Sunday, May 25, 2008

五月祭@東大::May's festival @Toudai

Summer is the festivals season in Japan.
This time's festival is different. It is the May festival of the University of Tokyo, sometimes better translated as "May's Fair".

A lot of people infront of the AKAMON

The festival Mascot .. I think that it's very fuuny

In front of the Yasuda auditorium.. A lot of preparations were being held in front of it.

A lot of booths for food and games were there..a lot of performances all over the campus. It felt that I was in an amusement park w!
But..I ignored all these and was looking for one thing..only one thing, the Taiko(Drums) performance!

I LOVE TAIKO performances! They really can build energy inside me.. and can easily reach and move my "acquired" Yamato spirit! w

The first performance I ever saw was in Jordan's most famous festival, "Jerash festival", when a Japanese group from Osaka made a great taiko performance..this was like 5 or 6 years ago, when I was still a high school student.
At that time, my motivation to go and see that performance was only because its a Japanese performance, but after it I became deeply interested in Taiko! .. And really wanted to "Hit" one!

But I was lucky to have a chance to drum on the taiko in summer last year... and I did it with passion! To get a better understanding of what I meant by "with passion", watch the video below! (JULY 2007 - Kyouto)

...Back to our main topic!
The festival spans 2 days. Today was the 2nd. I was planning to go yesterday, but I found the weather not encouraging..

The TAIKO group in front of the General Library, Toudai Hongou Campus

See the videos of today's performance, they are just GREAT!!!!

That was, again, GREAAATTTTT!
Of course the festival included a lot of musical and other performances..but this is the most nihon-ppoi thing I found! :) Once it was finished, I headed back home to finish the mountain of study that I have ^^;
永久 天日(AQ. Amani)Signs out!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


*Edited : Info added on the fish game

The foreign students support club in my university arranges activities and trips nearly once each month to famous places inside or close to Tokyo.

This month's activity was visiting Asakusa (浅草) to see the famous SANJA MATSURI (sanja festival 三社祭).
Actually this was not my first time to Asakusa and sensouji(浅草寺) since we went there last year, but for today, it was my first time to see a Japanese Festival.
(Most festivals in Japan are rather religious celebrations).

It was really an interesting experience.
The place was crazily crowded... smells of food being cooked/grilled/fried is filling the place..traditional matsuri games for kids..kakigooriかき氷....and of course, a lot of omikoshi!神輿(portable shrines)
All these things would make you feel the matsuri(festival) atmosphere!

On the way towards sensouji ..kiosks and shops on both sides. They sell interesting nihonppoi if you want to make your room so, this is a good place to buy such stuff!

Since it was a traditional festival, it felt OK to put on the hachimaki (I once was told that putting such hachimaki with Japan flag on it is not very much appreciated, since it has something related to the WW and being an extreme nationalist or something... but I took the advantage of being a gaikokujin and pretended that I don't know! :p )
One old man that I encountered even told me 「お!日の丸、、かっこいいですね!」 ="o!Japan's flag, that's cool!"
I'm not sure if he meant it ^^; But anyway, I have my own meaning for putting on the hachimaki, and it has nothing to do with history ^^

Carrying omikoshi

Before I come and see everything, I was thinking that it would be nice to participate in carrying one, and take a picture too...but after I saw with my own eyes how heavy it looks and how many people it needs to be carried..I changed my mind!

I posed here last year w

Actually seeing this and remembering that senseouji is a Temple and not a Shrine has "corrupted" my information a little at first.
I know that the festival is a Shinto matsuri so I was thinking why would there be a Shinto matsuri in a Temple.
Then I realized that this festival does not belong to the sensouji, rather it belongs to the nearby ASAKUSA shrine , which was built to honor the people who built the sensouji.
lol Am I making it any easier this way?

The traditional fish game. 金魚すくい(SAKANA SUKUI)
The principle is that you have to catch a fish with a tool that is made of thin paper that melts easily in water, so you have to be quick.
I saw a lot of happy kids walking proud with their caught fishes put in a plastic transparent bag.

The Anpanman(الرغيف العجيب) mask is so cute, I wanted one just to stick to my room's wall, but... cough! :p

So now! What is a festival post without...VIDEOS?!
I took a lot of videos and I want to share some, so you can FEEL the matsuri!
(Sorry for the low quality, I had to make them smaller in size so I can quickly upload them..Also I don't think that you want to download a 2 minutes video of size 200MB !!)

Carrying the OMIKOSHI (In this festival, 100 such omikoshi are carried to begin touring the town) :

Gotta see this one! :
Kids can also participate by carrying a smaller and lighter omikoshi.
They were really cute!

That's all for the SANJA MATSURI!
I hope it was informative and enjoyable~ comments people! ^_^
K-chan logs out!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Golden DAY - Re-living memories + a first meeting

Today was such a wonderful day.
During the whole golden week, I've gone no where... nowhere worth mentioning; and the weather was not encouraging at all. It had been either rainy or cloudy in a very gloomy way.

But today was such a full day, a real golden day.
Sunny and warm. Just looking out through the window would move you to get dressed and go out.
I don't like unplanned go outs, so I spent like 10 minutes planning what to do, where to go and how to go! But the day ended with a nice unplanned surprise :) Follow on with me!

As an engineer, I was looking for the most efficient way,in terms of cost, to reach my destinations utilizing my monthly pass as much as I can.

At last I decided to go first for a walk near Tameikesannou station(溜池山王駅), to bring back memories of last year's summer!

I walked beside the ANA Hotel, where we were staying.. "ohisashiburi~"

Stared at this shrine.. "oh! I remember you!"

And wondered about these 2 jidouhanbaiki(自動販売機) which are still in their places.. I used them to buy a bottle of juice last year, I remember that clearly..

I thought: "There should be a 24hours McDonalds if I turn here", and there it was.
I remember the place very well! We used to walk here a lot in the humid nights of Tokyo summer =)
Each time I pass by a building or anything thing that I remember from that time, it becomes like : "Hi! I am back as I promised!"
I was really happy to walk there! A happiness with a small hint of NATSUKASHII-ness, since I miss those youth exchange program days~.

The tameike sannou part is over now.
Next, I was planning to go to Akiba, to buy some stuff and to,again, re-live some memories.
I went there from Ocha no mizu station. But before that I had a small walk near this station..ocha no mizu is really a nice place~ with a small river/stream of ocha water :p

ocha no mizu..literally !

After arriving to Akiba -which is only the next station after ocha no mizu on the sobu chuo line- I headed to Yodobashi Akiba and spent most of the time there.
I got myself the 8MP Canon IXY 910IS DigiCamera and some other stuff..
Although the Sony cybershot ones where attractive..but when it comes to photography, I prefer to choose the name with longer history in photography.
High quality pictures on this blog from now on~~

We are not done yet!
The nice surprise was waiting~
When I came back home, I was about to open my room's door when I noticed that the horizon was very clear and that I could see some mountains.
I saw these ones before, but the thing was that today was clear enough that I could see mount Fuji.
I grabbed my mobile phone, rushed to the 7th floor of the lodge and there was the wonderful view.
At first I wasn't 100% sure it was mount Fuji. But given that it was further than any mountain I could see, yet bigger than anyone of them. + It's symmetrical shape + It's exactly where it should be direction-wise ..I became positive it is Fuji!
ドキドキ!! ..ワクワク!! is the best way to describe my feelings at that time.
Taken by my 3.2MP mobile camera, the pictures are not good! But I hope they can deliver at least a small part of the idea!
There are 2 pictures. The first is the original one, and the second is an edited one to make it easier to see.

The original picture - probably wont be able to see it

I edited the contrast and sharpness of the picture so if you look well you can see its upper part. (pointed to by an arrow) It's hiding behind the mountains to the front
Of course It was much clearer to be seen by bare eyes

This last picture is one got from the Internet. It's a view of Fuji from Tokyo Tower. I should go there next time the weather is clear..

This picture is NOT taken by me

This picture is NOT taken by me

Of course Tokyo Tower is much higher than my lodge building (duh!) . It's the highest in Tokyo Actually. So you can see more of Fuji san.
Also given Tokyo Tower's location with reference to my lodge, Fuji will be seen a little shifted to the left with reference to the mountains in front of it. And this is what you will see if you compare the 2 pictures.

....What I am trying to do here is to prove that the 2 previous pictures are for the same thing. i.e. what I saw was indeed Fuji.

...A verryyyyyyy long post for a veryyyyyyy nice day.
Hope you enjoyed it~ I expect comments! ;)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

3 in 1

To the right is my favorite 柿ピー, a mix of nuts and KAKI NO TANE (KAKI seeds).
Down you can see my rail pass.. I finally got my self a rail pass for one month which will allow me to use my route unlimited times during this 1 month. (I use the Inokashira, Ginza and Marunouchi lines to go to the university everyday)...the metro trip is a COLORFUL story..I think I will talk about it in some other post,,,I am developing an obsession with Tokyo Metro ^^;

Actually this pass made a big difference! It saves me trouble of buying a ticket at each station! + It's a good deal if I compare it with the price I pay for one month on the normal tickets..I also included Shimokitazawa in my route where I will need to go often for shopping.
I have this crazy idea of going one day and getting off at each station on my route to discover the area..

To the left is the Tuna Mayonnaise(ツナマヨ) ONIGIRI. T-sensei mentioned it multiple times in his blog, so I was confident when I bought it for the first time. I like it~

Actually my first meeting (better expressed as 初めての出会い w) with this tuna-mayo onigiri has its own story too:

Once I went out to have dinner a little late. (Late for dinner in Japan means after 7:00. I went at 9:00 pm)
I found that all the near by restaurants are closed, even my usual last resort, the McDonalds.
When I stood in front of it and realized that it was closed, I recalled some memories from last year when I was here for the youth exchange program. The same thing happened once when we(the Jordan delegation) decided to go eat out and found that most restaurants were closed.

Anyway, I went back feeling down and decided to stop by a KONBINI (convenience store) to get anything for dinner. I noticed there were ONIGIRI of different types (Different fillings). I looked for the Tuna-Mayo one and there it was! I also got another one with Salmon-Wasabi filling.
....And they lived happily ever after .. 笑
I owe the onigiri a lot~ =p

I am now 1 month old in Tokyo! kore kara mo ganbarimasu!