Contrary to my expectations, Halloween turned out to be an actual thing in Japan. Kind of. When I arrived in Kyoto at the beginning of September, supermarkets and department stores were already selling halloween-themed candy, halloween costumes, and even halloween-themed toilet paper. My new friends were also already pretty excited about the upcoming halloween celebrations from the very start of our exchange. Therefore when October arrived, everybody excitedly started to make somewhat concrete plans. It was clear from the start that we were going to go to Osaka, but what exactly should we do there? Karaoke? Izakaya? CLUBS? PARTAYAY? UNIVERSAL STUDIOS?
October in Japan was still crazy warm and pretty sunny for most of the time, and on a particularly nice Sunday, a few friends and I decided to pretend like we’re active, health-conscious people by hiking Mount Daimonji. This particular mountain offers a beautiful, but also relatively easily accessible view of the city and its surroundings, seeing how hiking to the top only takes around 45 minutes to an hour. Daimonji is also known for the big kanji 大 (meaning “great” or “big”) that is carved into the ground close to its summit, and that is set on fire every year in August for one of the greatest bonfires in Japan. I was too late to experience the bonfire as I arrived in Kyoto only in September, but hopefully I’ll be able to see it someday in the future.
As promised, today I want to talk a little about the Jidai Matsuri, a traditional Japanese festival that takes place annually on October 22nd. Jidai is the Japanese word for ages, and matsuri means festival. Jidai matsuri can therefore be translated as Festival of the Ages. Alongside the Aoi Matsuri in May and the Gion Matsuri in July, it is one of Kyoto’s three most famous and biggest festivals, and popular among locals and tourists alike.
The festival was held for the first time in 1895; reason for its creation was the commemoration and celebration of the 1100th anniversary of the transfer of the capital city to Kyoto (known back then as Heian-kyo) in 794. One of my friends that I went to the festival with described it as a walking museum, which is super accurate in my opinion: the matsuri is essentially trying to reenact history through a two hour long parade (called jidai gyouretsu) from Kyoto Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine. Continue reading
LOL omg, hello, it’s me, the girl that hasn’t written shit in, like, two months. The girl that you all probably forgot about by this point. The girl that you probably thought was dead. But no, it’s all good, I’m still alive, I’ve just been super busy
(and lazy, but mostly busy) and haven’t had any time to write anything. But it’s the winter break now (okay, well, technically it’s already over … Doshisha, what are you doing, it was way too short!11!1!!!!) and I’ve finally managed to sit down and open my laptop with no other objective than to catch up on all those blog posts (and maybe to procrastinate a little bit on Facebook, hoho). May the games begin! (What?)
Oh, but first of all, happy new year! Can’t believe it’s 2017 already. 2016 went by way too fast. How was your 2016? Was it a good year, was it a bad year? Whichever applies, I hope that 2017 will be a(n even) better year for you.
I still have a few posts left for my “Things I Did In October”-mini-series-thing
(LOL, I still can’t get over that lame name), so let’s get right into it. This post is just going to be a few random moments and snippets and stuff and blabla all mixed together … bear with me, onegaishimasu.
At the beginning of October, specifically the weekend before classes were to start, my good friend from my university in the Netherlands, Ales, came to Kyoto to visit me and another friend of hers. We met up at her hostel on Saturday and, after some nice Udon in the city centre, went on a short train ride to Arashiyama.