Sunday, June 30, 2019

August 2019; Upcoming Kansai Events

8月 2019

Upcoming Kansai Events; August 2018

7/1-9/30. Ukai, cormorant fishing in the Uji River around Nakanoshima island. Near Keihan Uji station. Boat rides cost 2000 yen for adults.

7/1-8/15. Kifune Shrine will have a tanabata light-up event.

7/13-9/29. Display of giant (2m) model insects at the Nagai Natural History Museum. Near Nagai station. 1400 yen for adults.

7/13-9/1. Minoo Waterfall lightup.

7/27-8/4. World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya. Around Sakae station and Osu Kanon.
World Cosplay Summit
(Photo from 2016)

8/1 (evening on the first day of each month). Himuro Shrine ice lanterns. Near Kintestu Nara station.
Himuro Shrine ice lanterns

8/1 (every year). 11AM. Saitobi divers. Monks jump off of a pole from a Lake Biwa cliffside. Near Omi Hachiman station in Shiga prefecture. Isakiji temple.

7/30-8/1 Every year. Sumiyoshi Matsuri. The first day will involve ceremonies at the shrine that include people in period costume and performances of the Sumiyoshi Odori dance.
The second day will be a parade that goes from Sumiyoshi Taisha, south to Sakai city with a portable shrine and dozens of people in historical costumes, including samurai armor.
Sumiyoshi Matsuri from (photo from 2017)

8/1. 20:00-21:00. PL fireworks. Near Tondabayashi station.

8/4. 19:00-20:00. Torchlight court dance at Shitennoji Temple.

 8/5. 18:00-20:30. Daigoji Temple Mantou lantern event.

8/5-14. Nara Toukae. Lantern event around Kofukuji, Todaiji and Kasuga Taisha. They are always looking for volunteers.

8/5. 19:30-20:30. Nagahama fireworks.

8/6-10. 10:00-19:00. There will be a small exhibition of WWII nuclear bomb photos at the Osaka International House (first floor gallery).

8/7. Omiwa Tanabata.

Kyo no Tanabata

A series of night time light-up events. The Horikawa event is usually the best.
  • 8/1-15. Nijo Castle (you will need to pay the admission fee to enter)
  • 8/10-12, 8/16-18. Kitano Tenmangu
  • 8/2-12. Umekoji Park (near JR Kyoto station)
  • 8/3-4. Kamogawa area.
  • 8/10-12. Horikawa canal area next to Nijo Castle.
8/10. Wakayama Bamboo Lantern event at Shijo??? Park.

8/10. Sword forging demonstration. Photography is welcome. Take a bus from Aioi station.
Hayamitsu sword forging demonstration

Obon Events

Obon is a major holiday in Japan and most temples and shrines will have some ceremonial observation of the holdiay; mostly in the form of candles or lanterns.

  • 8/15. Obon bonfires in Kyoto.

Rescue Robot Contest. The event will not be held in Kansai this year.

8/1-18. Evening opening and summer light-up at Kodaiji Temple. Near Gion-Shijo station in Kyoto. Admission is about 900 yen.

8/18. 10:00-.  Taikou Festival. Ceremony to honor Hideyoshi Toyotomi at Hokoku Shrine, next to Osaka Castle.

8/20. 14:30-18:50. Awa Odori dance in Osaka Tenmangu and neighboring shopping arcade.

8/25. 10:00-20:00. Atago Fire Festival. Near Toyooka station.

Last Weekend of August. 17:30-21:00. Tempyo Tanabata. Lanterns and art installations around the ancient palace site in Nara. Near Yamato-Saidaiji station.

8/26. 19:40-20:30. Hikone fireworks. Near JR Hikone station.

9/14-15. Self Matsuri in ShinSekai.

8月 2018

Upcoming Kansai Events; August 2018 

7/13-9/2. 10:00-20:00. Learn & Play! Teamlab Future Park at Abeno Harukasu Art Museum. 1200yen

8/17-9/2. 18:30-21:30. Shimogamo Shrine Tadasu no Mori Light Festival by Teamlab. 1200 yen.

7/29, 8/4-5. Odorunya Yosakoi Festival. Near Wakayam station.
8/4-5. 11:00-21:30. Kishu Yosakoi Festival Wakayama station.

8/1. 17:45-20:30. Hikone fireworks.

8/3-5. 17:00-22:30. Ikuta Summer Sea Festival. Ikuta Shrine. Near Sannomiya station.

8/3-5. Manto Festival. Lanterns decorate the shrine at Taga Shrine. Near Tagataisha-mae station in Hikone city, Shiga.

8/4. Minatou Kobe Seaside Fireworks. Near Sannomiya station.

8/4. 19:00-20:30. Torchlight kagari bugakku (court music dance). At Shitennoji temple. Near Shitennoji-Yuhigaoka station.

8/4-5. First weekend in August. Grand Yokkaichi Festival. Near Yokkaichi station in Mie prefecture.

8/4-5, 11-16, 18-19. Eigamura Night Matsuri.

8/5-8/14. Nara Tokae. A huge outdoor lantern event in Nara Park. Organizers are often in search of volunteers to help with this event.

Kyo no Tanabata 8/4-16

  • 8/4-12. 梅小路 Umekoji park light up.
  • 2-14. Nijo Castle
  • 8/5-10. 7-9:30p. Kamogawa river light art.
  • 8/5-10. 7-9:30p. Horikawa, canal side lights and art.
  • 8/5-16. Until 9pm. Kitano Tenmangu. Shrine light up. The garden is especially nice
  • 8/11-13. 7p-9p. Okazaki Park and Heian Shrine light up, food fair and music offerings.

8/7. Omiwa Tanabata.

8/7. 7a-9:30a. Cleaning of the great Buddha Statue at Todaiji temple in Nara.

8/3-5. World Cosplay Summit in Nagoya. Parade. Near Osu Kanon on the first day. Around Sakae station and Oasis 21 on the second day.

8/7-10. 09:00-22:00. Kyoto Go-zaka Pottery Matsuri. Along Gojo-dori street near Kiyomizu-Gojo station.

8/8. Lake Biwa Great Fireworks Show. 7:30-8:30p.

8/9-1/27. Taito Space Invaders exhibit at Yodobashi Camera near Osaka Station.

8/10. 17:30-21:00. Hikone Bayashi obon dance.

8/10. Ice Festival at Abeno Q's Mall.

8/10-11. Hozenji Yokocho. Near Namba station. Festival starts with the cracking of a sake barreel. There are bunrakku puppets. Jazz music.

8/11. 17:00-21:00. Bamboo lanterns at Itakiso shrine in Wakayama.

8/11-?. Kobe Harborland Splash Fantasy. Night illumination of fountains.

8/11-15. Akame 48 Waterfalls lightup.

8/11-12. 10:00-17:15. Rescue Robot Challenge Kobe Sanpo Hall.

8/11-16. Shimogamo Antique Book Fair.

8/12. 17:30-20:30. Takigi Noh. Torchlight theatrical noh performance at Ikutama shrine near Tanimachi 9chome station. 3500 yen.
8/12-13. Kobe Port Festival at the Sumiyoshi Park grounds. Near Sumiyoshi station (Hyogo Prefecture).

8/13-15. Tomida Summer Festival.

8/16. Kibukawa Summer Festival.

8/19-20. Kobe Seaside bon odori. Near Motomachi Station.

8/19-20. 14:30~. Osaka Tenmangu Awa odori dancers.

8/14-16, 24-25. 19:30?~.. Fukuchiyama Dokkoise Matsuri.

8/14-16. Special night opening of Kiyomizudera Temple with a special viewing of Buddhist statues inside the main temple.

8/13. 6-8p. Sky lanterns. Uji Park, Kyoto Prefecture.

8/15. 7p-10p. Mantoukuyou-e. 2,500 lanterns will illuminate Todaiji temple. Near Kintetsu Nara station.

8/15. After sunset. Kasuga Shrine Daimonji hillside bonfire. Near Kintetsu Nara station.

8/15-16. Dekansho Obon Dance Festival at the Sasayama Castle Ruins. 3p-9p. Near Sasayamaguchi station.

8/16. 20:00-20:20. Gozan Okuribi- Five Mountain bonfire for Obon in Kyoto.

8/16. Around sunset. Floating obon candles. Near Arashiyama station.

8/16. Dainenbutsuji temple will have a an obon ceremony with many candles. Near Hirano station.

8/17. 17:00-21:30. Senkousai. Portable shrine boat parade. From Takebe taisha shrine in Otsu city. Karahashi-mae station.

8/17. Boat ceremony in Shiga.

8/18. 太閤祭. Martial Arts ritual at a shrine desicated to Toyoti Hideyoshi at Osaka Castle.

8/19. Fukuchiyama Kunoichi Festival.

8/18. After sunset. Inagawa fireworks. Near Ikeda station.

8/18. 18:00-20:45. Kobe Seaside Festival obon. At Meriken Park near Motomachi Station.

8/20. Sakai Sky Lanterns. Summer Smile Impact festival at Ohama Park.

8/18. 19:32-20:20.  Inagawa firework festival. 20 minute walk from Ikeda station.

8/19. 10:30-15:00. Super Comic City.

8/22-26. Minatogawa Shrine Summer Festival. Near JR Kobe station.

8/22-26. Nankousan summer festival. Lanterns and bon dance.

8/24-25?. Kita Mido bon dance. Near Honmachi station.

8/22-26. Nankousan Summer Festival. Near Kobe station.

Around 8/22. Manto kuyo candles for stone Buddhas. Injoji temple near Notogawa station in Shiga prefecture.

8/23-23. Sento Memorial Service at Adashino Nenbutsu-ji temple. 8000 statues and grave stones illuminated by candles.

8/23-24. 5-9p. Candle event at Gangoji Temple in Nara.

8/23-24. Jizo Bon at Isshin ji. Kids events and a marionette play. 4pm near Shitennoji-mae Yuhigaoka station.

8/23-24. Bon dance. Jokoji temple near Yao station (Yamatoji JR line).

8/24. Around sunset. Gangara Fire Festival. Near Ikeda station.

8/25. Akashi Castle Park Festival.

8/25. 18:00. InterNations international party at the Blarney Stone near Shinsaibashi station.

8/25-26. 10:00-16:00. Porsche Vintage Car Fair. At INTEX, near Trade Center Mae Station.

8/26. Minibike championships in Ikoma.
Sportsland Ikoma. Kids moto mini bike race.

8/27. 6:30p. Atago Fire Festival near JR Toyooka station.

8/25-27. 4 p-9p. Tenpyo Tanabata at Heijo Kyo. Near Yamato Saidaiji station.

8/25-26. Nara Basara- a team dance event.

8/25-26. 2p-4p. Hirakata Matsuri parade.

8/26. 11a-9:30p. Akashi Castle Park festival. Monkey show and bon dance.

8/25-26. Beef summit 2018. Biwako Hama-Otsu station.

8/26. Emperor Saga Festival. Last Sunday in August. Kids sumo tournament at Umenomiya shrine near Matsuo Taisha station.

8/27-28(?). Asuka Hikari no Kairo (corridor of light. Between Oka station and Ishibutai Kofun.

First Sunday in August. Ishitori festival. The noisiest festival in Japan. Everyone rings bells and bangs drums. Near Kuwana station in Mie.


Zoo Animal Escape Drills

Escaped Animal Drills with Mascot Costumes

Recent footage from Tobe Zoo showing an escaped animal drill using a zoo employee in a lion costume has been going viral.
This practice is an annual attraction at some zoos, particular at Tokyo Zoo, where the annual drill has featured a number of different species being emulated by workers in different outfits; often looking like cute and friendly mascots. These drills have featured animals such as;

  1. lions
  2. gorillas
  3. zebras
  4. rhinos
  5. bears
  6. polar bears
  7. orangutans
  8. leopards
  9. ...? With an ever expanding list of novelty costumes being produced.
Not only do the zoos remain open during the emergency drills, but the drills themselves have become a popular spectator attraction, which draw in visitors who become a part of the staged excitement. The Tokyo Zoo drill has become an annual media attraction which is picked up as a cute news story by international media; consistently being featured by the AP and aired in English speaking television markets, especially when the stories first gain traction on social media, as they have been this week.

Here is a collection of videos from these drills;

This video gained popularity thanks to the proximity and reaction of the real lions (still in their enclosure) in the background. This is Tobe Zoo, in Ehime on Shikoku island.

Here we have someone in a zebra outfit. Being herbivores without less of an ability for scaling difficult terrain, zebras are not an animal that would cause panic if they escaped. But such large and speedy animals could certainly be pose a threat as they could quickly move out of the zoo.

This drill feels as bit more disturbing with the more realistic costume.

A polar bear would be a frightening animal to come face to face with; one of the few animals known to stalk humans as food in the wild. So, appropriately, an angry face has been added to the cute mascot head.

Here we have someone in an especially cute leopard mascot outfit.
In this video we can see the attention that is being paid to emergency medical care for humans.

This video shows the simulation of an escaped rhinoceros. The bulky costume (made of papier mache?) is manned by two workers for this drill featuring an unusually massive creature.

This video shows a gorilla escape drill. Note the consistency of the staging and procedure for each of these animal drills.

More video showing a staged leopard escape at Tama Zoo in Tokyo.

An escape animal drill featuring a person in an orangutan costume. Following the same pattern; animal escapes - wanders around aimlessly on pedestrian paths - is met by a mass of waiting, prepared and equipped zookeppers - charges against the net barrier - is tranquilized in a drive-by shooting - then bundled up and taken back into the zoo.

This video from Sendai (northern Japan) shows a chimpanzee that escaped from the zoo to be found later climbing power lines in a residential area. A staff worker in a bucket lift puts himself at risk approaching the chimp. The agitated chimp is then shot with a tranquilizer dart, slowly loses grip and falls from the power lines to be caught in a net by zoo staff and firefighters.

This harrowing video shows an escape chimpanzee. Again you can see that practical animal escapes are not as neatly handled as the escape drills; with the animals hiding themselves in difficult to reach places where brave individuals must come dangerous close to face them alone.
The first person we see in the video climbs onto a ledge with a tranquilizer gun where the chimpanzee snatches the gun away. The second person we see sneaks up on the chimp with a blowgun to tranquilize the chimp before frantically running to safety away from the alarmed animal.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

G20 Protests

G20 デモ 大阪天保山

A variety of special interest groups met together at Temposan Park in Osaka, near Osakako station, before marching across the island, under heavy police escort.

The group was arranged over Facebook event "G20大阪 NO! デモへ" page (which officially only had 2 "going" and 2 "interested people, so they must have also organized elsewhere) with about 80 people attending with a number of local and international media outlets reporting on the event.

The members of the march gather from 1pm near the Meiji monument on the far side of Tempozan Park. For about an hour representatives of the various groups took turns with the megaphone to talk about their causes; there were members representing:

  1. Anti-G20 / Anti-globalism
  2. Anti capitalists / socialists
  3. Anti Abe / Trump groups
  4. A Hong Kong group opposed to Chinese extradition
  5. Anti Coal group; including an Indonesian group protesting Japan-financed power plants
  6. A group representing the rights of elderly and care workers.
  7. Someone campaigning for improved treatment of immigrants under the Trump and Abe administrations.
  8. Anarchists
  9. Anti-Nuclear Power
  10. Anti-Nuclear Weapons
  11. general peace acivists
  12. [North/South] Korean Peace
  13. Union labor activists
  14. water rights?
  15. Global warming
  16. The removal of US military bases (particularly Okinawa)

Photo journal from 6/28/2019. 13:00-15:30

Anit-Trump/Abe protesters.
The Tempozan Ferris Wheel in the background.

The marching route; starting at Tempozan Park (the Emperor Meiji memorial monument) and leading south-east around a block of aprtments (this arc segment is not shown on the map) before approaching the touristy area of Temposan Market and Kaiyukan before going to the Osaka Port Diamond Point, facing the G20 Summit site on nearby Nanko island.

Groups speaking and preparing their materials for the march.

Anti-nuclear banners with the Temposan Ohashi bridge in the background.

Anti Trump protestors; this same person also appeared the next day at the Umeda protest.

Speaking English and Japanese, this group protests the building of coal power plants in Indonesia by Japanese investors.

The protesters were generally much older people.
Here they are sitting peacefully and listening to others speak.

International media. Note the yellow G20 press lanyards which they are wearing.
This reporter is wearing a clip-on mic wired to an iPhone camera.


From the group "Save Immigrants Osaka."

A friendly face for a peaceful society.

His sign seems to suggest that he is protesting for water rights.

A T-shirt for nonviolence.
The face of the protester and the protest T-shirt seem to match.

Helicopter with a long range telescopic camera; flying over the G20 area.

Anti-Abe/Trump protester.
Here poster reads:
"Fuck Abe, Trump go to HELL..."

Pushing for peace in Korea, east Asia and the world.

An unusual character livestreaming from the protest.

Elderly ladies with protest vests.

Protester with an animated face.

Skeleton banner.

He looks like a masked wrestler.

English and Japanese sign complaining about the current political climate.
Anti-war protester visiting Osaka gets decked out as a supporter of the local sports team.

Protesters prepare to start a march.


Opposition to nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
Concern about nuclear accidents clearly stems from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Anti-nuke banners.

2pm. There police escort arrives and 41 officers march with the protesters.

A wall of police officers.

Police keeping the marchers in their lane.

Various protesters.


Veteran anti-nuke protester telling police officers how to do their job and handle protests.
Union activists.

Various banners in the march.

Drums; can't protest without drums.

Mostly elderly people, with a few foreigners.

Anti-American bases faction; a mainstay faction of protests in Japan.

Protesters marching toward Temposan Market, where they will be highly visible to tourists.

Police overseeing each intersection.

You can see the Minato bridge in the background.
Signs reading G20 get out! Sayonara Abe! Sayonara Trump!

Young person leading the chants for the march.
Slogans include; "No capitalism. No Trump. No Abe. G20 get out..."

Care Workers Union

Passing by the Tempozan Ferris Wheel.

Some protesters have some improvised signs.

The mysterious masked man of Kansai festivals makes and appearance.

Kaiyukan Aquarium

Protesters passing Kaiyukan. You can see some tourist standing by and watching from the Kaiyukan steps.

Protesters passing Kaiyukan.

Hong Kong protesters passing Kaiyukan.

Police at an intersection.

Protesters heading toward Diamond Point.

You can see the ATC building in the distance.

The mysterious masked man taking a break for a drink.

A mass of police an the end of the procession as the protest enters a narrow sidewalk area.

Police returning to buses to be re-deployed to other parts of the city.

The protest approaching Diamond Point.
You can see commercial ships in the background.

The open space of Diamond Point.

Protesters pointing toward the area where INTEX and the G20 Summit location.

Minato Ohashi bridge in the background.

A local tour boat.

Security trailing the tour boat.

A protester going over to interact with some high school kids who are fishing and playing with a soccer ball;
Osaka prefecture students were given the day off for the G20 Summit to lesson the congestion on public transit.