On my last Saturday, I went to the Kashiwa Summer Festival with my friend Kaito. Many of the streets are closed off and large parades of people fill them to the brim. The festival lasts for the weekend and usually ends around 9 or 10 at night. In the past, the festival would last until midnight but many young adults and kids can get a little too rowdy in the later hours of the night. Various festival floats are wheeled around for spectators to see and many of the floats are able to “bow” by being pushed downward in the front of the float. Small vendor tents also lined the streets selling various food items, small trinkets, and even children’s booths where they could fish for small guppies.
Afterwards, I headed to an Onsen with Kaito to relax at the end of the day. Onsens are traditional Japanese bathhouses where patrons can shower and then bathe in various pools. The first Onsen was believed to have been constructed around 3,000 years ago and they are incredibly popular areas to relax before or after work. Among the areas there, there was a steam room, carbonated pool, a pool with various herbs, a sauna, a pool with sulfur, an electrified bath, and some others. I found the experience rather enjoyable and I hope to see a natural hot-spring when I return.
Shin-Okubo and Harajuku
On my last Sunday, I headed to Shin-Okubo with my friends Ham and Nao. Shin-Okubo is known as “Korea Town” and hosts many Korean food places and idol shops. Being a big fan of K-Pop myself, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Idol shops sell all kinds of K-Pop merchandise such as picture books, stickers, pins, and posters. The two famous K-Pop groups in Japan are BTS and Twice and the amount of merchandise for these groups far surpassed anyone else. I had to do some digging to find the artists I was hoping to see. After doing some shopping, we stopped into a restaurant and ate some delicious Bulgogi. I have never really had Korean food (or Japanese-Korean food in this case), but I do have to say that it was very delicious.
After our voyage to Korea Town, we headed to Harajuku to see the festival near Yoyogi park. The festival featured various Asian foods and had a large Taiwanese influence. Unfortunately, the temperature was well into the high 80’s and we decided to leave after some shopping and eating our mango Kakigoori (shaved ice).
Cat Cafes are a rather popular tourist attraction in all parts of Japan and Ham and Nao decided to take me. Patrons are able to enter and can stay as long as 2 hours at a time enjoying the company of these furry friends. For $5, you can purchase a cat-lollipop for them to lick on and many cats will run right up to you when they see it. Overall, it was a fun experience and I hope to travel to Ainoshima some day, known as the cat island right off the coast of Fukuoka.
My Final Goodbye
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. My last week of work was a bittersweet experience of saying my last goodbyes and putting my name tag on for the last time. Although I don’t normally come into work on Friday, I decided to come to the last Friday of the school year to enjoy the tea party and say my goodbyes to the many people that brought me much joy throughout my experience. The faculty wished me the best for my future and my supervisor Jo prepared a thank you card with various messages from the SALC students I met during my time. I truly wish only the best for them and I hope to see them all again when I return for my study abroad next year.
Thank you to those who read my blog along the way. I hope it was interesting!