The Koganei Nakayoshi Shimin Matsuri (小金井なかよし市民まつり) was held in Koganei Park for the whole month of October, but today was the height of celebration of it all. A Matsuri is like a traditional festive carnival with lots of food and games and performances for all to enjoy. Kind of like the Pasar Malam we have in Singapore, except a Matsuri is more festive and fun!
Lots of food stall selling typical Matsuri food.
This is my first visit to a Matsuri in Japan, and I really had a lot of fun even though I was all by myself!
A かき氷 (Kakigoori - Shaved Ice) stall.
Yummy 焼き鳥 (Yakitori - Skewered chicken).
Naruto and Luffy advertising for the stall!
I got a free pen by participating in a survey! On it is the Koganei City mascot, Kokin-chan!
Things to do in a Matsuri!
There are many things to do in a Matsuri! Here is just to name a few...
1. Enjoy the Matsuri food!
Happy little girl with her cotton candy. So cute!
Father and child sharing a pack of たこ焼き (Takoyaki - Grilled Octopus Balls).
The price of food is slightly higher than in the usual supermarket, but who cares? It's a Matsuri! And eating in a Matsuri is so much more enjoyable! You will get a satisfying sense of participation, like I did! Ha!
And I ate so much!
Bought 2 packs of Halloween candies from this cute little girl scout.
Grilled squid pancake. Very good!
Saw many people eating this and I simply could not resist!
Buttered potato, with butter spread on it like nobody's business!
My favourite grilled chicken skin!
Soya sauce dango! I was too full after eating the first stick but it would be a sin to waste food. So I force-fed myself the second stick.
2. Buy stuff!
Fresh veggies for sale!
Rummaging for buried treasure at the flea market.
Boys back in my school will go crazy for these!
Lots of things to buy from the various stalls!
Friendship bands at 10yen!
Since we are on the topic of buying things...
Here is my loot of the day!
Clips in the shape of cats that I bought from the Japan Red Cross Society booth! 200yen each!
The elderly ladies volunteering at the Red Cross booth were so sweet! They were delighted when I told them that I am from Singapore, and how I was enjoying my first visit to a Matsuri! And then they started throwing free gifts into my plastic bag!
'日本のお土産' , they said. (Nihon no Omiyage, Souvenirs from Japan)
Packet of flower seeds, tooth-pick holder and a strap made from shells.
I was really touched by their gesture! I did not expect to receive such warmth and friendliness and I almost cried! It was so nice to meet these lovely folks when I am away from home in a foreign country all by myself!
3. Play Games!
金魚すくい- (Kingyo Sukui - Scooping Goldfish)
A popular game at a Matsuri which involves catching goldfish with a thin paper scooper.
An easier version of kingyo sukui with rubber balls and small toys.
Playing with bubbles.
Kids attempting to make their own chopsticks out of a block of wood.
4. Just chill on the grass
Lots of people were having picnics on the field, and occasionally there was a guy or two just napping under the sun. They looked so relaxed!
5. Enjoy a day out with your dog(s)
I saw so many people with their dogs today! I wish I can meet some cats. I miss my cats back at home! A trip to a cat cafe is in order soon!
6. Have fun with the local mascot
Kokin-chan was there! He was created by the famous Miyazawa Hayao!
7. Watch great performances
There were many programmes lined up at the main stage for all to enjoy.
Story-telling time. It was in sign language too!
Great turnout! Everyone was enjoying themselves!
Stay tuned for Part 2!