TRAVEL BLOG: Spring & Inuyama Festival

05 Apr

Hello once again! So as I said, this blog has to do with springtime in Japan. What I didn’t know was that I would receive an unexpected call. I might have told you already that I was supposed to live with a host family (the Ebihara family) this semester. Unfortunately, the father suffered a “health complication” and, thus, I was moved to a dorm room. Last week, I received a call from them, asking me if I wanted to meet them for the first time and attend Inuyama’s Spring Festival (Inuyama is a town about 15 minutes from the Ebihara’s residence that is famous for its Spring Festival and castle). Of course I agreed and, last Saturday, I got to meet them. They are an older couple (55 and 61) and live in a small, but beautiful house about 20 minutes outside of Nagoya in a city called Kasugai. They own a dog, named Purin, who runs around like a gas molecule whenever his family returns home. Anyway, so the family drove me to the Inuyama Festival and, I have to say, it was INCREDIBLE!!! Various stands offer enticing snacks, lunch items, antiques (The mother darted to these stands at every chance she had), and other enticing goods (My mouth watered every time we passed the Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki stands). That being said, the Inuyama Festival is known for two things: the beautiful Sakura blossom trees and the decorative floats, featuring ornate puppets. The festival started almost 400 years ago and is held on the first Saturday of April. You can see the photos that I have attached (two of them) to see just how amazing this festival really is. The floats are pushed by a large group of men in traditional outfits that push and pull with all of their might. When, during the route, the float encounters a corner, the men have to push the float 90 degrees in an incredible display of power. So that covers the float and the parade, so now I need to talk about the Sakura blossoms. Japan is known worldwide for these famous pink blossoms seen on postcards and countless photos. The festival is located in a place with many of these trees and created such a beautiful environment, that I can’t even really begin to describe it. I have also attached a picture showing one example of an amazing Sakura tree (have I beaten that word into the ground enough)? After the festival ended (We didn’t stay for the evening portion), we returned to the Ebihara’s home to eat an incredible dinner of Okonomiyaki, Sashimi (raw fish) and grilled fish. I really wish that they could have still been my host family, but I understand the problem at hand. Wow, this ended up being pretty long. I’ll stop blabbing and let you get on with your lives (Not much longer for you guys until Summer Vacation). This coming weekend, IES is going to Nara, which is a very old city known for incredible temples and Bhudda statues. I’ll tell you all about it next week. Thank you again for checking out this week’s entry and Jaa, ne!

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