Cutest. Festival. Ever
So many elderly Japanese people with diverse esthetic accessories (Pamphlet visors, for example). Over-priced anime cartoon themed paraphernalia (T-shirt, hats, the occasional Pokémon.) Only 2 booths sold sake, and only one of them had the sense to chill theirs. They also sold a variety of Japanese goodies ranging from candy to dried mushrooms. But of course, there was an endless supply of food, thank Shinto.
How could you not just love soup during 27C (80F) weather? Well, most of the attendants didn’t know how to restrain themselves. Now I wasn’t going to get persuaded by the typical ramen that was found at every stand, I needed something different. After a lot of searching and no avail I settled for udon. The whole point of udon is to have those thick, grub like noodles fighting to overtake the spaces between your teeth before turning into mush, releasing the broth they’ve worked so hard to contain. Not some thin bullshit that looks like a badly applied temporary tattoo.
I was disgusted, but I wasn’t giving up. After warming up my belly and whetting my hunger with miso broth, I continued the hunt. I came across a pork and miso stuffed onigiri. My hopes and fears, once again raised to an insecure height. I was satisfied, yet I felt like it wasn’t enough; the triangular form was fun though I must admit. Later I returned to the stand where I bought the onigiri from, to find that a new gem had arrived, with a coppered, sticky texture, wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed. It was the chimaki, and it was
everything that I was looking for. This palm-sized morsel reminded me of the Chinese sticky rice my aunt would make for me, but in a hand-held food form (in other words, better.)
My stomach approved, I was content. Now I needed something to wash it all down with. I previously stopped by one of the 2 stalls that sold sake and told him to chill a normal, dry sake, while I drink a fruited sake that I bought from the rival stall. The fruited sake was nice, perfumed, it went well with the hot day and the disappointing food. But the dry sake was a treat. Neither of the sakes were Japanese (both of them hailed from California) but the Ozeki (dry) was decent, although I think I would have enjoyed it more hot for it’s flavor, but the day didn’t call for it.
Once the sake was gone and hunger reappeared, I decided that one big meal just to finish it off will suffice. I looked for the legendary obento, the Japanese lunch box, consisting of various little dishes. Healthy, adorable, and very traditional; only s/.18 ($8-$9) and worth every bit. They had sweet tamago (Japanese omelet) wraps, onigiri stuffed with tuna, a sushi roll, a sweet bun, a tempura roll, a piece of fried chicken, a noodle salad and a pickled vegetable salad. My mouth had it’s own harlem shake.
Matsuri, it was lovely, and it was my first. I saw a Japanese scream-o band, a really crappy, and a really talented dance group, forced child labor, along with hello kitty’s head falling off. I even won a PS3 game! I just don’t have a PS3. I’m ready for next year, to go with a battle plan, and sake money.