Oh hai, June.


To recall that May began in Korea is incredible – what a busy month it’s been! Happy Birthday for the 28th, Dad: my students all clapped for you after we practiced the day’s date in English 😉

All of my schools had their annual undokai these past few weeks – their sports festivals – out of which I managed to attend two, and cheer ’em on. A different feel to last year’s festivals, which due to radiation concerns were held indoors. So much attitude change in one year, eh. It was great fun, particularly watching the sixth years’ marching band performances. Some kid was even playing the french horn at Kaoru: ‘wtf.’

asaka undokaiLast week, I was having a terribly depressing time, and went to Yodobashi Camera to print off a load of photos with which to make a scrapbook. Whilst the printer inevitably broke, and I sat slumped in a chair clutching my bag to my body and staring at the escalator as an overly smiley woman fixed it, I saw out of my un-mascara-ed and tired eye two very attractive people looking at me quite intently. Because of my foul mood, I disregarded them, and got back to watching the moving staircase. They finally approached me, and said that they worked for a hair salon – and would I like to model some hair for them? I thought in a rather blaze way that they did not look like abductors, and their flashy meishi (business cards) backed up their claim. So, last week on Thursday after work, I biked in the rain to a local salon, and got spruced up real different from my usual look. In fact, I looked a little like Bowie. I was alright with that. The staff were really cool people, and I ended up staying for five hours. They drove me home to avoid another wet ride, and asked me to come back for another shoot later in the month. In exchange I get free head massages and hair cuts.

salon11 And today, the first of June, we went to Fukushima City to see the Tohoku Rokkosdai (Tohoku Six Spirit Festival). As far as I can tell, this event has been hosted in a different prefecture of Tohoku each year, and is to support the survivors and celebrate the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. It combines all of the 6 major festivals of Tohoku into one parade, and by GOLLY was it packed with people. We saw the large paper lantern floats belonging to the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri, which I was lucky enough to have seen last August with Kay and Hannah; Iwate-ken’s Morioka Sansa Odori dance, which, with flower hats and beaten drums, banishes away the demons; Akita-ken’s Kanto Matsuri, when men singularly balance one bamboo pole, laden with racks upon racks of lanterns, upon their various body parts and parade them down the street; Yamagata-ken’s Hanagasa (Flower Hat) Matsuri; Miyagi-ken’s Suzume (Sparrow) Matsuri, for which women and men dance imitating sparrows with fans for wings (easily my favourite!); and Fukushima-ken’s own Waraji Matsuri, where an array of men carry a ten-ton woven sandal – apparently once the apparel of the gods – over a snow-laden mountain. The festival weirdly felt quite local, given the array and size of what was being carried or danced down the street of Fukushima City today, but the atmosphere was great. And we ate loads of tasty stuff m8.

My photos were terrible, so I’ve taken some from tourist websites

yamagata hanagasa

The Yamagata Prefecture’s Hanagasa Matsuri(http://www.nippon.fr/archives/972)


Akita-ken’s Kanto Matsuri


Fukushima-ken’s Waraji Matsuri

morioka_2008_063Iwate-ken’s Sansa Odori Matsuri


Aomori-ken’s Nebuta Matsuri

Miyagi-ken’s Suzume Matsuri

Goodbye May, hello June. Two months left.