Art of kite making, flying Japanese way
By Aemy Azlena

Two Japanese experts in the art of kite making and flying, Mr and Mrs Ohashi, yesterday held a workshop and demonstration at the Riverview Hotel in Gadong.

Mr Eiji Ohashi has had many years of experience in international level kite competitions and exhibitions in countries like Italy, the Netherlands, Jamaica, USA, UK, Germany, Russia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, Brazil, India, Paraguay and Papua New Guinea. He has also published several books about kites.

The husband and wife team is currently on a tour around Asia. Before arriving in the Sultanate, they had visited Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bahru. Their next stop will be Singapore before heading home.

According to a Japanese spokesperson, part of the reason the couple paid a visit to Brunei was because kite making and flying is a very popular activity and they hope to teach the Japanese way of kite-making to their Bruneian counterpart.

Present at the workshop were members of the Brunei Japan Friendship Association (BJFA) UBD Chapter, members of the Brunei Kite Association and the Japanese Association, as well as members of the general public.

During the event, participants had the opportunity to paint on pre-drawn kite 'skins', draw their own original designs with some help and advice from both Japanese and Bruneian experts and were taught how to attach bamboo sticks and strings to their kites.

After the completion of their kites, participants went to Tungku Beach to test their kites. The kite-flying session also saw giant Japanese kites, with some reaching more than five feet tall and two feet wide in size, while the smaller ones were about a little more than handspan wide.

Furthermore, to entertain participants, a number of candy droppings from a giant kite was also seen at the event.

The highlight of the event saw four top BJFA UBD Chapter best kite winners being presented with prizes by the Ambassador of Japan, Mr Hashimoto Itsuo.

First place went to Andrea Tay Yin Cheng. She said: "The power of the radio active Psyduck (which was drawn on her kite) helped me fly the kite higher and longer."

Meanwhile, winning second place was Siti Khairuniza DP Hj Ja'afar, followed by Faeza bte Md Idrus and Hj Ruzaini bin Hj Mazin, who were tied in third place.

The event was organised by the Embassy of Japan and the Brunei Japan Friendship Association in cooperation with the Japan Foundation and supported by the Brunei Kite Association and the Japanese Association. - Borneo Bulletin (30th July 2007)