Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri 岸和田 だんじり祭

On the weekend of September 15th, myself along with a pair of Mikes headed over to Kishiwada 岸和田 for the annual Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri 岸和田だんじり祭 (float festival).

Although technically in Osaka 大阪, Kishiwada over 30km away from the city center with a population of over 200000 it’s hardly inaka.

We were lead on the days adventures by the ever hospitable and informative Tsuji-san, who is a local resident of Kishiwada.

It has been recorded that the Danjiri Matsuri began in 1703 the 16th year of the Genroku era. Started by the Daimyo of Kishiwada, Okabe Nagayasu, when he prayed to Shinto gods at Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 (my favourite place in all of Japan) for a plentiful harvest.

To summarize what exactly occurs on the weekend of the matsuri, each district of the city pulls their respective danjiri 檀尻 (portable shrine) through the streets of the town.
Consisting of anywhere from 200-1200 families each district has its own danjiri and alongside this a unique uniform that displays the name of the neighborhood, and the danjiri’s symbol.
They are accompanied by a kumi 組 (Pulling team) who pull the cart (which I was told weigh around 4-4.5 tons) via one of two long ropes that are attached to the front of the danjiri, whilst yelling their respective kakegoe 掛け声 (a chant to encourage activity).
Meanwhile the seinen-dan 青年團 (Young man group) on board the danjiri beat taiko 太鼓 (Japanese drums) kane 鐘 (Japanese bells).
Fueled by a plethora of onigiri お握り (rice balls) and Asahi beer the seinen-dan pull the danjiri round corners at frightful speeds. In fact each team try’s their best to out do each other in how fast they can maneuver a corner!
To add to the spectacle trailing the danjiri is a grand entourage of chanting spectators, made up of members of the local community from children to elderly.

Comically there is also a guy called the daiku-gata 大工方 (cartwright) who ‘surfs’ on the roof of each danjiri riding each corner as if its a giant 4 ton skateboard! Traditionally this role is reserved for the carver of the danjiri but these days it’s often a young man from the community, who can dance around the roof of danjiri, wave around his fans yet still maintain balance!
Also to add a scary note to things, I was told around 40 men have died participating in the Danjiri matsuri in the past 100 years, and unsurprisingly it is one of the most dangerous matsuri in Japan.

During the rest of the year the danjiri is kept in storage in one of these large gararges. As the matsuri draws near, the danjiri decorated each year with elaborate flower arrangements, prayer cards and ornaments by members of the local community,

Of course amongst all this Danjiri Matsuri has all the regualr fanfare of a typical summer matsuri, food stalls selling dishes such as takoyaki  蛸焼, baby castella ベビカステラ, kakigoroi かき氷, wataame 綿飴 and aisu kyuuri 氷胡瓜. We picked up some delicious Chinese Xiao Long, aisu kyuuri and chocolate coated bananas ^_^

Also along side the food there was also a range of vendors peddling Japanese carnival games for children and we are of course all just big kids!

Seriously Japan…..

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Spotted these socks at Don Quijote ドンキホーテ during this evenings adventures.
The character is from Crayon Shin-chan クレヨンしんちゃん but seriously wtf, back in the motherland child doodle on ladies socks just ain’t cool…….

10,000 Page Views! 一万 ページビュー

So earlier today Nihonomnom passed its 10000th 一万 page view.

I put quite a large amount of time into updating this blog each week so it’s really great to see people are actually reading my rambles.

Thankyou to all my frequent readers I really appreciate your comments and support, here’s to the next 10000 (^∇^)

Today’s Elementary School Highlights

-Spending soji 掃除 (cleaning time) in a spartan gladiator battle to the death using taiko drums and sticks with three 10 yr olds.

-Having an entire go-nensei 五-年生 (5th graders) sabotage a class where the grammar point was ‘Do you like ~~~?’ by the lot of them asking nothing but ‘Do you like penis?’.

-Being challenged at, engaging in and failing miserably at a mouth capacity competion,with a the resident fat kid using terrible kyuushoku bread.

– And I saved the best for last, whilst playing ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ with yon-nensei 四-年生 (4th graders) I had one little darling hump the sheep when he caught them after yelling ‘dinner time’.
I informed him he must be from New Zealand…… He didn’t get it, not that I expected him to 😄

-Daniel out (^∇^)

Kaki 柿 (^∇^)

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So Aki 秋 (Autumn) is finally upon us and with it a plethora of new fruits and vegetables become available in Japan.
The one I have been looking forward to since I discovered they were popular here are Kaki 柿 (persimmons).

Pretty much my favourite, fruit I grew up eating 3 or 4 of these every day at the end of every summer back in Australia.
Not that they were all that popular back home, however being of italian decent my grandfather has a passion for growing things, having 2 large trees which would shower us in them each year!!
Oddly enough in Italian イタリア語 persimmons go by the same name as they do in Japanese which is well Kaki!

Slicing one of these up really brought back some fond memories for me of summers growing up in Melbourne and exactly what I have to come home to 🙂

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The only real detractor I could attribute to the Japanese version of these orange gems would be that they ate over packaged (like all Japanese fruit) to the teeth, god back home we would just chuck a couple dozen in a bag! Also being priced at around 130-150¥ each, they are much cheaper than some apples (think 300¥ a piece), however still totally outside of my regular budget, alas they make for a nice treat to remind me of home.
(*^◯^*)

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Evangelion x Pretz

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Came across these uber cute special edition pretz on my adventures today!

めっちゃかわいいですよ!

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World Craft Beer Tasting – In Umeda, Osaka

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Last Sunday a couple friends and I headed over to Nakazakicho Hall in Osaka’s Umeda area for a World Craft Beer Tasting event, that was on over the weekend of Sept 22/23 2012.

 

For 3000円 we each received 5 Drink Tickets and a commemorative glass, I for one was quite excited at the prospect of finally being able to drink some nice flavourful beers after spending the last couple months drinking the boring and flavourless watery swill Japanese seem to regard as beer.

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Grapefruit IPA – North Island – Hokkaido ~6%

Very cloudy and orange in colour with little head. Hoppy bitter citrus, with a very distinctive sour grapefruit after-taste, almost Puckering. Smell is pleasant and fruity, made for a nice thirst quenching start to the day. 3.5/5

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Tamamura-Honten – Shiga Kogen Miyama Blonde – Nagano ~6.5%

Mild, interesting and very easy drinking, sporting an almost non existent head. Thin mouthfeel, light bitter with notes of grains, hops and spices. That said it seemed quite similar to the Pure Blond beer brand I used to drink back in Australia so was a winner in my books. 4/5

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Imperial Stout – Minoh Beer – Nagano ~8.5%
Not being a huge fan of stout in general I was quite impressed by this brew, with heavy roasted coffee, dark coco notes it almost tasted like a frothy frappé than a beer. Smooth and medium bodied, texture was very thick and oily, had a bitter chocolate malty finish. Bit heavy to down more than one or two however. 4/5

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Racer 5 IPA – Bear Republic – USA ~7%
Very fruity and crisp. Easy to enjoy and a nice change of pace from a regular beer. Taste is sweet and light up front with a nicely balanced caramel hop bitterness in the middle. All in all clean, smooth and very easy to drink. Nice light carbonation. Finish is lingering bitterness with grapefruit and lemon. Perhaps the beer of the day and the only I tried brewed in the USA. No wonder it has sold out by the time I went together a second one! 4.5/5

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Imperial Red Ale – Ise Kadoya Brewery – Ise ~6.3%

Reddish amber in colour and very cloudy. Had a nice amount of head, lots of caramel and toffee with a moderate bitterness, made for a nice final beer to finish the day up with.

http://www.worldcraftbeertasting.com/

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