Bringing Singaporeans and Japanese together through culture and games in Marine Parade

Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy.
Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

SINGAPORE - Although she had seen it at shops several times, it was nine-year-old Cadence Ong's first time trying out the traditional Japanese toy kendama, which consists of a ball connected by a string to a handle, on Saturday (Sept 24).

The Tao Nan Primary School pupil was among 120 students - 60 local Marine Parade residents and 60 from the Japanese School of Singapore - at Moshi Moshi, Hello! Singapore-Japan Exchange 2016, an event to promote intercultural exchange and mutual understanding between children from the local and Japanese communities.

"I also got to try Japanese costumes, and play Japanese five stones. I also made a new Japanese friend. It's really fun," said Cadence.

The event, held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan this year, was held at Marine Parade Community Club. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, a Marine Parade GRC MP, attended the event with Mr Naohiro Tsutsumi, deputy chief of mission of the Japanese embassy here.

The students took part in sports activities, cultural activities and performances - ranging from taiko drums to Indian dance items - and were treated to local and Japanese cuisine.

Mr Yee Jenn En, president of the Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore, which organised the event together with the Marine Parade Integration and Naturalisation Champions, said the event helped the students mingle as they might otherwise tend to keep to their own communities.

"Although we are from different countries with different cultures, games and sports are a great way to unify people, through which they can naturally become friends."