Tuesday, May 22, 2018

June 2018; Upcoming Kansai Events

6月

5/26-6/10. 16:30-21:30. Expo Park Japanese Garden firefly event.
http://www.expo70-park.jp/event/13771/

6/1. After sunset. Himuro Shrine ice lanterns. Near Kintetsu Nara station.
https://kansaiculture.blogspot.jp/2017/07/himuro-shrine-emperors-ice-house.html

6/1. 11:00-. Kifune Matsuri.
https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E8%B2%B4%E8%88%B9%E7%A5%9E%E7%A4%BE/%E8%B2%B4%E8%88%B9%E7%A5%9E%E7%A4%BE-%E4%BE%8B%E7%A5%AD%E8%B2%B4%E8%88%B9%E7%A5%AD-%E8%99%8E%E6%9D%96%E7%A5%AD%E3%81%A8%E5%91%BC%E3%81%B0%E3%82%8C%E3%81%9F%E5%A4%A7%E7%A5%AD/356048904448240

6/1. Chayamachi 1,000,000 candle night.

6/3. 10:30-. Azuchi Nobunaga Matsuri at the Azuchi Castle ruins near Azuchi station.
http://www.azuchi-shiga.com/nobunaga-maturi.htm

6/6. Nishi Umeda 1,000,000 candle night.
https://www.facebook.com/candle.night.osaka/

6/2-11 . Sky Building Firefly event.

Early June. Fireflies and tea ceremony at Shimogamo Shrine. Near Demachiyanagi station in Kyoto.
http://www.shimogamo-jinja.or.jp/rituals/

6/7-8. 10:00-17:00. Service Robot expo at INTEX. Near Nakafuto station.
http://www.srobo.jp/

6/7-8. 10:00-17:00. Crime and Disaster Prevention expo at INTEX. Near Nakafuto station.
http://www.bohanbosai.jp/

6/9-10. 20:00-22:00. Namba Park Firefly event.
http://www.nambaparks.com/event_schedule/_21482.html

6/9-though summer. Sky Building Tanabata decorations.
https://ameblo.jp/skybldg173/entry-12282200536.html

6/22?. ?. Just Japan Tweetup in Kobe?

6/21-25. Japanese Pottery Fair at INTEX. Near Nakafuto station.

6/24. Comic City trade fair at INTEX.
http://www.intex-osaka.com/jp/guest/event/single.php?id=683

6/30. Kifune Shrine purification rituals. Passing through a straw gateway and tossing paper doll talismans into the river.
https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E8%B2%B4%E8%88%B9%E7%A5%9E%E7%A4%BE/%E5%A4%A7%E7%A5%93%E5%BC%8F%E3%81%8A%E3%81%8A%E3%81%AF%E3%82%89%E3%81%88%E3%81%97%E3%81%8D-%E5%BF%83%E8%BA%AB%E6%B5%84%E5%8C%96%E3%81%AE%E5%84%80%E5%BC%8F/380282612024869

6/30-7/2. Aizen Matsuri. Near Shitennoji-Yuhigaoka-Mae station.
http://aizendo.com/festival.htm




References
http://www.intex-osaka.com
http://www.kansaimatsuri.com/en/
https://kansaifinder.com/
http://www.kyotoguide.com/
http://nishinavi.jp/
http://www.hyogo-tourism.jp/
https://ohmatsuri.com/en/
http://www.kyoceradome-osaka.jp/events/
http://www.nankinmachi.or.jp/eventlist
http://www.nihon-kankou.or.jp/
http://osakabayarea.com/
http://www.imamiyajinja.org/event/
http://www.dydo-matsuri.com/english/
https://www.miyakomesse.jp/event/
http://www.hyogo-park.or.jp/akashi/contents/news/index.php?mode=view&cd=7895
http://kifunejinja.jp/event.html

Questions the Folks Back Home Ask

Questions the folks back home ask





When living abroad as an ex-pat you sometimes receive interesting questions from your contacts back in your home country.

These questions may represent misconceptions and a lack of familiarity about the new culture where you living. They may have facets of unique local culture which they have come to take for granted and simply assume are parts of a universal experience.

They may be overlooking some of the practical, political, cultural, linguistic, historical, and physical limitations that separate them from the loved one living abroad, especially as communication technology shrinks the sense of distance as you can speak immediately and easily.

There are also times when you realize how estranged you are from your family. When you are living abroad there is an "out-of-sight out-of-mind" effect that they people who were close to you in your home country will experience as they go about their lives without you so their communications with you may reflect a diminishing familiarity or interest in you, you life and your current environment.

Living far away means that people are going to be less likely to relate to anything you have to offer if you try to relate new and unique aspects of life abroad, especially if they have never visited; and as people get older and become more settled in their lives (then increasingly physically decrepit) it becomes less likely that they ever consider your part of the world.

Below are some of the questions I have received while talks to family members back home.

You should consider when talking to older family members that they tend to be more stubbornly stuck in certain small talk patterns, which accounts for some of these, but these are example which I though were particularly funny.

These conversation are divided into three parts: "Q", "A" and "(?!)" which represent the "question", the "answer that was given" and "what I was thinking to myself" explaining why it surprised me.


Q: [There was a hurricane on the east coast of America] are you affected by this storm?

A: No.

(?!): Hurricanes can affect the weather patterns of a large area, and most of your family members will be getting some added rainfall but I live 6,600 miles away... hurricanes don't affect the opposite side of the earth much.


Q: Do they watch the UK (University of Kentucky) basketball games there?
A: No, but I think there are some videos on the internet.

(?!): College sports are not big in Japan but in rural America the local university sports teams are a big part of local pride and go-to conversation topic (especially for men) to break the ice when there is an awkward silence. Of course there are school clubs in Japan which play basketball, but they are not big spectator events. People who play basketball in Japan may see some professional NBA videos but why would they be interested in inferior level students playing extra-curricular games. Most people in Japan think of "Kentucky" as a fried chicken restaurant rather than an American state. Even in Kentucky, you can drive an hour and be in a the domain of different university team with a different local television broadcaster that makes the local team the subject of their broadcasts thereby standardizing fan support in that area.


Q: What time is it there?

A: About midnight.

(?!): It is about 13 hours later (daylight savings time complicates this for America), but intuitively you can imagine that the Eastern US timezone and the Japan timezone are nearly on opposite sides of the globe so the time of day will be nearly opposite. This question is a standard part of the back-and-forth pleasantries for telephone calls for every phone call. When I call a group of people at family gatherings I can expect many people to ask this same question as the phone is passed around, it is like "how is it going" for inane banter with the estranged expat relative.


Q:Do they have Thanksgiving there?

A: Not really but some places have Thanksgiving dinner parties for Americans.

(?!): Thanksgiving?! The fourth Thursday of November in American where we imagine Christian colonists landing in America and having an autumnal feast with the native Americans? They wouldn't celebrate that in Japan. But Canada and other countries have a thanksgiving days with is less specific historical backgrounds, so this could be seen as a reasonable question.


Q: Do they have [insert current holiday] there?

A: No. / Yes! Let me explain...

(?!): Japan is a tolerant country that gives people freedom of religion while also being a capitalistic society where businesses are eager to attract customers and pedal products so Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day and even St. Patrick's Day are all observed on some level as an excuse to party... or in the expat communities, at the very least.
But I have to laugh if they ask about Groundhog Day, because the weirdest and hardest to explain of all American holidays and I am surprised that it has not become "hey wait, what are doing here exactly" day in America.


Q: Do you still live in that same city?

A: Yes, I still live in Osaka.

(?!): This is more understandable from the more distant/easily estranged relatives but I get this question from my parents a few times each year. Wouldn't most people volunteer that information if they picked up and relocated to a new city?!
Also, Osaka is quite a large city with quite a short name. 3 million people in a city that is only 5-letters long; More people than Paris with a shorter name than London. The population is about the same as the entire state of Kentucky, but people ask if Osaka is near Tokyo. Tokyo gets all the glory... sigh.


Q: You still in China?

A: I'm still in the same place... in Japan. Actually, I have never been to China...

(?!): C'mon! KansaiCulture.com?! @KansaiPhotos?! I am in the Kansai region of Japan, singing the praises of Kansai all the time! Does no one even casually mention me at family gatherings anymore? Japan and China are quite different, but I suppose that most people live their lives and do not worry about such things...sigh.


Q: Do you still do that... thing [kendo]?
A: Yes, I still do kendo. Let me tell you about my latest kendo adventure...
(?!): Even if you have had your Japan related hobby for your entire adult life, it is probably not something that is familiar to the general public in your home country and your family may not have retained enough information to accurately name it, or even describe it to people they speak to. People are going to reluctant to research anything or plumb the depth of your social media on their own; they have their own interests, you need to try to connect with them to even open the possibility of getting them open up to any new information.

Do you get any questions like these from the folks back home?




There is an expression in Japanese for this type of situation:

去る者は日日に疎し "saru mono wa hibi ni utoshi"
-"Those who depart are forgotten day by day"

This phrase is good match for the expression "out-of-sight out-of-mind." The similarity shows the universal nature of this human experience and reminds me that these situations are something that goes along with living abroad.

If you explain too much people will bristle at the feeling of being lectured for their attempts to make polite conversation, so just try to keep the conversation rolling by relating to them on common ground with talk about things in the home country which they can relate to and only test the waters sparingly with short anecdotes about life abroad which you judge will have the highest probability of landing with them.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Kobe Matsuri 2018; Samba Dancers

神戸祭 サンバー

The following photo journal covers the final Samba segment of the Kobe Matsuri parade.
5/20/2018

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancers

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer with a hula theme.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer. 
Samba dancer.



Samba dancer.

Samba dancers

Samba dancer.

Samba dancers

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Male samba dancer. Some of the other people in his group were wearing monkey costumes so I suppose his fuzzy costume also has some primate/Tarzan theme.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancers

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer posing for a photo with a visitor.
On the side you can see one of the kids in a monkey costume.


Photos after the parade.


Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer in a bird costume.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Samba dancer.

Kobe Matusri 2018; The Jedi Order

神戸祭ジェダイオーダー

A group of Star Wars themed cosplayers has become a recurring feature of the Kobe Matsuri parade.

This photo journal covers the Jedi Order portion of the parade on 5/20/2018:

Chewbaccha holding the sign for the "Jedi Order."

A storm trooper

Queen Amidala

Kylo Ren with Obi-Wan (?) and a sand person in the background.

Star Wars parade

Members of the Jedi Order as rebel soldiers, storm troopers and Jedi

Jabba the Hutt with a chain.

Princess Leia and an Ewok.

A droid family.

Storm trooper showing the cute animal influence of the new film.

Star Wars chanbara.

Chirrut from Star Wars.

Jedi costume

Jedi costume.

Darth Vader and the Emperor (of the Star Wars Empire, not Japan).

A storm trooper that busts ghosts?

References