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Cebu celebrates ikebana, bonsai, and all things Japanese


IKEBANA Cebu outgoing president Carmen Go presents a bouquet to incoming president Norma Sanchez.

The Ikebana International Cebu Chapter 145 formally inducted its officers for 2012-2014 at the Molave Room of the Cebu Country Club. Guest of honor was Yoshiaki Hata, consul and counselor of Japan’s Consular Office in Cebu.

He inducted the officers as well as new members. Norma Sanchez has taken over as president from Carmen Go who remains very much in the board as adviser and director. The rest of the officers are:

Vice presidents Marilou Hyden and Ma. Theresa Klepp; secretaries Rosaline Go and Merce Abellana; treasurers John Ong and Bethilda Smith; PRO Julius Hofer; and historian Linda To.

In the board of directors are Margarita Sy, Angelina Escaño, Editha Caseñas, Rebecca Peralta, Zelia Borromeo, Carmen Garcia, Barbara Kenny and Betty Uy. New members inducted were Tess Chan, Annalyn Tacke and Anon Atega.

As we all know, ikebana is the Japanese art of arranging flowers, incorporating twigs, leaves, even fruits. These imaginative two-day wonders convey or express feelings, emotions and moods.

A couple of weeks after the Ikebana event, more or less the same crowd gathered at the Regal Hotel for the joint induction ceremonies of the Cebu Bonsai Society and the Cebu Suiseki Society.

Bonsai, which also originated in Japan, is the painstakingly thorough art of dwarfing trees. They make for interesting shapes in pots or containers whose dimensions are prescribed by limits. The success of a bonsai artist is complete when the dwarfed trees give out blooms, and more so if they produce fruit.

Suiseki is a Japanese tradition as well. It involves collecting stones as found in nature. They could be big or small, smooth or rough, colorful or just plain. It is all in the collector’s aesthetics, reflected in the displayed array.

Architect Joy Martinez Onozawa was guest of honor and inducting officer at the Bonsai/Suiseki rites. In the Bonsai society, Vita Macaraya is president, with Carmen Go as vice president.

Other officers include secretaries Marife Dahler and Elaine Alansalon, treasurers Darling Band and Fe Mendoza, and auditor Leodie Tagorda. Directors are immediate past president Norma Sanchez, Lito Alansalon, Angie Escaño, Needash Sanchez, Jess Cuenco and Linda To.

In the Suiseki group, Betty Eustaquio has taken over as president from Ado Macaraya, with Tessie Zosa as vice president; Marife Dahler, secretary; Darling Band and Fe Mendoza, treasurers; Leodie Tagorda, auditor; Mary Chan, Susana Page and Ida Sevilla, directors.

Cebu looks forward to the exhibitions put up by the ikebana, bonsai and suiseki enthusiasts. They get better and bigger with each passing year. Once in a while they organize lectures and lessons for those interested. It is one way of increasing membership.

Guitar and koto duo

To further highlight July as Philippines-Japan Friendship Month, the Embassy of Japan sent to Cebu Hiroaki Sasaki and Kuniko Ubina, better known as Aki & Kuniko, and regarded as Japan’s best guitar and koto duo.

They had a one-night acoustic concert at the Jazz ‘n’ Bluz bar/restaurant in Mabolo last July 20 that electrified the audience. Next day, they had an afternoon show at Ayala Center which drew a large crowd of appreciative young people.

Consul Yoshiaki Hata has announced a whole series of activities to celebrate the Japan Festival 2012 this August at the Ayala Center. First event is the annual festival of Japanese films scheduled from Tuesday to Sunday, Aug. 7-12.

The formal opening of the Japan Festival will be on Aug. 11, 2 p.m, at Ayala Center’s activity area, with Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia invited to grace the occasion. Main highlight is a performance of the Wako Taiko, or Japanese stick drums, by a group that has a three-decade history of fame and acclaim.

A second performance at Ayala Center is scheduled later, at 5 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., the Wako Daiko Japanese Drums Club will perform at the lobby of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Admission is free.

Another highlight on opening day is the traditional dance Awa Odori at 5:30 p.m. A number of Japanese and Filipino dancers wearing “Yukata” summer kimonos will perform, having acquired the skills from an expert Japanese choreographer. Anyone may join them as audience participation will be highly encouraged.

Completing the celebration will be karate demonstrations and food festivals at Japanese restaurants. Cosplay will be on Aug. 12, 2 p.m., at Ayala Center. A group of Filipino university students, men and women, will introduce animé characters. At 3 p.m., there will be a karaoke singing competition.

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Tags: Carmen Go , Cebu Country Club , Ikebana International Cebu Chapter 145 , Japan Consular Office , Japan Festival 2012 , Molave Room , Norma Sanchez , Philippines-Japan Friendship Month , Suiseki , Yoshiaka Hata

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