JAPAN DAY by Maartje

Every event has its own purpose. Organizers intend to accomplish something by putting on an event. In turn, participants and visitors come to an event intent on getting a specific something out of it. Thus, there lie the reasons for an event to exist.

I’m merely pointing out the obvious. Even as someone who up till this point has very little experience in organizing events, and moreover, would rather stay at home than attend events in the past, I could’ve deduced this easily.

However, right after I started working at JCE, I had the fortune to be involved in two big events. First MONO Japan, and then JAPAN DAY. Two events that were, in a way, centered around Japanese culture. Even still, because they didn’t fulfill the same purpose, the experiences of these events can be very different.

That is, of course, not a judgement about the value of the two events.

I suppose the crux of that perceived difference would be that JAPAN DAY was very much not a commercial event. It seemed that the motive was merely to share culture. For one thing, there was no entrance fee, so that allowed for a much more varied public. From young to old, families, couples, groups of friends, or just lone people who walked by the stadsgehoorzaal and walked in to see what the fuss was about.

I somehow ended up helping out at the calligraphy booth most of the day, were I saw all these different people coming by. They’d often ask for their name to be written in kanji, or for help with writing a significant character. Some of them would take their calligraphed work with them as a present for someone else, or to hang in their shop. There were people who had already started learning kanji, and small children who still needed help holding a pencil.

Seeing how so many people could enjoy the same thing in their own different ways was definitely a highlight of JAPAN DAY for me. That coupled with the openness of the performers, allowing the visitors to experience this culture, made JAPAN DAY a valuable experience for many people involved.