What is it?
The Laos Festival is held annually in Tokyo, Japan in its 8th year now. The event itself takes place at the end of May (over a month after ປີໃຫມ່ລາວ “Lao New Year”). The event is not to be confused with Lao New Year celebration; rather, the Laos Festival is part of the International Festivals at Yoyogi park throughout the summer showcasing a variety of cultures and arts.
The event was organized by a former Japanese student exchange who went to study abroad in Laos. It is also a collaboration between the embassy of Laos and Japan. The LSAJ (Laos International Student Association in Japan) were the ones who mainly helped organized the event.
With that said, the Laos festival is meant to foster good trade relations and friendship between the two countries. Many popular Lao music stars like Alexandra Bounxouei have performed there just a few years ago in the past.
Vendors, Booths & People
Highlights of Festival & Vendors
There were a variety of booth selling traditional Lao silk, information booth, food vendors selling Lao, Thai, and even Japanese food.
Lao Performers and Traditional Dances
The lineup included traditional Lao dances, khene performance, along with singers who were both Lao (i.e. Pat Patdavone) and Japanese singers. The last performance is by the Laos International Student Association in Japan (LSAJ).
Lao Culture Parade
I was lucky to record a Lao cultural performance and dance parade up close right when they went past me (filmed with my camera).
Check out the excited reaction of the females on the right just before the parade starts!
And here’s another one that performed near the food vendors (filmed with my phone)!
Teaching Lao Language (through Japanese)
The first program that I attended was a session for learning Lao (through Japanese). It was located at the smaller of the two stages at the festival. I was curious about what type of audience would attend and how the LSAJ would teach Lao. Watching this clip I recorded at the festival should give you a motivation to learn more Lao (or even both Japanese at the same time).
J-pop concert at the Laos Festival (Only in Japan moment!)
An unexpected but an only in Japan moment for me!
An all female J-Pop idol group came out to perform at the Laos Festival. I was surprised and not surprised as well. This must be for J-pop fan there. A few guys were totally into the music (and/or doing fan chants to them).
Towards the end, the group attempted to say, ສະບາຍດີ “Sa Bai Dee” to the audience (watch the clip I recorded at 4 minute 20 seconds). They even acknowledged the Lao greeting!
Lao Night (All LAOS Live)
After taking a short break to walk to Harajuku Takeshita Street (just a 5-minute walk away), I went back to the Laos Festival again to watch the final show…
…where anyone in the audience can participate and ຟ້ອນ!
Thoughts regarding the festival
Overall, I had a blast there and there were a lot of performances and food vendors to try. I felt like it was a well-organized festival promoting Lao culture in many aspects and mainly to promote tourism to Laos.=
Laos Festival in Japan in Yoyogi park (and just a short distance to Harajuku/Takeshita)
Shoutout to my friend “Ms Fuku” for giving me insights about the Lao community in Japan, and helping me learn some Japanese through the Lao language.