Let me just start by saying that this wasn’t really a festival like you see in anime or videos on Youtube, this was more of a Japanese appreciation event. Anyways…. So I saw this event shared by one of my friends on Facebook and I had to definitely go to it. They were going to have a ton of Japanese food, noodle eating contest, festival dance, kimono sales, and other cool stuff. I was expecting it to be a big thing like our annual 4th of July festival that we have in the city. Well… We were packed into a small building with little to no room to walk through. I was expecting them to have a stage outside where the noddle contest and the performances were going to be shown. I also thought they would decorate with lanterns and have different vendors like they usually have during our big events.
Unfortunately, they had folding tables lined up all around this small room and you couldn’t tell where the line started or if there was a line because it was full with people. They also didn’t have a good “currency” system for food and item purchases. If you wanted food or drinks you had to trade in cash for tickets but in the other vending tables you paid in cash. I ended up buying about 20 dollars worth of tickets expecting to spend them all but at the end I only wasted seven of them on the food and drinks for my brother and myself. On the upside they had really good yakisoba and onigiri. I also got some green tea mochi but didn’t realize it had a red bean filling so I ended up not eating it (not a big fan of red bean D;). I also got to get some Japanese snacks and get my name in kanji! I was so sure they wouldn’t be able to write it since it’s a little complicated but the lady who wrote it did it really quickly without having to think about it! One of the symbols looks really complicated…I bet my whole name is probably in that one symbol.
We ended up leaving a little sooner than what I expected because there just wasn’t much to do anymore. The event went from 12pm-4pm but we ended up arriving around 2pm and left around 3:30pm. Since the festival didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would be we decided to go out for lunch and have some Japanese food to keep with the Japanese theme of the day. I took my brother and my two friends to one of my favorite sushi bars downtown. I’ve only been to this sushi bar twice and always only ordered the california rolls so we decided to order a combination of rolls, pork gyoza, and a bento box followed by some mochi ice cream to finish lunch with. The food was soooooo good! I can’t wait to go back again and take my mother this time.
After spending an hour in the restaurant I dropped my friends to their house and went home myself. I ended up watching some anime and then fell fast asleep. Although the festival didn’t turn out like expected, I still had fun with my brothers and friends. It really made me love Japan, it’s culture, and people a little more than what I already do. I hope they make another Japanese festival where they go all out. Also, I found out there’s an Austin Oita Festival in Oita, Japan celebrating Austin. We have an Oita Festival and in turn they have an Austin festival! Isn’t that pretty neat?