Tag Archives: matsuri

VJ Day

15 Aug

Today is 「終戦記念日」 (lit. “Anniversary of the end of the war”), or, as it’s referred to in the West, VJ Day.

So today is the 65th anniversary of the end of World War 2. Unfortunately it’s not the anniversary of war completely.

I’m not going to write a lot of this today because last year I wrote a post about the 64th anniversary that included an English translation of part of the Japanese Emperor’s speech to the people of Japan (click here to read it).

And the year before, I wrote a post about the 63rd anniversary that explained a bit about 「靖国神社」 (Yasukuni Shrine) and it’s relevance to this day. (click here to read that post).

This year 「終戦記念日」 (VJ Day) is on a Sunday (today), so I’m sure 「靖国神社」 (Yasukuni Shrine) was crowded today.

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Also today was the last day of this year’s 「深川八幡祭り」 (Fukagawa Hachiman Festival)…also called the 「水かけ祭り」 (“Water Tossing Festival“) because people watching the festival throw water on the people carrying the 神輿 (Miskoshi portable shrines). Even firefighters hose them down.

Two years ago I participated in this festival by helping to carry a 神輿 (portable shrine).

It was fun…but carrying that heavy thing all day and also tossing it up and catching it many times…my arms and legs were aching the next day!

This festival occurs every August in the 門前仲町 (Monzen-Nakachou) area of Tokyo…but the big main festival only occurs every three years.

When I participated two years ago it was a “big, main festival”…and next year when the big festival is scheduled again, I am invited to join again.

Click here to see photos and videos of this festival from two years ago when I was a member of one of the 神輿 (Miskoshi portable shrines) teams.

Mitama-祭り

17 Jul

Every year from July 13 – 16 the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has their annual O-bon festival called 「ミタマ祭り」 (“Mitama Festival“).

We go to this festival nearly every year.

(Click here to see my post about last year’s festival with a number of photos I took.

And click here to see my post from 2008 about that year’s festival…with some videos I took and a slide-show of my photos.)

We went to this festival yesterday (Friday, July 16). It was the weekend and the last day of the festival so it was especially crowded. So I wasn’t able to take many nice photos.

Here are some of the photos I took there yesterday:

金魚すくい ("Goldfish Scooping")

スイカ祭り

1 Jul

At the DECKS shopping area in お台場 (Odaiba, Tokyo), they’re currently having a 「すいか祭り」 (“watermelon festival“) until 2010 July 19.

They’re selling all types of food, drinks and desserts made with スイカ (watermelon).

A great way to cool down from the summer heat in Tokyo!

日本の夏

18 Jun

It’s now summertime.

Currently it’s 「梅雨」 (“Rainy season“) in Japan. As usual for this time of year, it’s forecast to rain a lot for the next few days.
But also, the temperature is rising steadily and it’s quite humid. Today it was a muggy 31°C (88°F) in Tokyo.

Summer is hot and humid here…but it’s still very enjoyable. There’s so much to do.
Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer are all very different in Japan. Of course the weather is different…but I mean the food, festivals, and general atmosphere is different and unique to each season.

In a couple of earlier posts I mentioned that fast-food chains in Japan have spicy items on their menus  (Click here to read one of those posts)…but fast-food isn’t a traditional Japanese summer tradition of course, and actually their spicy summer foods aren’t extremely popular in Japan (I haven’t even tried any of them).

There are traditional foods that are very popular in Japan during the summer to help you deal with the summer heat.
Some of them are:

冷やし中華 (“Hiyashi Chuuka“). Cold noodles, cucumbers, ham, tomatoes, and cold soy sauce.

スイカ (watermelon)

かき氷 (shaved ice)

ビール (beer)…Popular all year long, of course. But excellent to help you cool down in the summer.

うな丼 (Freshwater eel on rice). This is said to help keep up your stamina in hot weather.

うな丼 (Freshwater eel on rice). I enjoy this dish a lot!

Some other aspects of summer in Japan include:

– the beaches and pools become crowded. Especially in August.

– the numerous summer festivals including 花火 (summer fireworks shows).

insects. The “sound of summer” in Japan is the chirping of the セミ (cicadas). There are also カブト虫 (beetles)…and, unfortunately, ゴキブリ (cockroaches) and (mosquitoes).

蚊取線香 (mosquito repellent incense).

蚊取線香 (mosquito repellent incense) often is shaped like a pig

To stay cool, there’s also ウチワ and 扇子 (types of paper fans), and ジンベイ and ユカタ (traditional Japanese summer clothing).

This isn’t an all-exclusive description of a summer in Japan, of course. It’s difficult to describe…you should come to Japan in each of the seasons and see “four different Japans”.

What’s summer like in your country?

根津神社

10 May

Just like Mothers Day last year, my wife and I went out and our kids made a Mother Day dinner for my wife.

This year they made pasta, salad and dessert. It was delicious.

While they were making dinner, my wife and I went to 上野 (Ueno) and 根津神社 (Nezu Jinja Shrine).

We’ve been there many times. In fact, here’s a post I wrote with photos of Nezu Shrine, and here’s another with videos.

At 御徒町 (Okachimachi, Tokyo), there was a 神輿祭り (Mikoshi portable shrine festival) going on:

(I have carried a Mikoshi shrine in festivals a few times.
The most recent was at the famous 「深川八幡祭り」 (Fukagawa Hachiman Festival).
I wrote a post about with with a slideshow and a number of videos…click here to see it.)

At 根津神社 (Nezu Shrine):

Over 150 "Torii"

Before this tree was cut down it had broke through both the side and top of the wall.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen between these buildings in the distance.

子どもの日

6 May

Yesterday was 「子供の日」 (“Children’s Day“) in Japan. The final day of “Golden Week“.
Today most everyone in Japan went back to work or school.

Yesterday, we went to the 「藤まつり」 (“Wisteria flower Festival”) at 「亀戸天神社」 (“Kameido Ten-Jinja Shrine”).

Sign says 「亀戸天神 藤まつり」 ("Kameido Tenjin" Shrine "Wisteria Festival")

藤 (Wisteria flowers)

The "Tokyo Sky Tree" can be seen from this shrine.

"Tokyo Sky Tree" (under construction)

Festivals in Japan have booth selling foods, drinks, etc

It was "Golden Week", so it was quite crowded.

(Click here to see a post I wrote that has a picture of a 浮世絵 (traditional Japanese woodblock print) of this shrine, and how it hasn’t changed much since).

From there, we went to 「亀戸香取神社」 (“Kameido Katori Jinja Shrine“) which honors, among other things, 「亀戸大根」 (the “Kameido Daikon” giant Japanese radish).
This radish grew in the Kameido area of Tokyo even during times of drought. So this shrine lets people “thank” the Kameido Daikon for helping to keep the people of Japan from going hungry during hard times.

This sign says "Kameido Daikon". And "Kameido" is written with the characters resembling a turtle (for the town's name means "turtle door") and a Daikon radish.

There were 八重桜 ("Leafy Sakura") in bloom.

「亀戸大根」 ("Kameido Daikon")

Wash 恵比寿様 (Ebisu-sama) and they'll ensure your good health and fortune.

秋祭

4 Oct

Today we went to a small local festival.

We enjoyed great Japanese festival foods such as fish, soup…and beer! 🙂

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From there we went to a nearby shopping center.
Among the other stores we went into, we played a few games in the ゲーム・センター (video game arcade).

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This one has potato chips.

This one has potato chips.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.