Posted on March 03, 2015

Traditional Japanese tea-making, sweets and desserts were showcased at an event hosted by Qatar University’s College of Arts & Sciences (QU-CAS) and Japanese company Marubeni Corporation on February 26. 

The opening ceremony of “The Japanese confectionery event” as it was themed, was presided over by CAS dean Dr Eiman Mustafawi, Ambassador of Japan to Qatar H.E. Shingo Tsuda,  Marubeni CEO for the Middle East and Africa Mr Masataka Kuramoto, and General Manager of LNG Mr Yokoi Yuichi. The event was attended by 180 guests including QU president Prof Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, CENG dean Dr Rashid Alammari, CAS Associate Dean for Planning and Quality Assurance Dr Steven Wright, as well as students and faculty from QU and Tokyo University, and members of the Doha Kimono Club, the Japanese Tea Club, and Toraya Company, maker of wagashi (traditional Japanese confections).

Attendees had the opportunity of live demonstrations of how sweets such as temari zakura, yoruno, idenosato, and hamaguri gata are prepared as well as the integral role that tea and wagashi play in Japanese hospitality. Mr Yuichi elaborated on the core objective of the event which he said was to introduce Japanese culture most especially the traditional clothes, tea ceremony and sweet-making. The sweet and dessert displays included yoru no ume, omokage, shimmidori, and haru no yoi, among many others. 

Japanese cultural traditions 2 [].jpg“I especially liked the sweets – it was very interesting how they are made”, pharmacy student Zeena Al Mansouri said. Her words were echoed by biology major student Minoli Doshi and general sciences major Nehaja Joglekar who were excited to learn about Japanese culture, with Minoli hoping that another similar event would include a stage performance, art displays and learning how to wear kimonos. The Japanese families were equally excited to show off their cultural heritage and to witness the level of interest in it. They also remarked on their keen interest in Qatari culture with a special mention of the country’s dates as well as the style of female make-up.

Commenting on the event, Dr Mustafawi said: “The College is pleased to provide the QU community with the opportunity to share this ancient culture and learn about the ceremonial traditions”. She noted that the event is part of a wider cooperation CAS established with Marubeni Corporation to offer a range of educational opportunities for its students, and to foster a greater understanding of Japan’s rich heritage, society and culture. CAS-Marubeni cooperation culminated in the signing of an MOU in April 2012, in the context of the 40th anniversary of Qatar’s relations with Japan. In the terms of the agreement, Marubeni provided an endowment of QR21 million to CAS, the largest such grant received by QU.