Hey, hello, it’s me again, Miléna.

Looks like you will spend a little more time with me! Let’s talk about last Friday: there was a festival at Kumata shrine, near the place where I live. I went there with Fukushima-san and Karan-san, another intern who took a lot of pictures. Thank you for letting me borrow some of them for this article (his blog). My pictures were… well… I’m definitely going to ask Santa Clause for a better camera this year. Anyway, we went there for approximately 2 hours I would say, and here is the summary of what I saw. I’m sorry if I lack the vocabulary for the things at the shrine and in the festival… There was just too much to remember.





We started with a visit of the shrine itself. It wasn’t too crowded because we didn’t take the main entrance. I like how there are always plants around shrines. It gives a private vibe even though there are so many people. At the shrine, two girls were dancing with traditional clothes and some small bells that I had seen before in a certain movie.

※ 映画=「君の名は」

We prayed using a 5-yen coin. Honestly, I thought gods were more expensive… Not that it bothers me. After that, Karan-san went to buy a charm. There were so many of them! But it was kind of hard to see which one was for which purpose.



And then the interesting part began: the stalls! (And their food.) We started with things that looked like little buns, with quite a neutral taste, but a really bouncy texture. They were really hot, because they had just been baked in front of us !

※ 小さなパンみたいなもの=夜店で売ってるカステラです!

But after a hard day of work, it was neither enough to satisfy our hunger, nor our curiosity, so we also bought something that was really weird-looking.

It was like a toast made of… something, with some sauce, egg, and pork meat on it. And mayonnaise. I feel like there is mayonnaise in a lot of food in Japan. It’s rarely used in France – we prefer ketchup. I think this thing is the thing I found the weirdest and the most yummy since I came to Japan. It was a good surprise. A last note about food: it seems like a lot of people in Japan think that candy apples and cotton candies are only sold in Japan, but no! You can find them all around the world, and of course in France too.






At the festival, there were also a lot of stalls for the kids, like the one selling colored marbles. With the light under them and the water, it looks really pretty, a splendid example of marketing! There were also stall that were selling masks, stalls where you had to fish some… well、 red fish out with a paper scoop… (I feel kind of bad for these fishes: I mean raising a fish can be really technical, and I fear the way they ended the day…) However, all these stalls were so typically Japanese that I really felt like I was in a manga! The matsuri are a really classic scene, after all. The beauty of the heroine enhanced by the wearing of a light yukata… Sorry, I digress.




それにしても、こういった色々な夜店は典型的な日本って感じがして、なんだか漫画の中にいるみたいって思いました!祭りってほんとに伝統的な風景ですね。漫画の中の主人公が明るい色の浴衣を着て、美しさがまして・・・あ、ごめんなさい。※ たぶん漫画のワンシーンを妄想してます。

Anyhow, we then went on to the main activity, and the most bizarre one: watching young men dancing on a Danjiri, which is like a miniature shrine on wheels, I guess ? I will try to describe the scene clearly. There were a few people on the roof of the Danjiri, dancing with only a rope to grab so that they didn’t fall. They were throwing pink petals, shouting, and throwing mochi that are supposed to bring luck. And guess what? I caught one. Looks like all these years spent playing handball and volleyball at school weren’t totally useless! But don’t you think mochi is a confusing thing? It’s edible, but you can also use it as a decoration, so I was confused. In France, it’s common to get sweets in similar events. But isn’t it weird to eat something that acts like a lucky charm? Was this mochi something that I should eat? Uncertain, I just put it in my bag for the time being.







Going back to the Danjiri. It was surrounded with kids of all ages wearing jackets with their hometowns written on them (there were several Danjiri. I guess each one came from a different place). They were shouting with the dancers with a lot of energy, running along the shrine as it was moving. They moved a lot. Each Danjiri was going back and forth at full speed, stopping just before the entrance of the shrine, making them sway a lot. They wanted to parade before entering a place where they would have to go slower, so each Danjiri took at least 20 minutes to enter the shrine. We only watched two of them, but apparently there were plenty more.


※ 宮入の直前の様子です。

After that, we started to get tired, since it was really hot and there were a lot of people, so we went to a restaurant to eat some fried food. I already ate this when I went to Japan last year, but it was the clients who were frying the things, so you kinda knew what you were eating. However, here it was a surprise each time. I was a little afraid to get something that I didn’t like but in fact everything was tasty! I also ate some eel for the first time in my life and it tasted pretty good, especially since I’m not used to fish.

Once we were full, I went back home while Karan-san was looking around the festival once more with a friend.

And here is the end of my story! Thank you for your attention.