Alright, finally it's here!
The main event that we have been waiting for: Tanabata Festival
This is also the reason why we chose July 1 - July 8 as our travel period to Japan. Since it's summer, I'm so eager to attend local summer festival or natsu matsuri. For you who often read manga, especially Miiko or other titles, the scene about summer festival has always been manga material. The boy and girl make promise to go together, eating snacks, watching fireworks together, goldfish scooping game. First of all, I thought that "nah, it's too dreamy and not realistic" but when I googling it ... there is SO MANY local summer festivals in Japan. The schedule got more packed and crazier in August, it's also the peak of Japan's Summer Heat and there is a festival scheduled almost EVERYDAY.
|Summer Festival Scene - Free|
|Summer Festival Scene - The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya|
Well since it's the beginning of July, the schedule of festivals is not as many as in August and Tanabata Festival is one of the most popular since it's also celebrated in China as Qixi Festival. Hmm, I also felt that this is the festival which I felt most familiar since it's featured so much in many manga titles beside Hanabi (Firework) Festival. It seems that God and Fortune Wheel is also on my side. When I was browsing AirBnb for my apartment, the owner also posted a picture about Tanabata Festival which happened to be just 5 minutes walk. I was very delighted and decided to include one of the anti-mainstream itineraries that you won't be able to do by using tour: attending local festival in yukata ヾ(≧∇≦*)ゝ
My heart went pitter-patter, will it be like the scene of my favorite manga or anime?
As you could see, we had spent Day 4 with shopping activities for our yukata. It's show time now! We woke up quite early, helping each other with hairdo and yukata. Yeah, this is our first time wearing yukata and thanks a zillion to Youtube for providing so many easy tutorials about wearing yukata and tying the obi ^^
|We are ready to go!|
Selfie was taken in front of our apartment building, still fresh with make-up^^
So we kinda have this awkward feeling wearing yukata in broad daylight and walking at the street in it. Although our apartment host said that the festival event will be celebrated for 2 days (July 4 and July 5), we are afraid what's gonna happen if the festival hasn't started yet? We just randomly go at this hour about 10 AM since we didn't know the rundown time. Well, people didn't pay much attention to us ... so we gradually accustomed with our yukata.
About 5 minutes later ... we are here finally! The Kappabashi Street or Kappabashi Dori.
Glad we didn't look like out of place. The festival event has started!
You could see a lot of crowds and paper lantern decoration୧(˃◡˂)୨
|Pretty Decoration :3|
|Bamboo Tree and Paper Wish hanging on it|
Tanabata or 七夕 meaning "Evening of the seventh" is also known as the Star Festival. It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega Star) and Hikoboshi (Altair Star). According to legend, these lovers were separated by Milky Way and allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7. The celebration is held at various days between July and August. Among all of the celebrations, I've heard that the biggest celebration of Tanabata happened to be at Sendai but it's in August and I would have been going back home by that time come :(
Anyway here is the legend story behind this festival for you who haven't known it!
This is the most popular version also the one that I knew from manga explanation.
Orihime (織姫 Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (天帝 Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川 Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone.
Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星 Cow Herder Star) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven.
In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.
That's why people are wishing for a clear sky at Tanabata so those two lovers could meet, writing that wish on a paper and hang it on a bamboo tree. Though, nowadays the wish must not be really like that. You could write anything you wish, whether it's related with Orihime and Hikoboshi or not LOL.
The main point is, we hope that our wish will come true just like Orihime's wish to meet her lover ♥
|Cute Kappa Mascot|
It's festival time! So many performance are held here, such as traditional dance and music performance parade. They performed along the main street of Kappabashi which is a straight long road.
|Don't mind me who is busy recording the performance LOL|
|Look at how small the kid is!|
From every age, starting from the very young to the elderly, man and woman, everyone is participating and you could really feel the festive mood here! Although I am a foreigner, I could feel and see their effort to hold this celebration. The dance is awesome! You could check my instagram for the video of dance performance ;)
|Kids in Yukata :3|
|Goldfish Scooping Game Stall :) exactly like in Manga!|
Every living creatures are enjoying this festival, as well as pets :D
Found this very cute fluffy dog strolling with its owner, OMG everything in Japan is kawaii !
|One Little Dog and so many hands, hahha|
Okay, not only dogs but PIG as well! I could never stop being amazed with Japan.
Here I found a man also strolling with his huge pig at the street.
|The Pig also drank beers 0__0|
We continue our strolling and stopped for a while in the street to watch this super awesome acrobatic performance! The first show I watched is Blind Whip Show. The performance is being held in front of a large residence, I don't know though what is the building's name :)
He will ask if anyone from the audience would like to become his partner for the performance. Hahha, look at that. The little boy voluntereed as tribute :D Basically the performer will wear eye cover and he will whip the rose from a far distance. I could see the boy trembling LOL.
|Brave little boy!|
Don't worry^^ The performance is a success!
The rose is cut accurately and the little boy is safe and sound ~
Then suddenly I noticed something ...........
|LV Satchel Postman Bag with a LOT of Charms|
Hahha, my eye does really fast catching something related with branded items.
But the most fascinating thing is ....
|It belongs to this MAN!|
Hahha, I found it cute and unusual for a man to attach so many charms on the bag. Well Japan, you once again opened my eyes to new things :) That's the intermezzo. Okay, move on to the next show. It's Balance Show!
Then, the last show as well as the peak event. It's Climbing Chair Show! Not your usual climbing chair though since the base foundation of the chair is a bottle tip ∑(ﾟﾛﾟ〃)
|Stack of chairs and still able to sit on top of that!!!!!!|
It's super nerve wrecking and I also sweated a lot just like the performer. I was imagining what would have happened if the performer lost balance and all the chair and bottles fell upon me O_O
Then the sky suddenly a little bit irritated and it started raining with very little intensity. When I thought the show is over, suddenly .......
HE LIFTED HIMSELF UP!
THE SHOW IS NOT OVER YET OMG
I'm so totally speechless and scared.
Btw, you could see a 15 seconds - sneakpeek of this show through my instagram :)
Whew, finally it's done for good. All of us couldn't stop shouting and clapping for a while. When the performer climbing down the chair by himself, we could see that he SWEATED very much. No kidding, it's literally mini flood at the road he stepped with his feet. I bet it's enough to make him dehydrated and entering Hypovolemic Shock Phase if the show keeps going on.
*spontaneous thinking of medical student*
Spectacular performance, traditional dance and music show, some eye-candy objects worth to be photograph, oh yeah last but not least: FOOD STALL. Here I will show you the foods we tried here. Prepare your saliva guys and drooling! （＾▽＾）
|Grilled Squid Tentacles 150 ¥|
|Grilled Squid Body 300 ¥|
|Posing with the squid~|
|Grilled Sausage 100¥|
|Grilled Potato Beef 100 ¥|
|Potato Beef (kinda like Perkedel in Indonesia) topped with Seaweed, Garlic, and Tomato Sauce|
|Grilled Wagyu Beef 600¥|
|Curry Chicken Kebab 300¥|
|Grilled Mochi 100¥|
|Tori Karaage and Fries 100¥|
|Ramune (Japanese Sprite) 100¥|
I really love ramune because the soda bubble taste is not as strong as the usual sprite. I always had my eye to try ramune since in Indonesia, because this is one of seasonal items which only sold during festival period in Japan. When you are done drinking it, don't throw the bottle away! Shake it and the marble inside will produce a tingling sound :) Nice memento after attending festival!
|Watermelon Cider 100¥|
|Blue Hawaii Kakigori 120¥|
Anyway on this day, we have made another new local friend. He is Ryota, a 23-years-old Post-Graduate Engineering Student majoring in Air Fluid Resistance. We knew him through Hellen. Yeah, just like Hide-san, Hellen and Ryota knew each other through language exchange forum :)
|With Ryota :)|
Another kind and funny Japanese locals! He is sooooooooo damn FUNNY and INTERESTING person. Maybe it's also because we are both college students ? Despite the language barrier, we could still conversing well and laugh together :D
Angel, why you are the only one not putting the ice scoop to your mouth? :/
|Okay, this is better!|
And then we found this cute cafe named "Toarco Toraja" with Toraja House Symbol at the cafe sign! Whoa, as a fellow Indonesian kinda proud that I could found Indonesian element in foreign country.
|Toarco Toraja Coffe House! Hmm, I would like to try it sometime :)|
Finally after quite a strolling we reach the other end of Kappabashi Street.
Here is the famous Kappa Statue which according to legend, the protector of Kappabashi Town
Well, if you think the Kappa is scary... How about this one?
If you someday attend this festival, you must search for this Kappa Mascot and take a photo with it^^
Anyway, while we are in yukata and there is Ryota who actually lives in Chiba .... and also, he has never been in Asakusa before. So we decided to visit Sensoji Temple again! Okay, I know this is the third times already since my arrival here in Japan. But all seems different while we are wearing yukata! Well, not to mention there are a lot of local photographers who take pictures of us in yukata. There are these 2 persistent old men who followed us everywhere we go hahha. I'm impressed considering that they are elders (about 70 years old) yet they are using DSLR Nikon Camera with that super BIG LENS. What a strength o__o
The food seller also called to us "Yukata onee-san ....." (Lady in Yukata) to visit their food stall.
Many locals thought that we are Japanese :3
Okay, so we are done with Kappabashi Street and move on to Sensoji Temple.
So here are the photos that we took in Sensoji!
Oh well, in Sensoji too. We kinda felt like a yukata celebrity for one day LOL. So many tourist asking to take picture together with us, from Chinese, American, African. All are shocked to know that we are Indonesian ~
Temple and Yukata. Perfect spot and property for Yukata OOTD :)
|The backside details|
|Angel and me.|
We are sooo happy that finally our dreams (wearing yukata and blend in like Japanese) come true, especially Angel and me who arranged all of the itineraries. Our effort in planning all of these is finally paid off! Well if you followed my travel diary, especially in Day 4. There is a lot of thinking in planning all of these hahha.
|Our OOTD in Yukata :D|
After that, Ryota has this idea to take pictures in purikura (Japanese Photobox) with all of us in the game centre nearby. Actually when you take purikura in Japan, you will be able to get one softfile picture fore free. To do that, you must have a registered e-mail in Japan domain :/ But luckily, Ryota offered us to use his email and he will send the picture to us. Yay!
We took our time for a while playing in this game centre. I'm so happy that I found Gudetama Claw and Capsule Machine. There is also this funny story where I left my newly-bought Kappa Toy Water Gun in this game centre. I asked the game centre officer and in no time, my Kappa is found. But sadly, my empty ramune bottle is not. Maybe they are thinking that the bottle is trash so it is being thrown away. Well, stupid and clumsy me. But it's okay. I got my 100-yen water gun back LOL. It's a memento of today's festival :)
Okay, since there is still some shopping list from our friend and relatives, we decided to go to Akihabara again. If you read my Day 3 travel diary, you could found that some shops had been closed therefore our shopping list haven't been ticked off completely yet. So we went back to apartment, bringing more money and, changing clothes?
NOPE, we decided to use our yukata!! OMG, this is really one of the shameless thing to do while in Japan, especially in Tokyo where people wear office suits and modern clothes everywhere. Meanwhile, the opposite happens in Kyoto. Never I would think to wear yukata everywhere I go. Well we all brace ourselves, just thinking it as cosplaying and it's not weird at all to cosplay in Akihabara.
|That's me waiting for the pedestrian light turns green LOL|
|Akihabara Scene in the evening|
So basically I visited Mandrake Building again and bought 4 artbooks. Then we were looking through games department.... and there I'm surprised.
|PS1 Games are still being sold!|
|My favourite PS1 game ever: Legend of Mana|
|Happily Psychotic me looking through available games|
I didn't buy anything besides the artbooks, but still it's a fun window shopping tee-hee. Really amazed that modern Japan, the initiator of all kinds of game consoles still sell the PS1 games which filled my childhood about 15 years ago LOL. After that we go to the next shop: Soft Potato and then I stumbled upon this army man statue and decided to take a pic with it.
|Kinda remind me in war era. I look like a Japanese lady trying to flirt with American LOL|
|Love Live Movie Advertisement!|
We are finally done with our shopping list and decided to go back to Asakusa. We walked through the night together with Ryota as well, searching for a nice restaurant to have dinner.
|Tokyo Skytree as our background!|
Actually we planned to try sushi in Sushi Zanmai. But here the GPS malfunctioned and now we are kinda lost. Forgive us, Ryota >_______< we are not a good tour guide. Tired and hungry, we finally decided to randomly try this Chinese Restaurant called "Botan".
|Mabo-Don, Gyoza, and hmmm I forgot the name of the other dishes :p|
|My order: Mabo-Don for 800¥|
No kidding. The portion is sooo huge. This is the usual portion at home that my parents, brother, and I eat altogether (for 4 people). Well I kinda make my obi tie loose and eat this mabo-don (Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl) verrrryyyy slowly. Whew, and as usual like other restaurants in Japan ... unlimited free flow cold water ...yay. Angel's omurice is also delicious and she opened all of the large obi, leaving only the small obi sash that tie her yukata so she could increase her stomach capacity.
|Another photo with locals!|
Once again for a million times I said.... Japanese are so kind and heart-warming. When we are about to pay the bills, the restaurant owner greets us and have a nice chit-chat with us. She praises our yukata ... well also ourselves included too (kinda sad if it's only the yukata which is cute LOL). She looks through our yukata pattern and give explanation of every pattern. Hellen's yukata pattern is the most outstanding since it's Botan Flower. Yep, just like this restaurant name: Botan! Well, like other people's reaction .... she is also surprised to find out that we are not Japanese hahha. She is so nice and we decide to take a picture together!
This restaurant is located really near with Asakusa Tobu Station. After that we parted ways with Ryota and he is so happy to receive presents from us: Pikachu on top of Kaminarimon Gate Keychain. Ah yes, he is a pokemon fans! Hope to see you again Ryota ^^
After that we move back to apartment and we are surprised to see the Shopping Street Area near Sensoji at night. It's so different from the daylight. So we decided to take pics again while we are still in Yukata :D
|Are we looked like japanese girls in Edo Period ?|
|Pretty Railing with Classic Style Paintings on it|
|Yuki the Petit Monstre also didn't want to be left out hahha.|
That's how I passed my fifth day in Japan.
Experiencing local summer festival is truly a very precious experience. After reading this post, I hope you guys would consider this activity when you are happened to be travelling in Japan. Festivals are celebrated all along the year in Japan. Do check the Japan Festival Calendar Website so you could adjust with your travel plan. May you have fun as well as like I did!
Here are the useful links for today's itinerary:
Basically, just check 2-3 calender websites. Because there are some events which aren't written in one website. Just googling it all to your heart content as precaution. Those 2 that I've provided above are considered as the most accurate one in my personal opinion (´▽`ʃƪ)
Thankyou for reading and stay tuned for next day!