The One Mind in the Middle of a Stream

May 12, 2015

Sometimes, I love wandering alone in the crowd. It helps me find some inspiration. Here’s a story I’d like to share. A unique one.

Few days ago, I went to a Japanese Cultural Festival called Ennichisai in Blok M, Jakarta. Went there with a frrrrriiiiiieeend, who have a voluntary job at her former musical group. Of course I cannot meddle with her job, so, I take my leave and wandering around in the crowd, before one of my friend came along later on.

It was fun. So many unique booths there. Selling toys, foods, and games you’ll find at summer festival in Japan. But, other than that, the most interesting thing for me is, when I wander alone in the crowd, my mind also wandering somewhere else, somewhere far, yet unseen, but it can be heard. It can be heard straight from my mouth, or through writings, like this. Yes. The world of idea. The world where the worldly concept meet up, clashing with each other, creating the world I’m seeing at the time. Okay.

So, in the crowd, I’m seeing so many interesting contacts between people. The Japanese who speaks Indonesian, and vice versa, Indonesian who speaks Japanese. Funny huh ? Well, I think that’s the point of respecting each other. While the Indonesian are respecting the Japanese as the main committee, the Japanese are respecting the Indonesian as the ‘owner’ of the land. Other than that, it’s about selling the products. LOL. The latter one is more convincing though. While the Japanese are attracting Indonesian –most of the visitors, it’ll be a problem if they don’t speak Indonesian, since Japanese isn’t really spoken by Indonesian. The Indonesian themselves are screaming like “Irrasshaimassseeeeee !!” –a Japanese service welcome, or “Takoyaakiiiiii” and everything else, screaming the name of the product they sell. Of course it is done to attract the costumer. So that the costumer knew they’re selling something.

Later on, there is this omikoshi parade in the crowd. Omikoshi is a portable Shinto shrine that used to be lifted by youngsters, and then being dragged around the festival ground. Another interesting thing, the omikoshi wielders are Japanese and Indonesian. They’re just mixing with each other. While the main commander who commands the omikoshi parade is Japanese. They’re screaming in Japanese heave-ho. There are girls and boys who are lifting the omikoshi on their shoulder. Some of the girls are wearing veil, which generally considered as an islamic attribute, and omikoshi a Shinto attribute on their shoulders. This is yet another interesting thing. In the middle of religious intolerances in Indonesia (for example, one of my friend is being expelled from her rent-house just because she’s having dogs as pets, somewhat against the islamic law), there are still Indonesian youngsters who cares (or don’t care ? So they’re just enjoying it ?) with the issue.

Later on that night, there’s this Miss Hiromi Kano, a Japanese woman who can sing as a sinden –traditional Indonesian singer, pretty well. I almost cried when she sang “Bintang Kecil”, it was beautiful. If only the sky were not cloudy, and I can see those “Bintang Kecil” I will ended up crying. Seriously. After that, there’s this weird –typical Japanese slapstick comedian. I don’t really buy them though. They’re funny, but, not my kind of humor. After that, the performance of my ffffrrrrieeeenddd’s group, the U-Maku Eisa. It’s a traditional Okinawan Dance. Another unique treat to the eyes. It mixes martial arts and dance, like Capoeira in Brazil or Wu-Shu in China. 2 of the performers are Japanese, Yuki and Mizuki. Both are extremely talented. The other are local Indonesian who are also great. Here, we can see another interesting thing. How a Japanese is learning Indonesian traditional singing, while the Indonesian are learning Japanese traditional dance. Funny thing is, when Miss Hiromi Kano is on television, many Indonesian will say something like this: “even Japanese wanted to learn Indonesian art, why don’t Indonesian want to learn Indonesian art ?” Lately, I always laugh at something like that. I bet that most of the Japanese that come to the venue knows nyinden waaayyy better than they know the Eisa dance. Why ? Because, I think, it is quite normal nowadays for people to forget their original culture, and being attracted with other’s culture.

Thanks to the internet, countries around the world are promoting their local culture as a culture of their own country. While the local people, still think that the local culture aren’t part of their culture, because it is not originated from their local region. For example, I don’t admit Wayang Kulit as my culture, since I am a Sundanese. I admit Wayang Golek as my culture. I know Wayang Golek, I love watching it –CEPOT IS LOVELY, OKAY ? and I know how to play it. But with Wayang Kulit, I don’t know. And yet, I’m still calling it Javanese culture. While for people from other country, will see both Wayang Kulit and Wayang Golek as part of INDONESIAN culture. See the differences ? People from other country will see the Eisa dance as a part of JAPANESE culture, while the Japanese see the Eisa dance as a part of OKINAWAN culture. Again, see the differences ? Yeah, the local spirit is still alive, and well.

Another interesting thing from the Ennichisai is of course the location. It is located in the Little Tokyo District in Blok M Jakarta. It is being called little Tokyo because it really represents Tokyo. Especially the shady part of it. Walking around the Little Tokyo make me remember the Ryuu Ga Gotoku (better known as the Yakuza) series, which always presenting a digital representation of Japan. One of them is the Kamurocho region, which represents the Kabukicho region in Tokyo. It’s a source of Japanese night life. You can google it later, but, the little Tokyo in Blok M is representing this Kabukicho region. I’ve been there once, and there are these executive clubs all around, karaoke box with private room and escort, fancy restaurant, and Sino-Japanese restaurant that will serves you pig offal, or cow’s liver. Kind of things that goes well with Sake. As far as I know the little is a sign of a diaspora that has been nicely done. It shown that the migrant –in Little Tokyo’s case, Japanese, are being settled in Indonesia, so they made a representation of their homeland. Borrowing Brubaker’s idea, the diaspora have to be done in 3 stages: 1. Dispersion (how the people move from original country to host country), 2. Homeland Orientation (how these people are still believe that the original country is their country), 3. Boundary Maintenance (how these people are segregating themselves from the society). The number 3 can be seen in the Little Tokyo. You can see how many of the cardboard paper to make announcement are written in kanji, and everything is in Japanese style. Feels like home for the Japanese.

And of course, the last one, the interesting thing I’ve found in the crowd is, that I can find myself in the crowd. You see, when you’re walking in the crowd, other people is just “another one in the crowd.” You don’t know them. They might be a criminal wanted by the state, or even FBI. They might be your ex girlfriend who get a sex change into a muscular man (and vice versa). They might be alien from another planet. We will never know. And me, myself is just another part of crowd. Another walking chunk of meat dressed in an Everton home kit. But then again, the chunk of meat can see, can hear, can think, his mind wanders around, and in the end, producing this senseless writing. In the end, I’m happy that I’m finding myself as a social observer in the crowd.

And that’s how far my mind has wander around as my physical body wandering around in the Ennichisai. It’s quite small, you can go around for like 5-10 minutes.

P. S.: on another note, I coined an idea to my friend to create a “Japanese cultural festival BINGO”, it’ll look like this I guess.



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