Yes, I am currently living in Inawashiro, Fukushima, Japan!
I am volunteering with Japan Cat Network. It is a beautiful small town on the foot of Mt. Bandai.
There are 5 of us volunteers from all around the world. So when we heard about a festival happening in the other town we couldn’t resist but to go!Banda-atachi is a town 3 train stations away from where we live.
Max, Selina, Voila and I decided that it is best for us to take the train. I’ve only taken the in-prefacture train once when I was heading to Koriyama for a friend to pick me up to go volunteer at Minamisoma (where the tsunam hit back in 2011). It was night time so I couldn’t see anything. The ride during the day time was amazing, as the train cuts true mountains and valley, it started to look like Switzerland a bit (according to Max, the volunteer from Switzerland).
The festival is called Yosaki Matsuri, it is a dancing competition involving the towns in Fukushima Prefacture. When we arrived, we thought that Yosaki Matsuri was just a festival on one stretch of street.
We were a little disappointed. But when Viola and I got separated from the rest, we decided to walk around. We saw a huge crowd coming from a direction and decided to check it out. Boyy…aren’t we glad!
WE FOUND THE FESTIVAL! Apparently the street earlier was just for them to warm up and showcase their dances. This is where all the major dancing happened as well as the FOOD! I was drooling looking at all the delicious Japanese food.
Apparently, these dancers came from all over Fukushima Prefacture, competing in the name of their town. Some even came from outside of Fukushima Prefacture. I believe, this festival is one of many initiative taken by the government to promote Fukushima as they try to make it safe to live again.
Japan is best know for their avant-grande festivals all year round, this festival is not short of amazing although it was simple and small. One thing I love about Japan and Japanese people is how the come together, regardless of their age, gender, big or small to do something together, as one. Their together-ness for something like this is admirable. I had fun observing people while munching on my Miso-smothered-Mackerel Burger by the street. I ate a lot. But it was all worth it.
On the way back to the station we got a bit creative and to wonder around Bandai-atami town since our train wasn’t until late evening. Voila saw an opportunity to capture picture like the Beatles! It was funny, with the traffic and all! 😛
We also found a really nice foot-onsen for us to dip our feet. It was a really nice treat considering we walked the whole day to see the festival. It’s kinda sad too that most of the town is now abandoned due to the radiation. I saw this abandon karaoke shop that has the Philippines’ flag on it, I couldn’t resist but to take photo! I miss The Philippines!
It was a day full of exciting dances, delicious food and lucky for us, a nice weather! I’m in for the next festival! 😀
Till then, travel safe.