Sakura Japan Fair SG 2018 was back again this Sakura season, at the Flower Dome of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. The fair began with a bang with live performances from up and coming bands from Japan, workshops conducted by various Japanese businesses in Singapore, and other interesting interactive activities, food and merchandise. For those that decided to skip it this year, here is what you missed out.
Spoonful Singapore – Bento Workshop
Making bento is easy but character bento is a different ball game. It’s more than just good food. It’s art. What started out as a motivator for kids to eat their bento from home has now become an aesthetic trend in Japan. Waraugumi will be releasing an article shortly on what Character Bento (or Kyaraben in Japanese) is. Summarily, it’s packing your lunch in a lunchbox in a way that makes your lunch look like your favorite or other adorable looking characters from anime. At the Sakura Fair, we had the opportunity to attend a live workshop, conducted by Aoki-san and Reiko-san from Spoonful Singapore. Spoonful Singapore is a mobile cooking studio in Singapore. Together, Aiko-san and Reiko-san taught the group to make this adorable box of bear-bear Easter bento. Doesn’t it look adorable?
You should have been there to see how Aoki-san did the polkadots on the hard-boiled eggs. She stuffed ham into it. It was remarkable handiwork. We were very privileged to be able to learn a new technique from Aoki-san. There is so much more they have to offer, we are already thinking of arranging another session with Spoonful SG soon.
Gyunami – Wagyu Beef Donburi
Some Singaporeans may already know who they are from the newspaper and other online articles, we’d like to introduce them again for the sake of those who have never heard of them. Gyunami is a local hawker stall at Amoy Food Centre, started by three young men. Their stall serves Wagyu Beef Donburi at ONLY S$10.00! The portion size is a worth S$10 when you relate the price to Wagyu beef sold in Japan itself. In Japan, a stick with 5 pieces of thick Wagyu beef costs at a market price of 600 Japanese Yen (About S$7.50) PER STICK. Most Singaporeans have been deceived into thinking that Wagyu beef is generally a very expensive breed of meat. What they do not know is that there are different grades of Wagyu beef. The price of Wagyu beef also varies based on where it is from. We will write another article about this too. We want to talk about Gyunami now.
Gyunami sells Wagyu Beef Donburi at only S$10. Their stall is at Amoy Food Centre, along Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street.
Menya Sakura – Ramen
Menya Sakura was selling their recommended Tonkotsu Special Ramen. It was really nice. The broth was thick but it wasn’t too strong, at least not for me (Laughing Samurai). Noodles were alright and the egg was done nicely. Served with delicious thick slices of cha shu and menma (bamboo shoots) just made the bowl of ramen worth the S$18. You can check out their restaurant along Boat Quay. Menya Sakura serves four types of ramen – Tonkotsu Ramen, Tsukemen, Chuka Soba, Mazesoba. You can learn a bit more about the different types of ramen from one of our previous articles: 18 Types of Ramen.
Tribute – Handmade luxury wallets, bags and swords
Inspired by Japanese art and design, Tribute manufactures my favorite loud designed bags and wallets…and swords. They are all made by hand, and upon order only. These are luxury goods. With regards to swords, they are not real swords. What is unique about the swords is their intricate designs on the scabbards (saya) and the cord wrap around the handle (tsuka). We’ll also be writing another article about Japanese swords for those interested to know more. Check out Tribute’s Facebook for more information.
Here are some of Tribute’s featured designs and products…
Happo-en – Tea Ceremony and Origami Interactive Session
If you have always wanted to experience tea ceremony, you might have missed your chance by not visiting this fair. Happo-en set up an area near the entrance main stage for visitors to experience the whole tea ceremony experience, from start to end. If you’ve only had matcha at a café, you will never really know how long it actually takes for matcha to be prepared, served and consumed. There are lots of rules, from how you sit, where you sit, to how you hold the bowl and to how you should drink it. Besides that, Happo-en also organized interactive sessions for visitors to learn how to fold Japanese paper cranes.
Never worn a kimono before? There was a booth set up at the fair for visitors to experience the tedious process of putting on a kimono and to experience the ravishing beauty of a person who wears a kimono. Kimonos are really expensive today, rent and buy. To have a chance to wear a kimono is a real privilege. If you missed this opportunity, you might have to wait another year, wait for another fair, or wait till you visit Japan to be able to wear a kimono.
EYS – Live Band from Kyoto
EYS is a boy band from Kyoto. This was their first overseas performance in Singapore at Garden By The Bay. The band consists of three brothers, who formed it in 2014. They are talented young singers and musicians who write their own songs and even play the saxophone.
WASABI Creation was the producer for EYS’ performance in Singapore, supporting them in the planning, marketing, and execution of their performance.
If you didn’t get to enjoy this event, do not worry. I’m sure more of such events will be back. In the meantime, you can consider visiting Wasabi Creation’s website for more information about their upcoming events. They have an event called Wasabi Discovery that allows people in Singapore to learn something about Japan and relevant products/services being launched. Laughing Samurai would also like to encourage you to visit Japan before the 2020 Olympics, if you haven’t already. Things are really going to change and this is the best time to really enjoy the best of Japan.