P. Anne Winter writes about this recent JCCC event
I have attended around eight Road to Asia Festivals at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and in some ways they just seem to get better.
I felt that the performances started with a higher standard this year. They have done away with some of the junior class efforts where the students were too nervous to remember their steps. Instead, we were treated to a wonderful, very professional Indian group from Mississauga. These two groups of children were around 8 to 10 years old. Having spent many years in ashrams seeing excellent Indian dancing, I was most impressed with the confidence and ability of this group.
There was a group from Taiwan that clearly had rigorous ballet training, well turned out legs and pointed feet, with lots of style. The stories were quite romantic and old fashioned. In one, the hero had to choose one young girl from all the others. It was a very sweet story and so much better than the gang war stories that leave you wanting a happy ending.
Tibet, Africa, and China were also represented with music and dance. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay to see more. The shows start every hour on the hour and there are no repeats.
The food court was not as exciting as I have enjoyed in previous years. A few years ago Ruth and I ate some delightful deep-fried veggie pockets wrapped in pastry from Thailand. Delicious. I have hoped for but have never come across them again.
This year I decided to check out the Indonesian gado gado which is vegetables, boiled eggs, and shrimp crackers covered in a soft peanut sauce. Unfortunately, it was cold. Disappointed, I was left unimpressed. Perhaps cold is normal for hot Indonesia but in November in Toronto, hot would have been more welcome.
Many of the countries represented on stage had booths with artifacts to educate folk on their country. I am always moved to see how many crafts are lovingly transported all the way to Canada. At Road to Asia, there was beautiful silver from Tibet, appliqué from China, or mini fascinating musical instruments amongst the many displays.
We are fortunate indeed to have all these treasures for sale in Toronto.