Scenes From Summer

I’ve gotten pretty backlogged with my photos.  Summer is finally winding down (at least, I think it is – some days the weather still seems unsure of what month is is), and we’re transitioning into Autumn, at long last.  The weeks of complaining about the heat have been abandoned and will be soon replaced by weeks of complaining about the cold.  Most of my summer wasn’t experienced through the lens of a camera.  However, a few new pictures made their way onto my hard drive. I’ve chosen the best (read: least crappy) to share.

First (because there’s only one photo worth sharing): this photo is from Koenji Awaodori.  A huge, jam-packed parade through the streets near Koenji station.  Dancing, music, drunk city folk, food, and fun.

Second: The Asakusa Samba matsuri.  Old-timey tourist-friendly Asakusa meets scantily clad, noisy, feathery, busty Brazil.  Dancing, music, drunk city folk, and fun (again).  With about 3000% more boobs and glitter than Koenji awaodori.  Wish I could have counted the zoom lenses and flannel shirts.

Lastly, I visited Honmonji temple to the southish westish of the metro area for another obon matsuri.  You may have seen my video on YouTube about the circle dancing festival from Gifu prefecture – many, many of these style festivals took place in the summer – this was the same deal.  Also, dancing, drunk city folk, food, and fun (sensing a trend here?).

This temple is beautiful – I arrived just as the sun was going down after hiking around the area for a while trying to determine if I was going the right way.  It’s at the top of a hill, and there’s a very ethereal quality about the whole place.  The pictures don’t do it justice.

Food choice at these festivals is pretty standard wherever you go – meat on a stick, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, chocolate bananas, and takoyaki (think doughnut holes, but made with octopus and batter instead).

I had my first taste of okonomiyaki at this festival (pictured rather unappealingly below).  It’s like a pancake pizza thing made with cabbage that they cover in a sauce and you dip in mayonnaise.  I realize how unappetizing that sounds.  I’m still undecided if I like it or not – I got about halfway through my portion before I decided I was uninterested in eating the rest.  Maybe it’s better to try it…not…at a festival.

This is the central “dance tower”, where all the obon dances are performed.

The stairs leading up to the temple.  I apparently arrived at the bank entrance, via a hill.  These stairs in the evening really lent to the otherworldly feel of the place – probably moreso when there’s less people around.

Lastly, this is a photo of what I was looking at while I was eating the previously mentioned okonomiyaki.  I was parked on the steps of a temple older than my home country eating a new food, and looking at this view when I had a “wow, this is my life” moment.

Moments like those are just one of many reasons I enjoy living where I do.  Sometimes I’m still surprised that I made it here and I’m experiencing things like this.  Mostly, I’m just grateful.  These are good times.

Apologies for the lack of updates recently – there’s been some changes in my schedule and my free time is now limited (and treasured!).  I haven’t forgotten all things internet – I have some ideas for videos, I just haven’t put them into action yet.  I’m still somewhat active on Twitter, but my content isn’t strictly Japanese-culture-related.  Feel free to check it out.  As always, thanks for reading!

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