Search This Blog

Monday, October 23

Eat, Drink And Be Very Merry

And so it was at the 30th Zushi Citizen’s Festival. We walked down to the park on Saturday around 12:30 and only found tents. Humph. Looks like I really need to learn how to read my own calendar.

Again on Sunday, we traipsed through side streets to the park and this time came upon quite a scene. Hundreds of people filled the park. Tents of everything from food to goods to community service information lined the winding paths. In many ways, it was similar to a festival back home. And then again… in many ways, it was so vastly different.

There were many tents selling various wares. Some resembled your average lawn yard sale and others looked a bit more like legitimate side businesses. There were clotheslines hanging from tent tops filled with clothes for all ages, of course nothing that would fit us and not that it mattered greatly anyway. While I am much less of a label whore than I was during my time in DC, I still am not ready to accept used clothing rubbage. I would however purchase used pottery. That is if Kimono Hubby had slowed down long enough to let me do more than glance at what was displayed. He has his reasons; smart ones at that.

In a quieter section of the park, we found tents where people were teaching sign language. Others were certifying participants in Red Cross associated CPR and first aid. Another booth taught people how to play a xylophone-like instrument. Further into the park, there was the one and only ride (if you can call it that) that simulated an accident. It was in an area that taught awareness of fire safety, car safety and protecting yourself from crime. Interesting way to teach people about how not to get into an accident by putting them in one.

Further into the park, we came upon a section that was a lot of fun but not really anything like I have seen before. There were games for children and adults alike beginning with a shooting game where the target was these inch tall plastic critters sitting on a shelf. Shouldn’t there be a target or something? These little critters could go flying off a shelf and take an eye out. There were bamboo stilts to walk around on; coffee cans with string tied to them that you could walk on; a small zip line; a mini rock wall; and a net to climb proving you too can be a member of the militia. Also found was a coloring booth and a woodworking booth. No, they weren’t building anything but just hammering away at blocks of wood. Unbelievably, this was uber popular. Also making an appearance was the duck game where you pick up a duck from the tub and win a price according to what its butt says. But there were no ducks and instead they were all different Japanese characters. KH wouldn’t let me play.

As we walked, I shared what little I knew about this event with Kimono Hubby, including that there was to be traditional music being played. He mocked me mercilessly when the first musical notes he heard came from a speaker pounding out something of the classic American country realm. We did find the booth however with a group playing wind instruments accompanied by various drums and I redeemed some face.

What couldn’t be missed throughout the park, as we kept getting caught walking behind them, were the groups of about twenty people, mostly men but a few women, that carried on their shoulders three Japanese omikoshi, small Shinto shrines on top of two long poles of wood. They were neighbored with people, one with a bullhorn who chants out their homage to the Shinto gods. Omikoshi can be found at most community festivals as they spread good fortune on the people of the town. I have been told they are massively heavy and was shocked to see the omikoshi bobbing dramatically up and down as the carriers jumped and chanted along with their guides.

Not to be missed was the food. This is what I found that you would be able to also find at any festival in the States – candy apples (although in two sizes), cotton candy (in Hello Kitty Bags – cute!), French fries, hot dogs on a stick (not a corndog, a real hot dog with honest too goodness meat and not just innards like those back home) and gyros. I did a double take on the last one but sure enough, it was even roasting on a spit.

What I found not like mom makes it – candied grapes (very large sized and actually mighty good in their purple candy-coated goodness), yakisoba noodles (containing various meat or shrimp mixed in, add some Chinese cabbage and egg and call it a day), some other type of noodle dish with yet more tiny shrimp and egg, yakitori (the succulent meat on a stick), octopus on a stick (couldn’t bring myself to do it – too much chewiness), sausage on a lamb-like bone (never even saw lamb here in this country and wouldn’t dare try this), octopus cooked into dough balls (ummm… yeah), little plain dough balls (yummy – am true, blue and scared American) and lastly dough shaped like fish (which I am guessing are filled with fish).

Unfortunately, Kimono Hubby was under the weather and not wearing a mask to contain his germs so we didn’t stay as long as I would have liked to experience more of the food. I would have needed more time in between each course to let my stomach resettle than we actually had. Guess we will just have to wait until next year for fish dough balls! Darn.

No comments: