Don’t Upset the Table

This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

I was at a big music festival in Osaka called “Larks in the Park” over the weekend. For anyone in Osaka who didn’t go, go next year!

There was this Japanese guy there who makes all his money by designing and selling stickers. He is part of this big creative group called Brainside which apparently has like 200 members.

Anyway. This post card, along with other stickers and things had me rolling! They had another one that was 飛び蹴り禁止 (No Drop Kicks allowed). With the caption, “Do not attack anyone without reason.” or something like that.

Oh it’s rich.

The Japanese says “Cyabudai Gaeshi Kinshi” which means, No Flipping the Table Allowed. Remember that old post about the cyabudai gaeshi game?

Make it your desktop wallpaper.

-Harvey

Handa Matsuri

A while ago I went to a pretty interesting Japanese festival. The festival is called Handa Festival, but actually takes place in Kamesaki ( 亀崎). You can get there in about one hour from Nagoya. I have to say I am lacking details on the history of this festival, but that stuff can be found elsewhere, and elsewhere, and elsewhere so I’ll keep this personal.

During this festival giant “Dashi” are pulled through the town. Most of the festivals I have seen in Japan until now include “omikoshi”, which are like giant portable shrines… Dashi are like Omikoshi, but they are on wheels and are about five times as tall. People can ride inside them, and during this festival, each Dashi has their own song that was being played on drums and Japanese flutes from the inside of the Dashi. I went to the festival with a Japanese friend who grew up in the area. In this particular festival there were five Dashi’s used. I hear that in a larger version of this festival, which only happens once every five years or so, all thirty Dashi’s from around the area are gathered for a special event which takes place in another city. My friend told me that the males from the town are usually assigned to one Dashi group a very young age. As the boys grow older they will move through different tasks associated with the Dashi. The tasks vary between pulling the Dashi with ropes, riding inside the Dashi and playing an instrument, to pushing the dashi from behind or controlling the turns. During a festival all of these roles are important for manipulating the Dashi and giving a good performance. Apparently recently most youth have been picking up and moving to the big cities, so there is a bit of a generation gap forming between the participants. There also seem to be rules so that only families originally from the town can participate in the Dashi related events. Lots of Ojisan.

The main attraction to Handa Matsuri, is that this particular area is the only area in which the Dashi are pulled out into the ocean. The final rush down to the water was very impressive, as as I mentioned, these Dashi are huge and the men really got them moving at good speeds. At times it didn’t even look like they would be able to stop them in time. I heard that once there was an accident where one Dashi was overturned.

Anyway, that’s that. Sorry this is so light on details, but, it was a really was a cool festival! If you’re ever in the Aichi-ken area around golden week, be sure to look it up.

-Harvey

There is actually another matsuri even more famous called Shiohi matsuri. (潮干)

Bikkuri Ramen




Recently while I was in Kobe I went to this place called “Bikkuri Ramen”. “Bikkuri” in Japanese means “Surprise”, or, the expression that you say when you are surprised. Ramen is, well. You know. Ramen.

The reason this shop is called Bikkuri Ramen is because of the price.


You can get their delicious? Bowl of Ramen for just 180 yen! That’s just about 2 bucks! Ultra-cheap! Just take a look at the ramen-y goodness in the picture at the bottom of this article. The good thing about ramen is that you can eat it anytime. In the morning at 5am after spending a crazy night out. At noon for lunch… Or even for dinner! 多様性のあるラーメン!

The rest of their menu is equally cheap. Though, the taste is really just normal.

In fact, the only thing that really surprised me about this restaurant was that my friend and I noticed a little cockroach walking across the counter to hide behind a soy sauce bottle as we were eating. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the bugger because I was busy jumping out of my chair… But.. Yeah… I guess that’s what I get for trying cheap ramen huh.