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Festivals and Events

This category contains 19 posts

The Waka-what now?

//by Reza Danesh-Pajooh// Contrary to its daunting square-footage, a common complaint by both ALT and native alike is that there’s simply nothing to do here in Akita. Events are few and far between, and usually end up overlapping with festivals, work-days, or other events. Pair that with the fact that travelling within Akita is both time-consuming … Continue reading

Kakunodate Festival

//By Kristina Tan// Recently inducted into the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List, along with The Tsuchizaki Shinmei Shrine Festival in Akita City and the Hanawa Festival in Kazuno City, the Kakunodate Festival is a float festival located in Semboku, Akita. Floats are crashed into each other in a huge display and are pulled into each other … Continue reading

Corporate Kendo Competition: In Photos

//By Jessie Fast//

Not Wholly Whole: Hafu Film Review

//By Keith Ikoma// On May 31st, I attended a showing of the film Hafu in Akita City. Some background about me: I am half-Japanese, and Hafu is about half-Japanese people and their experience in Japan. However, I am from Vancouver, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. There is a significant Asian influence … Continue reading

Tori no Ichi Chicken Festival

//By Bethany Barry Wiens// Wherever you go in Japan, there are specialties. Therefore, wherever you are in Japan, there will inevitably be festivals and celebrations of said specialties. For the town of Hinai in Northern Akita, that specialty is chicken. So it follows that once a year there is a festival celebrating the glory that … Continue reading

Yuzawa Innuko Snow Dog Festival

//By Judy Oyedele// Yuzawa City’s Innuko Matsuri is a must-see festival for the winter. Usually on a Saturday and Sunday (this year, it was held on February 8-9), the main attractions are the massive Akita dogs sculpted from snow. The festival is conveniently located just outside the Yuzawa train station doors, but there is a … Continue reading

Lake Towada Winter Story Festival

//By Lynne Francis// In northern Akita Prefecture, there sits Lake Towada. This lake borders Akita and its northern neighbor, Aomori Prefecture. While the lake is covered in a misty haze in the winter, its south-eastern side hosts the Towada Winter Story Festival. Unlike other festivals that span a few days, this grand mix of a … Continue reading

Kariwano Tug-of-War Festival

//By Jessie Fast// One of the best things about small winter festivals in Akita is how a whole town will come together for the special occasion. A tradition becomes a testament to the unity of a community, usually tucked away somewhere off little used highways. One such festival is the 500-year-old giant Tug-of-War in Kariwano … Continue reading

Namahage Sedo Festival

//By Jessie Fast// There is perhaps nothing more terrifying for children than being confronted with their nightmares face-to-face. However, for children in Akita, that is exactly what happens at the Namahage Sedo Festival in Oga City. Namahage, Akita’s infamous demon-gods with daggers in hand and red or blue faces, are used by parents to scare … Continue reading

Stepping Up: Reflecting on the Akita-ben Speech Contest

//By Lynne Francis// As ALTs, there comes a time when we all help our students with projects, papers, and speeches. However, very few of us get the chance to stand in the position of presenter rather than judge or coach. I, along with nine other contestants from six countries who currently live, study, or work … Continue reading