Wednesday, September 16, 2015

[Japan trip] Asagaya Tanabata Festival + Ryogoku, home for Sumo Wrestlers

It was the summer season when I visited Japan in August, and the sun shone for 18 hours a day. Most eatery places serve complimentary ice-cold ocha.
During summer, one of the most well-known and loved festivals is the Tanabata Festival. It's normally held between the 6th to 10th August. The biggest feature of the festival is the spectacular decorations which are  made entirely from washi (style of paper which was first made in Japan) traditional Japanese paper.

I visited Asagaya, where the Tanabata Festival was held, and it is one of the many districts located in the centre of Tokyo. The whole shopping district was filled with traditional Tanabata decorations and many shops and stalls serve delicious festival food too.



When I arrived, the whole area was decorated by dozen amazing paper made figures that ranged from popular cartoon to anime characters. These included characters from Disney, Hello Kitty, One Piece, just to name a few. 

Baby did some research and it seems this festival occurs during the summer, where it had been the practice of merchants in the area to have these ornaments and decorations hung up during the festival to entice customers to come to their store.

Apart from seeing the various decorations in Asagaya, I did some shopping there too. I picked quite a lot of tops and bottoms, as each piece cost at ¥500 (SGD5.60) or below. I bought some dresses too and they were priced between ¥700-¥980 (SGD7.80-SGD11). I love shopping in Asagaya as the damage is low for trendy fashion.

During this season, many Japanese wear a yukata, which is a colourful robe akin to a kimono, but is made of a lighter material for cooling reasons. Therefore, Baby and I decided to buy a yukata for ourselves. The damage was pretty reasonable mainly due to the summer sales.
We had our Tempura Don for lunch before leaving Asagaya. We had beer almost everyday as it cooled down our body temperature.

I went to Ryogoku, best known as the home for Sumo in Toyko, and there was a large Sumo Stadium and numerous Sumo Restaurants. I visited the Sumo Stadium, but unfortunately it was not the Sumo Wrestling season, hence there were no matches to view. We went to the free museum, but photography is prohibited at the premises. The museum features some famous wrestlers who use different wrestling techniques and methods.

Sumos eat a special stew called 'Chanko', and we decided to have that for our lunchie. We went to a recommended 'Chanko' restaurant called 'Chanko Tomoegata' which was only a short walk away from Sumo Stadium. Chanko Nabe is famous for being a staple food for sumo wrestlers, and it is an entirely healthy and well-balanced dish.
We decided on the smaller batch of the Chanko Nabe set lunch. Hot tea in cute sumo cup The soup was served piping hot in a clay bowl, and the aroma was pretty good. After we finished our meal, we were given a scoop of lime sorbet as part of the set meal.

It was a nice experience to taste the Chanko Nabe and eat like a sumo wrestler albeit in a way smaller portion.

Due to the launch of a new manga about Egypt mythology, we chanced upon a fair during our stay in Japan. In particular, this fair was about Medjeg, the Egyption God who has a role in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Typically, Japan has given the obscure Egyptian Deity it's own fun afterlife. Medjeg can was found popped up in comics, cartoons, key chains and even in pastry form too during the event!

McDonald's Japan currently has a promotion for plastic cases in the shape of French fries from the popular amine and video games series, Yo-Kai Watch!

I only managed to buy the first design (Jibanyan) during my visit in Japan and I paid ¥350 for it when I purchased the meal.

Lastly, I end my post with a bowl of oishi ramen in Nakano.