Monday, May 17, 2010

Nagata International Festival

Nagata, the area I currently call home, had another festival under the shadow of the Tetsujin 28-go monument this last weekend with lots of international food, entertainment and games. Nagata is somewhat industrial and is home to many working class families and foreigners, which helped make this local international festival energetic, diverse and interesting. Some highlights: Baby Castella ベビーカステラ, a popular Japanese sponge cake brought by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup, very common at festivals and as a street food. Plastic masks of all the popular characters the kids are into these days - Doraemonドラえもん a manga and anime that first appeared in 1969 is the one in focus, the series is about a robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to aid schoolboy Nobita Nobi. Finally Goldfish scooping, kingyo sukui, is a Japanese traditional game in which a player scoops goldfish with a special scooper. Japanese summer festivals or ennichi commonly have this stall where children and adults enjoy the game. The game is played for pleasure but if you want to truly test your skills there is also a National Competition of Goldfish Scooping in Japan.

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