Because we like to eat food, this past weekend Mike and I decided to check out the Furusato Matsuri (ふるさと祭り東京) at Tokyo Dome. Furusato means hometown and matsuri means festival. Basically it’s a giant food festival celebrating food and drink from all over Japan. The website for the festival is here, but it’s only in Japanese.
Tokyo Dome is a massive baseball stadium and it was packed. (In hindsight, I probably should have gone on a weekday.)
So many people!
Japan is filled with adorable mascots. Every town, prefecture, police department, whatever, has one. This guy is some kind of garlic prince from Takko in Aomori prefecture. Fun fact: the mascot for Nerima (where I live) is named Nerimaru. He totally looks like a taco with an antenna, but he’s actually a daikon. (That link has cute videos of him!)
Have I ever mentioned that Japan is really, really good at organizing crowds?
Well, I love Hokkaido. Okay, I’ve never been to Hokkaido. But I like seafood!
Apparently Hokkaido is also home to a lot of meaty items.
Like these swirly sausages, which Mike promptly swooped in to get. Mike has a thing for meat on sticks.
Hokkaido sausage: proclaimed to be oishii and Mike’s favourite thing out of all the foods we ate.
My favourite was obviously GIANT HOKKAIDO CRAB!
So good. I really need to go to Hokkaido.
More Hokkaido seafood (scallops). On a side note about scallops, they sell them with the roe attached here — which is awesome, because the roe is delicious. I never see them for sale with the roe in Canada. Why? Why do you hate tasty food, Canada?
More meat on sticks.
And yet MORE meat on sticks.
Mike had one of these — some kind of sausage on a stick with dough inside. I did not taste it.
Takoyaki! One of my favourites. From Osaka, the home of takoyaki.
These are kakuni manju, or pork buns. Kakuni is a specialty of Nagasaki. I’m wondering if David Chang stole these for his Momofuku empire, since they’re basically the same as the Momofuku buns.
Tomato ume! Okay, I don’t know how these work but they’re yummy. They look like an umeboshi but they taste like a combination of umeboshi and cherry tomato. So, sort of like a sweeter, tomato-y umeboshi. Sounds weird, but it’s good.
Everyone’s favourite mascot, Kumamon (the mascot of Kumamoto prefecture). Kumamon is huge in Japan. Like, Hello Kitty huge. He’s everywhere. So of course I had to buy a Kumamon-shaped cookie, which you could only get in a set with a tote bag for ¥1200 (about $13.50 CAD). Whatever, Japan!
Furusato Matsuri also includes recreations of festivals from around Japan — we watched this one briefly and I have no idea where it was from, but it included people carrying a mikoshi and kids dancing. (Umm, like every Japanese festival does.)
I felt kind of sad that I just didn’t have enough stomach space to eat nearly all the foods I wanted to try — some booths had huge lineups, so I can only assume there were some delectable things I missed out on. There were these desserts shaped like cute chickens that I really wanted to try, but when I went back to get one they were SOLD OUT!
NOTE TO SELF: Visit more places in Japan and eat as much food as possible.