Monday, July 23, 2012

I Wish To Go To The Festival

Summer in Japan is not paradise. It is insanely humid; I need a shower by the time I get to work. The insects are huge and nasty-looking. Truly they are the biggest things I have ever seen, and that includes their wasps and bees. Well, that also includes their butterflies, so that’s cool. But their beetles .... ugh. Something that big just shouldn’t be flying, especially not straight at my head.

And yet -  heat, humidity and nasty bugs aside, summer is my favourite season in Japan.

Anyone around in Tokyo might remember my weekly summer phone calls: “There’s a festival this weekend - do you want to go?”

Summer Festival
And there was always "a festival this weekend." Summer in Tokyo is absolutely filled with them: traditional Japanese festivals, festivals by various embassies celebrating their culture, school festivals (well, those were mostly in the spring or fall, but close enough. I went to them all. Festivals, fairs, carnivals: I am a sucker for an outdoor celebration with fried food, amateur dancing, rigged games, and of course, shaved ice (called kakigori in Japanese).

A Takoyaki Stand
(That's Breaded and Fried Octopus, and yes, it's delicious)

One thing I often am reminded of: Tokushima is not Tokyo. The festivals here are not as plentiful. And there is no source of English news for small local events. This in essence means I haven not been to any festivals or other events since arriving here. That's an unusual and depressing situation for me to be in.

So, I was overjoyed when my landlady called last night: “There’s a festival tonight - do you want to go?”
The stage for dancing.

Do I want to go? Is summer humid?

Is water wet? Is ...well, you get the idea.

It was small, with only a few stands all selling the same thing, a small fireworks display, and we were late and missed the dancing. But it was fun. Of course it was fun - it was a festival!!!

Here we are at the first summer festival:
Todd, a former UI teacher
Ghen-ki, my current co-worker
Midori, our landlady
a random white woman in a Japanese outfit.

Next weekend is the Yoshinogawa Festival. It will be bigger. And I’ll be there with bells on. Or at least a yukata.

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