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archives

winter

This tag is associated with 10 posts

The Usual Suspects

//By Alistair Frothingham// It’s a snowy December in the year the Mayans predicted to be our last. Bundled in a black wool coat with buttons like wooden sabretooth tiger fangs, I breathe into a cheap blue-contrast-scale knitted scarf poorly hiding my cropped goatee. Marveled by the warmth I am afforded from purchases at a recycle … 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

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

The Top 25 Reverse Culture Shocks

The thoughts of a third-year ALT upon returning to the American South. //By Ashley Hinkleman// Reverse Culture Shock #1: Why is everyone speaking English? Reverse Culture Shock #2: Why does no one understand me when I speak Japanese? I tried to explain a game to my four-year-old niece, and when she didn’t understand, I started explaining … Continue reading

Snow Country and the Wildness of Words

// By Jessie Fast // Yasunari Kawabata won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1968, mostly as a result of his novel, Snow Country. Called Yukiguni in Japanese, it is the subtly portrayed account of a businessman who visits a hot spring town in winter and his relationships with a popular geisha there and a … Continue reading

Real Japan: Cat Guides and Kamakura Spirits

// by Laura Bast (guest author) // My first day in Japan was spent in Yokote city, Akita. My ALT, she who was to be my guide for the rest of the trip, had gone to work for the day. A cat appeared in her stead. This came as no surprise to me, as I … Continue reading

Dance of the Fire-Swingers

// by Jessie Fast // When the term “fire-swinging festival” is being thrown around (no pun intended), it’s only natural to feel intrigue, followed quickly by an overwhelming desire to participate. Hiburi Kamakura Matsuri, perhaps better translated as the “fire dance festival,” is held every February in downtown Kakunodate in celebration of the lunar new … Continue reading

Sick Masks, Snow, and a Swollen Lip

// by Katie Yantzi // The air is cold. My alarm wakes me up forty minutes earlier than usual. The white mounds outside my apartment are growing with a vengeance, getting heavier each day, and stealthily encroaching upon my parking space. My shovels stand at attention by the front door, ready for action. The seasons … Continue reading