Tuesday, 28 February 2012 12:18

Japanese moved by Ethiopian traditional dances

Written by  Fekade Daniel
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This an acoount of a Japanese lady who has been on a visit to Ethiopia for slightly over a month when Herald people interviewed her. She shared to us her experience during her stay here in the Addis Ababa the excerpt of which follows:

HERALD- Would you, in short, tell us about your life and your background, please?

BERBERICH- My full name is Yuko Berberich from Japan. I was born in February 1955. Previously, I was a classical ballet dancer, the profession which I started when I was only six Years old. When I came here, I was attracted by the traditional dances of Ethiopia which I really love very much.

I am a member of Family World Federation for Peace. I always think about the global family, world peace and world harmony. I came here trying to bring about cultural exchange among the Ethiopian and the Japanese people.


HERALD- Do you have any formal university education?

BERBERICH- Yes, I am a graduate with diploma in Japanese literature. My husband is an American who is now a professor of ethnic musicology in Japan. He is a music analyst by computer who has helped me a lot in my profession.

My previous ballet dance teacher worked for conservatoire ( a ballet dance company in France). After he came back to Japan, I went to his place for almost twenty-five years. He gave me a permit and I have now my own ballet studio.

HERALD- Mrs. Berberich, have you ever been to Ethiopia before or is this your first visit?

BERBERICH- This one is my second visit to Ethiopia. I first came here on an invitation by a friend. During my first visit, when I saw the traditional dance of Ethiopia, my life was completely changed. That is why I came back today for the second time to seriously learn the traditional dance.

HERALD- How were you impressed by the different cultural dances of Ethiopian people and what have you planned to bring the two countries more closely in terms of culture and people’s interaction?

BERBERICH- the first thing I will do when I go back is to introduce this wonderful culture to the Japanese people. I will, by all means, try to persuade them to come and look the actual dance here. I would like to serve as a bridge for the cultural exchange between the Japanese and the Ethiopians people.

Ethiopia is really an amazing country where the modern and the ancient culture exist in harmony. I have never, before, visited this kind of country in the world. Every household I go to, people welcome me with a coffee ceremony which makes me feel that Ethiopia is my home land.

After my first visit here, I went back to Japan and I had already shown the Ethiopian traditional dance which moved the people very much. I have in mind of traveling back to Japan with an Ethiopian cultural troupe and have intended to bring here one Japanese counterpart.

HERALD- You have earlier mentioned family world federation for peace. Can you tell us what it is and what it is and what its function is?

BARBERICH- Family world federation for peace thinks for the world harmony and for the world peace. Their focus is on the family. They advise husband and wife to love and trust each other, too make an ideal, true family. They advise to create a true society, true and dependable country and world at large. Its greatest idea is to create peace and harmony among different religions and cultures and ethnic groups. The organization is in the forefront to create this kind of activity.

The federation has members all over the world and is established in America by former heads of states, dignitary people and founders of different peace movements and non-governmental organizations. The organization signifies that family is where everything starts. So,we need to plant peace, love and unity in the family which goes to the society and to the nation in general. That is what the family world federation for peace is promoting.

HERALD- what is th impression of the Japanese people of Ethiopia?

BERBERICH- the Japanese did not have good impression of Ethiopia. They had been given different information. My mother, used to tell me that there was no food, no drink , no place to sleep and that the people were always starving; but I have now proved that all the information I had was wrong.

HERALD- how do you like the customs of the Ethiopian people?

BERBERICH- the traditional dress(kemis and shemma) is very comfortable and beautiful. It adds beauty to the women. The different hair dressing particularly the plaiting of the hair among ladies is beautiful and eye-catching.

HERALD- have you ever been acquainted with Ethiopian dishes and drinks?

BARBERICH- I love injera (kind of bread) and wat, particularly doro wat ( chicken souce) and Ethiopian ceremonial coffee. I would also like to test tej and tella (traditional beverages). I also like hambasha (bread common among the Tigrians ) very much.

Adapted from : The Ethiopian Herald: 16 November,1997

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 July 2015 12:33

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