What's Tanabata, you ask? I had no idea until this festival rolled around. I decided to look it up online, and here is what I discovered:
-This festival is more than 2,000 years old, and takes place all over Japan (we went to the one by our base).
-People write wishes on pieces of paper that are hung from colorful displays.
-This is known as the star festival.
-Can be celebrated on either the 7th of July or August (I don't think our town did it on either of those days).
-This festival is very colorful, as you will see in my pictures below of the street decorations.
In addition to the many decorations lining the streets (the road was actually closed all weekend for this event), there were tons of food vendors. Most people form the base ate here all weekend long. Japanese festival foods are really good, and with it this close to the base and the nice weather, it makes sense to head out and get some snacks, see friends, and enjoy the local culture.
This is from the Girl Scouts on the base. Very colorful!
This was right out front from a taxi company. How cute! I guess they are celebrating 100 years in business.
Here is more of the food. This is a fish pancake (that is a pancake shaped like a fish, not a pancake made out of fish) with it's mouth open and then it can be filled with various sweet ingredients.
This is a version of okonomiyaki, which is a street food pancake made with just about everything. In this case, it was served rolled up, on a stick, and was an actual pancake. This is a much different version from what I usually have. (click here for more on our okonomiyaki adventures)
It was a fun festival and it was extra nice because we didn't have to drive anywhere. We just walked off base and it was right there.
With this festival, we were reminded just how easy it is to walk to the places just off base. Yes, we knew it was easy, but it reminded us that we need to do this more often. So, we did. We went to try New Miyaki, a Chinese restaurant near the base. Ryan is not really a Chinese food fan (I don't blame him, I hated Chinese food until I went to China and discovered the real stuff) and so far there is only one place that he likes. But, he did give this one a try, which is a good thing. You never know until you try!
To start, Ryan gave the wontons a try.
I ordered a shrimp and veggie dish. I love the colors! What a vibrant dish!
I also ordered a small side of rice to go with it.
Ryan's came with some soup.
For his entree, he ordered a vegetarian dish. One reason he does not like Chinese food is because they tend to use the cuts of meat that he is not a fan of, so it's a good thing he likes veggies. The main ingredient you see here is mushroom.
Lastly, I ordered some shrimp gyoza because they had them. Yes, I ordered these to try because I could. Usually they are chicken, so I was happy to see shrimp only. Plus, it was nice that they were steamed.
Well, the verdict is somewhat promising. I liked the food. But, I had suspected I would. Ryan wasn't a huge fan, but I don't think he hated it. Looks like we will stick with Karinba for Chinese, which is A-OK with me. I happen to like it there too.
QUESTIONS: Do you have any festivals in your area that you attend? What is your favorite Chinese dish? What is one kind of food that you don't like?