After Golden Week

What is Golden Week, you ask? Since I’m too lethargic right now to actually do any in-depth explanation, let me steal the following description from the Japan-guide:
“The Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days. In combination with well placed weekends, the Golden Week becomes one of Japan’s three busiest holiday seasons, besides New Year and the Obon week.”
A high flying flag signals the start of festival festivities!
That about sums it up. Generally, like on every good Japanese holiday or vacation period, everyone goes everywhere at once, which somehow never seems to result in any place being any less crowded and most places actually more crowded than usual. Oh yes, and everything becomes more expensive. :)
Panda, being broke once again, decided not to go anywhere (suprise suprise) for the vacation period and instead opted to (theoretically) catch up on some work he had to do (including getting around to re-designing this website, though the more observant of you will notice it still looks the same as before, which should give you a hint my plan did not go off as expected).
Panda looking chuffed with a lovely bevvy of Australian beauties (and 1 American!)
Actually, not wanting to be a total stick in the mud, I had planned on going up to a nearby town in the northern part of the prefecture to see a festival that everyone around me swore up and down was “breathtaking” and “awestriking” (they used those words too, the lying bastards). This festival features gigantic floats termed “dekayama” (“huge mountains”) that dwarf 4 story buildings and are pulled all over the city by the townspeople over a period of three days. Sometimes, I was told, they will crash into buildings and destroy them.
The lovely Megumi (featured in last month’s OL magazine!) and the lovely Keiko.
*mulls this over* So, let’s see – festival with lots of food featuring gigantic 4 story tall floats that are pulled by countryfolk and occasionally cause mass havok, mayhem and destruction? Why, what’s not to like?
Well, you see, I forgot that here in what is refered to as ura nihon (“back side of japan” though I prefer the more liberal translation: “the ass end of japan”), or what one of Tennis’s friends termed “the dark side of Japan”, it rains pretty much everyday. The days it’s not raining, it’s usually doing thundersnow or lightning hail or any other of a variety of weather forms more generally associated with the coming of the Rapture (or else a really bad NBC miniseries ) than with “normal earthly atmospheric conditions”. Of course, the evilness of the weather in this prefecture knows no boundaries, nor posses any respect for the best laid plans of pandas and gigantic-float-sporting-festival planners and as a result it rained like a ferocious bastard for three days straight during the festival, and as a result of that, all the food and merchant stalls closed, the floats were dismally soggy and wet, and hardly anybody showed up to pull them (they moved like all of 3 meters).
Keiko demonstrates her loyalty to The House of Panda with Mistar GlovePanda!
And as a result of that, the festival sucked like you cannot believe and Panda was pissed that he wasted the 3000 yen to get there and back, with the highlight of his trip being watching Super Troopers again for the umpteenth time in Wombat’s house and eating a “shrimp and mayonaise pie” at Mr. Donuts in front of the station, both of which I could have done without leaving the Sanctity of the Panda Abode.
At least I wasn’t as bad off as the poor group of hitchhikers from Tokyo who sought shelter from the rain in Wombat’s house – it was hard not to feel sympathy for people who hitchhiked a thousand plus kilometers just to stare at a bunch of sopping wet wooden floats in a torrential downpour. Ah, that’ll teach you puny urban dwellers to leave your concrete jungles for the … errmm… concrete jungles… of the Japanese countryside without checking the weather!
dozens of blue-clad drummers waiting for something…

Anyway, the disappointing rain-soaked sidetrip notwithstanding, Panda pretty much spent the rest of Golden Week alternately buried in a pile of futons or else rolling around sleepily from one tatami room to the other in search of food. (you can see what some other disaffected youth of Japan were up to this Golden Week by clicking here.)Ah, what a life, just sleeping and eating!! (and occasionally getting my ass beat at Tetris by Tennis (when she’s sober – drunk Tetris is a whole ‘nother case my friends…). Exciting, isn’t it?
That having been said, then what’s up with all the pictures? Well, despite how it may grate on my poor attention-deficit-disorder-afflicted Kitty friend from the North, I have elected to put up some pictures from a different (slightly less sucky) festival to go with this post, so as to avoid having nothing interesting for you to look at while you listen to me ramble on and on about nothing at all. While this festival was nothing special, it was a rare chance for us to spot the local geisha, who gave a few performances for all to see. Of course, in typical panda fashion, I didn’t actually get any pictures of the geisha, so busy was I snapping away at all sorts of other non-important things around me. Perhaps it’s I who is afflicted with attention deficit disorder?
Maybe to play some gigantic drums, perhaps?
I’m starting to get a little homesick. Well, not homesick homesick, but rather homesick for food… Talking with Tennis on the long train ride back to The Hood, I remembered just how many foods there are that I am so desperately craving: big roast turkeys, Topper’s Meat and Potato pizza, grapenuts cereal, real new york style bagels with cream cheese, real super sharp wisconsin cheddar cheese, mouth-watering butter burgers from Krohls, my grandmother’s meatpie and homemade pasties, a big bowl of Pho from Nam’s Noodle, the instant mashed potatoes and gravy from KFC, lemon meringue pie, deviled eggs, a big juicy steak, real 100% genuine wisconsin milk (none of this ill-tasting crap that passes for “milk” in this country), spicey Thai food from that one restaurant just off of state street… the list goes on and on. I miss little things – the sight of freshly cut lawns (correction: I miss the sight of lawns themselves…!), neatly ordered streets, the countless pristine lakes and rivers of northern wisconsin along the canadian border, large expansive highways, being able to drive places…. I would just get in a car and drive and drive and drive…. nowhere in particular, just drive…!
A cute little drummer lines up for his turn at the taiko drums.
Ah well. The thing of it is, I love Japan – I would just like to go to America for a week or less, even – just long enough to eat everything I miss, gain about 5 kilos, buy some nice clothes that fit, visit some friends and drive around a little while – but not long enough to remember why I hated wisconsin and how badly I wanted to leave in the first place.
Who knows? Depending on my mood, maybe I’ll take a trip back to America later this summer instead of going to France. Then again, the french food is so very delicious as well….
Ahh… the sleepu bliss that only the innocence of youth can bring.
Why do so many of my life’s decisions revolve around food….!?
Now listening to: “4 Strings – Let it rain (vocal club mix)”
7:57 am

One Reaction

  1. Aiwa

    Golden Week looks like fun. This just reminds me of Hawaii’s golden anniversary celebration this year.