こんにちは！ Just a small post today.
It’s been a sweltering couple weeks – we’ve started having to do our grocery shopping after dark, and despite drinking at least one 2-litre bottle of water daily apiece, headaches have been our constant companions. Because of this, we attended our neighbourhood’s summer matsuri (festival) around 7 p.m. last Saturday, just as the sun was going down.
It was such a lovely experience. Pink-and-blue lanterns were strung up over the grounds of the local shrine. Several booths sold tasty food — yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick), french fries, kakigori (shaved ice)… Children raced around underfoot, screaming and laughing; teenagers flirted and pored over their phones together; parents chattered away; old ladies loudly joked with each other.
It was an event I’ve rarely been able to experience in Japan, and even better, we were accepted. Often we (and when I say we, I mean Paul, the large bearded white man, and then me, the strange Asian woman who is normal until she speaks English to him) find ourselves always on the outside, gawked at and subjected to often incredulous amazement.
This time, though, people were genuinely unconcerned by our presence. I ran into several of my old students from the local school, several parents who somehow still remembered me from several years ago, and even a few kind old folks we didn’t know at all who were simply curious. It was wonderful!
We arrived just as the taiko group was performing its last piece:
Then it was time for karaoke! The machine was very old, though, so alas, it had a pretty limited selection.
Next, it was time for the raffle! Some prizes available were juice (the lowest tier; there was LOTS of juice); eggs; beer; many other things I can’t remember; and the grand prize, a bicycle.
We ended up winning some eggs!
We were only there for about an hour, but it was lots of fun! I’m grateful that we live in such a welcoming neighbourhood.
Til next time! またね！