The Japanese Cultural Expo was held at Brooklyn Mall in Pretoria from the 24 until 26 March 2023.
The three day event hosted by the Embassy of Japan introduced various aspects of Japanese Culture.
A variety of exhibitions included Ikebana (flower arrangements) , Bonsai, Samural Armour, Uchikake (wedding kimono) and Japanese pop culture.

Complimenting tickets were enjoyed at Ster- Kinekor where the viewing of two Japanese films took place – Dad’s lunch box and Every day a good day.

Demonstrations of martial arts like Judo, Karate , Kendo and Aikido were enjoyed by members of the public.
Visitors enjoyed writing their wishes on slips of colourful paper which they tied to the branches of the wishing tree.

The story of Tanabata ( Star festival ) is about two young people in love. There was a celestial princess named Orihime, visible in the night skies as the star Vega. She was skilful at weaving and spent most of her time weaving beautiful clothes for her father, the King of the Sky. One day,the herdsman named Hikoboshi,who was the star called Altair, visited the Princess and it was love at first sight. Because of the lovers frequent meetings Orihime began weaving less, and her father began taking an unsympathetic view of his daughters alliance with the young herdsman. The king decided that the lovers could only meet once a year , on the seventh of the seventh month. For the rest of the year they would live in opposite banks of the Amanogawa, also known as the Milky Way.

Finally, the appointed evening for their meeting arrived, but the Princess and Herdsman found the celestial river too wide to cross. Help arrived ,however, as a flock of magpies came to the aid of the Princess when they heard her crying. The birds formed a bridge with their outspread wings . According to legend, Orihime and Hikoboshi meet this way every year on the 7 July.

by Marion Kate