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Canberra Nara Candle Festival is a bit pointless, disappointing and generally bogan

By BimboGeek 19 September 2010 37

Nara Ambassador

Saturday afternoon and evening was the Canberra Nara Candle Festival and I was pretty excited to see if it was going to be super pretty.

Unfortunately I work hard for the money and couldn’t get there before 5, so I missed a lot of the exciting stuff like mochi pounding and some of the performances.

I wanted to just explore and see what I expected to be a very beautiful festival, much like Floriade is a beautiful festival but actually I was a bit disappointed.

(Slideshow below)

Arriving on my bike I started by following the sound of drums and finding the drumming workshop – two adults leading a big circle of children. I watched for a while and enjoyed the energy. I took a photo but almost felt bad since it’s full of children.

I moved on to the kite area. The sky was so full of kites that I’m surprised I managed to walk through the area without getting tangled. There was one kite abandoned in a tree but everyone else was doing a great job of avoiding each other. I was quite happy to see so many adults enjoying the kites and would have bought or borrowed one if the line wasn’t so tragically long!

Next was the wishing tree. Anyone could make a wish. I have something particular I would have liked to wish for but seeing the group of children writing on the coloured paper and pinning them to the branches I thought maybe it was best to leave them to their fun.

Continuing on my circuit I then passed a line of tents selling “Japanese inspired fashion.” There was one tent selling kimonos and other Japanese style ladies’ fashions but even then, I was left asking myself “Who goes to a cultural festival to buy clothes and accessories?” If all Nara means to you is a pretty new handbag then you, madam, are a bogan and I don’t want to know you!

Similarly, I was truly astonished at the long lines for the many food stands. One boasted “Japanese Sushi” and I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s any better than the stuff I eat every day at home (or occasionally at Mee’s or one of the malls) and others simply offered soft drinks, alcohol or poffertjes. Somebody even sold Japanese pancakes. Again, Ms. Bogan may think that culture and cuisine are the same thing but I was particularly unimpressed with the preoccupation with food considering that it was much too early for dinner.

Finally I found the other little pocket of culture. There was a stage set up and there was actually some good performance happening on the stage. I only saw the granddad j-pop group from Sydney and the teens following but I was pretty impressed with both. There were lots of parents encouraging their kids to enjoy the j-pop group. Unfortunately M-Flo weren’t available but these guys had a groove. The teenagers speaking/singing and the adults accompanying/dancing afterwards put on a very interesting performance of a Japanese creation myth. It was extraordinarily long so I didn’t catch all of it but it sounded great and I rather want a shakuhachi now.

The candles were eventually lit while all this was going on and I’ve sent some pictures of them during the lighting. They also lit up the trees red using some tacky LED lighting strips that are immediately obvious if you’re right next to them looking at the candles (and extremely unnecessary). There was some story about candle cups being sent from Nara or something but I’m not entirely sure what it was.

I didn’t have a problem with the festival exactly, but a lot of community events are genuinely suited to all ages (except the really rebellious teenagers who are determined not to have fun) that I as surprised to feel like I had crashed a five year old’s birthday party.

My final question is “why doesn’t Nara Park have cherry trees?” Honestly, it’s the Canberra spring festival and the Nara Park doesn’t have any sakura. Even ume blossoms would have been lovely! Apparently it’s Japanese because there’s a pagoda.

I’m glad I went because I’ve never been before and I don’t think I’ll have a chance to go again, but I can’t say it satisfied anything other than my curiosity.

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
Canberra Nara Candle Festival is a bit pointless, disappointing and generally bogan
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matt31221 3:50 pm 21 Sep 10

What are you talking about Bimbogeek, I was at the festival and it was great! I did not dislike one thing about it, it was a friendship strengthening time for Australia and Japan and it was great to learn more about Japanese culture. I did misinterpret a stand that was in the email I got informing me of the festival, a Hayabusa stand. I rode in on my Kawasaki ninja zx14, which was created to beat the Susuki Hayabusa and when I found the stall it was information about the satellite Hayabusa not the motorbike equivalent! Tops festival hopefully I can make the next one.

Roadrage77 1:48 pm 21 Sep 10

BimboGeek said :

Poor bogans! getting endlessly picked on by people who just don’t seem to enjoy many of the things they enjoy!

Honestly, it’s the rednecks I really can’t stand.

It’s pretty obvious that whoever wrote Stuffboganslike got their inspiration from Christian Lander’s stuffwhitepeoplelike. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Lander’s book is all about snobby, hypocritical, ignorant, quasi-intellectual types who think they know better and think they are better than bogans-types. There’s just a slight scent of irony there.

Die Lefty Scum 1:30 pm 21 Sep 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Poor bogans! getting endlessly picked on by people who just don’t seem to enjoy many of the things they enjoy!

By ‘people’, you mean you? And by ‘things’, you mean something that isn’t on the site you linked to?

Clearly, you’re suffering from some sort of PTSD from being surrounded by ordinary people. Here are a couple of videos featuring your own kind to help you get back on your feet:

Video 1 (ignore warning, it’s totally SFW)
Video 2

See you at JB on your fixie, shopping for j-pop to tweet about.

Great vids, thanks.

caf 1:15 pm 21 Sep 10

There’s a large park in middle of Nara where a sizezable population of deer wander around. Enterprising street vendors sell bags of food for you to feed them.

It’s a bit like if Commonwealth Park had a mob of almost-tame wallabies wandering about.

GBT 1:00 pm 21 Sep 10

It actually was quite a good site, but somewhere along the line they ran out of ideas and most anything became a “thing bogans like”

Skidbladnir 12:56 pm 21 Sep 10

Excuse my total ignorance of Japanese\Nara culture, but why does the costumed thing pictured have antlers?

Is it ‘antler-dude is just a Nara thing’, or is it a ‘Japan is kind of peculiar and nobody talks about the antlers’ thing?
Does Nara\Japan have a special class of token antler-people?
Is it Buddha, and why does he have antlers?

Jim Jones 11:35 am 21 Sep 10

That’s a pretty stupid site.

Apparently bogans like ‘the pyramids’?! ‘Mild curries’?!

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:36 am 21 Sep 10

Poor bogans! getting endlessly picked on by people who just don’t seem to enjoy many of the things they enjoy!

By ‘people’, you mean you? And by ‘things’, you mean something that isn’t on the site you linked to?

Clearly, you’re suffering from some sort of PTSD from being surrounded by ordinary people. Here are a couple of videos featuring your own kind to help you get back on your feet:

Video 1 (ignore warning, it’s totally SFW)
Video 2

See you at JB on your fixie, shopping for j-pop to tweet about.

Holditz 11:17 pm 20 Sep 10

I’m trying to work out who Bimbogeek thinks as ‘bogans’? Because the people I saw didn’t seem to be what I think are bogans. Instead, I saw a lot of families enjoying the festive atmosphere, playing, eating and enjoying the entertainment. The only thing I would really complain about is that this should be a summer festival. It got really cold really fast.

BimboGeek 7:36 pm 20 Sep 10

Poor bogans! getting endlessly picked on by people who just don’t seem to enjoy many of the things they enjoy!

Honestly, it’s the rednecks I really can’t stand.

YO 5:20 pm 20 Sep 10

this got incredibly off track. I think we ought to be thankful for this FREE event and the other FREE events that Canberra offers- events that allow the whole family to participate in activities and a chance for our kids to learn about other cultures…

Its very easy to criticise while sitting behind a computer isnt it?! I went with friends and family and had a terrific day! I also had a friend who volunteered for the event and she had a great day in the park! hows about we thank these people who make it happen and maybe more of you whingers should get out and about and appreciate it!

yes, the queues were long, but once we got food, it was delicious and traditional, although i do like the fact other food is on offer- not everyone likes japanese food- good organising I say..

thanks to the people who make events like these happen.. our family will be back again next year, we had a great time.

Woody Mann-Caruso 4:03 pm 20 Sep 10

I can cook…I don’t drink JDs or VBs…Time for a GnT

Bloody poof.

Thumper 3:57 pm 20 Sep 10

“I seriously thought everyone has a bike and makes sushi at least sometimes.

I don’t have a bike, at least, not a pushbike, and I can’t stand suchi.

However, I can cook the most delicious and authentic moroccan meatball tagine you’ll ever see outside of marrakesh. And I don’t drink JDs or VBs.

Oh, now I am soooo confused about my identity. Time for a GnT 🙂

Jim Jones 2:56 pm 20 Sep 10

BimboGeek said :

I seriously thought everyone has a bike and makes sushi at least sometimes.

Really?

I don’t wanna seem rude, but do you think that people who don’t have a bike and/or make sushi at least sometimes are ‘bogans’? It kinda sounds like it.

I’m not sure how fond I am of this ‘bogan, bogan, bogan’ mantra that seems to be doing the rounds of riotact lately. It was a bit funny at first, but now it just seems to be a lazy, uninsightful way of slagging off people you don’t know or like.

Canberra is the most middle-classed, highly educated city in the entire country – if you’re slagging off people from this city, calling them bogans because they associate ‘culture’ strongly with ‘food’, and because they have a tendency to shop, then god help us if you ever visited Western Sydney: your head would explode and you’d have to detox in some overpriced cafe on Chapel Street in Melbourne, or hang out with the hipsters in Glebe.

BimboGeek 2:16 pm 20 Sep 10

LMAO @ Woody

I’m clearly even more uncool than I imagined. I seriously thought everyone has a bike and makes sushi at least sometimes.

PLEASE somebody tell me I’m not becoming “hip!”

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