Thursday, January 21, 2010

Japanese New Year Celebrations in Japan Club, Kuala Lumpur

These pictures were taken with an iPhone 3G on the 16 January 2010 at the Japan Club, Taman Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on the occasion of the Japanese New Year celebrations. Although celebrated annually in Malaysia, it does but not have a fixed day but it is usually held within the month of January. This year, I tagged along with my best Japanese friend of many years, HiroKL-san. Please note that you need to be a member of the Japan Club to enter here or at least your friend is a member.
This is the first picture showing the location for the lucky draw winners (one entry per member) and also the video arcade section for kids/adults to have some video games time. This was in the Japan Club building itself.
Just outside the video game section, you can see these beautifully designed flowers. I am not sure who the designer is but if it's another Japanese friend of mine I will not be surprised as she has excellent flower making skills! ^_^
Some calligraphy outside done by adults. You can judge by the strokes and the presentation of the words.
Of couse, not forgetting the young kids' passion at calligraphy too. Maybe I should send my future children to learn this art ^_^
These are some of the stores that were set outside in the compounds of the Japanese club. There are more pictures of the stores later.
One of the games that most Japanese children will participate. The trick here is to get those ballons out of the water without breaking the water-sensitive paper tape that is attached to those ballons. The prize? The ballons of course ^^'
Another popular game for the Japanese kids and honestly one of the games that I liked to watch. You will need to throw the ball into any of those boxes and if you have a cetain number of balls in the boxes, you'll get a prize. Watch the boy in the picture getting ready to throw the ball...
He got two and getting ready for his third strike! He has probably better luck and chance than me getting the prizes! At the end of the day, the kids are bound to have prizes as the main objective of these games (apart from getting parents to spend their money) is to see those kids happy. Yes, the boy in the picture got some prizes but unfortunately I did not get the chance to snap his really big happy smile ^_^
A pretty hard game where the kids are expected to throw a hulla hoop over the items/prizes that they want. For RM5 approx USD 1.50, the best prize you'll get is probably a can of soft drink, some snacks and a small toy. I would join if the toy was a Doraemon figurine ^^'
Probably the hardest game of all. You may choose on a bow with plastic arrows or a toy gun that can fire a big plastic projectile to try and take down the items/prizes that you want. Believe it or not, as simple as it looks, to these poor kids, it's a pretty hard chore to get the prizes they want!
Ah ... what is New Year celebrations without food. The is the famous Kakigōri (かき氷) store where I never fail to visit whenever I have the chance to do so. Kakigōri is famously known as 'ice kacang' in the Malay language or also commonly known as 'ABC' to the locals here.
And these are the main ingredients of Kakigōri whereby it consits of shaved ice, some colourful flavored syrup (dark green means green tea, blue means blue hawaii (whatever that means), red means strawberry, light green means melon and yellow means lemon).
Of course, there's also other food such as onigiri, yakitori, etc. including sushi as well.
Other food as well (I am feeling hungry already just typing this ^^' ...)
BBQed calamari or 'ika' costing RM8 each. They taste nice and good IF there weren't so many overcooked (burns) on them.
Back to the Japanese club building again and on the way to the roof top, I was greeted by a familiar sign ...
ONE plate per person ... must be something really good ;-)
Look at the queue! What could this be? *suspense suspense*
The cooks are preparing something that only one plate per person. It has to be good!
The secret's out ^^ It's mochi (餅), a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki.
The big brown thingy you see is where the flour mixture is pounded to soften the texture before they are molded into paste.
Lady in glasses: Now let's mix this ...
Lady in glasses: Mix it over here as well ...
Lady in glasses: Let me put this here ...
Lady in glasses: I better be quick before that fella starts to pound my hand instead ^^'
View from the roof top. You can see four rows of stalls selling all kinds of food and also games for the children (as per shown in the earlier pictures). See any pretty Japanese girls? ^_^
Man in white: Haiyah!!! I am getting good in pounding.
Man in white: I am going to do this in a record time!
The mochi paste getting ready to be cooked.
One of the popular ingredients, red bean filling!
And the final product is out! You will get three kinds of mochis and it's FREE. The only thing is like stated earlier is you can only have one plate at at time. Still it tastes good and it's free and my stomach is very happy ^_^
Nice! Instructions for where to get your free mochi and whether you want to do mochi pounding which is actually getting you to do the fun and dirty job of making food for people like me to eat ^^'
The Shogi room. Shogi is Japanese favourite past time of all ages in Japan. Shogi literally means Japanese Chess. I have Morita Shogi on my iPhone as well as Kakinori Shogi and these games are really good if you want to learn shogi on the go ^_^
Looks like reversi but I may be seriously wrong ^^'
Back outside, I got a glimpse of the famous fish catching game whereby you are given a paper cup or a paper 'spoon' to fish out as many fishes as you can into a bowl/bucket/cup before the paper gives in. I personally have seen a girl catching 8-10 goldfishes in one scoop. Don't ask me how she did it ... she has to be a vetaran in this kind of games.
Performance time started with some Japanese and local ladies doing a Malay dance. To be honest, I was expecting more of the Japanese culture to be seen instead of the local ones. But I guess that is what interest the Japanese here more ...
Due to rain outside and not having an umbrella and also not wanting to get sick again, I went back into the building and decided to really have a look at the video games section. First things first, this game is where you play to win sweets. Looks very tempting indeed with all those candies waiting to be gobbled up! ^_^
Dance Dance Revolution-like game. Three kids playing it??? No wonder they get all the moves wrong ^^'
A Japanese girl showing her best moves on this drum simulation game. She is very focused on getting high scores ^^
Another drumming game. The cute Japanese girl that you see seems to be really good in this game judging from the scores I saw at the end.
Nintendo's Mario Kart 2 is always a favourite for kids and racing game enthuasists like yours truly ^^'
I cannot remember this game's name but I do know how to play it and it is usually present in any amusement centre.
Ok this is probably the only game that I can never understand on how to play it. Some kind of games that requires picture cards.
And they have super power ups too! ^^'
A game specially designed for the young female games. Surprisingly though, this game language is in English.
This is the game where you will be hitting the 'crocodiles' that are popping out of the machine with a rubber hammer and score points when you hit those 'crocodiles'.
This kid was pretty cunning. He knew that he could never get the score high enough if he were to play it alone so he got his entire family to join in by knocking ALL the 'crocodiles' that were coming out. In the end, he scored hitting over 70 'crocodiles' in one minute!!! ^^'
At the end of the day, this is where we ate. At the Japanese restaurant called Hiwamari (reminds you of xxxHolic's Hiwamari-chan). I had beef sukiyaki and to be honest, this is one of the best sukiyaki you can have while in Kuala Lumpur.

After dinner, I said my goodbyes to my friends and headed home after a very eventful day ^_^ Hopefully I will be able to participate again in the New Year celebrations next year!