Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | October 22, 2008

Our mini-Japanese-shrine-tastic state fair experience

This might look like any old stick, but oh it’s so much more.

Yes, on Sunday night, we had an experience that reminded both of us of the wonderful Minnesota State Fair. In that magical place called the Land of 10,000 Lakes, for less that two weeks a year, tens of thousands of visitors gorge themselves on fried everything, proudly shoved on a stick. We haven’t heard of anything like that here in our neighborhood of Setagaya-ku, but on Sunday afternoon we got the following email from our neighbor Terry, and decided to give it a shot.

Dear Bradley
This coming Week End(Oct 17/18)there will be a FESTIVAL at the TAMAGAWQA SHRINE.
Location: Walk thru the tunnel till you come to a dead end then turn right and walk up the slope. You will see a steep stair on the left side and climb up to reach the shrine.

Walking up the “slope,” this is what we saw first. We hadn’t been up here before, but a massive Shinto Shrine was apparently around the corner all along.

After the climbing the steep stone stairs (how’s that for alliteration?), we both lit up with huge smiles at the sight of hundreds of young and old Japanese walking around with chocolate-covered bananas-on-a-stick and fried octopus patties. There were carnival-type games smattered around, but we had no clue what to do, so we just went straight for the good stuff.

Rachael’s chocolate-covered banana and my cotton candy.

There was also some sort of karaoke and live music on a stage, and it looked like we’d missed the original parade where several men probably carried these large shrines.

We didn’t stay too long, but certainly got a taste of what these “festivals” are all about. So, the next time you’re in the mood for some deep fried artery-cloggers or something on a stick, remember that Minnesotans aren’t the only masters of this fine food genre.


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