Tag Archives: Traditional Art

Daidogei Street Performers Festival in Shizuoka City 2013 (November 1st~4th) 2

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Lucie Brouillard, face painting artist from Quebec!

The weather today being markedly cooler than yesterday encouraged me to have a look at what happening in downtown Shizuoka City during the second day of the 2013 version of Daidogei Street performers Festival!
Bear in mind that I’m only interested in the “side shows”, leaving the main show with the professional guests in Sumpu Park to other geeks!

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I was supposed to meet friends of Shizuoka JR Station who never turned up but I was lucky enough to take a pic of this Japanese acrobat couple’s last gig!

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A mime/clown from Chile!

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The marching was still here!

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Another bunch of clowns!

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The ostriches were still there, too!

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Lucie Brouillard, my favorite side show artist at work!

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This mother actually requested a penguin to dhow her kid!

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Pixie mother and daughter!

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Nail painting!
For adults!

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More nail painting!
For kids!

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Young male bodies….

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A great way to entice customers!

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Who are the real kids?

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Face drawings apparently done by art students!

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This pantomime is a regular feature year after year and is getting more and more attention from onlookers and the media!

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A frightening centipede from South Korea!
I heard that they also performed in my own hometown’s Street Performers Festival in Chalon Sur Saone, France last July, which is also visited every year by Masaaki Koga, the chief organizer of this Festival in Shizuoka City!

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The kid didn’t care a fig!

To be continued…………

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Daidogei Street Performers Festival in Shizuoka City 2013 (November 1st~4th) 1

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Masaaki Koga, the Man who made it all possible!

The 2013 version of the Shizuoka Daidogei has finally kicked off in bright sunshine and I took the opportunity to take a few pictures as the long week-end will be a real tussle!

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A small marching band?

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Like the years before faint painting was one of the most popular events right from the beginning!

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True colors?

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A pixie?

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An elf?

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A loving couple!

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Even the models were highLy concentrated!

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Photographer being photographed!

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Hey! What’s this?

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Giant ostrich!

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Beware the fowl!

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Plenty of clowns of all ages everywhere!

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Ready for the picture?

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masaaki Koga and his troops/troupes looking forward to meeting you tomorrow again!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

25th (and last?) Shizuoka Mikoshi Festival

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Yesterday afternoon I experienced a great surprise and some disappointment at the same time….

Festivals are an integral part of Japanese life and culture.
But why are they so little advertised in some cities?
Unfortunately Shizuoka City is one of the culprits.
In the whole day I espied only one other expat when there should be droves of them!

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For all the official attendance of Shizuoka City Mayor, Nobuhiro Tanabe/田辺 信宏, the participans confide me that next year it would not be possible to hold a 26th event in the same form for lack of subsidies form Government Agencies…
To think that Shizuoka Prefecture is said to be actively promoting tourism.
I didn’t even know about the event after more than 36 years of residence and I discovered it yesterday because I had changed my schedule at the last second!
And it took place for 4 hours in a row all over the center of Shizoka City along Aoba Street, Gofuku Cho Street and Shichiken Cho Street!

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In spite of it all Satoko Sanada/眞田里子さん was doing some great work announcing it all to the public!

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At least the sake was on hand! (Mind you, not Shizuoka City sake, but Hamamatsu City sake by Hana No Mai Brewery!)

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The Mikoshi Festival still has an Association! I hope they will still find a way next year!

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Peace”!

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Well, the younger generations are still hopeful!

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Great kid!

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I had arrived just in time for the preparations in Aoba Park Street before the real start of the festivities!

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I took advantage of the waiting to take some shots of the participants!

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All waiting quietly!

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Let me do it for you, kiddo!

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There were 7 mikoshi/お神輿 from Shizuoka City and 1 from Toyohashi City in Aichi Prefecture.
The great majority of the participants are connected with lumber and construction businesses.

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Posing for the ladies?

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Old hands taking it easy!

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Great “happi/半被” design!

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Colorful butterflies!

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The lady on the left wears a happi emblazoned with a “aoi/葵/hollyhock” crest, that of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu!

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Elegant!

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These ladies’ long happi could become a new fashion fad!

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Proud participants!

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Still waiting…

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Let’s have a look at the mikoshi while we have some time!

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If you look carefully you will realize they are a miniature copy of real shrines!

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Bear in mind that these mikoshi were made by lumber workers and wood craft artisans!

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This one was topped with a Japanese phoenix!

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Can you see etched against the background?

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This one, too!

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I love dragons!

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I really love dragons!

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Almost ready…

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Last recommendations and encouragements by the organising committee and the Mayor!

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At last the parade/procession is being launched!

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Headed by the singers!

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This young lady seems to enjoy the whole event for more than one reason!

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Maybe a bit older but enjoying every moment of it!

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These old guys seem to know they have a long way ahead of them!

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Good team work!

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With their eyes kept on the leaders!

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Slowly but steadily warming up to the event!

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Ambling in cadence through the crowd!

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Great smile!

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Strong ladies!

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Stopped by a traffic light…

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Hold it a bit more, guys!

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Handsome gentleman for the lady photographers!

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As strong as a man!

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And certainly more beautiful!

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Proud old men!

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Encouraged all the way by the youngest generation!
There is still plenty of hope for great traditions!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 7: Daimyou Gyouretsu-The Lord Parade

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The Sabres Dancer!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the last section of the festival and features the nationally famous Sabre Dancers!!

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the Daimyou Gyouretsu/大名行列 is the sole responsibility of the Dai Nana Kai/第七街/Seventh District and come last after all the chariots, stage dancers and parades have come through since 8:30 a.m. They usually start between 13:00 and 14:30 depending on the day.

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Onlookers were sitting on the kerb a good hour before the scheduled Parade!

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They are very strict about the organisation and young members ensure that there isn’t the slightest impediment.
I was told in no uncertain term by a metal cane wielding young man to move to the sides well before the parad actually reached my spot!

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The “leaders” are extremely proud of their prerogatives, even by Japanese standards.
This is after all the aristocratic part of the festival and in Edo times they were far more obvious about their power and authority as the local Lord and his retainers paraded for real!

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The first herald!

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The lancers!

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The Lord’s mark of authority carried inside portable boxes!

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Heavy stuff actually!

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Those two kids are supposed to represent the two most powerful retainers!

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The archers!

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Kids have also taken the place of the Lord and his sons on horses!
And horse handlers are now ladies!

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The Lord parading past a cake shop!

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Most of the lower ranked retainers parade is enacted by children!

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Those dancers are a modern addition!

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The hairstyles were vastly different, then! LOL

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At least these kids are not taking it all too seriously!

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The Overlord was pulled along atop a small float.

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Bow to the Lord!

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Taking a rest and being re-groomed!

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No parade would come along without its music band!

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A rare smile from the handlers who seemed to enjoy themselves more than some uppity “retainers”!

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Even the lord seemed more amenable to his subjects!

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Another Lord with lady handlers!

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At last the ones all had been waiting!
The Sabre dancers!
This was makes the unique name and fame of this festival in the whole of Japan!
Enormous obi/sashes are wrapped around giant swords secured by sashes around the dancers’ waists.

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All the dancers carry different obi/sashes wrapped around their swords.
The “apron” is also unique.
All are made of expensive silk. They carry a real fortune along which is is displayed only for three days every three years!
The Parade is a very expensive a affair to take charge of. Therefore it has been held every 3 years ony for 107 times!

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The dancing is also a tough challenge along the 1.7 km ( 1 mile) main road which takes more than two hours.
To think they go through that three days in a row!

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The Dancers have to hold an umbrella (they certainly need it in the heat!) with one hand, make big waves with the other hand and raised the knees high with every step!

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Tough for photographers who are not allowed to stand or walk in front or across the Parade!

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Not so many onlookers on the sunny side of the road which could burn your skins in a jiffy, but one couldn’t walk on the shady side between the Parade and the houses along the street!

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Some of them were obviously tired!

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Tough work to raise your knees under that heavy apron!

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Tough work too to raise your arm above the shoulder and make a circling wave back and forward!

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Helpers were carrying low stools on which they could rest every time the parade had to stop!

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A well-earned rest!
Mind you, even in such a sitting position it must be tough to carry all that finery along!

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Fortunately an army of handlers were here to give plenty of support, water and encouragements!

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One thing was sure, all had strong legs!
The dancers are basically different every three years as it is a very sought after honor!

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This particular dancer was very popular with the crowd as he took often the time to look and wink at them. Note the whiskers!

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There was plenty more to follow including the brandishing and throwing of decorated poles but I was running out of batteries!

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A common feature to top-class Japanese Festivals!

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I hope that in three years’ time technology will have evolved enough to make it a film of it all without fear of running out of batteries!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 6: The “Clash” of the Chariots

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Make way!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the so-called clash of the chariots (not real floats) and all its fun!

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Dai Nikai Yatai/Second district Chariot

The Chariots/Yatai seen during the Shimada Obi Festival are chariots more than floats.
Shimada City counts seven districts, Dai/第 Ichi, Ni, san, Yon, Go, Roku and Nana Kai/街.
The first six districts look after their own chariot which is also used as theater platform where plays are enacted by local kids.
The seventh district is in charge of the Lord Parade/Daimyou Gyooretsu!

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Lovely fans of the Dai Nikai/Second district!

Although each chariot, after “having received permission from the other districts” is allowed to mave along the main district past all districts.

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More lovely fans of the Dai Nikai!

But the fans will stay inside their own District to cheer their chariot as it passes them by.

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The “movers”!

Although the chariots are mounted on wheels, these same wheels are more of wood and metal and are fixed to the frame. They do not roll!
One main reason for that is that a free-wheeling chariot is just too unstable to control.
Hence the armies of “movers”!

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Now, this is tough work to ensure three days in a row!

Each “mover” is armed with a long pole made of a solid tree trunk cut at a slant at its base.
The poles will be used to lift and push the chariots from any side as thick tree trunks are fixed to the bottom frame just above ground!

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Whereas at other times of the day the chariots will become the theater stages, in the morning they are paraded along the main street to the sounds of drum and Japanese fife players sitting inside!

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The rope pullers of the Dai Ni Kai!

On the other hand teams of young men will pull the chariots with long ropes to help move forward.
But when it comes to moving sideways the “movers” will take care of the show!

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The Fourth/Dai Yon Kai District pullers having a break!

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Getting ready!

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A last re-adjustment before the pull!

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A few more details to take care of!

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the “cheerleaders” standing on the roof, sticks in hands!
Notice that they are all light-weight!

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The fans’ fans!

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The Dai Yon Kai Chariot about to start!

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The Dai Ni Kai Chariot about to star, too!
The whole affair is to manage to have two chariots moving along each other in different directions without any mishaps!
Not easy!

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Still waiting to start…

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Just a few more seconds…

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Start the drums!

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Moving forward at a slant needs so much physical synchronization!

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Now the “problem” is starting! Both teams must absolutely ensure the very close by-passing!

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The “clash” is beginning!
Actually it is all carefully planned banter.
The two chariots “riders” will scream at each other to leave the way or move aside.
There will be no real fight in spite of the very “serious” faces of the participants.
But in the rare occasion when the chariots do hit each other by accident older members will immediately run between the handlers and shout them away from each other in no uncertain words!
The police is invisible at such times and the citizens handle themselves!

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The “riders” guiding the “pullers” and Movers” sideways to the sounds of sticks and whistles!

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The “movers” concentrate on their task as if nothing was happening…
Mind you, they are well armed! LOL

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Handlers waiting patiently while riders are screaming at each other!

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In the meantime some young pullers are having their own fun!

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C’mon guys! Let’s go with it!

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Unrelenting drumming during all that time!

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Some young ladies were very serious at it!

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Move aside, will ya!

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Now that we getting closer the “movers” are waiting for the “directions”…

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It is the turn of the riders to frantically scream at each other while directing their respective chariots!

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careful guys, careful!

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Move aside!

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Steady! Steady!

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Very little leeway, I can assure you!

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All the time the fans’ fans in a frenzy!

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The last scramble!

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Safely through, but look at those “stares”!

Part 7 will the daimyou Gyouretsu/Lord Parade close the show!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 5: The Food Stands!

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Brochettes, brochettes, brochettes!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the food the Japanese take for granted at a Japanese Festival or such events! It becomes nothing less than a giant BBQ!

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Like any city worth its salt in Japan and furthermore staging a major festival or event a very large space will be made available for visitors to refresh and feed themselves (as well as relieve themselves).
This space in Shimada City is either used for open-air events, festivals or as a supplementary car park.
As cars are prohibited form entering the town center during the the 3-day festival, the space is just ideal.
The sign reads: “”One of the Three Unusual Festivals in Japan. Welcome. 107th Shimada Big Festival/Obi Festival”!

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Not only the city provides the space for the food stands to be erected along its perimeter but it also provides the tents, chairs, tables and plastic white table cloths for visitors to eat and drink comfortably under the searing sun in day time or eventual rain!

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They also install large trash boxes regularly emptied and cleaned all day long by city workers!
The trash boxes are divided for “Bottles (glass) & Cans”, “Burnable Trash”, “Trash to be Incinerated (heavier than the former)” and “Plastic Pet Bottles (soda, etc,)”!

OK, let’s go around the food stands!

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Charcoal-grilled “ayame” trouts!

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Naturally sausages are a must!

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It is also a good time to sample specialties from all over Japan: Oita (Kyushu) style stir-fried chicken!

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Hiroshima-style noodles, pasta, Yaki, Okonmiyaki!

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Yakitori!

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Fujinomiya City has made Shizuoka famous all over the country for its Yakisoba/Stir-fried noodles!

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These disappear within a blink of the eye!

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Plenty of draft beer available!

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Tai Yaki (seabream-shaped pancakes containing anko/sweet meat beans) for the kids and sweet teeth!

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Giant nikuman/large dumplings made of steamed bread and pork. I had the bottom one made with Shizuoka tea!

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Fried sweet potato and potato sticks!

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Whirly sausages!

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Spicy stir-fried chicken!

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I also had one of these Osaka-style takoyaki/dumplings containing octopus!

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More pork kushiyaki/brochettes!

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Cotton candy!
In France we call them “daddy’s beard”!

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Not a food stand actually, but a soft drinks and kids game stand!

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Another BBQ staple: deep-fried potato brochette, broiled corn and deep-fried sweet potato sticks!

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This particular charcoal-grilles sausages and pork brochetttes stand had a constant 20-people queue stretching in front of it!

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Chorizo sausage pizzas!

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Giant crepes! Sweeeeeeeeeet!

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Oden! A shizuoka specialty!

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Karaage/Deep-fried chicken!

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Baked sweet potato cakes!

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Drinks! Including Shizuoka sake! Shimada city is famous all over Japan for its “Onna Nakase/Make a Woman Cry” sake brand!

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Mexican sausage and potato tortilla!

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Kawane green tea!
Shizuoka produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan!

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These two ladies were having a ball selling miso mochi!
Just another proof that sexiness is ageless!

We will go back to the action in Part 6: “The Clash Of The Chariots”!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

DAIDOGEI-STREET PERFORMANCE-WORLD CUP IN SHIZUOKA 2013 (November 1st~4th)

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The Daidogei/Street performance World Cup is back in shizuoka City!
A major Festival which photographers and circus lovers must not miss!
It will take place on the first week end of November from the 1st (Friday) to the 4th (Monday (National Holiday).

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15 guest artists will be featured but many more performers from Shizuoka, Japan and the world will participate.

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Artists will be performing near the Shizuoka JR Station, along Gofuku Cho, Aoba and Shichiken-Cho Streets, in Tokiwa park and Sumpu Castle Park (the latter for an entry fee).

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There are many other features to be enjoyed such as face paiting, food an drink stands, and much more as it is a real festival!

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The 15 guests will be Kharitonov Brothers, Jugglers from Russia, Ballet on the shoulder from China, Naked Lunch, acrobats from Ireland & the US, Duo Pospelov, acrobats from Ukraine, The Robot Boys, pantomime from Denmark,

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Elastic, Comedy magician from Belgium, Sterza Family, Acrobatic Musicians from Italy & Kazakhstan, Mario & Sharon Berousek, MAGNAMUS, Acrobats from France & Norway, jugglers from the Czech Republic, Heloise & William, Acrobats from France & the US,

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Chilly 6 Fly, Acrobats from Canada, Bello Knock, Acrobat comedian from the US. TOMCHUK, Acrobats from Ukraine and SKATING PILAR, Skates Acrobats from France, last year champions!

If you can read Japanese do consult the DAIDOGEI HOMEPAGE!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 4: The Kids!

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The best picture of the day!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the many kids I had the pleasure to (all pictures were agreed with!) to give a good idea of what to expect at a Japanese Festival!

I basically divided the many pictures along themes for easier viewing:

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With the mascot!

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Teaching by example?

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Hungry and waiting for the parade to come.

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It was a bit too hot for the kids that day!

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Tired and hungry.

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Eager to participate!

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So well-behaved!

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Aren’t we beautiful?

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These are tough kids who had to walk no less than 1.7 km a day for 3 days in a row!
Also very tough for the parents who walked behind in holiday finery!

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Mind you they were looked after, what with portable stools during the many stops and caretakers looking after all your needs!

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Even on the third day many kids were still having a ball of a day!

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A bit tougher for the bigger kids who also looked after the wee ones!

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Some still couldn’t hide their fatigue!

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Note the mothers following their kids in 30 degrees Celsius heat!

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How far do we still have to go Mum?

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Let’s have a break, shall we?

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Well, that kid is certainly enjoying himself all year round!

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Horse Lord 1!

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Horse Lord 2!

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Horse Lord 3!

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Lucky boy! I wouldn’t mind being reined in by such grand ladies!

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The festival chariots also served as dancing stages where incredibly clad kids form 4 to 9 years old performed traditional Japanese dances to the sound of instruments and singers’ voices!

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The dancers had to be carried on a strong man’s back up onto and down form the stages!

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Dancing genius 1!

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Dancing genius 2!

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Dancing genius 3!

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Dancing genius 4 making his final salute!

All this is hungry and thirsty work so I will take you to the Festival Food Stnads in Part 5!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 3: Faces of Ladies

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The cutest ladies at the festival? Definitely the most serious about it!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the faces of some ladies I met on purpose or by chance to give a good idea of what to expect at a Japanese Festival!

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Flaming hair!

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Well, no world is perfect….

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The same standing. Brrrrr…….

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Always on the phone, even in the company of a boyfriend!

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These two ladies selling at a food stand were certainly having a good time!

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The color of their hair is a sign of their seriousness!

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We’ll see many more of these with such grand hairstyles!

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“Fans” with fans waiting for the clash of chariots!

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Parade dancers having a break.

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Looking after the younger generation.

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It was a very hot and dry day. Every respite was welcome!

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Heads up! Time is coming soon to dance again!

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My favorite picture!

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Here they come!

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Tigerish hairstyle?

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I know, I know! I do like her!

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A bodyline to make a lot of foreign tourists jealous!

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It all might looks eanough but I can assure you all this dancing was extremely strenuous!

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I’m so bleeding tired…..

Part 4 is about the KIDS!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 2: Faces of Men!

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Behave yourself at Festival or I’ll get at you!

I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
This report is about the faces of some men I met on purpose or by chance to give a good idea of what to expect at a Japanese Festival!

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my good friend Hisatsugu Umehara/梅原詞さん who has been helping the fourth district (there are no less than 7 organizing the whole festival!) for the 7th time in a row! (Multiply by 3=18 years!)
Thanks to him I found great spots for photographs and was offered a wealth of information!

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Don’t touch the sake without my permission!

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Talking it easy at the office of the fourth district!

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Obviously hasn’t recovered from last night drinking! (The festival lasts three days!)

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One cup of sake per person only! Understood?

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Different size, length and color!

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Easy hairstyles?

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(Comparatively) Handsome?

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This chap would have been a hit with Medieval European ladies!

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When you grow older, whiter and less abundant, sport a beard!

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Windy or wavy hairstyle?

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Proud to be a man!

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11 am and already happily drinking!
Great smiles!

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Brrrrrrr,,,,,,,,,,,

This lady will be featured again in Part 3: Faces of Ladies!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shimada Obi Festival 1: Happi-Festival Coats

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I finally went to watch the Shimada Obi Festival today where I took literally hundred of pictures and have to divide this report on of the strangest/unusual festivals in Japan into many parts!
this first part will be dedicated to “Happi/半被”, which could be translated as half coats and which are usually worn at Festivals or special occasions to show to which group you belong!
But there are also purely artistic Happi!

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A classical design with a lion!

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Another classical happi with a chain motif!

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Another classical happi with a prawn motif at the top!

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A more artistic happi with a stylized Kabuki Theater Face Painting!

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Samurai Fight!

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The broken mask of a Goblin/Oni called “Han Ya2 in Noh Theater!

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A Dragon in the clouds!

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A monk astride a Dragon!

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Two beautiful artistic happis!
Let’s have a closer look!

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River-crossing Lady!

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A Phoenix, a Winged Horse/Pegasus and a Turtle in front of a red Mount Fuji!

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A Dragon flying around Mount Fuji!

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A scene representing a castle with a river, a bridge and a boat in the foreground!
Like a painting of yore!
Beautiful!

Part 2 will be about the “faces of men” i met around the Festival!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

38th Shizuoka Traditional Crafts Exhibition at Matsuzakaya Department Store! (Part 2)

Motif-inlaid Utility Lacquer box!

From January 18th through the 23rd a big exhibition is featuring traditional crafts and artists from all over the Prefecture!
This is a must-see event as Shizuoka Prefecture is a major crafts producing Prefecture in Japan!
No less than 66 artists will be represented!
This is the second installment but I will start soon running a series of individual interviews of these artists who are contributing so much to the preservation of great Japanese traditions!

Geta/wooden clogs and a picture of the artist whom I will interview soon!

Beautifully hand-carved and painted geta for ladies!

Elegant low-heeled men geta!

Nobody but a doll will ever wear these getas as they are smaller than the palm of your hand! Exquisite objet d’art!

Lady kimono “obidome/belt knot cover”!

More cute obidome!

Lady lacquered hairpins/hairknots!

Lady pendant tops, obidome, and hair barettes!

Exquisite business cards holders (for ladies!)!

Motif-inlaid lacquered utility boxes!

The artist about to paint the carved lacquer box!
Will interview him soon!

A favorite of mine: Japanese Sake Serving Glassware!

Business card holders for gentlemen!

Laquered paper tissue/napkin box you could use as a stand at the same time!

Dyed cloth eco-bag!

Wonderful lacquered chopsticks!

Expensive lacquered soup bowls!

Lacquered trays and bento boxes (for ladies) inlaid with dragonfly motif!

Exquisitely feminine bento boxes!

Another favorite of mine: Lacquered Japanese cups! A bit expensive but a true piece of art!

These beautiful insects are made of bamboo!

These bamboo lattice vase or lamp holders are a trademark of Shizuoka!

For a romantic night!

A lot of ladies would love such an elegant hand bag both for its originality and sheer intricacy!

Superb vessels for ikebana/flower arranging!

Traditional Shizuhata/賎機焼 pottery officially recognized as an asset of Shizuoka Prefecture!
The bowls can be used as such or for decoration as they bear pedestals on their back.

When you turn them over you realize they represent the face of a goblin/Oni/鬼!

More pottery from the same artist family I will interview soon!

More celebrated (and expensive!) Shizuhata pottery!

“Wappa” box with interesting motifs!

The artist and his family dye and wash this “Aizome/藍染” dye cloth with the water of their own well!

Dyed cloth bags!

Dyed cloth lady purses!

Don’t worry, many interviews coming soon!

Matsuzakaya Department Store
Right across the street from the Shizuoka JR Station North Exit
Opening hours: 10:00=19:00

For more information on prices, availability and orders please contact:
Robert-Gilles Martineau at Agrigraph
r.martineau@m2-labo.jp
Fax: (81)(0)537-7724

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

38th Shizuoka Traditional Crafts Exhibition at Matsuzakaya Department Store!

Ikawa Mempa Bento Boxes!

From January 18th through the 23rd a big exhibition will feature traditional crafts and artists from all over the Prefecture!
This is a must-see event as Shizuoka Prefecture is a major crafts producing Prefecture in Japan!
No less than 66 artists will be represented!

Yesterday I ran to the 8th Floor of the department store to take pictures to give you an idea on what is on offer!
Naturally, I will start running a series of individual interviews of these artists who are contributing so much to the preservation of great Japanese traditions!

Here we go!

Box weaving artist!

Natural fiber woven boxes!

Everyday necessities from geta/wooden clog, purse to trays and lamps!

Ikawa Mempa lacquered bento boxes!

This large bento box could be used as a tray!

High quality wood cabinets and vase supports!

Traditional “tansu” drawer chests!

Arguably better than fragile antiques! And as good-looking!

Tempting, aren’t they? Both useful and so decorative!

One of my favorite crafts, bamboo lattice handcraft!

Light, sturdy and elegant for everyday use and decoration!

I couldn’t get my hands off them!

Japanese wooden clogs, geta! The reason that they are still popular is that they are actually promoting the feet’s health!

For gentlemen and ladies!

Exquisite pendants!

Decorated lacquered boxes!

2012 is the Year of the Dragon!

Beautiful Japanese traditional motifs!

Traditional wooden toys! Such Japanese-made toys are becoming a rarity!

Shizuoka is also celebrated for its “Aizome” dyed cloth which is also used in modern fashion!

This material will make your friends envious. Just think of the possibilities!

More everyday apparels!

Coaster collection for every year!

Very elegant and cheerful on a cold winter day!

Everyday enameled earthenware!

Both extravagant and sophisticated everyday earthenware!

Beautiful lunch boxes, chopsticks, trays all lacquered for ladies!

Mini mirrors!

And this is only a small part!
I might as well take more pictures today!

Matsuzakaya Department Store
Right across the street from the Shizuoka JR Station North Exit
Opening hours: 10:00=19:00

For more information on prices, availability and orders please contact:
Robert-Gilles Martineau at Agrigraph
r.martineau@m2-labo.jp
Fax: (81)(0)537-7724

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