Almost every anime has a natsumatsuri (summer festival) episode, fully decked with girls in yukata, delicious food stands and kids’ games. As a theme almost as commonplace as the beach episode, it’s unfortunate that those of us outside of Japan will likely never be able to experience such an event. So, when I learned of Mitsuwa’s Summer Festival, you can bet I was set on going even if it killed me!
Without further ado, let’s dig in! Itadakimasu~
The Mitsuwa I went to (in New Jersey) held their festival in their the parking lot on the Hudson River side, so it was actually smaller than I had expected it to be. Thus, it also didn’t have as many events as its sister store in California. However, this didn’t deter a crowd, as the remaining half of the parking lot was packed.
I went to Mitsuwa along with fellow writer Laevatein and two other friends. The first thing we noticed was the masks stand. It had a variety of colorful masks. But, they didn’t have a kitsune (fox) mask, so for me, though the offer was tempting, ultimately $8 was too steep a price.
I’d say the main attraction of this festival was definitely the food. There was a huge selection of all sorts of traditional Japanese festival food: takoyaki, okonomiyaki, rice bowls, ramen, yakisoba, fried squid, you name it. Most of these dishes were being sold at a fairly reasonable price, to my surprise.
Above all, my favorite were the tofu donuts; a meager $4 would get you 15 fresh crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside munchkin sized donuts and a free barley tea. My only regrets are not taking a picture of mine before I finished, and not buying a second bag of them.
Any summer festival wouldn’t be complete with the mini-games. Although there was no goldfish scooping, there was yo-yo fishing and superball fishing. However, at the price of $3 per try, I felt I’d be better off just blowing up my own yo-yo balloon. There was also a Hunger Games rendition of Target Shooting. Target shooting was definitely the most popular game, as the line was never less than 50 feet long.
To top everything off, there was always folk music playing, and eventually people dancing to the music. Both the drumming and the dancing looked fun, and was fun to watch.
Overall, the trip was definitely worth it! Despite the pricey games and the lack of a variety in stage events, the atmosphere was festively befitting and the food was mouth-watering good. But, don’t be expected to stay entertained for more than 3 hours. There’s only so much to do, after all.
Over and out. Gochisousama deshita~