Aug 292012
Hot Samba Carnival in the heat of Tokyo's summer

A flock of penguin-dressed Japanese dancing Brazilian samba in front of a 1400 year old Buddhist temple.

Does that sound ridiculous? Believe it or not, this is August in Tokyo.

Brazil is bound to Japan with historical ties. It was the country that attracted majority of Japanese emigrants in the beginning of 20th century. And nowadays, descendants of those people constitute a large group of immigrants to Japan.

Next year, the Asakusa Samba Carnival will mark its 30th anniversary.

May 172012
Asakusa Sanja Matsuri

Probably the largest and most popular traditional festival in Tokyo – Sanja Matsuri – takes place in May.

Three mikoshi – portable shrines – are carried by a huge crowd to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa.

They commemorate two fishermen who found the statue of Kannon goddess and the statue itself.

Apr 212012
Nakizumo – crying sumo tournament full of laugh

Nakizumo (“crying sumo tournament”) – once a local shrine festival have recently gained country-wide popularity. In a bout between two toddlers, the one who cries louder wins.

Tournament in Asakusa district of Tokyo is organized in a particularly professional setting thanks to proximity of Kokugikan – the national hall, in which real sumo tournaments take place.

Apr 172012
Traditional Japanese archery in Asakusa

On the third weekend of April, in Asakusa, on the bank of Sumida River, two archery events take place. A traditional contest of shooting arrows at the plastic deer and yabusame – horseback archery.

Though closely following the etiquette, both show more competitive side of Japanese archery with judges and public rewarding hits rather than perfect form.