Thai, Japanese cultures merge in Sriracha

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Taiko drums, Thai pop stars, kimonos and Issan dancers shared the stage as Sriracha celebrated its third Thai-Japan Cultural Exchange festival.

Japanese Ambassador Seiji Kojima and Chonburi Deputy Gov. Phakhathorn Thienchai opened the event at Koh Lo Public Park March 3 with taiko drum beats, and the party didn’t miss a beat for the next two days.

Dancers perform at the Thai-Japan culture exchange festival.Dancers perform at the Thai-Japan culture exchange festival.

The fair featured booths selling goods from both countries, games testing players’ skills at fishing and hoop throwing, and visitors got a chance to dress up and be photographed in traditional Japanese kimonos.

The first evening wrapped with a performance by Thai musical duo Nikhojum.

Bigger crowds turned out for even more activities March 4, with a marching band playing Japanese anthems followed by a Khon performance from Sriracha Municipal School, Issan dance show from Wat Ratsadornniyomtham School students and Latin dances by the Japanese.

The day’s finale included a performance from Yosakoi Soran and concert from Ice Saranyu.

Chonburi Deputy Governor Phakhathorn Thienchai (left) and Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Seiji Kojima (right) bang the Japanese drums to launch the event.Chonburi Deputy Governor Phakhathorn Thienchai (left) and Japan’s Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Seiji Kojima (right) bang the Japanese drums to launch the event.

Performers give a rousing rendition on Japanese war drums.Performers give a rousing rendition on Japanese war drums.

Japanese martial arts are always popular stage performances.Japanese martial arts are always popular stage performances.

A woman poses next to cherry blossoms, which bloom beautifully in Japan in the springtime.A woman poses next to cherry blossoms, which bloom beautifully in Japan in the springtime.

Thais and Japanese guests alike absolutely enjoy this event.Thais and Japanese guests alike absolutely enjoy this event.

It wouldn’t be a “real” Thai held festival without young children performing traditional Thai dance, and these youngster performed brilliantly.It wouldn’t be a “real” Thai held festival without young children performing traditional Thai dance, and these youngster performed brilliantly.

Thai dancers perform a “Ram Kow”, a dance to help the rice harvest.Thai dancers perform a “Ram Kow”, a dance to help the rice harvest.

A musician plays the traditional Shamisen (Japanese 3-stringed banjo).A musician plays the traditional Shamisen (Japanese 3-stringed banjo).

Lovely women dress in traditional Japanese kimonos.Lovely women dress in traditional Japanese kimonos.

A beautiful geisha performs an enchanting fan dance.A beautiful geisha performs an enchanting fan dance.