JOHOR BAHRU: Eco World Development Group Berhad [EcoWorld] has returned as the main sponsor for the annual Bon Odori event for the third time this year, held at the Eco Botanic City, the township’s commercial centre.
The Southern branch of the Japan Graduates of Malaysia [JAGAM], the official organiser for this event, is excited to hold the festival for the sixth time in Johor Bahru as there is a good response from the crowd and the number of visitors for Bon Odori has been growing healthily and steadily over the years from 23,000 people in 2015 to 50,000 in 2016.
President and CEO of Eco World Development Group Bhd Dato’ Chang Khim Wah said that the event serves as a great platform to cultivate Japanese culture in Malaysia, and for all interested to learn more about each other’s culture.
“We are very pleased to be the main sponsor of the largest and most anticipated Japanese cultural event again this year and Bon Odori is extra special this year as it also marks the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Malaysia-Japan Diplomatic Relations. We are very grateful to have the Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr. Miyagawa here with us today to officiate the festival as well,” said Chang.
This meaningful commemoration is further enhanced through this year’s theme – SEKAI, which means the world. It symbolises that people from all over the world come together to embrace and celebrate each other’s culture. This year’s event is also a continuation of the previous year’s theme – MIDORI and SAKARI which reflects the Group’s company name Lù Shèng Shì (绿盛世) in line with its vision and philosophy in creating an eco-friendly world.
Bon Odori this year offers over 114 booths featuring Japanese cuisine, Japanese traditional games such as the Japanese Rice Cake Pounding and many more along with not-to-be-missed performances such as the popular Bon Odori Dance and Taiko Drum Performance.
The festival is also a great opportunity for visitors to take photos as the site is filled with Japanese-themed decorations such as the Torii Gate, Sakura Street, Maneki-neko (Giant Lucky Cat), Kokeshi Dolls (Giant Japanese Doll), the Chochin (Japanese Lantern), Koinobori (Carp Streamer), Traditional Japanese Food Stalls, giant Getha (wooden clogs), and the iconic Tokyo Tower.
Bon Odori this year is held at Eco Botanic City, the Group’s first completed commercial project in Malaysia. This vibrant commercial hub is located just right beside Eco Botanic, the Group’s first township development in Iskandar Malaysia. The hub is also located right beside EduCity, home to 9 renowned international universities. It is surrounded by more than 11 highly mature residential areas with an estimated population of 500,000 within a 10-km radius.
Making a special appearance at the festival today was the EcoWorld Symphony Drummers, the Group’s team of performers that consist of 28 EcoWorld employees. “The drummers are a perfect addition to today’s event as they represent ‘muhibbah’ or unity when they are able to create harmonic tunes with an array of instruments from different cultures such as the ‘kompang’, ‘jidur’, Chinese and Indian drums,” said Chang.
Apart from the Japanese themed activities, visitors have the chance to drop by the EcoWorld booths and inquire on the 8 projects being showcased with exclusive packages made available only for Bon Odori visitors. Seven of the projects are developments in Iskandar itself – Eco Botanic, Eco Spring, Eco Summer, Eco Tropics and Eco Business Parks I, II and III. The eighth project is the Group’s upcoming development in Penang called Eco Horizon.