INFIORATA on Kitanozaka, May 1st-3rd, 2004


We gathered at 09:00 on Kitanozaka just outside the Upwards restaurant where our fairy tale about Nils Holgersson's Wonderful Adventures was to be created. Among eleven other themes the entire northern street of Kitanozaka was filled with people in a cheerful mood. Thanks to Asaki-san's preparations, she had gathered 27 volunteers and in addition with 8 participants from JSSK, we were 35 to take on the task to create this picture on the street. With beautiful tulips in yellow, white, green and red, we completed it just before lunch which was even faster than last year.

It is now the 4th year that Infiorata has been held on Kitanozaka and clearly is a success with all its performances and bands taking place on the filled street, this year during the Golden Week.

Our choice of Nils Holgersson as the fairy tale from Sweden, riding on a flying goose from the southern areas of Scania in Sweden up to the mountainous lands of Lapland, is based on the old saga by Selma Lagerlöf. The story is outlined below and depicts in a sense the important values of friendship, kindness and acceptance - which among values of understanding and acceptance of foreign cultures is something we cherish here in the city of Kobe.

(Click on pictures to enlarge)



The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

 Nils Holgersson is an old children's animation series based on the book by the Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf in 1906-1907. It has also been used for a long time as a book teaching the Swedish geography in the Swedish schools.

 Nils Holgersson was a young Swedish boy who loved to play tricks on other people and especially on animals. One day when he was home alone, he spotted a magical little elf in the house and caught him as his prisoner. He told the elf he would not let him go unless the elf would reward him with golden coins. The elf promised to do this but as soon as he got out he put a curse on Nils and turned him into a Lilliputian! By the time Nils realized it the elf was already gone. Nils turned to the barnyard animals and asked them to help him find the elf and to return Nils to his normal size, but as Nils had been so mean to the animals they were only enjoying the situation. The only friends he had left were his little hamster and a white goose named Martin. Martin had always dreamed of being a wild goose and as he saw a pack of wild geese flying over the house, he got up on his wings and when Nils tried to stop him from flying away, Nils got carried away with Martin.

 That began the incredible journey with the wild geese towards the distant north of Lapland.

 The series revolves around Nils' character, his adventures and his slow realization of what it means to be kind to everyone. His only hope of ever being returned to his normal size is to start treating others nicely and learn to respect them. The moral of the story never gets in the way of being entertaining and for a character in a children's series, Nils is actually quite realistic and touching. This series has been a childhood favorite for many people in Europe, especially those in the Northern countries because it shows how beautiful nature and all of its creatures can be and to deal with the themes of friendship, kindness and acceptance.