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Posts tagged taiko

Winter festivals

taiko drumming bon odori tokyo

Taiko drumming @ a summer bon odori in Tokyo

@Visit_Japan @BonOdori513

Although Japan’s temples and shrines can sit rather quietly during the winter, tomorrow is Setsubun so if you are in Japan February 3 is a good day to give your local shrine or temple a visit to see if they have something going on.

Taiko no Tatsujin arcade game

taiko no tatsujin namco drum master

You aren’t likely to find a taiko arcade game in the USA anytime soon (although Namco did make a version for the Sony PlayStation 2 called “Taiko: Drum Master”). However, there are more than 15 versions of Taiko no Tatsujin (太鼓の達人) available for your amusement in Japanese arcades. Actually, this wasn’t even in your typical arcade. I took today’s photo in the building where you buy tickets to ride a gondola (ropeway actually) in Hakone.

Taiko at a bonodori

金泉湯 takadanobaba sento public bath house

金泉湯 ads on lanterns at Japanese festival

Japanese characters (kanji) on lanterns all look pretty cool to foreign eyes. When you can actual read the characters, though, the ones advertising places like 金泉湯 (Golden Spring Baths–a Japanese Sento or public bath) seem much cooler–and much more Japanese–than those advertising a local doctor’s office or McDonald’s.

Sadly, I never visited 金泉湯 (Kinsento), even though I walked past it a million times. I guess this is yet another reason why I need to go back to Tokyo one of these days. While the onsen (hot springs) establishments in Japan will never disappear, the number of sento are continually decreasing, and they could go extinct. I hope 金泉湯 is still around for my next visit.

Kanto Yamato Taiko (関東やまと太鼓)

japanese boy taiko drummer face

My first visit to Katsushika-Ku (葛飾区) was not to 亀有公園前派出所, home of my favorite manga, but to the 葛飾菖蒲まつり on the Arakawa side of the district. In June the locals celebrate the blooming irises in Horikiri Shobuen (堀切菖蒲園) as they have been for hundreds of years, but more on the flowers in tomorrow’s entry.

Today’s photo and video are from the taiko performance that we witnessed.

TIS Cherry Blossom Fair

tokyo international school gym

A couple weeks ago Tokyo International School held their annual Cherry Blossom Fair. I’m not sure why they call it that as the cherry blossoms are gone by then. Maybe they usually have it a week earlier and didn’t want to change the name of the event this year.

The top photo is of one of the many games. This one was called Japanese Curling. The kids were a little disappointed that there were no sweepers, but it was a popular game anyway.

yakisoba teriyaki japan

The food booths were really good. Countries (and foods) represented included Japan (pictured above), USA, Egypt, Israel, France, Germany, New Zealand, Korea, and about five others.

minatoku tokyo skyscrappers japan taiko drumming

There was a taiko performance. Koinobori (鯉幟 or carp streamers) graced the outdoor activities.

sakura cherry blossom fair 2010

A clown/comedian/juggler/entertainer who called himself “Super Gaijin” can be seen in the above photo sporting a blue hat.

Shibuya’s Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Hall – 東京都児童会館

One of our guidebooks mentioned a place in Shibuya that sounded interesting. So a few days after New Years we made our way to the Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Hall. Most things were aimed at younger kids (probably best for 5 – 9 year olds), but we still had a good time. The place is large by Tokyo standards with about six floors of activities. And it’s all free.

Today’s picture is of the taiko group which performed in front of the entrance.

We found out later that these free, children’s halls exist all over the place. Ryan and Ellie visited one near Meguro with some friends and have played ping pong at the one just a few minutes down the street in Takadanobaba.