Three days after arriving in Japan (Oct 12, 2013), the university is holding a festival in the campus main court. This is a two days festival, held by and for students. Even though I just arrived, I am
forced invited to participate in the festival: guarding the Indonesian student’s stand.
This festival has official name Gikadasai. Literally means Gikaida Festival. Gikadai is an abbreviation of [Toyohashi] Gijyutsu Kagaku Daigaku ([豊橋]技術科学大学), which is the name of the university: Toyohashi University of Technology.
What kind of festival it is?
In the center of the campus court, there is a big stage in which students can do performance. For example, music band, magic show, sports, or even comedy or break dance. Just like the school festival in anime!
I think they also invite local artist here. I am not sure though.
In the sides, there are many stands from almost every community in the university. Notably, each international students have each country’s stands. There is also stand from the sports club or any kind of clubs.
Each stand usually sells something. Most likely food (even though they are sports club). The international students usually invites people to see their own cultures like music, cloth, or souvenir. Well, each stands with their own creativity.
Attendee is mainly of course our own students and teachers. But there are also local people or people coming from nearby cities. They usually visit each stands and like to talk with the international students (and taste different kind of food).
Indonesian stand at that time sells three kind of food: shomay (or batagor, I am not sure, but it sold with brand ショマイ shomay), meat satay, and green banana ice. Shomay has price 300 yen, satay 400 yen, and ice 200 yen.
If you buy the shomay, you should’ve got a potato also (or is it separately sold, I forgot). However, before the potato can be sold, the committee somehow comes to investigate.
What kind of stove do you use? Do you put some salt? Do you this? Do you that?
It was very thorough and struct. And then they find that the potato has a salt in it. So they forbid us to sold it! Well, because it is not in the list of approved ingredients that we submit for the menu, they said.
The satay is quite different from the satay in Indonesia. Any normal stay must be grilled, but grilling is forbidden in the festival. So we get them microwaved.
Other that foods, we also sell souvenir from Indonesia. Actually, before I came to Japan someone from the Indonesian community contacted me to bring some souvenirs for sell here. Because I was in Bandung, I bought from Saund Udjo Bandung. I bought some wayang key chain, angklung fridge magnet, and traditional ship key chain. You know, the very souvenir with very Indonesian feel in it.
BUT, nobody wants to buy it. The one that sold the most are fan and wallet (T.T). I found out that most paying visitors are women out here.
We also offers photo service wearing Indonesian traditional cloth. We do not have many collection actually. There are only two sets of women cloth and five sets of men. Out of it, there is only one sets for couple: minang‘s traditional marriage costume. This one is very popular, again among women visitors.
We put 200 yen price for the photo service. I heard that last year we set it to 500 yen and still popular. We change it before we are not giving them printed photo anymore. Just via email. In the second day, we make it free if you buy other souvenirs. As a result, second day has more queue.
Oh, by the way, one women shed a tears when she wear the marriage cloth. Happy tears reminding of her old memories, maybe.
Long story short, these two days are very profitable for us, the Indonesian Students Community (PPI). We get a gross income at least 100 thousands yen. Very very lucrative.
I am also very happy. I just arrive not a week yet, and can experience the Japanese school festival like I saw in anime! Isn’t that awesome?
I also can meet many people in the Indonesian community the first time here. Many of which becomes my best friends later. The unfortunate one was sometimes I was forced to attend the customers just with Japanese (I am not fluent enough to be a sales!!)
One thing I regret is I could not try foods from another stands. Too busy protecting my base. Oh I got one, pisang goreng from the Malaysian stand! Yeah!
Well, there is also halal consideration that make me refraining to try other food. So yeah.
It was a fun two days.
Notes: Photoes courtesy of Me, Mr. Budi, Mr. prayitno, and Mr. Febry.