May 11, 2009
This weekend I went to the Jamaiican festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi park, featuring a live Reggae Soundsystem, live painting, stalls selling Jamaiican jewelry and garments, and lots of food stalls (with long queues). I ate jerk chicken and drank Red Stripe and Hemp beer. It was fun but the expected haze of marijuana smoke was conspicuously absent! Here are some photos taken by my mate, Frank.
While I’m on the subject of Jamaiica, I’ve discovered an entertaining blog by a Japanese girl in Jamaiica. That must be one hell of a culture clash! But the girl seems streetwise and well equipped to deal with any problems over there. Here’s a typical extract:
A man who comes up and says “You come here for big anaconda,eh?” Do you find him appealing? He is just mocking you. So whenever someone says this to me, I stare at his crotch, put my hand on my hip and say “Im dead or wha? Mi no see notten between yu leg! Though mi see dem big one inna Japan” and walk away. This anaconda talk is not a come on. It’s funny though.
Check out the link here: Weh Miss Chin Seh?
August 28, 2008
On Sunday I stumbled upon the annual Sangenjaya Samba Festival near my house. Hundreds of colourfully-costumed Brazilians and locals were exuberantly dancing down the street. There were lots of head-dresses and g-strings, a sci-fi themed performance, a sumo ritual, some guys having a pillow-fight while doing the samba, and even some bored-looking boy-scouts used as security! Weirdly enough, I seem to happen upon at least one samba festival every year, and this was significantly more impressive than the tiny, incongrous little event I ended up at last year, in the small Kanagawa town of Mitsukyo. Here are some snapshots I took on my phone.
March 19, 2008
The first Sunday in April is almost here, which means it’s almost time for Kawasaki’s notorious Kanamara fertility festival, at which an enormous pink penis is paraded around town by transvestites, vegetables are carved into phallic shapes, and crowds nibble on pink schlong-shaped lollipops. Before you sigh “those crazy Japanese people,” I should point out that these days the voyeuristic, giggling Western tourists outnumber the locals.
Festivities take place on Sunday April 6th, at Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine in Kawasaki from around 10AM to 4PM. To get there, take the Daishi Line to Kawasaki Daishi station. Go out of the exit and you’ll see Wakamiya Hachimangu shrine across the street, to the right.
Tel: (044) 222-3206
You can read a story I wrote about it last year, with accompanying photos, here– which is by far the most popular blog entry I’ve ever written (it’s been seen by about 100,000 people). Below are some new pictures that I didn’t post last year.
October 12, 2007
Kawasaki, near Tokyo, is host to a number of eccentric festivals and events, including the notorious Kanamara festival in April (where folk carry a giant pink penis statue down the street.) This month sees the return of Kawasaki’s annual Halloween festival, the highlight being a wild street parade on October the 28th, featuring some of most insanely outlandish costumes you’ve ever seen. An eclectic array of costumed freaks, from Pikachu to Freddy Krueger, hit the streets of downtown Kawasaki and follow floats blasting out pounding techno tunes, much to the horror and amusement of bewildered bystanders.
Below are some photos I took of the parade over the last couple of years and here’s a review of 2005’s event.
The parade starts at 2PM on October the 28th, at Kawasaki’s Cittadella complex. Other events include a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a potentially hilarious “70s/80s Dancing Party Halloween Special” on the 27th.
Learn more at the official website.