Category Archives: Festivals & Events

My “Traditional” Japanese Christmas Dinner

Jay Dee:

Merry Christmas everyone! I finally had a traditional Japanese Christmas dinner. Check it out!

Originally posted on I Read Encyclopedias for Fun:

Japan doesn’t have a long Christmas tradition, as it’s a more recent trend here.  It’s also mainly done to sell more things and make more money.  It’s entirely commercial.  It’s also a time for couples to go on dates and exchange gifts.  It’s typically not a family holiday, but parents will sometimes give their children gifts.  Also, it’s very difficult to find turkey here, so we have to make do with other things.

And that brings me to my Christmas dinner today.  This is the “traditional” Christmas dinner.  Just take a look.

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That’s right, Kentucky Fried Chicken!  We had some regular KFC chicken, boneless chicken, French fries (no gravy in Japan), salad, and a “Christmas cake.”  It was actually a chocolate cake.  To many Japanese people, Christmas means cake.  They’re often very surprised to find out that cake isn’t a big tradition where I’m from.  Sure, people get fruitcake, but…

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Filed under Culture, Festivals & Events, Food, Japan

2014 General Election in Japan

It’s now just after midnight, which means it’s December 14th.  And that means it’s time for the Japanese General Election!  I made a quick video about the election.  Check it out.

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Politics, Vlog

It Can’t Be Halloween Yet, Can it?

It’s early September, and what do I see?  Halloween decorations.  Sounds like some businesses are very enthusiastic about Halloween to be decorating this early.  Not even out of summer yet.  Well, I made this video a couple days ago about how businesses in Japan tend to decorate for Halloween far earlier than they need to.  Keep in mind that the business I show is an opticians and they don’t have a special Halloween sale going on.

Now, this video isn’t just me talking about Halloween decorations.  You’ll want to watch to the end, because I had a rather creepy encounter.

I sure didn’t expect that.

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Filed under Asahi-ku, Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Yokohama

Isuzu Fujisawa Festival 2014

Two weeks ago, on August 1st, my family went to the 36th annual Isuzu Fujisawa Festival at the Isuzu truck factory in Fujisawa.  Since it was only 20 minutes away from us on foot, it was a pretty easy decision to go to it.

The festival featured a lot of food, taiko drums, singing, festival games, mikoshi (portable shrine), and fireworks.  As you’ll see later in the video below, we didn’t stay for the fireworks, but we did see some.  The video features mostly the taiko performance, which is nice to watch.  The girl dancing to the taiko music is my daughter.  It was her first time seeing anything like this, and she really loved it.

If you’ve watched the video already, you’ll notice that we had a thunderstorm.  It was actually quite intense with a lot of lightning.  But I love a good thunderstorm.

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa

Carp Flags at Shirahata Shrine

Yesterday was Kodomo no Hi (子供の日) or Children’s Day in Japan.  It’s a holiday that celebrates children and their happiness.  During this holiday, people string up carp flags/streamers, or koi nobori.  Basically, they’re a kind of wind sock.  I visited Shirahata Shrine (白幡神社) in Fujisawa, near Fujisawa-honmachi Station, and was treated to a large number of very big koi nobori.  Have a look.

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The shrine gate.

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Those are some big streamers.

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Caught in the wind.

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White wisteria.

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Looking up.

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Going up to the main hall.

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The main hall with glare from the sun.

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Koi nobori from the main hall.

I hope all the children will be strong this year.

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Filed under Culture, Festivals & Events, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Shrines

US Navy flights during oshogatsu

The issue of the US military in Japan has often been a touchy one for many people.  Voices against them have been getting louder, mostly when one of the servicemen rapes or murders a local person, resulting in tightening control over the soldiers and imposing a curfew on them.  However, there’s something that is irritating a lot of people, even though the military isn’t setting foot on Japanese soil outside the base.

They are doing training flights or exercises over the central Kanagawa area, which is exactly where I live.  Atsugi base is nearby, so there are bound to be many jets flying overhead.  I’ve come to accept that as normal.  However, January 1st to 3rd is Oshogatsu, the Japanese New Year, and the most important holiday period in the country.  It’s a time spent quietly going to shrines and temples to pray for the new year.  Quietly is the key word.  Around here, and especially the Fujisawa and Kamakura areas with many big temples and shrines, there are thousands of people trying to pray and wish for a good year.  But with frequent booming roars of jet engines overhead, it’s got a lot of people furious.  You’d think they’d tone it down a bit to pay some respects to the local traditions. It seems like I get to hear a jet, plane, or helicopter over my home every 30 minutes.

For a couple of days, many people just want peace.

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Filed under Daily Life, Festivals & Events

Okome Matsuri, the Rice Festival

The Okome Matsuri, or Rice Festival, is being held at Yokohama’s Aka Renga Soko this weekend.  My family and I went to it yesterday afternoon and enjoyed the sunny weather and plenty of food.

Aka Renga Soko is often used as the site of many events.  Oktoberfest is also there.  At the festival, there were several tents set up for food vendors, which were selling a large variety of interesting foods.  I’d like to talk about what I ate, since everyone was there for the food.

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The festival grounds with the Red Brick Warehouses in the background.

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Ebi kushiten (Shrimp tempura on a stick) was pretty good. I love shrimp tempura, and the sauce was very good.

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Maguro gyoza (tuna gyoza) was an interesting food. Usually, gyoza has pork and vegetables in it, this had tuna. It was quite good.

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This was some of the food, including mabodofu (at top), maguro gyoza, pork, ebi kushiten, and some tomato dish which I didn’t eat. At the bottom was nori.

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Grilled chicken with onion sauce was delicious. I love grilled chicken!

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Tenkara, which is karaage (fried chicken), was very good. It seemed to have a bit of a garlic flavour.

In addition to the above food, we also had 6 kinds of rice.  There were 12 types of rice available, but we chose 6.  Honestly, I didn’t find much of a difference between them.

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Other people enjoying the festival.

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Some of the vendors.

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One last picture. The sign says “Okome Matsuri.”

There was a lot of good food, and I enjoyed trying it.  I filled up on rice and plenty of meats.  It’s running until tomorrow (November 18), so if you want to check it out, I definitely recommend it.

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Filed under Festivals & Events, Food, Japan, Kanagawa, Naka-ku, Yokohama