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Okinawa British Fair – Fashions, Fun, Food, Cars, Cartoon Characters

By: Stephen Carr

Date Posted: 2000-05-13

A fun event with something to appeal to all ages is taking place at Chatan-cho Indoor Baseball Stadium, beside the Jusco Shopping Complex, this Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th May. As a lead-up to the G8 Summit, the Okinawa British Fair will present various aspects of modern British life via various zones. The Fair is being staged in partnership with Ryuku Shimpo newspaper and organized by Naha public relations company, Impressed.

The Fair, to be inaugurated at 10 am on Saturday in an opening ceremony to be attended by the Duke of Kent, will be divided into four zones.

The Taste zone will focus on a cuisine that until recent years has not been one of the world’s most renowned. However, London’s new status as the European city where visitors can treat themselves to a greater and more interesting variety of food styles than any of their continental neighbors, makes this a timely exhibit.

The Taste Zone will give space to such traditional purveyors of fine food as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. Their teas, biscuits and jams will all be on offer. That other famous British export, Scotch Whisky will also be available and Bass Ale, a popular, quality brewer will showcase its beers. The Virgin Company, which had previous successes in the recording and airline businesses, will here be selling its cola.

The Cool Zone incorporates an area of British life that has also made great strides in recent years, the fashion industry. Paris and Milan used to be the undisputed arbiters of European fashion. They are still strong but are now keeping a wary eye on London, which has become an essential fixture for buyers who go shopping for new trends showcased on catwalks.

Among a new generation of designers making clothes young people like, are Paul Smith and Margaret Howell, who has several outlets in mainland Japan. Her fashions will be on sale at the Fair. Vivienne Westwood, whose husband Malcolm McClaren started the worldwide punk music and fashion movement, will also be represented in the Zone. These days Ms Westwood is long past her punk roots and is as a well respected designer, almost part of the fashion establishment. Her clothes are known both for their elegance and originality.

Also in the Cool Zone will be two examples of cars fashionable among the younger set, a Rover Mini Cooper, with a deceptively powerful engine under its diminutive bonnet and its more sedate cousin, the Rover Mini Mayfair.

The Style Zone will exhibit high quality branded goods aimed at affluent consumers wanting to enhance an elegant lifestyle. There will be two Rover 75 cars on display.

On the fashion front DAKS, Burberrys, Dunhill and Aquascutum will all be showcasing their products. Related branded fashion accessories will also be on sale.

This Zone will also feature that staple of English weekend life, gardening equipment.

The Kidz Zone will have exhibits and rides, an area with a giant video screen for children to be introduced to some favorite characters of their U.K. counterparts and a place to buy related goods, books and videos. Some of the characters featuring in these rides and shows will be Thomas the Tank Engine, The Teletubbies and Wallace and Gromit.

Aside from the main zones will be smaller satellite zones. One will give information on English language study, from the UK’s worldwide cultural organization, the British Council. The teaching of English as a foreign language is now a major employer for British teachers and publishing houses around the world. The industry is worth $1.5 billion annually.

The British Tourist Authority will also provide information on visiting Great Britain. This is another very successful industry. Over 20 million tourists visit the U.K. each year (of whom the largest national group are Americans) making it one of the world’s major tourist destinations.

There will, in addition, be a zone whose theme is the G8 Summit, run by Okinawa-ken.

The Okinawa British Fair has a central stage on which various cultural performances will take place throughout the two days. These will include songs and dances from famous musicals and Scottish dancing. They will be staged by British teachers on the JET program, based in Okinawa.

Directions: From Kadena along Hwy 58 towards Naha, take a right at Camp Lester. The Chatancho Indoor Baseball Stadium is adjacent to the American Village shopping and leisure complex.

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