festival

Tasty art brought to life — enjoy unique recreations of illustrated food at the Pixiv Festival!

Some of our readers may be aware of Pixiv, the popular Japanese online community that provides a forum for artists to share and receive feedback on their illustrated works. Well, we certainly think such a community is a meaningful use for the Internet, and now, we’re even more excited to hear that Pixiv will be putting on a real-life festival! It’s the “Pixiv Festival – where drawing is fuuuuuuuuun!!!!!!!!!!!!” scheduled to be held in Roppongi next month, and while the event is sure to provide plenty of opportunity for artistic action, it seems there’ll also be some very interesting food options available as well — yes, you’ll be able to sample dishes that have actually been recreated from illustrations shared on the site, so let’s take a closer look at some of the unique culinary creations that have been brought to life especially for the festival!

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Hassaku Matsuri is a festival in Japan reserved for asking the gods for a bountiful harvest and happy life. It occurs every year during the first day of the eighth lunar month, usually falling during the beginning of September. Just as dialects and traditional foods vary depending on the region, Hassaku Matsuri is celebrated in vastly contrasting ways, especially in Kumamoto, Fukui, and Ibaraki prefectures. From intricate structures made of natural materials to an extremely inappropriate goblin, join us as we explore a few of the many Hassaku traditions in Japan.

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Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Normally, Shinkiba 1stRING features the physical feats of Japan’s pro-wrestling circuit. The ring is always packed with wrestling fans whenever there is an event, but what happens when there is no wrestling? Partying, obviously! On August 9, with the looming threat of Typhoon 11, people gathered for a one-of-a-kind party in Japan, possibly the first of its kind: a music festival that mixes bumping beats with…clear lube?!?

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Animal rights groups unhappy as “hamster fishing” game spotted at summer festival

Summer festivals all have one thing in common: there’s always a ton of people at them. That also means there are plenty of exciting booths to spend your money at. Besides food stalls, there are some popular carnival-type games that you’ll find at festivals in Japan, most of which are classic games of skill and luck which reward you with a variety of prizes. Perhaps one of the most famous festival games is a goldfish scooping game called kingyo sukui.

This year, however a slightly different “fishing” game was spotted at a summer festival held in Osaka. As you might imagine from a game requiring participants to “fish” for live hamsters, it is certainly generating a wide range of reactions.

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Sumida River Fireworks Festival aftermath: Not everyone in Japan has perfect manners after all

Japanese soccer fans attracted plenty of praise at the World Cup last month when, having watched their team lose to Ivory Coast, they diligently cleaned up their trash from the stadium. Whether you think these supporters’ actions show how important it is to Japanese people to be considerate of others, or just good old-fashioned common sense that applies wherever you are in the world, everyone (well, almost everyone) agreed that taking your rubbish home with you is A Good Thing.

This week, however, Japanese Twitter users have breathed a collective disappointed sigh as photos of the trash left in the streets after the world-famous Sumida River Fireworks Festival show some people in Japan aren’t as super-considerate as we’d like to think. Is Tokyo an exception to the rules? Or is Japan’s reputation as a super-clean nation undeserved?

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LIGHT UP NIPPON 2014 pays tribute to the Great East Japan Earthquake with a booming spectacle

For those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, three and a half years still might not be enough time separating the event from the present day. Each slight tremble in the earth, any loud alarm can be a painful reminder of all that was lost that afternoon. While the saying goes “time heals all wounds”, a bit of light-hearted fun always helps the process along. On August 11, 2014, on the 3 ½ year mark of the disastrous event, the LIGHT UP NIPPON event will be celebrating in remembrance, as it has for the past four years.

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Tropfest: The world’s largest short-film festival comes to Japan for one day only

Have you heard of Tropfest? For thousands of Australians, the name conjures up images of picnics, green grass and long, warm days that turn into night, bringing out stars like Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush.

It’s the biggest short-film festival in the world, born in a small café in Sydney in 1993 and growing every year, travelling to places like New York, Abu Dhabi and Cape York. This year the outdoor film festival is making its debut in Japan, bringing with it Aussie food stalls and a great selection of film shorts.

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Wow, Japan, is that a giant wooden phallus in your hot springs, or are you just happy to see m–oh. I see. Well, uh, I’ll just be on my way then. Um…maybe one quick photo…

As you are surely already aware, Japan has quite a few unusual, phallic festivals allegedly intended to be fertility rites for couples hoping for children. They’re also great attractions for curious tourists or anyone who wants to try frosted penis-bananas. Iwate Prefecture, perhaps not wanting to be left out, has a phallus festival of its own. Its standout feature? The phallus riding event! And, great news, ladies, they’re taking applications!

(Before clicking below, use your best judgement about whether or not this is something you should be reading at work.)

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Everyone’s favourite giant penises will be popping out again at this year’s festival of phalluses

It’s that time of year again! Spring is in the air, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and everyone’s feeling a little bit randy. What better way to celebrate life than with the Kanamara Matsuri, better known as the Penis Festival, to be held on April 6th from 11am to 6pm.

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Aichi fertility festival surprises everyone with gigantic membership

Every year on 15 March in Komaki City, Aichi the Honen Matsuri (Harvest Festival) is held. Unlike other harvest festivals this one is to celebrate all forms bounty from crops to cash to family.

Also unlike other harvest festivals, this one has a 2.5m wooden phallus that gets paraded through the city during the afternoon. It’s called “Ooowasegata” (lit. big guy stem figure) and this year it drew a crowd of 190,000 spectators according to a Tagata Shrine announcement.

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Halfway to adulthood: New Japanese festival for 10-year-olds gets parents talking

Japanese children enjoy many rite-of-passage celebration and age-specific holidays. This week it was Girls’ Day (hina matsuri) on March 3rd; next up in May will be Children’s Day (kodomo no hi). Another children’s holiday comes along in November: shichi-go-san, for children who have turned 3, 5 or 7 that year.

Once Japanese young adults turn 20, they have a special holiday to celebrate the beginning of adulthood, too. Coming of Age Day (seijin no hi) celebrates those who have reached the Japanese age of majority by turning 20 the previous year. And now growing in popularity is the “halfway to adulthood” festival, held when a child is 10 years old.

So what is this new(ish) celebration, where did it come from, and what does its burgeoning popularity tell us about Japan today?

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Why stare at fireworks way out in the sky? In Yanshui they’ll shoot them right in your face

Have you ever watched the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan and thought to yourself: “Man, that looks like one hell of a party”? If your answer is yes, then you might want to check out the annual Yanshui Fireworks Festival in Taiwan every February.

The event has gained notoriety for not only shooting its fireworks into the sky, but also directly at the faces of people watching them. Although such interactivity makes this the next level in fireworks displays, this festival actually dates back nearly two centuries.

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Cosplayers pose, perform, and get a suntan at Singapore’s cosplay festival 【Photos】

Over the weekend, I stopped by the End of Year Cosplay Festival (EOY) held at Marina Barrage in Singapore. Although I love anime, I’ve never been to an anime convention or cosplay festival for one simple reason: I hate crowds. But this time around I had a friend, who coincidentally is a cosplay photographer, to show me the ropes of treading through a people-packed cosfest, so I braved the crowds to bring you guys (and girls) some fabulous cosplay photos!

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We visit the World Santa Congress in Kumamoto Prefecture and still feel exactly like jaded adults

Located in a remote section of a remote prefecture of Japan, Kumamoto’s Amakusa City faces the same problem a lot of rural towns do: its population is dwindling as children born there generally have to leave to pursue an education or career, and few move back.

As part of an effort to boost the remaining residents’ spirits, as well as hopefully garner a little tourism publicity, Amakusa recently held a World Santa Congress.

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Japan’s Self-Defense Forces as you’ve never seen them before

They’re usually the epitome of seriousness and order, but it seems even military men can find Japan’s summer heat a little overwhelming…

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New fad in Japan: Posting your phone number, bank account, and other personal information on Twitter

Even as more and more people complain about how unsocial social network services have become, some Japanese Twitter users have put their faith in humanity and opened up a new line of communication with their fellow Tweeters.

How? By publicly posting their phone numbers, some going as far as posting their bank account information and address.

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We Get Wet and Wild at Thailand’s Water Festival

Over the years, Thailand has gone by many names. Until 1939 it was Siam, and the country’s friendly citizens have earned it the nickname “The Land of Smiles.”

For a few days each year though, Thailand is also “The Land of the City-Wide Splash Fights.” Read More

We Visit the 2013 Kanamara Festival and Bring You a Slideshow as Long as… You Know

On the first Sunday of April in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, the Kanayama Shrine holds a festival known casually as the “Penis Festival” on account of its huge array of multi-colored members.

Known as one of Japan’s oddest festivals, the Kanamara Festival draws huge throbbing crowds from around the world. We sent a reporter to this year’s festival for a glans-on experience. The following is her report, along with more photos and videos than you could shake a wang at.

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Visitors to Jilin Ice Festival Shoot Arrows at Live Roosters

Coming just days after we brought you images of visitors at a zoo in China tormenting lions by throwing snowballs at them, we receive a collection of photos taken earlier this week showing tourists at China’s Jilin festival shooting arrows at live roosters tied to a wall of ice.

The brutal practice is allegedly part of the yearly festival where visitors are invited to pick up a bow and take a few shots at the squirming birds. Although some of the tourists reportedly refused to take part, there were others who, sadly, weren’t afraid to spill a little blood.

Some readers may find the following images disturbing.

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Our Reporter Learns a Thing or Two about Buying Good Luck Charms in Japan…

Tori no Ichi is an open-air market festival held in Japan on the day of the Rooster in November, as determined by the Chinese calendar. At the festivals, markets are set up in front of or near to Shinto shrines, and charms- most often decorated bamboo rakes called kumade- that are said to bring the owner good fortune in the coming year are sold to visitors.

Kumade literally means “bear hand”, since, when you think about them, rakes are shaped rather like a large hand with claws. Rakes were chosen generations ago as a sign of good luck since they can be used to draw things– in this case wealth and good fortune– towards us, and the practice of buying ornamental rakes has been common in Japan since the Edo period (1600-1867).

Wanting to check out the lively festival and ask for continued success for the website next year, our reporter Mr. Sato headed over to the famous Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku to purchase a kumade on behalf of RocketNews24.

However, having never purchased one of the charms before, he discovered that he had more than a couple of things to learn…

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