festival

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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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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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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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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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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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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The Beautiful Paper Lanterns of Akita’s Tanabata Edoro Festival

For the nights of August 5-7, the streets of Yuzawa, Akita prefecture, are illuminated with the soft glow of ukiyo-e-esque paintings on paper lanterns for the Tanabata Edoro (Picture Lantern) Festival, a 300-year-old festival that takes place near JR Yuzawa station during Tanabata every year.

Akita is known for having some of the most beautiful women in Japan and the hand-painted paper lanterns do the prefecture justice, portraying illustrations of beautiful Japanese women, often in seductive poses.

Take a look at some of the lanterns from previous years below:

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Spain’s La Tomatina Festival is Coming to Tokyo This Weekend

Ever wondered what it would be like to be covered from head to toe in tomatoes?

Ever dreamed of smashing a tomato in someone’s face?

Ever wanted to see the streets run red…with tomato juice?

If so, you may think you have to head all the way over to Spain to partake in Valencia’s world famous La Tomatina festival.  However, those of you who live in Japan are in luck.  You only have to go as far as Tokyo.  That’s right, on September 9th, at the Tamagawa river in Tokyo, adventurers and pasta sauce enthusiasts alike can participate in a large-scale tomato fight just like the one in Spain.

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Breathtaking Nagaoka Fireworks Will Make You Want to Spend a Summer in Japan

Summer in Japan is all about matsuri, or festivals. Young people dressed in yukata walking through streets lined with food stalls and game booths, the rowdy, drunken group of local men carrying a giant mikoshi shrine through the crowd while yelling “Washoi! Washoi!” and, of course, the fireworks.

The Japanese take fireworks very seriously, which is why Japan is home to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world. To see what we mean, the fireworks show at this year’s Nagaoka Matsuri in Niigata prefecture has been generating buzz on the net thanks to some amazing video footage posted to YouTube. Check it out below!

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Celebration of Pakistani Music, Food, Fashion, and More to be Held in Tokyo

This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Pakistan began.  Since then the two countries have maintained a very strong diplomatic and economic relationship.  However, culturally the two countries haven’t gotten as close as they could have.

Thankfully the Pakistan Embassy in Japan along with members of the Pakistani community in Japan have organized the Pakistan Bazaar in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo.  Anyone in the Tokyo area on 24-25 March is welcome to experience the historical and cultural beauty that fills Pakistan with free admission.

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[On Location at Somin Naked Festival] I Was So Cold I Actually Thought I Was Going To Die

Japan’s premier naked festival, Sominsai (Somin Festival), was held this year on January 29 at Kokuseki Temple in Iwate Prefecture.

The name “naked” is somewhat misleading though, as participants are required to wear a fundoshi, a piece of white cloth which can best be descried as a traditional Japanese G-string. This scant clothing offers little protection from the blistering, below-freezing cold participants are expected to endure. Nevertheless, the toughest of men from across Japan come to test their mettle by trekking through grueling icy course from the temple to the river that’s cold enough to make you feel like you’re dying.

I know this because I took part.

That’s right, your fearless reporter put his life at risk to bring the experience of Kokuseki’s Sominsai to you, our beloved readers.

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