While visiting the ancient city of Nara I met this not quite so ancient mascot of a famous Donut chain, the Pon De Lion! He was swamped most of the time so I had to wait to get these clear shots of him. Mister Donut lovers will note that his assistant, the lovely girl in the first photo, is wearing a vintage uniform from the 1970′s! I have no idea why I know these things. The place is also interesting as it is right on the entrance of Nara’s famous covered shopping streets and most people who have visited Nara from the nearby train station has probably passed through here. If you are a big Mister Donut fan, you’ll probably have to visit the latest shop at Tokyo’s Sky Tree!
More photos from the mini Nebuta Matsuri in Tokyo’s Shibuya district last weekend! The first time I saw the nebuta matsuri was here in Shibuya, and I didn’t really get the costumes or the strange melody of the flutes, but the more I see it the more I get it and now I think I am hooked. One of these days I have to make my way up north to Aomori prefecture and see this festival “in the wild”!
Just like last year (see my blog here and here) Shibuya threw a mini-Nebuta Matsuri this weekend. You might remember the posts about the much bigger Nebuta Matsuri in Western Tokyo last month. The floats in this mini festival is much smaller than the real things but still look pretty impressive. The strangely addictive Nebuta flutes and drums really helped setting the amotsphere and the kids sent down from a high school and a university in Aomori prefecture were as lively as always!
Here’s a few more snapshots from the Furusato Matsuri earlier this month. I’m terribly sorry for the lousy photos, I blame the rush and the poor lighting! And the photographer, of course. Aomori prefecture in the north of Japan was represented as usual by their famous apples, which are huge and usually very red. In Europe apples are not considered such a pricey fruit but in Japan they can be pretty hefty. They also brought with them their mascot, whose name I forgot to ask. There were also rather well designed tea bottles and a macho man promoting salt, of all things. この男の塩はハンパねぇ! reads the poster, almost untranslatable but I’ll give it a shot: This guy’s salt is the real thing! I’m sure my many readers can come up with much better translations! There’s also the ever present eating sticks made out of wood recycled from broken baseball bats. You can get the sticks that came from a bat broken by the team of your choice and would be a great souvenir for the die hard baseball fan! And last, very minor but too cute to miss is the amigurumi pudding! As cute as the real thing is delicious.