Sunday, 4 June 2017

Long-lasting Festival

By Shawn

Do you know that Japan is said to be having between 100,000 and 300,000 festivals! It is such a large number. It also shows in Japan how popular festivals are. During my time in Tokyo, I was so lucky to have a chance to visit Asakusa while Sanja Festival was being held.

Sanja Festival is famous for its craze. More than a million people including travelers from all over the world come to take part in Sanja Festival every year. I believe many people have an image of carrying mikoshi(portable Shinto shrine) and yelling through the streets about Japanese festivals. This usually being considered as beautiful and solemn excepting Sanja Festival. It is expected that people will compete for the pole position there because carrying gods is a great honor. However, fun should be the most important reason as it is a Festival! Unfortunately, I did not see this famous scene though I did not get into any trouble. What I could see was people of different ages and different races were enjoying the same festival peacefully. It was because police were also there?

That is not for eating!

Same as other festivals in Japan, there are lots of market stalls selling different kinds of snacks and drinks in Sanja Festival. They included something is filling like the nikumakimochimochibou(rice wrapped in meat) we mentioned in “Street Eats”, is world famous like takoyaki, is something fancy like bubble tea in a light bulb style bottle, etc. They are all look so good and designed to be consumable while walking. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the most attractive parts of these market stalls are we can watch how they prepare the food right in front of us and have a short conversation with them. I love eating, and the cooking process of how a skillful cook can convert raw food into a delicious meal in such a short period of time is really an excellent performance to me. The short conversation during the waiting time also makes market stalls a lot warmer.

Can you see the beer?
Sanja Festival has been holding for more than 700 years. During this 700 years, Sanja Festival was even changed from being held by both Sensoji and Asakusa Shrine together to be being held by Asakusa Shrine solely. From combining elements of Shinto and Buddhism to Shinto alone, seems did not change people’s love of Sanja Festival at all. I believe the origin of many Japanese festivals is mostly because of some religious reasons, but the core and the reason why a Japanese festival is such attractive and long-lasting would probably be it provides connections and pleasure to everyone participating it.