Sample Japanese street life at the Esplanade Waterfront

Japanese fare such as takoyaki at the Super Japan Matsuri are made by chefs from Japan.
Japanese fare such as takoyaki at the Super Japan Matsuri are made by chefs from Japan.PHOTO: THE ESPLANADE

Bent over a shallow tub of water with colourful water balloons, participants put a metal hook through a loop connected to a water balloon. The catch is, the hook is supported by a paper line, which breaks easily upon contact with water.

Often likened to goldfish scooping in terms of difficulty, this traditional Japanese game is known as yo-yo tsuri (yo-yo refers to a water balloon attached to a string and tsuri means fishing).

Visitors to the Super Japan Matsuri, which is on from today to Sunday, can try their hand at this challenging traditional Japanese game. The game stall is one of threeset up at the matsuri, a Japanese festival typically held during the summer.

The carnival is part of the 10-day Super Japan - Japanese Festival of Arts, which is organised by The Esplanade and ends on Sunday.

Apart from the game booths, nine stalls peddling Japanese street fare will line The Esplanade lawn. Admission to the event is free, but visitors have to pay for food and games. It opens at 5pm today and 3pm tomorrow and on Sunday.

  • VIEW IT / SUPER JAPAN MATSURI

  • WHERE: The Esplanade lawn, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Today, 5 to 10pm; tomorrow and Sunday, 3 to 10pm

    ADMISSION: Free

    INFO: Go to www.esplanade.com

Ms Sara Fang, The Esplanade's producer, says: "Encompassing a wide variety of games and Japanese street snacks, the matsuri symbolises the community's unity as a whole. We hope to recreate that atmosphere during the festival."

Traditional street food such as takoyaki (grilled octopus balls), yakitori (skewered chicken), unajuu (grilled eel on rice) and karaage (fried chicken) will be sold.

There will also be soft-serve ice cream, sake cocktails and draft beer to beat the heat. The authenticity of the experience is enhanced as the stalls selling takoyaki, croquette, baby castella (mini sponge cake) and okonomiyaki (grilled pancake) feature chefs from Japan.

Game equipment specially flown in from the Land of the Rising Sun include the frames and cork guns used for the shooting game, shateki.

Visitors can expect games such as katanuki, which involves cutting a piece of candy into a desired shape, and senbonbiki, a lucky draw using strings to win prizes.

Participants have to buy coupons at $2 each to play the games.

The first 100 visitors each day who go dressed according to that day's theme - ladies' night-cum- student today, cosplay tomorrow and family on Sunday - will be given a free game coupon.

Coming in a yukata - a casual summer kimono - will bag a participant a free game coupon on any day.

Bank executive Jason Wong, 28, who will be going to the matsuri, says: "Being a Japanophile, I love everything Japanese from the food and games to the dress-up."

University student Joanne Chew, 22, will be there with a friend.

"We found out about the event from Facebook and thought it was interesting. We would like to try the Japanese traditional games."

Mr Lim Tee Lip, a 36-year-old technical executive, looks forward to trying the okonomiyaki.

"I had mixed results from tasting okonomiyaki in Japan from Osaka, Tokyo and Hiroshima, so I want to try that at the matsuri," he says.

Correction Note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Miss Sara Fang's name. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'Japan's summer fest in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe