Friday, January 15, 2010

Toka Ebisu Festival 十日戎(えべっさん)

Since January 11 was a national public holiday in Japan, the Coming of Age Day, I decided to visit Imamiya Ebisu Shrine for the first time to experience the much heralded Toka Ebisu Festival, which is held in the first part of January every year. For those of you who do not know, Ebisu, whose face is pictured above, is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune in Japanese mythology and notably the only one to originate from Japan.

The road leading to the Imamiya Ebisu Shrine had food stand after food stand after food stand, which is typical with festivals and the like in Japan but the concentration of food stands was the most I had ever seen in one location at a particular time. Quite a sight in itself.

With the food stand situation the way it was, I was not surprised when I finally reached the shrine to find it jam packed with people as they prayed for success in their business. As you can see from the picture above, I joined in the festivities by having the elected Fukumusume place various good luck charms (not free of course) to bring wealth to my business on a blade of bamboo grass. After receiving the grass and good luck charms, one keeps this in his/her office or home for the entire year and exchanges it the following year for a new one.





Thursday, January 14, 2010

Life in Wakayama 和歌山での生活

I am still playing catch up as I get the engines revved up for 2010, hence this entry being delayed. At the end of last year, I traveled to Wakayama Marina City with several associates to spend a relaxing getaway out of the bustling everyday life in Osaka. As the pictures exhibit, the weather, although a little chilly, was absolutely fantastic with picturesque views of the bay and surrounding mountainous landscape.

For accommodations, we had the opportunity to spend a night at the Wakayama Marina City Royal Pines Hotel, which is nestled right on the bay in the heart of it all and within walking distance from Porto Europa, Kuroshio Ichiba (marketplace), and Kurioshio Onsen (Japanese hot springs). After enjoying the Porto Europa theme park and marketplace, where we enjoyed plum wine and fresh fish, all of us headed over to the Japanese hot springs for a little rest and relaxation in the evening before having a sumptuous dinner at the hotel to cap off a fun-filled day in Wakayama.

For those of you looking to find a place for some peace and quiet in close proximity to Osaka, I cannot recommend Wakayama Marina City enough!




Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Day in the Life of Osaka & Kyoto       大阪そして京都ライフの日常

I came across these two phenomenal 10 minute videos and wanted to share them with you. The above videos give a great visual introduction to the everyday life of one living here in Osaka and Kyoto. Enjoy!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

FM802 Live Radio Appearance       FM802生放送ラジオ出演

What feels like ages ago, I made my second live radio broadcast appearance on FM802 on December 14. With the holiday season in full effect, I did not have a chance to upload my radio clip until now. You can listen to my broadcast on air (switching between English and Japanese) by accessing the video file above. I played the part of Santa Claus, in full costume (sorry no picture), this time around giving the DJ a gift not from the good ol' USA but a Matryoshka (Nesting Doll) from none other than Russia. As always, good times with the crew at FM802.