Carrefour’s Japan Week reaches climax with Kumamoto dance and cookie workshop

The rice cookie workshop and lantern dance performance rendered customers a unique cultural experience.

Yamaga lantern dance performance (Photo courtesy of Carrefour)

Rice cookie workshop (Photo courtesy of Carrefour)

Rice cookie workshop (Photo courtesy of Carrefour)

The Japan Week with lantern dance performers (Photo courtesy of Carrefour)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Japan Week taking place each October is one of the most important activities for Carrefour in a year, and this time, the French supermarket chain has put on sale more than 100 local products from Kumamoto Prefecture, a popular travel destination for Taiwanese tourists, with the help of the local government.

The Japan Week not only focused on product sales, but also aimed to promote an exchange of culture and tourism. That is why the prefectural government, led by deputy prefect Taisuke Kono (小野泰輔), brought a Wagashi master who specializes in making rice cookies and a trio of dancers who practice Yamaga lantern dance to Carrefour’s Xindian branch on October 8.

The various activities also attracted Ken Matsumoto (松本賢), representative director at TV Kumamoto Corporation, who brought a camera crew with him to capture these special moments.

Lin Meng-shao (林夢紹), PR manager at Carrefour, said contrary to the previous Japan Weeks, this year the supermarket chain focused on the lesser frequently encountered products from Kumamoto, including specialties and non-food products.

In addition, Carrefour teamed up with the prefectural government to put on traditional Kumamoto activities that rendered customers a unique cultural experience, with the bear Kumamon (熊本熊), once voted Japan’s most popular mascot, invited to promote the event at eight branches across the country, according to Lin.

The massive popularity the mascot has received led the Kumamon-themed water bottles with a limited amount of 12,000 to be sold out within two days, said Lin.

On October 8, the supermarket chain even led customers onto a cultural trip with a rice cookie workshop and lantern dance performance.

The rice cookie workshop was presented by Wagashi master Manabu Tateyama (立山學). Based in the south of the prefecture, Tateyama and five local Wagashi masters founded a Japanese patisseries club as a way to promote the art and culture of traditional Wagashi. They have held numerous workshops and activities around their country and received awards for their craft and works. Hence, Carrefour invited Tateyama to share his expertise, and Taiwanese customers also had the chance to participate in the cookie making process and try the cookies made by the master.

Apart from the workshop, there was also the Yamaga lantern dance, a traditional performance exclusive of Kumamoto. A trio of dancers put the Yamaga lantern, all of which were hand-made and representative of Kumamoto’s traditional works of art, on their head and danced with sinuous movements, thus bringing an unforgettable experience to customers.

The Japan Week lasts until October 18, customers can take a trip to the stores and enjoy the true Japanese cuisine and culture without needing to go abroad.