Creature Magazine (UK): A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri

In the recent edition of the UKmagazine Creature Magazine, an article titiled A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri was published in the issue on summer festivals. Along with the article of the Japanese festivals there re articles and work by other great artist. Be sure to drop by and give them a shout out from Lucid Communication. a direct link to the Creature Magazine Festival issue here!

Japanese Matsuri ( Festival )

A Few of My Favorite Things: Fry, Tekiya, Games of Chance and the Japanese Summer Matsuri

Weaving my way though the yukata clad crowd allowing the grilling aromas to fill my nostrils. The air was hot and sticky. Like it always is here on a sizzling August night in Tokyo. Lets back track for a minute so you can catch up with me. It’s summer here in Japan, and summer festivals are in full swing. Countless festivals take place across the country, ranging in size from tiny neighborhood get-togethers to ones that bring entire cities together. Typically they fall into one of 4 categories, fireworks, Bon Odori (folk dancing), centred around a religious Shrine or Temple, or one of the newer styles such as a Samba festival in the heart of Tokyo. Whether its attended by hundreds or hundreds of thousands the mood is pretty much the same.

Back to the steamy streets of my festival. Heat rises off the ground as sweat rolled down the back of my neck. The Bon Odori stage is 3 stories tall toped off with a series of Taiko drums, just like a cherry on a sundae erected out of steel pipes and huge red and white cloth. The different teams of dancers lead the crowds in a series of set moves. Like that of country line dancing except that the lines are circular, and instead of cowboy boots and jeans, most wear straw sandals and Yukatas. The folk music comes blasting out over a PA system and the Taiko drums add a thick layer of BOOM to the music. The crowds follow the team dancers and kick up dust in circles around the tower, but all this dancing and shuffling has left me hungry and craving something icy cold to take the sting of the hot night away.



This lead my stomach to my favourite part of the festival the street vendors. They whip all kinds of tasty little tit-bits on skewers and run sleazy games of chance for the young ones. The Japanese version of the carnies, Tekiya, run all the booths. They are related to the yakuza, and must pay some tribute to the local boss in order to ensure a hot spot to put up their booths or else be vanquished to the fringes of the festival. Heckling the cute girls in their matching Yukatas and bags, egging on the youth who try to catch goldfish with a paper net before it melts into nothing, these are the faces of the Tekiya. Some of their faces show years behind the sizzling grills, others youthful girls with dyed blonde hair serving up shaved ice with candy coloured syrup. The stalls light up the night sky. Hues of red, orange act like bug zappers, pulling in all the customers to their stalls. I can’t resist any longer and I happily wait in line to get a piece of FRY. Yeah that’s right, fry. It’s a simple concoction of flour, water, a little seasoning, flash fried and slopped with a sweat soy sauce. UMMMMM good. Its hot oily goodness slides down my throat and is good news to my growling stomach.

All these colours swirl in my eyes. The booth lights, glowing led necklaces, all blur into my mind’s eye. The charcoal grills roast up the night even more. Cotton Candy waifs pass me. A deep breath brings all the smells winding there way down to my stomach The long hot days, the longer steamy beer fuelled nights and tasty grilled bits in the bottom of my gut, these are a few of my favourite things.

Jacob Schere


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