Tinikling
Once again, congratulations and otsukaresamadeshita to all FAST members and officers! Mabuhay ang Pinoy! Until next year!