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“Water Throwing Festival” 2014

18 Aug

Yesterday was one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals. The 深川八幡祭り (Fukagawa-Hachiman Festival).

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Were you there? I was there, but not as a spectator. I have been a member of a group in this festival for nine years. I’m one of the people carrying a 神輿 (portable shrine) in this festival.

This festival isn’t held annually like most festivals. It’s held every three years. So the next time will be in August 2017.

It’s often called 「水かけ祭り」 ( the “Water-throwing Festival” ) because spectators throw buckets of water on the participants. And even the Tokyo Fire Department sprays us with firehoses!

I wrote a post the last few times I’ve participated in this festival. The last time, the Emperor and Empress of Japan attended the festival!
Click here to see that post with photos. It was a rare opportunity that we were able to see the royal couple so close!

Here are a few of the excellent photos that my wife took.

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Movie suggestions?

16 Aug

The Hollywood movies that are currently showing or will be later this month here in Tokyo are:

World War Z
White House Down
End Of Watch
Star Trek
The Lone Ranger
Gatchaman

Have you seen any of these?
Which would you recommend?

Or … are none of them worth paying to see in a theater?
If that’s the case, we’ll watch a Japanese movie. 

Young semi-chan

8 Aug

We were lucky enough to see this 蝉 (cicada) shedding it’s molt near our house!

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The Ring milkshake

21 Jul

In Japan, haunted houses and horror movies are popular in the summer.

Cool drinks, such as shaved ice and milkshakes, are also popular in summer in Japan.

So, starting next weekend, the Japanese fastfood chain, Lotteria, will sell a special ラムネ (Ramune) / chocolate milkshake that is supposedly inspired by the Japanese horror movie “The Ring”.

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Rainy season

28 May

I watch the 天気予報 (weather forecast) on TV every morning.

Today, they said that 梅雨 (rainy season) has officially started in Japan today.

It is starting early this year! Normally rainy season begins in mid-June (I wrote a post about it four years ago. Click here to read it.)

It’s raining in many parts of Japan today…but, thankfully, not in Tokyo.
It is forecast to rain in Tokyo tomorrow though.

Are you in Japan? Are you planning to come soon? Have you ever experienced a rainy season in Japan before?

Tokyo sun shower

4 Sep

Summer in Tokyo is very hot and humid.  There is a typhoon season and sometimes a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain will start seemingly out of nowhere…and then stop just as suddenly with blue skies returning.

Japanese people are sometimes surprised if I tell them that summer in Florida (where I grew up) is very similar.

Summer in Florida is also hot and humid. There is a hurricane season (hurricanes, for all intents and purposes, are basically the same as typhoons) and sometimes sudden short thunderstorms occur there too.

In fact, the area in Florida where I lived, Tampa Bay, is called “the lightning capital of the world”.

When the weather is sunny and then a rainstorm suddenly starts…with the sunny weather returning just as suddenly, Floridians call that a sun shower.

So I also referred to the same phenomenon in Japan as a sun shower, as well.

But a few years ago, the Japanese media gave these storms an original Japanese name.  Here in Japan, these storms are called 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (“Guerrilla rainstorms“) because of the way they violently come out of nowhere.

Well, yesterday, there was a sudden, short, ゲリラ豪雨 (Guerrilla rainstorm)…and someone photographed it from the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.

The 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (guerrilla rainstorm) that hit the Tokyo area yesterday. It looks like a tornado!

Summer Festivals

29 Aug

Earlier this month, I participated in one of Tokyo’s biggest festivals.
(Click here to read that post.)

There are many great festivals all year round…but especially so in the summer.
(Click here to see a list I made of some of Tokyo’s best festivals.)

I like Japan’s festivals a lot…and I go to many of them.

In early August, my family and I went to watch a summer 花火大会 (fireworks show) near our house that we usually go to every year.
The 花火大会 (fireworks shows) in Japan are excellent! If you have a chance, you should see one!
(Here is a list of some of Tokyo’s biggest fireworks shows.)

It’s not easy to photograph fireworks with the camera I have…but here are a few that I took:

花火 (“hanabi”)…literally “flower (of) fire”, is the Japanese word for “fireworks”.

We also went to a festival at a temple not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree.

After that, we went to 上野公園 (Ueno Park):

(Click here to see some other photos I took in Ueno a couple of years ago.)

If you have any questions about festivals in Tokyo, things to do in this city, or whatever…feel free to contact me.