Culture swop for children

Children trying on traditional Japanese clothing such as the yukata and kimono. Moshi Moshi, Hello! is an event that promotes intercultural exchange and mutual understanding between children from the local and Japanese communities.
Children trying on traditional Japanese clothing such as the yukata and kimono. Moshi Moshi, Hello! is an event that promotes intercultural exchange and mutual understanding between children from the local and Japanese communities.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

They played tug of war, tried on one another's traditional costumes and enjoyed snacks like maki rolls and satay yesterday, all in the name of cultural exchange.

The 120 children - Marine Parade residents and from the Japanese School of Singapore - took part in Moshi Moshi, Hello! Singapore- Japan Exchange 2016 at Marine Parade Community Club. This was held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan.

Cadence Ong, nine, said she made a Japanese friend. "I also got to try on Japanese costumes, and play Japanese five stones," she said.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, a Marine Parade GRC MP, was at the event with Mr Naohiro Tsutsumi, deputy chief of mission of the Japanese embassy here.

Banker Toshihiro Senoo, 40, who was there with his daughter Yume, said: "This is a rare opportunity for them to interact with Singaporean students, and to practise speaking English."

Mr Yee Jenn En, president of the Japanese University Graduates Association of Singapore, which organised the event with the Marine Parade Integration and Naturalisation Champions, said: "Games and sports are a great way to unify people, through which they can naturally become friends."

Fabian Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 25, 2016, with the headline 'Culture swop for children'. Print Edition | Subscribe