Sendai Tanabata Festival

Tanabata can fall on one of two sets of dates: Either July 7th or August 7th. One or the other depends on if you follow the solar calendar or the lunar festival. In the northern part of the main island of Japan, an area called Tohoku, there are three famous summer festivals that fall around […]

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Akita Kanto Festival

Akita prefecture is known for its Akita dogs, Namahage, and the Kanto festival. Not to be confused with the Kanto Region (which encompasses Tokyo), these Kanto are large poles that carry a large number of lanterns. They require great balance and strength to handle, and when held expertly, provide a stunning sight for onlookers. Every […]

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Kanamara Matsuri

Alright, so, here we go. This is the festival with the giant phallus parading through town. There are a lot of expectations going into an event like this, and a lot of things you are suspecting to see. I’m here to report that some of those expectations were met thoroughly, while others fell woefully short […]

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Bodhidharma: The Original Daruma

Daruma are an interesting tradition in Japan, and their roots in Zen Buddhism are not to be overlooked. Since my original post on the Daruma Festival, I’ve been reading more and more about the doll, its tradition, symbolism, and connection to the figure Bodhidharma and decided that another post to sort out my thoughts was […]

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Children’s Day in Japan

Japan is no stranger to population woes of the modern era: Birth rates are down, people are working longer hours, and many young adults don’t see the benefits or point of marrying and raising a family. Amidst all this negative, the country still celebrates children and give thanks and gratitude towards their mothers on Children’s […]

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