During the month of July, in collaboration with Japan Rail Cafe Singapore, a subsidiary of JR East, Kanagawa Prefecture sights and products were promoted through the theme of “Tanabata”— a traditional Japanese summertime festival. The purpose of the promotion event was to introduce some of Kanagawa’s special products during the Tanabata festivities to Singaporeans who are lovers of all things Japanese.
To complement the month-long promotion of the prefectural products, a special Hiratsuka Tanabata Night was also held in the cafe, as an enjoyable and meaningful time for the local patrons, presenting the history and elements of Tanabata, and the yearly festival held in Hiratsuka City. Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri is not only known as one of the top three Tanabata festivals in Japan, but is also established as the largest Tanabata festival in the Kanto region.
This year being the 70th anniversary of the Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri, and the first to be held again after three years since the start of COVID-19, it was a grand festival not to be missed. Boasting 500 streamers, some of which reached over 10 meters in height, the city’s Tanabata festival is well-known for its colorful and extravagant decorations. Similarly, the festive spirit was part of the Hiratsuka Tanabata Night, held on the evening of July 19 in Singapore, where guests were treated to a colorful sight at the cafe; the various streamers contributing to a lively atmosphere, along with the multitude of tanzaku (long, thin strips of paper) hanging from the bamboo branches that waved gently in the breeze coming through the entrance.
Besides the story of Tanabata, the guests at Japan Rail Cafe were also able to catch a glimpse into the Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri through the many pictures and videos of the festival shown during the event. Furthermore, guests also joined in a well-known key activity of Tanabata — writing their wishes on a tanzaku, and hanging them up on the bamboo stalks displayed at the cafe.
In such a festive atmosphere, 15 different products from Kanagawa Prefecture companies were featured and sold at the cafe. These items were specially handpicked to convey the feeling of summer and Tanabata from Japan to Singapore.
The idea of summer is always accompanied by thoughts of the beach, and what better way to pass the time there than with some refreshing alcohol? One of the prefectural products introduced was the Ichi-Go-Can set of nine sake cans, which are popular for their compact sizes and variety of sake for tasting purposes as well. Yokohama Lager and Hefeweizen from Yokohama Brewery that were previously popular with patrons were also reintroduced for their great tasting beer.
Amina Collection’s beer pouches and hand towels, made in collaboration with Yokohama Brewery, make for a perfect way to hold the ice-cold beer in hand. Moreover, the special beer pouches are made from the same materials as wetsuits and are a fantastic way of keeping your beverage of choice cool in the heat of summer.
Aside from alcohol, other refreshing alternatives offered were the Shonan Gold cider and Odawara Mandarin Orange cider from Nozawa Sakuzo Shoten. Not only are the labels strikingly eye-catching, but the colorful ciders also certainly look like delicious liquid gold perfect for the summer weather. From the same company, Shonan Gold drops that offered a similar retro and vintage aesthetic as the ciders were also included in the lineup. The refreshing sweetness of the Shonan Gold flavor featured in these products is nothing short of the epitome of an ideal summer. On top of these, the all-time popular vanilla and cocoa cookies from L’Orient, featuring its original cute design, were also popular with children.
Another choice prefectural product was the Shonan Gold juice from Nature, made purely from freshly squeezed Shonan Gold citrus fruits from Yugawara Town. Packed with vitamins, this bottled juice is the perfect beverage for boosting energy for summertime activities.
Choshiya’s mouth-watering kuromitsu (black sugar) syrup was also introduced as a healthier and great-tasting alternative to brown sugar, which is hugely popular in Singapore. Kuromitsu syrup can be paired with a variety of food, such as ice cream, waffles, and so on, that leaves a sweet aftertaste without being too overpowering.
An all-new prefectural product that has not yet been introduced into Singapore was also imported. This smooth umeboshi (dried plum) paste from Chinrui is just right for finger foods like onigiri and brings with it a special hint of Japanese summer flavor.
On top of the consumables, for fans of samurai or ninja, a creative set of cutlery from Nozawa Sakuzo Shoten featuring a katana handle design was promoted.
Unique and delicate products from Amina Collection were also on sale. With a special twist on the masu sake cup — usually made from cedar or hinoki wood — is clear and have a delightfully colorful and distinctive design that conveys the atmosphere of summertime. Striking Kadogama purses with various individual patterns were also a popular feature product. Paired with a set of equally Japanesque gel nail designs, it highlighted the lively spirit of Tanabata and summer.
Through the collaboration with Japan Rail Cafe, Singaporeans were able to get a deeper sense of Tanabata festivities, especially in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, and indulge in a summery lifestyle in Japan with products from Kanagawa Prefecture makers.
Source: Kanagawa Prefectural Government
All photo credits: Japan Rail Cafe Singapore© Japan Today