Tokyobling's Blog

Kagurazaka Awaodori – Tonight

Posted in Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on July 26, 2014

Last night saw the start of the fantastic Kagurazaka Awaodori Festival, the third day in four day Kagurazaka Matsuri. The last day is tonight with the kid’s teams performing from 1800 to 1900 and then the adult’s teams from 1900 to 2100. You can get to Kagurazaka from either Iidabashi station, Ushigome Kagurazaka or Kagurazaka stations. The further up you go on the street the fewer people you are likely to have to fight for a good spot with, so if it seems to crowded down hill just keep walking to the second area of the festival!

Last night I took these photos of the always fantastic Tenguren and their little Kotenguren kids. I can’t get enough of this team! Even though Awaodori dance is traditionally from Tokushima Prefecture there are dozens of great teams here in Tokyo!

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Nebuta Decorations at Tokyo Midtown

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 25, 2014

The large Tokyo Midtown complex has some nice Nebuta decorations going on right now, by all means pop in and have a look if you have the time! Nebuta is a famous festival from Japan’s northern Aomori prefecture and is famous for its large colorful and lit paper sculptures. Neighboring Akita prefecture is also represented in the interesting traditional take on pole dancing. In this case it is not ladies balancing on poles, but rather large poles balancing on men!

Tokyo Midtown is one of the most upscale shopping complexes in Tokyo and they often have interesting exhibitions and decorations going on. The Nebuta festival is one of my favorites and there is even a mini version in western Tokyo’s Tachikawa City that I have blogged about earlier.

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Godzilla at Night

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 24, 2014

If you happen to be in or around Tokyo’s Midtown in Roppongi you might be interested in seeing the (very) short light show at the Godzilla statue on display until the end of August. Every hour and half hour from 1900, for a couple of minutes, smoke, light and scary roaring is turned on, much to the enjoyment of the (mostly kids) people there to see it. As I was crouched down in front of the statue during the show it was actually difficult to hear the sound effects over the noise of the excited kids screaming in unison with the great beast herself, or at least the 6.6m tall scale model.

Tokyo Midtown is easy to reach on the Toei Oedo subway line, Roppongi station, or the Hibiya line Roppongi station or even the Nogizaka station on the Chiyoda line.

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Legion of Doreamon in Roppongi

Posted in Places by tokyobling on July 23, 2014

If you happen to pass Tokyo’s famous Roppongi Hills this month you will have the chance to 66 different life sized Doraemon figures, all over the square in front of the main building. Doraemon as comic book and anime character is to Japan what the Mouse is to the USA. There is basically no way to over estimate the importance of the blue cat in at least two generations of Japanese and possibly more.

Why so many figures? Doraemon is a wonder cat and has access to all kinds of strange and wonderful stuff to help him and his friends in their daily lives. Often the premise of the stories is that the characters express a wish to avoid something or concern over something and Doraemon will produce the seemingly perfect object for the occasion, for example a piece of bread that gives the eater amazing math skills or a head mounted propeller that gives them the ability to fly. But of course, inevitably something goes disastrously wrong and Doreamon is forced to take his gift back from the kids. 66 of these things are represented in this installation of figures and it is pretty easy to see which of Doreamon’s toys are the most popular (hint: the Takecopter).

The figures aren’t kid proof however, and despite the staff doing their best to keep the figures safe the kids are all over them as soon as the staff turn their backs. The figures will be on display until August 24th.

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