Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | August 20, 2008

Obon Festival Fireworks and Karaoke

Here in Japan, Obon is a time of year when the Japanese believe that the spirits of their dead ancestors return home. During this holiday, many people in the country return to their hometowns to spend time with their families. When we arrived in Japan, Obon was just beginning. On the last day of Obon there are many festivals to partake in. We attended a festival here in Tokyo where we enjoyed a full hour of the most amazing fireworks we had ever seen! Somewhere around 500,000 to 1 million people gathered on the banks of the river for the fireworks. We arrived about an hour and a half early, bought some food and drinks and claimed a spot on the ground while we waited for the fireworks to begin.

Earlier in the day, we bought kimonos to wear to the festival along with traditional shoes. We certainly did not look quite as nice as the Japanese people, but we felt very festive!

Later on that night, we went out to a small restaurant called a Yakitori-ya. These are small restaurants that fit no more than 8-12 people and can be found by looking for a red lantern with black writing on the outside. The Yakitori-ya are run by Mama-sans or Masters (pronounced Massah). At the particular Yakitori-ya we visited, a man named Noburo was behind the bar. We ate some delicious food, had a couple beers and invited our Noburo and a couple of other new Japanese friends to join us
for Karaoke!

Karaoke in Japan is much different than in the States. Here, you get a small room where you sit with your group of friends instead of in front of an entire room full of strangers. We were able to sing many of the songs as a group and had an amazing time together.



  1. Rachael, you look beautiful (as usual) in your new Kimono!

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