Picture courtesy of the Komaba Festival Comittee
I would like to direct your attention on the upcoming 65th edition of the Komaba Festival at the Komaba campus of the University of Tokyo. The festival is organized by the students who are based on Komaba campus and will offer a variety of activities and events that will span for three days from Saturday, November 22 to Monday, November 24, 2014, each day from 9:00(am) to 18:00(pm).
Please check the official website (soon available in English as well):
Directions: Please use the Keio Inokashira Line (Local train) from Shibuya station the Komabatodaimae station.
The other GPES students are rather involved in Todai circles (サッカル sakkaru) but I guess one would see me as a typical graduate student: a commitment-phobe with regards to university clubs and societies. In my defense, this term has been particularly insane for me and I didn’t manage to make it down to those I was actually interested in. No matter! The Gogatsusai is a brilliant time to catch up on what you’ve been missing out on and experience what those clubs (部活動 bukatsu) and circles have to offer! While you do get chances to take part in booths, like Amelia who was Ms. Moneybags at the Malaysian Student Association booth, I elected to be a normal paying customer and just had a walk around.
Stepping through the famous Red Gate (赤門 Akamon) of Todai’s Hongo campus, you enter a world of intense sensory overload. Loads of students shouting, “Come get some takoyaki/yakisoba/kakigori” and trying all sorts of ways to lure you to their stall (including cross-dressing – not sure how successful this trick is). My star buy of the day was the Okonomiyaki Moffle – a waffle made of mochi with an okonomiyaki topping. Say what?!?!
Not only can you get food lovingly cooked by Todai students, you get to explore the hallowed Hongo halls and learn more about what they do. Apparently you can even participate in a dummy dissection in the medical building! There’re also an assortment of cafés that are differently themed to cater to every possible whim. The centre stage has an amazing location right in front of the iconic Yasuda Auditorium and hosts a huge variety of acts. One of them we stopped to gawk horrifiedly at was a girl group not unlike AKB48, apart from the fact that they were wearing strange gold Power Ranger-esque masks. Indeed, a school festival beyond compare.
The Gogatsusai’s autumn counterpart is called Komabasai and is held in the Komaba campus amidst incredibly beautiful ginkgo trees that are Todai’s symbol. If you missed this one, come along for the next one and maybe I’ll be manning a Moffle booth – you never know!
(Picture source: http://fukutake.iii.u-tokyo.ac.jp/english/facilities_nearby-akamon.html)
Picture courtesy of Cheik from MSAJ
Last weekend, I spent the bulk of my time at the University of Tokyo’s Hongo campus for the May Festival(五月祭)!
“What is the May Festival?” I hear you ask.
It is an annual event whereby students and clubs get together and throw a giant fair to gain members and club funding. There are usually two of these per year at Todai. Once at the Hongo campus(Sometime around May), and once at the Komaba campus(Sometime around October).
This year, since I am part of the executive board of the Malaysian Student Association of Todai, I had the pleasure of helping in planning and realizing the Malaysian Student Association’s booth! We sold Cekodok, a favourite teatime snack made of smashed bananas and flour, paired with a rose tea specially imported from Malaysia.
We purchased 36kgs of bananas for this event, and managed to sell out by the afternoon of the second day (Which was good, given the alarming amounts of “We’re going to have to eat these bananas till we graduate” jokes amongst the committee members)! In fact, demand was so great that we had to purchase some bananas from the Singaporean Student Association who were selling banana fritters. How’s that for a great example of the AFTA (Asean Free Trade Agreement)?
All in all, it was a great experience working with fellow Malaysians from other campuses (Some came from as far as Kashiwa!), and putting our business plans into action. While the process was sometimes difficult and I had to ensure that I properly juggled my research work and this event, I am very happy that I took part in this, and got to spread a little piece of Malaysia on campus!