Saturday, September 26, 2015

Azabu Juban Summer Festival 2015 / 麻布十番納涼祭り 2015

I had been going to the Azabu Juban for years.  But then it just became too crowded and as its always held in the middle of August, its also really hot and there is nowhere to sit.  However, what always drew me to this festival was the International Bazaar.  The surrounding embassies would have food booths set up and feature the cuisine of their country.  Last year, the International Bazaar was under construction so I elected not to go.  Actually I hadn't been going for the past few years but I thought it would be great to go to the International Bazaar again.  Unfortunately, it seems that part of the festival is no longer done.  What a bummer!  But still, we were also going to meet up with some friends.


My wife and I were early.  So while waiting for our friends, we decided to check out the Juban Shrine nearby.


Chozuya (hand purification basin) / 手水舎

We spotted a large gold frog on display here.


And I just happened to be wearing my Pyonkichi (cartoon frog name) T-shirt today too!


We came upon more of Pyonkichi's friends I think.


The Seven Lucky Gods of Fortune can be found here as well.


I also received another temple seal to add to my collection.  And as we came during the summer festival, I also received the stamp showing the festival as well (the seal on the upper right).


We still had time to kill and we spotted an interesting looking shop right across from the shrine.  A specialty salt shop!  Yes, I said salt.  All kinds of salt.  I think my sister would live this place.  They even serve ice cream and you could top it with different flavors of salt!


Masuya / 塩屋 (まーすやー)
My wife and I shared an ice cream and we tried all the flavored salts above.  From left to right - cocoa salt, Javanese long pepper salt, yuzu salt, Island pepper salt, snow salt plus, maccha salt, black sesame salt, hibiscus salt, wasabi salt and dynamite salt (which is a blend of black pepper, salt and other spices).

The Little Girl in the Red Shoes - Kimi-chan / きみちゃん像
Most Japanese are familiar with the story of Kimi-chan, the model for the story "The Little Girl in the Red Shoes".  Since it might be a little difficult to read the caption above, I am only writing the English part of the sign below:
The little girl in the red shoes has found a permanent home in Azabu Juban.  The little girl is the subject of a well-known children's song, "The Girl in the Red Shoes", written by Ujo Noguchi, the famous poet.  Her name was Kimi-chan.  Kimi-chan was adopted by an American missionary family and was to have gone to America with them.  Kimi-chan's mother believing that her daughter was living happily in America, told this story to Noguchi, who wrote the song.  Later it became known that in fact Kimi-chan did not go to America, but instead was sent to an orphanage in Azabu Juban because she was ill.  She died there at the age of nine.  This statue is a symbol of the strong love between mother and child.
More public art in Azabu Juban.  [Youganou's Dream] by Neculai Paduraru from Romania.

麻布十番のパブリックアート。「ユガーヌの夢」 ニコライ・パドゥラル (ルーマニア)

[Adam and Eve] by Georges Jeanclos (France).

「アダムとイヴ」 ジョルジュ・ジャンクロ (フランス)

Snack and drink before the actual festival which doesn't start until 3pm.  The booths will not sell anything before then.


3pm - let the actual festivities begin!  Let's start with a pear and grape chu-hi!

3時 ー 祭り開始! やっぱり最初は酒ですね。和梨とピオーネチューハイ!

Pyonkichi having a drink as well!


Yakisoba(standard festival food) / 焼きそば (祭りの定番料理)
Yakitori / 焼とり
Chinese soup dumpling / 小龍包
The above is one of my favorite dishes.

Hoya (sea squirt) / ホヤ
Okay, this tastes pretty good but if you saw what it originally looks like, you would say WTF?

Pictured above are sea squirts.  Dang, I actually ate one of those???


Way too crowded at dusk.  You could barely walk between booths.  We decided to call it a day with the promise of meeting again at the "Battle of the Udon" festival (which I already wrote about).  And I was so looking forward to eating some brique and other ethnic dishes.  If they don't bring back the International Bazaar, I don't think I will be going to this festival anymore.


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