Sunday 2 June 2024

Box Hill Japan Festival - Sunday 19th May 2024

Members of our volunteer committee enjoyed a fantastic day promoting the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and Frankston's sister city relationship with Susono at the Box Hill Japan Festival on Sunday! The festival was bigger than ever with massive crowds attending - the entry queue and lines of people in front of the many food stalls seemed to stretch forever! There were big numbers inside the Main Hall all day and similar crowds on all levels and every display room. Despite the rainy weather, I know the organisers were thrilled with this year’s turnout and the wonderful performances and displays.

The FSFA table was again located at the back of the Main Hall in the best possible location - just inside the entrance! We were able to offer our many visitors a FSFA promotional flyer, a range of travel and tourism booklets and pamphlets, and Mount Fuji postcards plus we had maps on display with Susono's location and key sites within Susono City and the surrounding area. The lollies, stickers and stamps were also very popular.

Many visitors wanted to know more about our sister city, our relationship and what activities we run during the year. Of course, we were promoting our Japanese Festivals, Japanese speech contest, Hanami Party and Frankston Taiko Drumming group. It was exciting to hear about many people's relationship with Susono - born there, visited there, have previously live within or near the city - were some of the stories we heard. We also spoke to many people who either wanted to travel to Japan, were planning their Japan holiday, or had already booked and were excited about going to Japan.

We were also very excited to watch each of the many taiko groups perform on stage during the day – from the school groups from Huntingdale, Warranwood and Caulfield Primary Schools to the adult groups which included our Frankston Taiko Drumming Group’s teacher Toshi Sakamoto’s Wadaiko Rindo. Each group gave an energetic and wonderfully inspiring performance!

It was another great team effort and a huge thanks to Bev, Vic, Ann-Maree, Peter, Grace, Therese, Julie, Nicole, Teja, Anita and Simon for helping to organise and attending the festival throughout the day.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Taiko Come ‘N’ Try - April 2024

On Sunday 14th April members of the Frankston Taiko Drumming group held a Come ‘N’ Try Taiko event at Ballam Park on Cranbourne Road, Frankston. The group was formed in early 2023 and had a community workshop to construct 16 gomi daiko (rubbish drums!) using 75L plastic rubbish bins, heavy-duty packaging tape, plus 16 sets of bachi (drum sticks). From June 2023 members of the taiko group have been meeting once a month for a 90-minute lesson with Toshi Sakamoto from Wadaiko Rindo, a taiko drumming group who have performed at Richmond FC home games and many Japanese Festivals – including our own held in Frankston over many years. The group also meets once a month for an additional 60-minute practice session.


The aim of the Come ‘N’ Try event was to promote our association and taiko group, plus allow members of the Frankston community to try Japanese drumming. It was great to see so many attendees prepared to have a go and learn the basics of taiko. All 16 drums were being used and even 2 participants were playing on some of the drums. We also held a second session as more people arrived to have their turn.

We set up our drums near the eastern playground and barbeques with an information table, our FSFA banners on display and members dressed in our colourful Susono happi coats. After a brief warm-up members of the group played the Matsuri Daiko (Festival Drum) piece we have been learning during our lessons and practice sessions. The performance attracted a sizable crowd so we decided to not play the second planned piece and invited members of the audience to join us and give taiko drumming a try!



Led by Vice-Chairperson Simon, participants were shown the bachi grip and stance before commencing a brief warm-up. This was followed by some basic drumming patterns from the beginnings of both the Matsuri Daiko and Matsuri Taiko pieces - the Matsuri Taiko was performed on stage by the Frankston Delegation at the Australian Fair in Susono last October. Participants included toddlers, children, teenagers, mums and dads as well as a few older folks with everyone playing with great enthusiasm, enjoyment and effort!


We also distributed our FSFA promotional flyer and taiko notice and added over a dozen names to our taiko contact list. Everyone agreed that it was a very successful event with the participants enjoying their taiko experience and having lots of fun. 


Saturday 2 December 2023

Japanese Garden Working Bee - December 2023

WOW! What a fantastic turnout for our latest Japanese Garden working bee held on Sunday 3rd December. The planned tasks were deadheading the many shrubs and bushes, raking leaves and weeding, and finally mulching to prepare the garden for the warmer summer months.

Members of the FSFA committee were joined by some of our Frankston Taiko Drumming group and Frankston City Mayor Nathan Conroy. Thank you so much to those who attended and worked so enthusiastically to complete all the required tasks, and those who sent their apologies.

After several days of rain (very welcome as the garden's watering system has been out of action for a number of weeks) the weather was perfect for a morning in the garden. Participants started by removing the numerous dead flowers from the rhododendrons, camellias and many azaleas bushes as well as weeding as required. There were also a number of bamboo shoots that required cutting and a carefully applied dose of Roundup!

There were plenty of fallen leaves to rake up and collect throughout the garden - bamboo, camellia, rhododendron, maple, azalea and others.

Frankston High School had kindly supplied and delivered 15 bags of black mulch which were laid out on the stones ready to be applied. Morning tea arrived (thanks Vic and Marilyn!) and was greatly appreciated before the final clean up and mulching was completed. Despite going a little over the anticipated time, everyone was happy to see all the tasks completed before we had a group photo taken in the garden.

We then finished the morning with a shortened taiko drumming practice session in a classroom adjacent to the Japanese Garden. A great way to finish a successful morning's work.

Thank you again to all those who gave up their Sunday morning to attend our working bee - it's been many years since we've had such a great number of participants!