I Wish To Go To The Festival

At 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.

A takoyaki stand (That’s breaded and fried octopus, and yes, it’s delicious).

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

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).

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.

The stage for dancing is surrounded by colourful lanterns.

So, I was overjoyed when my landlady called last night: “There’s a festival tonight — do you want to go?”

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!!!

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

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.


Best carrots in the world, seriously.