Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Japanese Golden Week

Golden Week is a spring holiday in Japan when many Japanese travel. May 3-5 and to some degree April 29th are national holidays and the whole country seems to move to the other side of the country. 

Here I talk about the tradition of Golden Week and the hassles of traveling during this time. Still it’s nice to get up to a week off, something we never get in the States.

Here I talk about How I spent my Golden Week Holiday past and present.

The first few years I worked or stayed home. In 2007, I started traveling going to a samurai festival in Yamagata Prefecture then another festival in Hiraizumi in Iwate.

In 2008 I saw ancient Imperial court music known as Gagaku and dance Bugaku at Meiji Shrine on Showa Day – April 29th. Then I went again to the samurai festival in Yamagata and a castle nearby. I went to Hiraizumi again and the day after to a replica of what Hiraizumi once looked like.

This year I went to Tohoku yet again starting in Kakunodate a town with samurai houses in Akita. After that I stopped by Lake Tazawa then went to a Jomon site, a stone circle in northeastern Akita that goes back over 4000 years.

I took a ferry boat from Aomori city that night to Hakodate and saw the last place of defense for the old followers of the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The next day I took a ferry to ShimoKita where I went to the land of ghosts known as Osorezan. It’s a smoky sulphuric dead landscape said to be where people go when they die.

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June 10, 2009 Posted by | festival, Golden Week, hakodate, hokkaido, japan, japanese culture, japanese history, Jomon, tohoku, tokyo, travel, video, vlog | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Goldfish Catching Game – Kingyo Sukui

If you come to Japan, you might come across this bizarre festival game that mixes gambling and pet shopping with a little bit of fishing too.

Kingyo Sukui is the Japanese game of goldfish scooping where you can win a pet goldfish should you so desire.

The game goes back to the late Edo Period around the early 19th Century. You can always find Kingyo Sukui stalls at Japanese festivals and other events like hanami (cherry blossom viewing).

You have a bowl and small net scope which has very thin paper. The object is to scoop the goldfish into the bowl without breaking the paper. You can continue scooping up goldfish as long as the paper doesn’t break — even if there is only a thin corner left.

The game stall owner told me that Japanese people like Kingyo Sukui because it’s a form of gambling that requires luck, skill, and patience. Originally it was for children but the popularity of Kingyo Sukui caught on and now there is even a national championship of goldfish scooping for all ages.

The Nintendo Wii has a video game based Japanese Festival games and events in which one of the mini-games is a virtual Kingyo Sukui.

June 10, 2009 Posted by | japan, japanese culture, japanese goldfish scooping, kingyo sukui, travel, video, vlog, weird, WTF, youtube | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments