Ahaha, so, what thing of awesome did I do BACK IN DECEMBER? (The London posts needed to be finished first, and as you saw, there were so many!!)
Furusato Matsuri basically means, “home town festival,” and it is exactly what it sounds like: a big old japanese festival featuring different regional specialties, from food to crafts to performances. It’s indoors, which takes some of the fun out, but I mean… it’s december in Tokyo and it happened to be pouring snow when I went. So there you go.. appropriate for the Hokkaido snow festival, maybe. It was chilly inside, but not too uncomfortable. ^^
Hey, I live in Japan, so I like cool traditional japanese things. It sounded like a great fit, and there ya go! I did have a good time, even though I had a cold coming on. Boo to cold, yay to yummy kobe beef bowls!
I took quite a few pictures! Want to see?
Alright, not Kobe… what I actually had at the festival was a Yonezawa beef bowl. Supposedly it’s even better than Kobe beef. I’ve never had Kobe beef, so I can’t say that it’s better, but it was really, really tender and flavorful, and did not have strings of fat like a lot of asian meat. It was great!! Not spongy at all, either! I could have eaten a mountain. Poor cows!
To eat the food, you actually had to purchase “rice bowl tickets” from a booth, and then you just handed over the ticket when you went to one of the stands. I suppose this was to make the exchange of money for goods more efficient. I had to wait quite a while, though, so I can’t really say whether it was worth it or not!
This guy is cooking the beef for the bowls. On the bottom right is a warning for wheat allergies.. I suppose the sauce must contain flower or something like that.
I had two bowls, since they were so small (sample sized). The other one that I had was “unagi Mabushi,” or “smothered eel,” which is a dish that I really like! Eel is sooooo tender. <3 I wanted to taste the gourmet version, which turned out to be just as good as the regular that I used to get all of the time when working with Konomi-sensei. XD
Japan is FULL of cute mascots. Seriously, there is a cute (or supposed to be cute) mascot for EVERYTHING, including towns and villages! This is a good thing as far as I am concerned. 🙂
Not a cute mascot, but this is a cool display made out of paper, anyways. 😀
Ahhh… and here is the giant star of the show! This towering statue stretched all of the way to the ceiling!! The story as explained to me was that it is the God of Earthquakes, and he was trying to stamp them down. And then something about catfish.. Sorry, I wish that I could remember! Anyone know it? Well, the story was not really that interesting, anyway. ^^;;
We took a seat in the stands to watch some Taiko drumming.
And then some lantern balancing! Woo! This is a regional festival from Akita city, called the “kanto matsuri.” Basically, these guys balance these poles on various parts of their bodies, including palms, foreheads, and even tailbones, and make sure that they don’t fall over! They are very heavy, so most people need to train from childhood to be able to do it. I say “people,” but there were no women, only men. Japan is still like that. >.>
Anyways, the lanterns are heavy and very awkward, as you might imagine. There are 46 lanterns on each pole, and the entire contraption weighs about 50 kg. I can’t lift 50kg comfortably, although I can lift it, like most people. Imagine balancing it like that, though.
There were a lot of spectators, but they were all on one side of the arena, to be expected. You actually could not even enter the other seating areas, which made trying to find a place to eat quite hard!
Here I am with the sensei/teacher of the group. He had been doing it since he was a little boy. ^^
And here are some more pretty and cute things from the arena!
These are very expensive, so I could only afford one teacup! Before I leave Japan, I would like to get another, to have a matching tea set. When you put liquid into the teacup, it looks like a heart. 🙂
My next post will be about… it’s a secret! Come back soon to find out, please!! *^-^*