You know the feeling, when things are just chugging along, run of the mill, grind and grind. So I jumped at the invitation of my japanese housemate to visit his family in Kawagoe, Saitama and participate in their local Matsuri(festival) in October. I also needed some shopping done in Tokyo so the timing is perfect.
I also donned a traditional japanese matsuri outfit(Happi) and was allowed to be a part of the community in the festival. This is a great honor as outsiders, even other japanese are not allowed to join except bystanding.
Japan is really quite amazing, they have the fastest, sleekest, most efficient trains, but they still have paper posters in their subway. They have amazing futuristic architecture, but they also have countless traditional wooden buildings dating back to Edo. They have terribly advanced LTE communications yet a good number of the population still uses traditional clamshell keitais (mobiles) with dangling ornaments on them. They have gotten it right by balancing modern globalization and retaining the very essence of their culture and heritage. It is simply amazing how everyone cleans up after themselves, even sorting their trash by bottles, cans, plastics, paper.
It is very surreal for me to see a old looking train travelling side by side with a futuristic Shinkansen(bullet train) for a few seconds. I am coming from a country where the old gets bulldozed or loosely ‘preserved’.
I am also proud to say that Ive finally stayed in a traditional tatami home, so generously provided to us by my housemate’s family. This is not a commercial inn, but a real home. It is beautiful, terribly beautiful.
Please enjoy some select images from my trip. These images are from the Kawagoe Matsuri, and scenes of Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku. Taken with the Fujifilm X10 Compact.