Culture · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Pictures

3 Years in Japan

It’s hard to believe, but as of today I have officially been working in Japan for 3 years – and what a crazy three years it has been. I feel as though this needs more of a reflection post, but I’d rather share pictures from yesterday’s festival.

looking snazzy

While I absolutely despise Japan’s humidity in the summer, one thing that makes it all almost seem worthwhile are all the fireworks festivals. My city, due to a serious lack of money, had to cut it’s fireworks festival this year, so I had to go to the next city over. This actually worked out for the best since there is a large yosakoi performances to enjoy.

this team had the best costumes

Yosakoi (よさこい) is a unique style of dance that originated in Japan. Yosakoi started in the city of Kōchi in 1954, as a modern rendition of Awa Odori, a traditional summer dance. Yosakoi-style dancing has spread throughout much of Japan. The style of dance is highly energetic, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. The choreographed dances are often performed by large teams. Along with a number of professional yosakoi schools and town dance teams, yosakoi is also a popular event during the sports festivals held by Japanese elementary, junior, and senior high schools. Yosakoi participants include men and women of almost all ages – sometimes within a single team. In the dialect of Tosa province (modern-day Kōchi Prefecture), “yosakoi” means “Come at night.”
not only did they have nice costumes, but their hair and make up were amazing

Here is a short video I took of one of the performances.

After watching some dance performances, we decided to check out some of the festival food. I have an extensive post a while back where I talked about various types of foods, but I will share one more with you now that I had not seen previously: meat onigiri.

肉巻きおにぎり Meat Onigiri

These are delicious onigiri rice balls wrapped in marinated beef, which are then grilled. You can choose toppings such as melted cheese, mayo, tabasco and mentaiko. They can now be found in Tokyo, but the original Nikumaki Onigiri started in Miyazaki. I opted for one with sesame seeds on top where as my friend, Pam, went for one with mayo.
yum yum yum

One more, although it is not a traditional Japanese festival food, is the tasty Döner kebab sandwich. Jun had about two of them (I say about two because he ended up eating most of the one I ordered because I was busy talking to some students). Döner kebabs are starting to appear, mostly in Tokyo, where they are predominantly sold from parked vans. Döner kebabs have been adjusted to suit Japanese tastes; the salad is usually omitted in favour of shredded cabbage, and the sauce is composed primarily of mayonnaise.
the crowd an hour before the fireworks started

The main event, at least for me, were the fireworks at night. People had already been putting tarps down to claim their spots since about noon, so by the time we got around to it at 5-ish, there were no spots in the main area, but we managed to find something. The thing that is great about fireworks displays in Japan is that they go for an entire hour! Not even exaggerating, they really do last an entire hour.

And, for good measure, let’s finish up with a short video of the fireworks (this was around 30 minutes in).

All in all, not a bad way to celebrate starting my 3rd year in Japan!


6 thoughts on “3 Years in Japan

  1. Congratulations on 3 years in Japan! (is that the proper thing to say?) That is so exciting, I bet you have so many beautiful memories now^^/

    That color of yukata is so lovely and vibrant, I just love that! And I think it suits you perfectly, so stunning! And I agree about the yosakoi dancers’ makeup, I wish my makeup could look that awesome everyday!

    The doner kebab looks so yummy, I love those. But mayonnaise sauce…no they ruined it! TT

    1. Thank you (o^□^o)ノ

      this red yukata is probably my favorite. My host family gave it to me as a birthday gift when I was an exchange student. I own 4 yukata (all of them gifts) but would like one more in a different color (I currently have red, pink, blue, and black) like a yellow or white…

    1. if it weren’t for the fact that you would probably melt in summer here, I would suggest that you come in the summer and I could take you to a fireworks festival (lots of yummy food too)

  2. Oh god, mayo. Why the obsession with mayo, Japan?

    The meat onigiri sounds delicious, though.

    Doner kebabs are really big here: it’s kind of like the quintessential drunken student’s ‘soak up the alcohol’ food, probably because it’s cheap and the shops are generally open until like 4am. I haven’t had one though, because as you know, I don’t get drunk, and it seems like a waste of money unless you are.

    But this matsuri looks lovely! And congrats on year three of Japan, I know I wouldn’t have been able to manage it.

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