Its that time of year again. Autumn is here which means festival time. Festival in Japanese is "Matsuri" ] and the ones during Autumn are mostly held to thank the heavens for a good harvest for the previous season.
Today's bunch of photos are taken last weekend at Himonya Matsuri which I've been attending for the past 10 years. You can see what festivals take place in the Autumn around this neck of the woods at the Meguro City website.
There is a load to see, do and eat at a matsuri. The food is served at hawker stands where you can find a variety of noms such as Yakitori (chicken and veggies grilled on a stick), Yakisoba (fried buckwheat noodles), Jagga Butter ( steamed potato with a dollop of butter) and more.
Matsuri is pronounced "mat-su-ree."
All Matsuri are free to get in and most of them are held on the grounds of a temple or shrine.
Matsuri are usually packed to the brim and while it's usually safe, its probably a good idea to keep an eye on your personal belongings due to the amount of people around.
This is "Super Ball" - not nuts of steel but balls that float around in a tub where you see how many you can catch with a small pail.
Many folks who live nearby a matsuri would put out the blue sheets for a picnic. The blue sheets are also common during Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) time.
Many folks attend matsuri in traditional gear like yukata.
Matsuri are a great place to get a real glimpse of locality and are great for photos too.
Check out Golden Jipangu for a list of events such as matsuri held throughout Japan. They need to add Himonya to their list though.
Some smaller scale matsuri ask you to buy coupons that you can use at all stalls to exchange for food. The large matsuri like Himonya use cash.
When you go to a matsuri however, be prepared to wear something that you are going to wash the same day as you will go back home smelling like what you ate.
These masks usually go for 500 yen but if the seller recognizes you as a foreigner they will charge you 800 yen. If you really want one say that you are willing to pay 500 yen and no more.
This usually only happens with masks though because the price isn't written anywhere. Food however costs the same for any race or being.
How many of you recognize that yellow one?
Dont forget to bring a pack of wet tissues or something to wipe your oily grubby hands.
This is like the lottery where you pay 300 yen for a lottery ticket in the hopes of winning any one of the things on display - but thats the thing - the stuff you see here are *only* for display and there are no promises that you will win any of it. Instead you are likely to win a pack of sweets or if you are really lucky then maybe a rubber band.
The hiragana and Katakana combo reads "Jagga Butter" .
Tastes good! But probably not too healthy ><
Caption this photo.
Kingyo Sukui ] is "Goldfish Scooping" where you get a scoop covered in a flimsy bit of paper that you need to scoop goldfish before the paper tears after being soaked in the tank. The trick is to use the edge of the scoop apparently.
Hello Kitty, Pikachu and more with poles of light stuck in their heads - or a beam of light shooting out of them.
How many f you can read this simple hiragana and do you know what it means?
Bags O candy floss.
Various fruit type lollipops.
Ikayaki - squid on a stick.
Squid tentacles are called Geso but you already learned that from Ika Musume.
Canned drinks suddenly costs 4 - 5 times the normal price at a matsuri.
Tako Yaki - octopus balls. Bet you didn't know that octopus had any.
Shateki is where you use a gun that shoots a rubber band at items that have been glued to the shelves - especially all the stuff like "PSP" or "DS." All the cheap sweeties are usually not glued down though.
This evenings main course is beef on a stick.
Crepe is a popular snack in Japan and tastes good when fresh - before you buy its a good idea to take a peek at the stall to see if the base has not been pre-prepped and stacked ready to go.
Most folks in Japan don't normally practice religion in daily life but would usually pay respects when at a matsuri which is located on temple or shrine grounds.
When its not matsuri time, this shrine is silent at night without a soul in sight. The difference is just staggering.
Most shrines and temples have a well where you would purify yourself by washing hands and mouth before you enter.
These bananas covered in chocolate still looks obscene to me.
Osaka Yaki - a grilled snack from Osaka.
More places to visit in Japan listed below.