National | 60 years of Malaysia-Japan ties

Strong bonds through food, culture, sports

Over the next several months, a variety of events will be held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Japan.

Malaysia Gohan Matsuri 2017 ~ Malaysia Makan Fest will be held on Saturday and Sunday at Zou-No-Hana Terrace in Yokohama’s Naka Ward, where visitors can enjoy Malaysian foods, see ethnic costumes and listen to Malay song performances. Admission is free for this indoor event.

Zou-No-Hana (literally meaning elephant trunk in Japanese) Terrace is in the bayside Zou-No-Hana Park, a three-minute walk from Nihon-Odori Station on the Minatomirai Line.

Makan means eating in the Malay language and here at the event, you will find delicious food such as nasi lemak, bak kut teh, chicken rice, rendang beef, satay and other authentic Malaysian cuisines, provided by restaurants Pokok Pisang (Khao Man Gai in Five Minutes), Malaychan, Malay Kampung, Malay Asian Cuisine, A1 Bak Kut Teh and Gootara Cafe Kagurazaka.

There will also be booths selling preserved foods, such as curry paste, curry powder, tomato-flavored canned sardines and coconut milk, as well as various goods such as sea cucumber soap, pewter mugs and other Malaysian products. Uchiyama Shoten bookstore, in Tokyo’s Jimbocho district, will sell Malaysia-related books at the event.

In addition to a photo exhibition, there will be workshops where visitors can try Malaysia’s traditional batik cloth dyeing. There will also be a discussion among Malaysians who love Japan on recommended Malaysian cuisine.

The second edition of this annual event is organized by Zou-No-Hana Terrace, Malaysia Gohan-No-Kai (Malaysia Food Net) and Malay Asian Cuisine Yokohama, and sponsored by the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and Hati Malaysia.

While food and other events bring people from different cultural backgrounds together to have fun and deepen mutual understanding, exchange through sports brings friendship among players and excitement among fans, regardless of nationalities.

The Daihatsu Yonex Japan Open 2017 Badminton Championships in Tokyo runs from Sept. 19 to 24. Malaysian pro Lee Chong Wei will be competing as he aims to win the tournament for the seventh time.

Lee, who will turn 35 in October, played the Daihatsu Yonex Japan Open for the first time in 2001, when he was 18. His first victory came in 2007, and since then, his love for Japan has brought him back almost every year.

Similar exchange events will be taking place in Malaysia as well, including the Japan x Malaysia Friendship Concert 2017 that will be held on Sept. 23 at Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach in Malaysia, featuring Japanese and Malaysian singers.

This will be the biggest concert involving major Japanese artists in Malaysia, and certainly the first of its kind to have such a collaboration among Malaysian and Japanese artists.

Japanese performers include Japanese idol group Juice=Juice, former AKB48 member Tomomi Itano, Harajuku dance rock band An Café, electro-rap group Charisma.com and Anna Tsuchiya, who is also a model and award-winning actress.

Charisma.com‘s DJ Gonchi has been featured on the Malaysian TV program “Mad Markets Hokuriku Special,” a travel show collaboration between Japan and Malaysia.

Malaysian performers include rock band Bunkface, Jaclyn Victor, Joe Flizzow and Alvin Chong. Additionally, Fazz, who performed in the Haneda International Anime Music Festival 2015 in Tokyo and toured Tokyo in 2016, is slated to perform.

The Japan x Malaysia Friendship Concert 2017 is jointly organized by IME Malaysia, Toybox Projects and Ishida Taiseisha Inc. and will be attended by people from both countries, strengthening the bonds between the two countries and enhancing the understanding of the music culture between both countries. The event is endorsed by the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia, Wisma Putra, the Japan External Trade Organization, Japan National Tourism Organization and Japan Foundation.

In another event, the Nippon Budokan Foundation will organize a Japanese budo martial arts demonstration, to be held in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on Nov. 12.

A delegation of 75 Japanese will demonstrate judo, kendo, sumo, aikido and other martial arts to estimated 2,000 to 2,500 visitors. The foundation organizes such demonstrations every year outside Japan.


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