Kariya Mando Matsuri

This weekend, we went to a festival called Kariya Mando Matsuri. Kariya is a town about 45 minutes by train from our apartment. The word “mando” means “ten thousand lanterns”. Most of what I know about this festival came from impromptu interviews I conducted on the spot. 😀 Luckily, many of the participants were more than happy to tell me the information I wanted to know! One man even gave us beer while we talked to him!

This festival began in the mid 1700s, and was to honor a fire god. The lanterns depict samurai, fierce looking dragons, demons, tigers, and so on. Each lantern is about 5 meters high, and according to one of the participants, each weighs between 60-75 kilograms (132-165 pounds). The lanterns are carried and swung around by a single man or woman. I was surprised to see that about one-third of the festival troupes were composed entirely of young women! The participants train for about 1 year in order to carry the lanterns. Also, these lanterns are not professionally made. Each lantern is created by its troupe. They are made from lights, bamboo, and washi (Japanese paper).

Now for some visuals!


Minato Matsuri

Today we had to good fortune of actually ATTENDING Minato Matsuri, the annual festival held at Nagoya Port. We saw festival floats and a nice fireworks display.


The Grand Matsuri Attempt

So, today, we were very much looking forward to attending Minato Matsuri, a festival down at Nagoya Port.


Dinner with Takami

Last night, our friend Takami, who we had met originally in Pittsburgh, was in Nagoya for the weekend. So, we went over her house to make dinner together.

When Takami lived in Pittsburgh, we would get together 4-5 times a week to practice our Japanese and English together. Every Friday, we’d have a major cooking session because I only had to put in half days at my internship.

Whenever we get together now, we still cook, but since she is living in a different town, it’s not very frequent.


The Food of Hokkaido!

Many of Hokkaido’s famous foods involve fish, which we don’t eat. However, Hokkaido is also famous for fruit, dairy products, corn, and potatoes, which is right up our alley.

Without further ado, in no particular order, here is the food of Hokkaido!


Royce’ Chocolate Factory

Royce’ Chocolate is a famous brand of chocolate in Hokkaido. Inside the airport, you could look in at the chocolate factory while you waited for your plane. Make sure that you are aware that in Japan, since it takes only about 5 minutes to get through security, you should not go through way in advance – all the fun stuff is before security in Japan!


Nikka Whisky Distillery

One of our go-to drinks is Japan is Nikka Whisky. It’s an inexpensive and decent blend whisky. Also, it has a fabulous Scotchman mascot. I was super-excited to have a chance to go see the home of my favorite whisky. Even better, it was free!


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