Posted by: pdot78 | August 16, 2008

Obon Week Part 1: Niigata Fireworks Festival

Hey guys,

I have so much to write about from this past week that I have split my post up to make it easier to follow. Here are my stories from around the Fireworks Festival.

Work is going gloriously. The parents seem to like me, one of the mothers even told me “You look like American actor Keanu Reeves”. The little guys think I am funny and the little girls all seem to have crushes on me. One of the girls who met me during the first week and said she was going to go home and write me a love letter actually went home and did it! She came into work later with a pink envelope sealed with gem stickers, which were placed onto my face as she opened it (She’s 3 by the way). The letter itself was on pink and purple paper with hearts drawn around two stick figures of what I can only assume was her and I holding hands. The letter above the picture said in Japanese “Paul Sensi, I love you”. I thought this was really funny since the girl wasn’t even my student! The funnier part was when we asked her about a picture she drew of her actual teacher, which was on normal paper and had three people just standing around, one of which had R’s on his pants. Who are these people? Shes like thats me, and thats Meguime Sensi. Who’s the third person? Is that Randy Sensi (her teacher)? Shes like no! its Masato (the only other male teacher at the school)!

Anyways sometime during the same week a foreigner came into our office and was completely lost, as she had only been in Niigata for a day. It turned out that she worked for JET(one of the other foreign teaching programs) so we arranged to meet up with her and the other new JET teachers later in the week. They will be coming to Sado Island with us next weekend for a crazy drum festival. Apparently one of the cool things to do during this festival is sleep on the beach so we are definitely doing that.

Sunday was awesome. Niigata has an annual festival that lasts 3 days in August and ends with the biggest fireworks display of its kind in Japan. I spent the day with Yoshie and Randy in Bandai (main district in Niigata) shopping around and getting excited for the fireworks. Yoshie (and pretty much every female in Niigata) wore a Kimono and I got to wear a Jinbei. A Jinbei is a traditional Japanese outfit that men wear during summer festivals (and as pajamas). It looks an awful lot like a karate gi with matching shorts. We watched the fireworks from a grassy area on the side of the river with Yoshie’s family. The fireworks themselves were great. Two hours of solid light in the sky! There was also an announcement after each mini-show listing the sponsors which got me thinking of how each one probably tries to make the biggest show and outdo the other.

We decided to hang around the green for an extra hour to give traffic time to clear out but even that wasn’t enough. We had time to go get food and come back before cars were even moving. The parking lot itself was not even that large so being rather confused as to why it would take that long to empty I asked Yoshie. Apparently due to the Japanese customs of both politely waiting your turn and taking any issues of money very seriously, the booth was taking the money very formerly, counting it very carefully, and returning the change in a proper and ceremonial fashion, which must of have prolonged the process. Either way, we eventually made our way out and one car that had these ridiculous flashing lights all over, was in the exact same position it was in when we had decided to go get food over an hour ago! We then went to Don Quijote (basically a Japanese Wall Mart) and picked up a flashlight for my Fuji adventure and then by the time we called it a night it was roughly 3. About 2 hours later I woke up and made my way to meet Randy at the train station and the Fuji trip began!



  1. 3 comments
    Keanu Reeves – > HA HA
    Girl with a love note -> So cute
    Wall Mart is actually spelled Walmart lol

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