First Matsuri, karage and cotton candy ramen

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October 16th 2016
Published: October 17th 2016
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Yesterday evening, after writing the blog, I met Yumi-chan in the kitchen and she asked me if I was interested to go see a Matsuri on the following day. As I have never been to one, I was up for it 😊

This morning, I woke up early and was ready to go by 9 am. Unfortunately, Yumi-chan forgot to wake up and we were on our way at 9.30 am lol We had to take the subway and then the train to go to Kishi. It took about 1 h door to door and, again, I didn't see any countryside during the ride... the city never ends.

Once arrived at Kishi station, we wondered if we were at the right place as it was really quiet. After asking, we were on our way to the direction of the music 😊 We could see far away that a lot of people were dancing and singing around big wooden structures.

Once there, it was sure we were on the right place. So many people and a lot of big wooden structures. People were dancing, screaming, singing and pushing this big wooden structures which were actually on "wooden" wheel. The atmosphere was incredible.

A bit of explanation now:

Matsuri are festival in Japan to celebrate gods, food and good fortune during the year. Basically, it is like asking the gods to have a good year regarding farming (food), family, money, friends, health, well being...EVERYTHING.

Usually, the Matsuri takes place in a city where there is a big temple. The small towns around all come to celebrate the Matsuri. Each town has the same things to celebrate: a big wooden structures on wheel called Danjiri, which they made and decorated in their town, about 30 men to push / pull / turn / push up the Danjiri, 6 men on the Danjiri to play the music, sing and do the show, 3 men to coordinate what the other should do (direction) and women (as much as possible) to sing and dance beside the Danjiri. All the people part of the same town wear traditional clothes with the same design and color representing their town. From town to town, the design and colors change, then you can recognise them.

All the Danjiri go around the city making a show for the people to see before going to the temple, where one by one, they go in front of the temple with the Danjiri, play an old Japanese drama (very fun) and then get crazy singing and bouncing the Danjiri to thank the gods 😊

Around the temple, there was an area with food, drinks and games for children, like a small fair. It was really nice and I got to eat some street food like "karage" which is basically fried chicken :D

We spent a good 4 hours walking around and watching all this crazy things with Yumi-chan before heading back to Osaka. This was a very fun day, and I got to spend it with Yumi-chan so that was even more fun as she is a bit the crazy / party one over here :P As well, as she doesn't speak very good English, we had to do a mix with Japanese and I understood a lot about Japanese language during this day, so that was great :D

Once back, we went to see Bon-chan as she was just finishing work. The place she works in is a guest house which is really nice with a cosy atmosphere 😊 AS Yumi-chan went to the onsen (spa / hot bath), I relaxed with Bon-chan and she gave me a tour of the area around her work.

Later, we joined Reina-san in Umeda to have some ramen. We went to a place called bird because they put a little ball of cotton candy (barbapapa) on top of the ramen so it looks like a bird nest 😉 It gave the ramen a little sweet taste which was very nice.

As Bon-chan went home, we decided to go for a beer nearby. It was a place were they make their own beer and ales and I have to say that their IPA is great :D We spent there about 1 hour and everything was in Japanese. That was hard but I could understand almost everything so I was very happy. I see that my Japanese is improving really quickly because of my flatmates who are helping me practicing :D they are so nice 😊

Then it was time to go home and bed as tomorrow is Monday and I have school 😉

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