Taking a small break from the joys of Japanese fashion, this weekend was Koenji’s festival, 高円寺フェス; two days of wrestlers, singers, food, drink, trained monkeys, magicians and people dressing up. Wonderful!
I think sometimes it can feel a little stuffy and like you have to do everything ‘by the book’ when in Japan, but events like Koenji Festival remind you that it’s not always like that. It was fantastic to see so many people out the streets enjoying themselves, talking to each other, haggling and sampling the wares on offer. We got stuck in and chatted to shopkeepers and old ladies selling sake, rummaged through piles of old books and magazines and managed to come away with heavier bags and lighter wallets… what a great way to end a long day!
Having pride in where you live is a relatively new thing for me (the previous branch of Telephone Towers, while on a direct line to Harajuku & Shibuya, was no where near as cool as Koenji) and it almost goes against my English nature. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about ‘tall poppy syndrome’, also known as the crab bucket to fellow Discworld readers, and how it’s affected me. For those that are unfamiliar, it’s how people like to cut you down when you try something and maybe even have a little touch of success; crabs pull each other back from escaping the bucket they’re kept in before they’re cooked. Walking through our adopted town of Koenji during the festival really brought it home to me how I shouldn’t be afraid to try more things, whether it’s stopping for yakitori with the local old guys or going out of my way to push myself further career-wise. Koenji doesn’t mind if I fail, it’s just happy I’ve tried.
Okay, I think I’m done feeling quite this sentimental! How about some photos from the weekend?
Crowds near the station – no sign of the wrestling though!
This guy was having a great time, just a few metres up the road from Telephone Towers.
The sun sets and my mind turns to food…
This amazing building is an Okinawa-style restaurant.
Organic food market.
Lovely old ladies getting involved.
Food and vintage clothes: two of my favourite things in Japan!
Checking out the vintage shops.
Southpaw is one of my favourite palces to photograph…
…along with the KitaKore Building. Of course. (Blur thanks to shaky hands while thinking about upcoming yakiniku binge)
And finally, the (ahem) pleasures of the night.