nights are getting shorter and
Yesterday we finished our report at 1:00
am, but when we started uploading it,
there were lots of problems.
software only generated the website
without the links to the photos. So we had
to download a new software and upload the
files manually. That`s why we went to bed
at 3:30 am.
8:55 am we were still in sweet dreams but
got a very special `wake up call`. Heavy
shaking and loud noise were waking us
is this? But we couldn`t find anyone to
earthquake (4.5 on the Richter scale) in
Yokohama / Tokyo was the reason for the
rough wake up call. An hour later our
breakfast was interrupted by an aftershock
frightening, but Japanese got used to live
with it every day. On the photo you can
see the way how shelves are secured to
prevent anything from falling
from the earthquake experience, an
eventfull day was awaiting us.
had the privilege to take part in an
Omatsuri (Japanese style summer festival)
as the only foreigners thanks to Mitsuo
who arranged everything for us and guided
us the whole day.
old and prestigious gold decorated shrine
is carried through the city
curiously awaited what was to happen,
fully dressed in traditional
`Mikoshi` is carried on the shoulders of a
large group of volunteers with people in
front who live in the district where the
Mikoshi is currently carried
the picture you see Steve in best spirits.
He was allowed to carry up front as we
moved through Mitsuo`s
is a great honor to participate in this
celebration but also a great
Mikoshi is worth about 1 mio US-$! We were
not able to get an exact figure on the
weight of the Mikoshi, but estimates of
the experienced `carriers` ranged from
2,000 to 4,000 pounds.
half an hour we were absolutely sure that
it was at least 4,000 pounds!
the average, about 40 people carried at
the same time and it was followd by a
group of some 20 more people ready to step
in for `tired warriors`.
carrying, the participants cheered each
other up by rhythmical shants of
`Hurriya!` and `Sorya!`, meaning `Let`s
now and then there was a short rest, the
Mikoshi was put down on special support
beams and Sake and cold tea were served
for the carriers.
temperatures of some 85 degrees F and a
humidity of 80 - 90% we had to drink a lot
to fight dehydration, fortunately no one
5 hours (!) the celebration reached its
peak. In the city center we were joined by
four other Mikoshis and the excitement of
the crowd reached Tour de France
was a great atmosphere which allowed us to
mobilize last muscle energy.
particularly nice were the decorated
streets with paper laterns and traditional
women in the streets were dressed up in
their traditional Kimonos and older men
were wearing their Mikoshi uniforms from
was a great spectacle which pushed us to
our physical limits. But all participants
made this a special day which will remain
in our memories for a long
the rest of the day, however, we decided
to watch other people work ...
were very lucky:
the Sumo-competitions in Tokyo were
approaching their great finals.
bought tickets for some 30,- US-$ per
person as we really ddn`t want to miss
this opportunity taking part in such a
traditional sports event in
event started at 3 pm but most of the
spectators were not arrived yet. In front
of the hall lots of people were gathering
along the street, as the Sumo-idols
walked in traditional clothes to take part
guys had to carry heavy weights around
their waists, too !!!
hall was filling up slowly - so far not
very important - fights took
made it possible for us to study the
principles of the fights in general. We
learned that there are 70 different
techniques to win, meaning how to push the
opponent out of the ring.
of the fighters were much more popular
than others as we could tell from the
reactions of the crowd. Maybe it was
because they made spectacular show when
they were throwing the salt before the
expensive rows were filling more and more
and even the prime minister Mori with two
policemen were there.
heavier and more experienced Sumo-fighters
got a lot more cheering from the crowd
which concentrated its attention more on
the fights now and not the picknick on the
seating mats any more.
now and then, one of the really heavy guys
was thrown out of the ring into one of the
first rows of people watching. We were
really afraid for one old lady in the
second row that she gets hurt. She came
close to it twice!
left our seats in the last row of the huge
hall and went to one of the aisles very
close to the ring. We wanted to find out
from the first row whether the big
favorite and the most popular fighter
Musashimaru would be declared winner of
the season. (Of course he did
the food topic. But this Izakaya in
Tokyo`s Kichijoji district was a real
experience. Without an insider info
you will never find it. There were no
signs or advertising, just some stairs
quite far down into the basement. Even
then, there are no signs, the door opened
into very cosy and packed restaurant
of young people were there, the waiters
calling out the orders loudly, many guests
sit directly at the counter - where most
of the food is prepared right in front of
food was great, did you ever get to taste
thuna-ribs? A veritable delicacy - we all
felt the same way. Very tender and a taste
almost like meat - you got to try it
donít want to make your mouth
watery here, but it really was good.
Fortunatley we had Hiroe with us who was
able to read the menu. But even without
anyone who is able to speak Japanese you
can survive easily.
service personnel in all restaurants do
their best to make their guests enjoy
this restaurant it helps a lot to sit
right at the counter: that way you can see
how the food is prepared and order simply
1-15-14 Kichijoji Minami-cho
Puzzler` (Are you a Japan
impressions and curiosities as a daily Q
What is the object on the photo
just click on the photo)