Summer Festival in My Hometown, Osaka, Japan, Full of Local and Warm Atmosphere

interview, Sep. 2019

SAE

Every year in my hometown, Sakai, Osaka, a summer festival is held at elementary school. Unlike normal summer festivals, the main event is live music. My mother and mother-in-law also play instruments for their bands at the festival.

My husband also plays for his band. I first met him when he was playing guitar at high school. He wasn’t very good at it, haha. We started dating in college.

When we were college students, we attended this summer festival at elementary school with our friends as vendors.

We sold…wait, what’s the name of it…ah, yeah, milk senbei (rice cracker)!

You add condensed milk between thin rice crackers. This is how milk senbei is. We let children draw a lottery and gave them the number of milk senbei they drew. That was really fun, I mean, to sell something with my friends at the summer festival.

Everyone in the neighborhood of the elementary school can play music as a band or sell food as vendors at the summer festival, so it’s more like a school festival, with a warm and local atmosphere. Kids can sell food at the festival, too. I always hear their cheerful voices, “it’s cheap!”

I think the most popular food at the festival is takoyaki, a ball-shaped food with octopus inside. Yeah, I know why. Takoyaki is definitely Osaka citizens’ soul food. And, it’s easy to let small children eat at the festival, too. You know, you just put it in their mouths!

Though it’s a small festival, there are quite a lot of people. Many people come back here for their summer vacation. Parents, who graduated from this elementary school, want to show their school to children, so they come here!

I also went to the festival with my kids. My daughter wore yukata and my son jinbei─both are traditional Japanese clothes, and nowadays people wear them mostly at summer festivals.

At the festival, I met my old friends and…my ex-boyfriend! He was my husband’s bandmate. Back then, things weren’t going well with my ex-boyfriend, and my husband was there for me. Finally, I decided to date my husband, not with my ex-boyfriend…well, haha, it happens often, you know?

At the festival, you can enjoy fireworks, too!  But there are not so many. If you wanna enjoy fireworks in Osaka, I strongly recommend “PL fireworks”! The best firework in Japan. 20,000 fireworks in one night!

(Photo of fireworks)

But still, I love the summer festival at elementary school. I love my hometown, though I don’t have many friends here now. My parents and my husband’s parents live here, and though I left here a long time ago, I still feel connected to my hometown.

About interviewee:
Kyoko 
Born in Sakai, Osaka and grew up with her grandparents and parents.
Ten years ago, she got married and now has three children.
Was a piano teacher before.

Info. about PL fireworks

written by

SAE

Mom of three kids and writer. Writes essays in the midnight dressingroom.

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