Alice at Bon Odori
Photography by Percy Mui
I spent the other day at Mitsuwa, a large local Japanese market, celebrating Obon at their Bon Odori or Bon Dancing festival~ I adore festivals of almost any sort. However, I rarely have a chance to attend any of the state fairs for the states I am surrounded by and sometimes miss the local summer fairs that crop up in various parking lots of the outlying suburbs. I try my best to make it to Bon Odori every year to watch the taiko performances and eat delicious food! (It’s also the only time of year that is really suited to wearing my yukata.)
It was supposed to be a lolita fashion meetup, but so many people came from different directions and everything was incredibly crowded. I kept seeing lolita pass me by, but sometimes I couldn’t get through to say hello to anyone. I spent a lot of my time at the festival running around and sometimes had to leave the market and return later. Not many lolita popped over to say anything, either, because I was wearing a yukata and had just gotten a rather drastic haircut. I did spend time with some of my friends, however, so I had a really nice time~ (The only thing that could have made it better would have been feeling less sick! I’ve caught a bit of a cold and kept coughing into my sleeve or blowing my nose like a trumpet…)
Bon Odori is one of my favourite festivals because of the Japanese food! I ♥ Japanese food of all types–especially festival-types such as takoyaki (octopus balls) and melon shaved ice. I did manage to eat several orders of takoyaki, tasted part of a beef bowl that my person ordered, shared some delicious salmon yaki-onigiri, and drank strawberry Calpico~ I didn’t quite get a chance to try melon ice pops, though I spotted several girls eating them and they looked quite tasty.
However, my festival was made complete with a matcha parfait~ ♥ Inside of Mitsuwa, there is a food court. In the right-hand corner of the food court there is a stand called “Re-Leaf” that specializes in ice cream and matcha drinks. They make a confection called a “matcha parfait” that I am utterly in love with. The bottom of the glass has matcha jelly, then vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, cubes of yellow cake, red bean paste, soft-serve green tea and vanilla swirl ice cream, mochi, red bean paste, and matcha syrup. The masterpiece is garnished with a stick of puff pastry~ I never cease to be amazed by it! I was ★lucky★ and actually had one-and-a-half parfaits, as a friend of mine decided she didn’t want the whole thing~
Despite my focus on the culinary aspects of the festival, it was really nice to interact with the friends I was able to catch the attention of during such a crowded event. I was able to watch the first taiko performance; the grace and agility of the drummers is always astounding! I tried to dance along for the actual dancing part of the festival, but I’m afraid I simply don’t have the right kind of coordination to do so. One of these days I’m going to have to attend practice in the week before the festival so that I don’t make a fool of myself.
I rode the train home exhausted, ill, and very happy. I had planned to attend a sleepover that same evening, but I was so sick that it just wasn’t possible. As I fold up my yukata and carefully return it to storage, I’m looking forward to attending the festival next year!