Canberra Japan Club
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Canberra is a city with four distinct seasons. This past weekend marked the formal transition from autumn to winter, which made it the ideal time for the Canberra Japan Club to hold their Autumn Festival, called Aki Matsuri in Japanese. I rise today to publicly thank club president Naoko Lamb for generously inviting me to take part in this wonderful event.
In Japan, an Aki Matsuri traditionally took place after the rice harvest to thank the gods for a fruitful harvest, as well as to petition for the continued wellbeing of the community. Around the world, Japanese migrant communities now hold autumn festivals to showcase and celebrate Japanese culture.
Held at the Cook Community Hall in my electorate of Ginninderra, the Canberra Japan Club’s festival was a delightful opportunity to get a taste of many different aspects of Japanese culture right here in Canberra. The event was purposely designed to be family friendly, with heaps to catch the attention of both children and adults. Visitors could purchase Japanese soup and bakery products to enjoy, as well as craft items.
Workshops were set up to teach things like traditional Japanese calligraphy and origami, Japan’s centuries-old art of folding paper into various elaborate designs, such as cranes. One workshop even allowed participants to shape their own chopsticks, and another gave kids an opportunity to craft their own teddy bears.
Games for children included quoits, a fish pond, and a water balloon activity, which I participated in along with enthusiastic children and uni students! And all this fun was accompanied by two-and-a-half hours of performances on stage, including music, dancing and even a rock-paper-scissors competition. The Canberra Japan Club sponsors a community language school and supports a kindergarten, both of which also performed on the day.
I am grateful, Madam Speaker, for community organisations like the Canberra Japan Club. This past weekend’s autumn festival provided a small insight into what the club, its president and its many committed members do. Their efforts help to preserve and share Japanese language and culture, and this in turn enriches and strengthens our entire Canberra community.
I wish Mrs Lamb and her colleagues in the Canberra Japan Club all best success as they continue to serve. The event this past weekend was certainly a fruitful harvest of their dedicated efforts. Thank you.