This year, Tenkusai marks its 15th anniversary since the inaugural festival in 2003. The theme of this year’s Tenkusai was APU World Village. Held on Saturday, October 28, Tenkusai is a unique chance for Beppu residents and people around Kyushu to visit APU and try traditional food made by APU students. It’s also an opportunity for APU students to learn from local residents about cultures and lifestyles in Japan.
At 10 AM, APU students were busy preparing food stalls. We could see students waiting patiently for customers under the heavy rain, saying “irasshaimase” all around campus. Some in the crowd were local residents visiting the campus, others were APU students rushing back and forth to AP House to deliver food.
In the morning, we asked some of the people working the food stalls for their opinions of this year’s Tenkusai. They replied that although it was raining heavily, they believed that more people will come in the afternoon. For the moment, they were focused on serving their customers the best they could.
Local residents operated their own food stalls, selling food on the campus such as Usa Karaage, Hita Yaki Udon, and Oita Fundokin Soy Sauce.
It stopped raining around noon, and a lot of Beppu locals as well as APU students came to the campus to enjoy Tenkusai. We also spotted these two lovely friends in hotdog costumes walking around to invite more customers.
Wonderful student performances were held in the gymnasium such as Wadaiko (traditional Japanese drums), Life Music band, a spectacle from Yoshakoi, and traditional dances of students from Sri Lanka and Myanmar
Inside the F building, Habitat APU members held a session to recruit new members and explain what they have been doing to assist areas with natural disasters.
In a nearby room, APU Connext Asian held a session of their own. We talked with some of their core members, learning that while APU Habitat helps rebuild houses damaged by natural disasters and constructs houses for refugees around the world, APU Connext Asian focuses on child illiteracy in developing countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
At the end of Tenkusai, we saw students saying “otsukare sama” to each other, laughing with each other after a hard day’s work. To us, what was more important than selling food was that APU students, regardless of nationality, culture, and language, learned to work together to overcome hardships, making an unforgettable Tenkusai event at APU. To us, such memories with friends and life experiences are more valuable than anything else we could learn while in university.