2017 will see Japan’s largest melon pan festival held over two days for the first time. The event, Melon Pan Festival 2017 in Tokyo (メロンパンフェスティバル2017 in Tokyo), is set to be held over the weekend of May 5 and 6 at 3331 Arts Chiyoda.
Melon Pan Festival brings together samples of the fruit-flavored Japanese snack staple from regional Japan in what is the largest celebration of melon pan in the country.
Starting with 10 varieties of the classic 'plain melon pan', this year's event will also bring out novelty alternatives such as 'curry melon pan' and 'cabbage melon pan' with organisers promising some 40 varieties for the event.
The central theme of this year's melon fest hopes to address the socially troubling habit of hiding ourselves behind portable devices ... through melon pan.
What?!, one might justly cry.
The relationship between melon pan and smartphones
Melon pan is said to have made its first appearance on Japan's snack scene back during the Taishō era (1912 - 1926) and is now loved by just about everyone in Japan it seems. Such is the nation’s love of the mild melon delicacy, one might go as far to say that life without melon pan is inconceivable. Similarly, in the eyes of the event organisers, we might find it hard to imagine an existence without today's mobile devices. OK, it seems like a tenuous link and faced with the choice of melon pan or a smartphone we’re pretty sure of the outcome, in Japan at least. Still, if melon pan can be used to get our faces out from behind the portable device, we’re definitely on board.
The event is also aware of far more serious issues. Coltan, the metal that is used in the making said smartphones, according to the event press release, may well become the cause of fiery disputes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African country in which much of the metal is mined. Indeed, already in some regions of the country this dispute is flaring up resulting in the destruction of local communities and the spread of violence, particularly against the women in these communities. Part of the sales at the event will go into projects supporting females victims of violence arising out of conflict in the Congo.
So, while melon pan and the smartphone might not be directly connected, they share the common themes of the being familiar daily-life goods, and things which, to a certain extent, might be seen as enriching our lives.
The organisers of this year's event want visitors to enjoy the melon pan at the same time as tackling the issue of that other 'familiar item', the smartphone, being used in a socially detrimental way.
Limited-edition melon pan
Festival organisers have teamed up with 'maple / melon' specialists Bonjour Bon for this year's event. Continuing on from the super popular Konpotan Melon Pan, this year connoisseurs can get their chops around the Quatro Fromage Melon Pan (クワトロフォルマッジメロンパン) which comes filled with, yes, four kinds of cheese. Sales from this item will go towards supporting NGO, HEAL AFRICA with their projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Also filed under ‘novelty melon pan’, at the ことのはメロンパンフェス (kotono wa melon pan booth) festival goers can make their ‘melon bread’ choices based on stories and onomatopoeia (words based on the sound of that which they name).
Are you as keen on melon pan as the locals? Spotted any interesting varieties? Let us know in the comments.
Melon Pan Festival in Tokyo 2017 (メロンパンフェスティバル2017 in Tokyo)
|Dates||May 5 & 6, 2017|
|Hours||13:00 - 18:00|
|Place||3331 Arts Chiyoda (2F gymnasium)|
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Source and images(s): ValuePress!