Monday, June 7, 2010, 11:32 PM
Recently Daikin, a Japanese owned company here in my hometown, put on its yearly festival. Even though this has been done for years, I have never attended until this year. It is always held in the evening hours, so that it won't be so oppressively hot. So I decided since I was just sitting at home on a Friday night, to venture out and have a little fun.
First, I read in the paper that there would be buses running every 5 minutes from the mall, which is about 5 miles away. The event is held at our fair grounds, but parking isn't so great, but thousands do park there. So I drove to the mall and eagerly got out of my car ready for an adventure. there was NO wait! Daikin had hired 32 school buses for the event and they were running like clock work; you could tell the drivers were used to large crowds and they were professional and everything went without a hitch.
When I got on the bus, there was a lady sitting in the first seat alone so I asked if I could sit with her. We got to talking, as ladies do, and come to find out we knew people in each others circles. So we decided since we were both alone (her husband refused to go), we would hang out. She was a veteran of this event and agreed to show me around and explain things.
The bus dropped us right at the entrance. No waiting to get in, there were so many volunteers handing out food tickets, it was swift and pleasant. The food tickets are given out so that you can sample all of the food, but there would still be plenty for everyone. There were Japanese foods that I tried that I don't know what their names were, but they were sooooo good! One had spaghetti like noodles in it with beef, bean sprouts and other veggies and a small amount of a dark sauce was added to it if you wanted it, which I did. I could tell it had a soy base, but there was a slight sweet taste to it too. There was also hamburgers, hot dogs. three kinds of pizza, barbecue sandwiches and a choice of 7 or 8 different soft drinks and water. Everything was free! You didn't have to have a ticket for ice cream, popcorn and huge dill pickles, so the children were having a blast with that part. This was a totally fenced in environment with the parameters manned so children above toddler age were allowed to run hither and yon.
There was, of all things, a band playing Zydeco music! I expected Japanese music! but then when the band took a break, the big bosses of Daikin, who are Japenese, got up on stage and some Japanese music was started and they taught us all how to dance to it! It was so fun! And men and women alike were out there dancing away! The bosses were playing large drums too. It was awesome!
This was a total class act! Daikin does this to give back to the community, I suppose that they get tax breaks as all the big businesses do, but you sure don't see Boeing or Meow Mix or any of the other big manufacturers here doing things like this. Daikin also had a wonderful Japanese garden built for the public to enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed my small steps into the Japanese culture! What nice people I met!
Oh several other things I forgot, the first 2,500 people got free happi coats (pronounced hoppi so I may be misspelling it), and they gave away about 30 very expensive door prizes, the grand prize was a 50 inch flat screen tv.
I will definitely be attending next year's event! There were a little over 20,000 people there and no squabbles or arguments, just a lot of people enjoying a new culture.
Mary In Alabama