A few years ago, I had a fantastic and crazy 8-hour layover in Narita, Japan. My husband and I tried our best to make use of the time, and we headed to Tokyo. It was beautiful, and crazy and crowded yet mysteriously clean. We went to the iconic Robot Restaurant then ate some super late night dinner (which we chose from a picture menu) at the Japanese equivalent of Denny’s and then dragged ourselves to our hotel and crashed until the next morning before our plane flight.
If you can’t get to Japan this year, but find yourself in Boston during the 25th and 26th of this month, you can get a taste of what Japanese culture is like!
Every year in the Boston Common The Japanese Festival is held. Food stalls go up, and Japanese chefs fly in to offer some of the best Ramen you have ever tasted. Seriously, if all you’ve had in terms of Ramen has been the stuff that you microwave in a cup, you need to try this stuff. They usually add an egg for an extra dollar and trust me, you want that egg. It’s just so delicious. If Ramen is really not your thing that’s okay. They also have Takoyaki which is a ball of deliciousness usually containing a piece of octopus and Okonomiyaki which is a savory pancake usually made of a batter with cabbage and topped with Japanese mayo, Okonomiyaki sauce, bonito flakes and nori (a kind of seaweed).
I do recommend that if you are going this year that you get there EARLY. Lines start forming before the place even opens and if you wait too long the lines get LONG. Seriously, you’ll be waiting a while, but that’s not always a bad thing because the food vendors are usually really close to the entertainment stage.
Last year I went and was able to watch a traditional dance and flute performance and it was absolutely beautiful. Not everyone liked the flute performance because it’s Japanese style, so the pauses between notes are just as valuable as the notes themselves. The same with the dance performance where pauses are taken so the viewer can take in the pose, and the beauty of the costume as well as the beauty of the moment in general. It’s great if you’re trying to practice mindfulness.
They also have Cosplay. I feel like Cosplay and Japan seem to go hand in hand. Everyone likes to dress up as their favorite anime characters. They even have a contest on who has the best costume. As a Naruto fan myself, I’m always on the lookout for a good Kakashi or Itachi cosplay.
Food events usually take place on Saturday with the bulk of entertainment happening on Sunday. However, if you can only spend one day, I’d still go on a Saturday. You will still have shopping stalls to visit. Last year there was a stall that sold Bonsai, as well as one that I frequent which sells Kimonos. The people who run it are very knowledgeable about what kind of Kimonos are best for what times of the year, and how to put on the Obi which is the belt that keeps the whole thing together and is often folded in such a way it makes the back attractive. They start at $70 but trust me, it’s so worth it! I love to walk around the house with my kimono just on as a little cover up when I’m in my pajamas.
Another stall that I enjoy visiting is for the local Buddhists. For a dollar, you can buy a fortune. If you don’t like it, you can tie it to the tent. This comes from Japanese traditions where you can leave bad fortunes at the temples. I decided last year to also get prayed for because to me prayer is prayer no matter what belief it comes from. I also decided to get a special seal for my office door. The one shown below is for Courage and I had it specified for my husband and me as well as for my career. I taped it to the front of my office and it must have worked because my goal back then was to consistently release one blog post a week and I’m happy to say I met that goal.
You don’t have to be a Wee-a-boo to enjoy an event like this. It’s always good to get some exposure to other cultures. If you’ve gone before please tell me how it went in the comments below. If you really like this post and would like to Buy Me A Coffee, I really appreciate that! Also if you’d like to be notified for more posts like this, please consider SIGNING UP for my mailing list. If you do sign up, you’ll automatically be entered into giveaways I do every month. I hope this gives you something fun to look forward to this month and I wish you an absolutely beautiful day! -Heather Astaneh