EXPO 2005 AICHI, JAPAN - From Y3K Recipes issue no.24(May-June 2005)

The 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan Nagoya Eastern Hills
(Nagakute Town, Toyota City and Seto City)
Duration: 25 March - 25 September, 2005 (total of 185 days)
Number of participating countries:121
Expected number of visitors: approx.15 million
Entrance Fee:Yen 4,600 (approx. RM170.00) per adult per day

"Morizo ( Forest Grand Father )" The Forest Grandfather has been living in the forest since long ago. He’s an easy-going and kind old man, he has seen many things and knows everything, but he hasn’t lost his curiosity. Hearing about the Expo, he’s enthusiastic about lending a hand. "Kiccoro ( Forest Child )" The Forest Child has only just been born. Jumping around everywhere, he’s (she’s) full of energy! The Forest Child wants to see and do everything! He’s (she’s) looking forward to making lots of friends at the Expo.

A wild rush of excited people at the North Gate, all trying to gain entry.

Tired of walking, choose your mode of transport, motorcars, light rail transit, hand-pulled taxis or cable cars.

Japan Railway Co’s superconducting linear motor car travel at an amazing speed. Took only an hour to reach a destination of 581 km.

Kites were exhibited all around the M’sian Pavilion. A lot of media promotion was given to famous tourist spots.

Singaporean Pavilion had composition lay-outs designed between the urban and natural settings.

Nagakute Nippon-Kan is built entirely with bamboo,
co-neighbours with Earth Tower.

The queue to enter Nagoya City Pavilion Earth Tower takes more than an hour.

Global House - Viewed the largest cinema screen and the frozen mammoth unearthed from Siberia.

Pruned shrubs looking like mascots, 'Morizo' (on the right) and 'Kiccoro' (on the left) in front of Global House.

2005 World Exposition
by Catherine Chia, photography by Richard Er

Aichi, Japan plays host to the Expo under the theme of "Nature’s Wisdom", in Nagoya, a main highlight on the city’s calendar as it puts her in a very celebrated position on tourists map. After a spectacular opening ceremony a day earlier, the 2005 World Expo was opened to the public from March 25 for a total of 185 days. A great number of countries, amounting to 121 had participated in this huge event. Our group of 10 persons, all Malaysians had wanted to view the Expo which coincided with the cherry blossoms season. On that particular morning, after a very early breakfast, our group left Nagoya by express bus to the Expo. It is a site, easily accessible by public transport and the bus ride took only 30 minutes to reach Nagoya Eastern Hills.

Entrance fee per adult worked out to RM170 and there are four entrances bearing the directions of East, South, West, North. The express bus took us to the ‘East Gate’ and everyone had to wait in long queues. Only nine in the morning but there was already a sea of upturned faces. As it is spring time and the gigantic site is surrounded by hills, the climate can be considered rather chilly for tropical folks like us. The sky was clear and there was a little shower of snowflakes much to the merriment of the thrilling crowd. Congregation was rising in an alarming figure so the organizing officials decided to allow the throng in, 10 minutes earlier than scheduled time. All entry passes were scrutinized before we were allowed in to take a snap with lucky duo - the mascots of Morizo and Kiccoro.

We studied the pamphlet and decided to go through the ‘North Gate’. It was difficult to move around as the media and photographers were swelling in numbers and elbowed space to photograph exhibits from the best angles. After a discussion, we decided to split and paired our own partners. We should meet up later in the evening at a designated place. This place is too vast for a big group to move around, someone is bound to keep someone waiting forever! Richard and I moved on quickly and glanced at the gifts on sale at the shops nearby. We picked some items and scrambled to view the pavilion of "Global House" but all the tickets were given out. The next session of tickets-on-offer will be in the later part of the afternoon at 3.30 p.m. So we walked once again to the "North Gate".

We were inspired to view the pavilion showcasing the latest bullet trains technology. My legs were weary as it was another 40 minutes of lining-up before opening time but it was really well worth a wait. A huge screen visually displayed the history of trains, from the olden days to the super fast bullet trains of tomorrow - The Superconductive Linear Motor Car. We sat on seats provided with a three dimensional mobility and experienced a speed ride of 581 km per hour. If this train ride becomes a reality in Malaysia, a ride from Penang to Singapore would be over in one hour, sounds good doesn’t it?

My stomach has a built-in-timer as it was close to lunch hour. There are many shops scattered around and I queued at the vending machine to purchase meal coupons. I bought a set-lunch meal of crabmeat rice and eel rice for my better half. We exchanged the meal halfway through but I still preferred my first choice better. It was a bowl of nice pearly grains of rice, had wonderful toppings of big crab pincers, crab legs, non-fishy tasting salmon roes, flaked crabmeat, egg omelette shreds. Another bowl of crab pincers soup was served together and our lunch cost RM174.00, not a bad pricing in sophisticated living Japan.

All international pavilions were divided into six zones. We agreed to visit the South East Asia and South Pacific zones. At the Singaporean Pavilion, ushers gave everyone a transparent looking fabric umbrella. The pavilion had a theme of great contrast, urban and natural settings. Big visual screens showed the modern Singapore and her people’s way of life. A sudden gush of rain started to fall, out came the umbrellas. It was a brilliant idea and innovative way of introducing what tropical climate can be like. The sudden downpour was man-made rain and different cultures, orchids were presented in effective manner. Eye-catching Hainanese Chicken Rice and Curry Mee appeared as their street food.

Malaysian Pavilion was constructed as Singapore’s neighbour. A big kite and five smaller ones were jointly displayed at the front entrance. Lush tropical forests framed the background with
chosen colours of only silver and sky-blue. Inside the pavilion, it was a spectacle of jungles, caves, granite rocks, secondary forests, marine life, local products, ethnic races, customs and a cultural dance by our national dancers. On the ethnic stage, there were some bright red lanterns hanging and a visual screening of a lion dance. There was this poor lonely Indian man flipping the dough, trying to demonstrate the art of making ‘roti canai’. The poor culinary exhibit is rather thought-provoking. Is this what we have on the streets, isn’t Malaysia known as a hawkers’ food heaven? At this zone, other pavilions belonged to Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, New
Zealand and some smaller groups of the South Pacific Island.

We visited the Japanese Pavilion and it exhibited model of the City Pavilion Earth Towers, Nagakute Nippon-Kan, Aichi Pavilion Nagakute and Chubu Community For Milennial Symbiosis. We stood in line against bone chilling winds and it snowed once more for a brief spell. The waiting was an hour before we got into the City Pavilion. The height of the tower was 47metres but it was a real waste of time because the tower was built to enable 120 people to stand together and view the designs of a million patterns. It may be artistic but how much can we see with everyone hovering for space. We came scrambling out in 20 seconds as we do not want to be trapped in this lift-like object.

But the Nagakute Nippon-Kan exhibited next door had an impressive structure. It’s exterior was fully constructed with bamboo, thus its appearance was like a submarine that has landed on the ground. The lining-up to enter was another 40 minutes before we could move on. History of Japan was shown and future living creatively translated from innovative views. The most magnificent spectacle was the constructed bridge with a fulcrum axis turn of 360 degrees. Standing suspended in mid-air, you can feel earth’s movements. Blue skies opened up, birds were flying, We dived into the fantastic ocean and danced with the fishes. This performance reflects on loving the whole universe and creates a transformation between humans and nature. We must love Mother Earth and not destroy it, bare of all amenities.

It was close to four p.m. when we passed the Japanese Square. On the opposite side is a three levels complex with a wide range of foods and wine for sale. It houses a canteen and more gift shops. The allure from the green tea bread and hot coffee was tempting so I had some refreshments. A traditional Japanese show was staged and at the later stage, we looked at fine earthware on display.

The sun sets early and it was getting colder. We realized we have yet visited the much-talked about Global House Pavilion. The site is a short 15 minutes walk away and got our passes from the attendants. As it would be another 30 minutes before we can gain entry, I decided to seek refuge in their clean ladies’ restroom as the cold winds was frosting me. I may not be properly attired for this weather so the chill was sinking into me. It’s showtime at six p.m. and this place Global House, is indeed a crowd-puller. It was amazing looking at the future technology of the world through this 2,005 inches super high-vision theatre screen. It has the world’s first high definition image system with 16 times more information than high screen. An accomplished visual of a bee suckling on pollens from a sunflower was captured and reproduced on the screen, the crisp image scaled to a height of a three-storeys building.

The close-ups was a true to life replica image and colour gradation was a spellbound smooth. A big frozen mammoth uncovered in Siberia was showcased besides the exhibit of primitive human skulls found, stones brought home to earth by the U.S. astronauts on the Apollo mission was unveiled. Looking from the angle of the Expo’s theme, so much destruction has taken place. How much consideration can be given to the earth and let it be environmentally friendly. We left at seven p.m. and marvelled at the whole site as it was lighted up in colours.

Temperature hovered between 3°C to 10°C and we had covered about ten hours of walking on foot. Yet this is hardly one sixth of the whole Expo. Readers can book a ticket to Nagoya and see the real as it will still be in the running for a few more months. Once the Expo comes to an end, the site will be demolish and become a public park.

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