Tag Archives: Culture

Japanese Festivals: Aichi Nishin Dance Troupe at Shizuoka Odakkui Festival

Last Saturday and Sunday the 10th (and last in its present form unfortunately) Odakkui Festival took place at various venues in the whole of Shizuoka City.
“Odakkui” means “Having a good time” in Shizuoka dialect!

Taking a well-earned rest!

Yesterday I first went to Gofuku Cho Street where the first part of the Festival took place on Sunday to have a good look first and choose a dance group to follow as there were too many to follow them all!

Ever idle Shizuoka policemen pretending to work…

Getting ready to start to the next venue!

I was particularly attracted by a troupe called Aichi Nishin, a enormous group coming all the way from Okazaki City and Nagoya City in neighboring Aichi Prefecture!

Reaching Sumpu Park!

They numbered no less than 120 who had come in three buses to spend the week-end in Shizuoka City.
They had already performed in Shimizu Harbor the previous afternoon!

Waiting for their turn in the shade!

I was really struck by their incredible discipline.
They are actually all, girls and a few boys, belonging to the same university as students or former students and members of this dance troupe practicing at university as a club counting no less than 150 members!
They were ever so polite when moving in double file everywhere, stopping to open gaps to let people pass through, saying thank you to everyone thousands of time and smiling, smiling, smiling!
No wonder they had been invited to all 10 editions of the festival!

Quietly waiting for their turn beside the main stage.

They even had their own coach!

Beautiful crest on their backs representing a golden bird. Can you guess which one?

It’s called “Hoo” for japanese Phoenix!

Great leadership and pep talk before their turn!

The last encouragements before taking stage!

Getting ready!

The name under which they had been announced: “Aichi Prefecture Okazaki City Bright Dance Troupe”!

Their leader greeting the audience. The sweet lady was almost bursting in tears because of the incredible pressure!
Incidentally this was also a contest sponsored by the city!
They did not win, but they were certainly the best in my own biaised view!

Starting!

Beautiful ladies everywhere!
And a few handsome boys my lady friends would certainly love to meet! LOL

Energy!

That flag!

Superb coordination!

Explosive enthusiasm!

Passion!

Devotion!

Smiling faces!

Reverence!

Guts!

Sexiness!

Giving everything!

Strength!

I wonder how long they practice to be able to perform with unflinching smiles in a cloud of dust!

Beautiful aggressiveness?
The Japanese can be so beautiful and sexy sometimes!

The souvenir photograph after the performance!
For all their smiles half of them, leader included, were in tears from all the presure to please!
I personally shook hands with the smiling and grateful (and still in tears) leader to thank her and all her friends and tell them they had been fantastic!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Changing Japanese Culture by Richard McMahon & Marcus Grandon

PRESS HERE to watch and enjoy the whole videa!

Following a class project to create and give presentations on Japanese culture, this group of students collected data on cultural attitudes in Japan.
They decided to share their interests and findings on video with others passionate about Japan now and where its culture is heading.
Directed/produced by Richard McMahon and shot/edited by Marcus Grandon.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Traditional Japanese Tororo/grated yam gastronomy at Chojiya and Culture at Chojiya in Shizuoka City!

Service: Friendly and informative
Equipment & Facilities: Old but very clean
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Traditional japanese food in a traditional environment full of history!

Chojiya/弔子屋 in Mariko, the 21st station of the Old Tokaido Highway made famous by Utagawa Hisroshige’s (real name:  Ando Hiroshige) wooden prints, has served traditional tororojiru, grated yam soup, for no less than 400 years! actually many think that the inn featured on Hiroshige’s woodblock print is Chojiya indeed!

Chojiya under the rain.

In 1596 Shojiya Heikichi/丁子屋平吉 established this tea house in the post town of Mariko to serve the many travelers using the Old Tokaido Route from Edo/Tokyo to Kyoto.
Before reading this article I strongly encourage you to visit their superb HOMEPAGE (English)! A window opened on the history of Japan and Shizuoka!
Great bilingual pamphlets are available for free, too!

History is all around you in this tradtional Japanese inn! take as many photographs as you wish but bear in mind this is a busy place!

You will dine under the benign protection of giant Hina Dolls! Such dolls are to celebrate the Girls Day on March 3rd and Boys day on May 5th, but they are on constant display!

Do not forget to visit the little museum at the entrance where you will discover a genuine ukiyoe wooden print!

A genuine ceramic dish showing a scene of Mariko in Edo Era!

Keep your cameras on the ready!

The tororojiru/grated yam soup that Mariko and Chojiya are so famous for!
I visited the place with my good friend, Patrick who loves the delicacy served on freshly steamed rice!

You pour it yourself on your rice!

And you savor it with chopped thin leeks! The perfect dish for a vegetarian!

The whole traditional lunch!

You will also have the opportunity to enjoy great local sashimi!

Local vegetables served as a traditional boiled vegetable salad!

Their dashi tamagoyaki is a must! Tamagoyaki is the famous omelet-like dish in Japan that all egg lovers must try once!

I’m not too keen on grated yam soup myself but the staff readily agreed to replace it with vegetables serrved as tororoage/vegetables deep-fried in tororojiru! Lovely and such kind and great service!

The menu is impossible to explore in a single day so I definitely plan to come again, especially as the whole establishment is non-smoking!

CHOJIYA
421-0103 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Mariko, 7-10-10 (Take the bus going to Fujieda from North Exit Platform No 7 at Shizuoka JR Station. Get off at Marikobashi Iriguchi stop!)
Opening hours: 11:00~19:00
Closed on Thursdays and last Wedenesday of the month
Entirely non-smoking!
HOMEPAGE

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Festivals: Mishima Taisha/三嶋大社

There are many interesting festivals in Shizuoka Prefecture and it is great fun as they offer a glimpse on true traditional Japan as well on a culture that will never fade away whatever the times.
Mishima Taisha Matsuri/三嶋退社祭/Mishima Shinto Temple Festival takes place during the third week of August (15th~17th this year) to coincide with the O-Bon Festival.
So I took a fast train this morning from Shizuoka City and got off at Mishima JR Station to enjoy the sights.
Follow, if you please!

True to say, as soon as I came out of the station, a parade had just entered the same street!

At 11:30 a.m. it was already blistering hot (over 30 degrees Celsius!) but the kids kept fanning the participants!

Tough work to pull that chariot along!

And playing music on top of it was even hotter!

I’m sure they could done better with the water of that well (a pun?)!

Volunteers at crossroads made sure everyone went the right way!

Mishima City is celebrated all over Japan for its eel restaurants dotting the streets!

Another one!

Another well for thirsty people!

The streets were lined with “yatai/屋台/stands well before the entrance to the Shrine!

These cold drinks should sell quickly!

Sakurabou/long pink light bread!

Shaved ice!

The torii/鳥居/gates for the birds. Such gates are the entrances of Shinto Shrines, never at those of Budhist Temples.

We know we are there!

Sake keg from Hana no Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City. Unfortunately there is no longer any sake brewery in Mishima City!

More stands inside the premises before the actual entrance to the Shrine. Fujinomiya City-style Yakisoba!

Yakitori!

The Park is worth visiting at any time of the year!

Goldfish catching!

A photographer’s paradise (a pun again?)?

The real entrance to a Shinto Shrine is marked with a “giant straw belt”!

A young girl going bananas? We haven’t passed through the entrance yet!

Fukutarou “Happiness” buns!

A secondary entrance through the wall surrounding the Shrine. The blazing sun was starting interfering with the photography!

Clean water is available to wash your hands before the entrance of any Shinto Shrine!

Next year is the Year of the Horse!

If the chrysanthemum of the “mon/seal” has 16 petals, the Shrine is part of the Japanese Emperor’s Cult!

What’s happening there? We’ll check later!

It is always worth it to nose around a large Shinto Shrine: Ikebana/生け花/Flowerarrangement!

Hidden gardens…

Portable fireworks!

Back to that event!

But let’s go around it first! What a blazing sun!

Impressive roofs!

Imperial “mon”!

This roof really looks like a helmet!

Your future for 200 yen (2.20 US$)!

The ladies selling at a Shrine stand/shop are supposed to be virgins…
Look at her headgear!

Knotting one’s wishes for the coming year…

Now, why are these three gentlemen dressed in Edo Era’s garb?

Those ancient clothes are certainly very elaborate!

I see! A (very solemn) tea ceremony!

The ancient shoes of the three gentlemen! Like their clothes, they must cost a fortune!

An illustrious unknown?

I walked across the other side of the gardens surrounding the Shrine on my way back to discover more stands. Japanese karaage/deep-fried chicken! Certainly better than those of that fake army officer!

Charcoal-grilled ayu trouts!

Cute young girls in yukata/summer kimono waiting for their yakisoba!

Such trees at Shinto Shrines are venerated as symbols of virility and fertility!

Now, I fancy these yakitori!

There are plenty of secondary shrines on the premises near waterways and small bridges!

There was another parade chariot at the side entrance with some good percussion music!

But the old guy was already probably thinking about all the Japanese sake sitting beside him!

Now, getting this chariot was sheer brutal work in that heat! It took them three tries before they could manage inching forward!

Walking around the park back to the station is also worth the effort!

Beautiful water running down from nearby Mount Fuji!

The wild ducks certainly love it!

A small bridge turned into a personal garden!

Plenty of clean water to safely play in!

Young ladies certainly welcomed the fresh water!

Whole families were thus escaping from the heat!

i could have stayed hours in such surroundings!

In Japan, always keep a look for English signs!
I know that the Japanese are probably the longest living people in the World but I still wonder…

Back at the station, all these lanterns announced the Festival. Pity I couldn’t stay still night!

There was even an on-going Japanese drum concert by a whole host of teams!

The last image of the heat of the day before I boarded the train back to Shizuoka City.
Would you believe it was pouring 30 minutes later back there with a double-digit drop in temperatute?

More to come!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

With a Glass,
Clumsyfingers by Xethia
Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK); Ohayo Bento

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery