We had a day out with a Japanese flavour on Saturday with our SLG friends. Ashley was in charge of the day and we met first for brunch at the California Garden Centre Cafe in Lower Hutt. We had time to browse around the large shop too, looking at plants, shrubs and all manner of garden art, including two huge giraffes - you can just see part of one over my shoulder. Wonder what the neighbours would say if we came home with them?
Then we moved on to the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt to take part in Tomodachi Day, acknowledging 20 years of Hutt City being a Sister City with Minoh, Japan. The official Japanese delegation was welcomed with many speeches and Maori songs (waiata). We particularly enjoyed the Maori group singing “Sukiyaki” in Japanese, followed by “How Great Thou Art” in Maori – a great finale to the welcoming ceremony. Cutting the official cake took place on stage, and pieces were later distributed to the guests.
After sitting through all the speeches it was good to follow the crowd and move outside. The driving beat of the drums called us, and we watched as Mukume Taiko Drummers from Kapiti showed us how it was done. The group of drummers kept us entertained as they moved around the drum set, sticks held aloft, as they energetically beat the drums in unison. All that arm stretching and hip flexing must be giving them a great workout.
The drums were packed away and a group of pretty little girls from the Koten Dance Group danced to quite a different tempo. Their ages ranged from 4 to 10 years old and they looked a picture in their lovely kimonos as they gently danced and swayed to the music.
It certainly was a day with a difference - many thanks to Ashley for organising our SLG day out with a Japanese flavour.