Hounen Matsuri






Today Kris, Kim and I all went to the Hounen matsuri also known as the penis festival. It is a fertility festival that has become world famous. We ended up travelling for almost two hours to get there and almost ended up lost but it was well worth the wait. It was a great day albeit a bit chilly at first. The entire festival includes various stalls set up to sell food and penis shaped trinkets and cuisine. Many young mothers and soon to be wives will came to the festival to offer prayers. Before the conclusion of the festival a giant ( about four foot long ) penis shaped wood block is transported form one temple to the next. Certain rights or prayers are said by the participating shrine staff members (I’m not 100 percent sure about that, after the parade pasted we went hunting for food so we missed it). Then there is a rice cake throwing. VERY deceiving name. I thought they would be thin and light fluffy rice cakes that taste like cardboard. NO! They were hard rock shaped, fist sized missiles of doom. We started out all eager in the crowd thinking ‘Yeah, we got this’. Then one of the rice cakes hits me in the arm (hard enough to bruise) and we all freak out. Kim got nailed twice and Kris was wise enough to stay out of the way of flying rice cakes. But I did get one to take home with me.


Since Kim is leaving to go back home early, we arranged this crazy schedule to try and do a bunch of last minute things that we wanted to do together. So today we biked to Hongo and took the train into Sakae. There we ate lunch at the Kuma cafe. It is a bear themed restaurant that has cute cakes and delicious food that caters mostly to girls. We walked in and were seated. Then a different waitress comes up and asks us something in Japanese. The way she asked was a bit weird so we didn’t understand. Basically she was asking if we wanted to order just drinks or lunch as well. But in reality she had out the full menu and a lunch menu and said “nani ga” (literally what/ or which one). So they assumed that we didn’t speak Japanese. Despite the fact that the waiter who seated us spoke to us in Japanese. But we ended up with a really nice waiter who spoke English and was very sweet. We managed to order in Japanese. (just two burgers and a drink each) But then my burger comes and Kim’s doesn’t. So we sit and wait for a bit before we think to flag down the waiter. Apparently we managed to order only one burger. Kim was so funny. She was like “Did he think I was on a diet or something just ordering a coffee while you ate?” But the waiter was very contrite (it was kind of my fault as well because I didn’t listen when he repeated back the order to me) and he joked with us about it. The food was a bit pricey but plentiful and delicious. The nice atmosphere and service more than made up for the price tag.

Later we finally visited Treasure Bomb, which is a second hand store that has some  really great deals. Kim picked up souvenirs for family and friends while I tried on clothes. I ended up in the changing room (which was kind of hidden) when all of a sudden I hear Kim say ‘Tomodachi wa doko de desu ka?’ (Where is my friend) to one of the sales clerks. She sounded like a little confused kid asking for her mommy. I almost died laughing. No explanation or description just ‘Where’s my friend”. The lady must have thought that Kim was weird  or something. But I did get some good summer clothes for as little as 200 yen (about $2.40) a piece and Kim found little figurines for her friends and a hat or her brother. He obviously should have been nicer when they were growing up.

Since it had gotten so late we (aka Kim) decided to have coco curry house and so we walked there. At coco’s you can sit at a table or at the counter (if they have one). Since it was just the two of us we decided to sit at the counter, but when we moved to do so two of the workers started gesturing (a bit dramatically)and told us to go sit at a table. it was a bit disconcerting. However, there was satsumaimo (sweet potato) ice cream to save the day! If your ever in Ozu, I would advise stopping by the Coco’s across from the Ramen store with the Giant pig on the side (I forget the name of it) and trying the ice cream. That is the only coco’s that I’ve eaten at that serves it.