The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

It's summertime!

Summertime in Japan for me is not just about (enduring) the humidity and muggy warmth, but also about the matsuri (festival) season that it entails. We'd experienced amazing and unforgettable matsuri during our year-long stay in inaka (countryside) Japan, and it was nice seeing this cultural tradition also taking place in the city last year. A couple of weekends ago, we chanced upon the Tsukiji-jishi Matsuri when we walked past a street full of yatai, food stalls set up temporarily during a matsuri event. I actually didn't know that there was a shrine in the area (the Namiyoke-Inari shrine). We checked out the food stalls, but because we'd already eaten our lunch, we only got some bebī kasutēra (baby castella) which is one of the things I like to get from these food stalls, and some kuro-goma mochi (black sesame mochi) from the karami-mochi food stall. The mochi was pretty good - you can see whole rice grains which gave it a lovely texture somewhat different to the pounded or flour versions. It wasn't overly sweet either which was a nice change from the usually too sweet flavour in Japanese-style sweets. We didn't hang around for the parades because we didn't know the schedule and the baby needed a nap.

The food stalls, view from the main street towards the shrine; and the entrance to the Namiyoke-Inari shrine:

Goma (sesame) mochi - it tasted a whole lot better than it looked! And a group of people in their happi outfits on their lunch break opposite the shrine's entrance:

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