Maybe the title is a little bit of an overstatement, but last year I happened to join in on what might just be the biggest kingyou sukui game in the world, at Rakujyu Park in Mishima City, Shizuoka prefecture. Kingyou Sukui, as you must have seen on my blog, is a game where you pay a small coin to be given the chance to “rescue” gold fish (and sometimes other animals or objects) from a shallow aquarium. Usually this is a festival game where you pay 300 yen to scoop fish into your bowl with nothing but a thin ladle made of paper! The best kids can win a handful or more of goldfish but some kids (like me) come home with nothing. At the Rakuju Park they had partitioned off part of a pond and a small river and released thousands of fish, rubber balls and rubber ducks. On a given signal dozens of kids (and quite a few enthusiastic parents) rushed out to scoop up as many as goldfish as possible. For the kids who weren’t that quick they could at least focus on the less slippery toys floating around. If I had seen this event and being 30 years younger I would have been right in the middle of everything!
A few of the kids preferred to splash around on their own in different ponds, more interested in playing in water rather than catching fish. Some seemed happy to just stand in the cold clear melting water!
Mishima City is famous, and rightly so, for their fantastic water. It comes straight from the slopes of Mount Fuji and is available for free at several public fountains throughout the park and the rest of the city. The water is so fantastically tasty that I think I would never drink anything else if I lived around here, all the water is perfectly safe as well, and even the ponds and streams running through the city are perfectly clear and absolutely gorgeous.
I saw these two wonderfully cute little wadaiko (taiko) drummers in Mishima in the middle of last month. They performed as a mixed group of local taiko groups and drummers from some towns in Miyagi prefecture that are trying to rebuild themselves. It was an excellent perfumers. I love how these two just look so professional before going on stage. I wish I could be this cool!
If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll know that one of my favorite areas of Japan is Shizuoka prefecture, and of course, the summer festivals the cities and villages in this lovely part of Japan has to offer! In August it’s Mishima’s turn to take center stage with their huge Mishima summer festival. I visited last year and took these photos. Mishima is mostly famous for having incredibly clean water, and although I have tried water that is said to be even better, the water I tasted in Mishima was by far the best I have ever tasted. If you’re in Shizuoka prefecture over the summer, this is a must visit!
Earlier this year as I visited the festival in Yoshiwara I was reminded of the rakugai senbei I saw at the Mishima festival (not far away at all) about a year earlier. They are a slightly rare sight at most festivals, but always fun to watch and very popular with kids! The senbei is a flat sweet rice cake, and the rakugaki means graffiti, or drawings. The kids draw their own designs on the flat cakes in gum syrup, very sweet, and when they are done the girl (it’s almost always a girl) will take them and add sweet and sour sparkly powder to the wet and sticky paint. Most kids love it! Absolutely not very healthy and not very cheap either, but what parents could resist giving their kid a chance to do this? You can see some of the expert example designs made before hand. Most kids aren’t quite there in their artistic ability yet!