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Summer Festival Open House Sports Festival Chingay

 This year’s Chingay Parade was held with much pomp and pageantry at the F1 Pit on 7 February (Friday) and 8 February (Saturday). The Parade was first held 41 years ago by the People’s Association to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and over 50 local and overseas groups participate every year. This year
marks the 12th consecutive year of the Japanese Association’s participation.

 The theme for this year’s parade was “Colours of Fabric, One People”. In accordance with this theme, the opening ceremony featured a 360m long batik art painting ushered in by performers in colorful multi-cultural costumes. It was indeed a grand event that conveyed the wish for peace through people from all nations becoming one, with the colorful, soft fabric symbolizing the kindness and consideration of the people.

 The Japanese Association’s theme for this year was “Smile for You”. Our overall image incorporated the “Colours of Fabric” theme with the use of large, colorful and auspicious fisherman’s banners, traditionally used to indicate a good haul of fish. The song “Smile for You” similarly indicated, in its lyrics, fortune and happiness dancing in, dancing and singing to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and also the hope that good relations with Singapore would continue.

 With the exuberance of a dance by 200 dancers set to a lively rhythm, the neat and powerful performance by 30 flag bearers, 2 mikoshi borne on the shoulders of 90 energetic mikoshi bearers, the Taiko Group members and Engeki Hokuiichido members on the float stirring up the parade, as well as the standard and large uchiwa-fan bearers, we managed to showcase a brilliant performance steeped in Japanese traditional culture.

 “Smile For You” was composed by Mr. Kensuke Kawashima, with lyrics by Mr. Takashi Toba, Ms. Kazumi Arisawa, Mr. Hajime Akaoka, Mr. Michihiko Kinoshita and Ms. Harumi Iizuka. Ms. Harumi Iizuka and Mr. Yukihiro Ban lent their vocals to the song, the dance was choreographed by Ms. Megumi Kishida, dance instruction was by Ms. Akane Nakahara, and the choreography for the flag bearers was by Ms. Keiko Koike. Ms. Kaoru Yoshida was responsible for the beautiful, 8m high float decorated with large fishing banners and the mikoshi. In all, a total of 380 participants worked together to put up an overall production that was brilliant and beautiful even while preserving traditional Japanese culture, to rave reviews from the audience.

 The mikoshi were born by 90 persons including President Nishio, Vice President Yasuno, Vice-President
Murakami, Vice-President Saito, Chingay Committee Vice-Chairman Mr. Hagiwara, and Chairmen Mr. Kawaguchi, Mr. Sasaki, Mr. Toyoshima, Mr. Nakayama and Mr. Shimizu, as well as the staff of The Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ, NYK Group, Panasonic Asia-Pacific, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Itochu, Hitachi Asia, ANA, Hakuhodo and Marubeni. The 30-member strong flag bearers group consisted of Mr. Matsui, Chairman of the Chingay Committee and members of Panasonic Asia-Pacific, Keiko Dancing Mates, Mitsubishi Electric, Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Itochu, NYK Group and MSIG, who came down for practice even amid their busy work schedules. The dancers included teachers from the Japanese School (Primary and Secondary sections), local students learning Japanese, as well as members of the Japanese Association who responded to our dancer recruitment drive, all of whom practiced with passion. The artistic photos of Chingay are due to the efforts of Mr. Yushin Takahashi, Mr. Shigekata Asahi and Mr. Takashi Matsumoto.

 H.E.Ambassador Takeuchi and Mrs. Takeuchi made a surprise appearance at the celebration party after the parade, and thanked all those involved for their efforts.

  We would like to convey our deepest thanks and appreciation to all those who supported this event in one way or another.

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